Diana Wilson got allocated one of the new builds in Trafalgar Street, 2003-4. She was much the same age as Ricky Ross, Deacon Blue, and Dignity has become a bit of a naff-classic. In those days of the late 1950s a Daily Record cost 2d, now it cost 85p. You could buy a bungalow in Great Western Road and have change from £125. Black-and-white telly, but not for all. Most couldn’t afford it, even with Radio Rentals. Crowds flocked to new X-Ray Units, which was the next best thing – and free with the spanking new NHS. 25 000 test in one day, setting a new world record in a drive to beat tuberculosis. TB, remember that? Lots to do with lack of sanitation and overcrowding. ‘Real Gone Kid,’ Ricky knew about that. Falkirk won the Scottish Cup. The game wasn’t even on the radio. The problem of over-crowding at fitba was being debated.
The late summer of Diana’s life, after an overcrowded tenant block in Castle Street Dalmuir, and the old Trafalgar. New build. New start. New shiny Trafalgar for shiny new people that didn’t steal astroturf for their bedroom from the pitch nearby (ahem, a close neighbour). I used to pass the back garden, real grass, and grandkids out the back—Danya and later Leo— staffie dog on the doorstep, keeping an eye on you through the metal railings. It was meant to be her son Tam’s dog, but it wasn’t daft it knew where it’s Kennomeat sandwiches weren’t buttered. Her car would be parked out the front. It didn’t go any further than Clydebank shopping centre, but it was proof she could drive, although she’d rather not. Children and animals were drawn to her because she was a Goodfellow, sometimes names ring true.
Often there’d be familiar faces sitting in the garden, holding up a bottle of beer in a sunshine salute. Tam’s pals were also Diana’s pals. I’d run into them in the pub. And after listening to a Pickering wittering on for so long even the devil had went up the road for a sleep and hid his head under the blankets, Big Pat would ask, ‘whit was that about?’
I’d shrug, my ears had melted like wax to the side of my baldy head, and, to decompress, I’d go and talk to Wullie Dalziel because he knew everything.
But Diana Wilson, Diana Goodfellow, wasn’t a know-it-all; she was a listener. You could have a laugh, but you could also trust her with your secrets. Listeners are where love is. Children loved Diana because she listened. Dogs loved her because she was what love is. Her concern wasn’t for herself, but for others. Listeners know where you’re coming from.
The last time I saw Tam was about a month ago, in the shop we go to for papers and rolls, which used to be Ramjam’s, then Iffty’s and I’m not sure what it’s called now. I meant to ask Tam how his mum was, but I was in a bit of a hurry and didn’t. Diana always made time for people. She would have asked about me and mine. I’m an open-mouthed grazer. In biology there’s the notion of the keystone species. They play a critical role in the balance of ecological communities. Diana Wilson was a keystone species; she was a carer and listener. Her death doesn’t just leave her family—son and grandchildren—gutted, it deadens the water of our community and makes it a poorer and more poisonous place to live. Kindness was her religion. Sorely missed. RIP