Back in 1980 Clare Campbell made the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald. Her body had been found in her little cottage having been dead for a year. There was a big pile of letters on the floor. Nothing personal there. Just junk mail. Not even a postcard.
The paper report said Clare Campbell had a son and a daugher in Sydney.
It moved Eric Bogle to write a song “A Reason for it All” that I have been searching for in my CD collection since reading this week’s sad story of an old woman whose lonely death in a Sydney terrace took eight years to discover. I failed but did find a version on You Tube
Eric Bogle introduced his ode to Clare by recalling that Granny Herald beat the public breast for a couple of days.
“Do we care for our old people and all that sort of stuff. Well of course we don’t. We are a capitalist society. That’s not part of our caring.”
The refrain rings as true today as it did back 30 years ago:
Don’t talk to me about lonely souls cryin’
Dark quiet rooms and old people dyin’
I don’t want to hear, don’t want to hear it at all
Tired old people die alone every day
Don’t blame me I didn’t make it that way
That’s just how it is, don’t look for a reason for it all