I thought it best to write them down as sometimes I forget, or perhaps just neglect to remember. Not a comprehensive list of things. Far from complete, but not a bad start for one evening’s work.
– Pa, according to my memory, had a brown 1960’s Holden. I think it was a HD, but it could have been a HR. That car is the earliest memory I have. Either that, or falling asleep in the family car after visits to Uncle Ron and Aunty Barbara’s house.
– My sister used to get me to brush her hair.
– We used to have a game when I was quite small where I’d close my eyes and get her to outline and area of my face with her finger, then I’d tell her what color to paint it. I’d imagine it being painted that color while my eyes were closed.
– I used to read my sister’s ANZ Bank training manuals.
– One of the scariest moments of my childhood was one night when my sister was babysitting me and I was upset for some reason (probably because I was in bed and didn’t want to be). I remember her storming into my room, turning on my light and calling me “a little shit”. She’d never said that before, as long as I could remember.
– Dad used to fall asleep on the chair in the loungeroom with his hand inside his dressing gown, a-la Napoleon.
– I remember the ride home from band practice one Tuesday night. Dad and I were driving along Murray Rd (maybe it’s not named Murray Rd at that point, maybe still Southern Rd) just where it crosses Liberty Parade in West Heidelberg. Dad and I hadn’t spoken much the whole drive, if at all, and I can remember looking across at him and wondering “who is he?” and whether or not he was struggling as much as I was to think of something to say.
– Everyone marvelled at Mickey playing the organ, but he couldn’t play at all. His hands just mashed around in a vague recollection of a chord progression and people were just too polite to say something or too tipsy to notice.
– I feel somewhat ashamed that I never said much of anything to Avery during Mickey’s illness. I struggled to cope with impending grief after Dad died and probably still do to this day.
– I used to wonder who I’d prefer to live with if Mum and Dad split up. Dad was kinder, but Mum could cook (chips, at least). Kids hate to have to think about that sort of thing, but even though Mum could be a bit of a dragon, it shows that love runs deep.
– Mum used to leave cornflakes in a bowl for me when she went to work (before I woke up). I used to tip them into a big bush in the garden. There must have been several years worth in there by the time we moved.
– I feel a lot of regret for the lack of care I showed for my sister’s first dog, Sasha. She was a beautiful Red Setter and one of my happiest memories is when we picked her up as a puppy. I used to call her “romper” as she would romp around the backyard. She got a lot of love sometimes, but probably had a sad life over all, living outside as she did. It would have been difficult to have the arrangements any other way, but it was still sad.
– Myself and another kid, John Tsaskovski (sp?) were asked by our Grade 5 teacher to get a basket from her car. We got the basket, then peeked inside and noticed it was full of our class’ school reports for that term. We took so long reading through them that the teacher (Miss Pascoe IIRC) knew what we’d been up to. She might have even come out and caught us. Anyway, we ended up in the Principal’s office. Due to his previous record, John was give the strap. I had worse punishment – I had to watch. There’s something about seeing a kid anticipate pain that’s quite cruel.
– The first baby I ever had anything to do with was Deke Johnson. I didn’t like the idea of babies, but I fawned over baby Deke as soon as I saw him. I then had the family in fits of laughter at the dinner table as I kept saying “big Deke, little Deke” over and over again. I never knew why they found it so funny until much later. I just thought I was naturally gifted with humour.
– The girl across the street and two houses up was Clare Stanley. The boy across the street was Dominic O’Connor. Paul and Helen Young lived across the street and last year, when I called past, their parents Kevin and Mrs Young still lived there. Vicki Clarke lived down the street. Drew and Stephen lived along Sydney St, but Mum didn’t like them much.
– I gave David Barnes run out once and he cracked it. He was out.
– My Dad had a Ford Falcon. My Mum had a Ford Cortina. My sister’s car was called Bugalugs.
– Christmas in 1976 (or maybe it was 1978) was mayhem. I think it was 1978. I must have been a bit weird that year as my sister had got married earlier in the year. Anyway, Santa went bananas and one whole wall of the loungeroom was full of presents.
– We used to have fish and chips on Saturday nights. Dad and I would get them and while they were cooking, we wandered up to the newsagents. If I was lucky, he’d buy me a Mad magazine. We’d go home and watch The Big League, the only two hours of football on television for the week.
– The one activity I remember Dad doing most was painting walls or ceilings. Mum always seemed to want something to be painted. He used to play marching records while he did it.
– I can’t ever remember going to a Carlton game with Dad. Port Melbourne, yes, but Carlton, no.
– Actually, one time I did go to a Carlton game with Dad. It was against Essendon and we actually went to Windy Hill to see it, but the crowd was too big and we couldn’t get in. I think there was a big fight in that game, too.
– I used to get embarrassed when I was small, watching Countdown on TV. I used to think I wasn’t grown up enough for it and people were catching me trying to be big when I was really small.
– Dad loved The Benny Hill Show and Are You Being Served? So did I.
– I had a goldfish named Percy, after Percy Jones, the Carlton ruckman.
– I was in the bath when Mum told me that Dad had to take Sally, our Samoyed, to the vet to get ‘put down’. I cried a lot when I found out that meant she wouldn’t be coming home.
– I once tried to throw a golf ball at our BBQ. I missed and broke one of the panes of Dad’s glasshouse.
– One of my favourite recurring memories was getting 20 cents off Dad to go down to the shop to buy some mixed lollies.
– One of the houses on the way to the shop had this long haired, funny looking guy living there. He had a HQ Monaro in candy apple red and looked a bit scary. A few years later he was my cricket coach. His name was Alex.
– Our primary school Principal was Mr Melvin. We used to call him ‘square-head’ even though it was more triangular in shape.
– No-one was supposed to go through the gardens at Macleod Primary. Whenever we entered them, we ran as fast as we could thinking there were boogie-men in there.
– I don’t remember how I met Adam, nor if his name was Cambridge or Stuckey. I think it changed from one to the other after his Mum married Eddy.
– Adam used to pick on his sister Natalie a lot. I used to protect her a lot.
– Uncle Ken and Auntie Sue have always been my closest relatives outside my immediate family, had my greatest love and affection, and are the source of some of my happiest childhood memories.