Tag Archives: memories

You win brain (trigger warning, rape)

I can go for weeks, months and sometimes whole years without ever having a conscious thought about when I was raped, that doesn’t mean I have forgotten about it, but like other unpleasant things that have happened in my life, I just choose not to dwell on it.

 
However there are times when my brain or my subconscious or whatever it is will take the matter into its own hands and serve me up a highly unpleasant reminder that comes out of nowhere and leaves an impression that lingers, almost as if it’s saying “you may have moved on. but I NEVER FORGET”.
 
Last night was a case in point, I was having one of those dreams that I seem to get a lot of lately, the one where I am still in hospital and I wake up and I realise that I have been dreaming the whole time about being at home, those dreams while annoying only make me feel slightly ill at ease, and the feelings I get from those don’t linger long.
 
So I woke myself up, reassured myself that yes I was actually AT home, in my own bed, with the cat and that it was just a dream in a dream and drifted back off to sleep, where I slipped into a dream about my Nan’s old house, which wasn’t quite my Nan’s house but enough so that it was very familiar, I like these dreams because in them I invariably see all the people I have loved and lost, my Mum, Nan and Lesley, which while it makes me sad also makes me happy, memories of happier times.
 
This time it was different, the facade was my Nan’s house but once I went inside I realised to my horror that inside it was the little out of the way class room at the old Tech college, the one I used to eat my lunch in and listen to my music and read, the one I thought was safe because it was out of the way and not used anymore.
 
I tried to wake myself up because of all the things that I don’t wish to keep on reliving, being raped rates as number one, but all my usual tricks wouldn’t work, and thanks to my brain I got to relive it all again in full glorious colour and sound, every moment of sheer terror, pain and disgust, all over again.
 
Then as if my brain hadn’t had enough of torturing me with that particular bit, it took me on a whirlwind tour of every single bad decision I made following the attack, the dropping out of school, the failed suicide attempt, the arrival of panic attacks and agoraphobia, every single one in a non stop hit parade of bad decisions.
 
When I finally managed to wake up I was panting, crying and working my way up to a full blown panic attack the first one in months and months, I was also alone in the house, I have never felt more alone than at that moment, I grabbed my cat and held on, telling myself to breathe, I’m quite proud of that, I shut that shit down before it could take hold.
 
I’ve been on edge all day, and I’m not looking forward to sleeping tonight, you win brain, you’re the boss.
 

Somethings you just don’t forget

Over the weekend Tasmania was burning, bush fires ravaged whole communities and have caused untold damage and loss of property, there were many comparisons made to the Black Tuesday bush fires in 1967, thankfully this time we seem to have come through without loss of life.

The words Total Fire Ban give me the shudders, because of 1967. I remember Black Tuesday somethings are indelibly etched in your memory. I wrote this back in the late ’80 after we had endured a prolonged period of dry hot weather. My feelings still haven’t changed as I sat in my house on Friday and smelled the smoke and watched the news, heard the sirens and the warnings, I was once again back in 1967 and it wasn’t pleasant.

“TODAY IS A DAY OF TOTAL FIRE BAN”
 
I hate that announcement, not only because of the sound effects they use with it, but because it brings back so many old old memories. It was February 1967, I was nearly three and it was hot, unseasonably hot, hot enough for many old timers to click their tongues and intone that “they’d never seen weather like it afore” to anyone that would listen. Much like today I imagine, it’s 38 dgs and climbing, there’s a hot northerly blowing and all it would take is one maniac with a match and the entire state goes up in a ball of flame. 
 
But back to 1967, I remember it being hot for days and days, my mother being particularly snappy as my sister and I asked for the wading pool to be filled again, Us not knowing that water was in short supply, living down the end of a long street with dodgy water pressure was worrying her, my father, in the CMF, off god knows where fighting fires in the middle of the state, knowing that he was in some danger, waiting and listening for the radio reports, the photos in the paper, of the flames and the men, looking tiny and insignificant next to the flames, leaping fifty and a hundred feet in the air, even in black and white looking dangerous and evil.
 
Our house, at the end of the street, backing onto untouched thick bushland, the bush coming close to the back fence, surrounded by bush on three sides of the house, tall trees, gum trees, wattle trees, bush as dry as last months bread, the unnatural silence, no birds, no animals, no insects, silence, broken only by the worried voices of my Mum and the neighbours, all the men off fighting fires, our only protection the water dribbling out the end of the hose.
 
I remember, and I am sure of this, going to bed the night before, asking my mother when daddy would be home, and Mum crying because as it turned out no one had been able to get in touch with my dads platoon for three days, and mum expected the worse, I remember quite clearly reaching up and hugging mum and telling her not to worry, that she would be able to fill the wading pool up tomorrow, three year old children have their own set of priorities.
 
The next day it was hot, hotter than before, I’m told it reached 44 dgs, that didn’t mean much to me, not that day, I could smell something sharp and it made me sneeze, I looked at the sun and it was bright orange against a black cloud bank, terrified I asked mum what it was, smoke she said, lots and lots of smoke, there’s a fire, a really big fire, and it could be heading this way, it still didn’t mean much to me. 
 
Later that day, Mum told me to stay inside, she went out with a scarf over her mouth, picked up the hose and spent four hours wetting down the fence and the house with this pitiful trickle of water, my sister and I watched with interest as mum trudged back and forth with buckets of water to throw on the fence, not realising that this was a task equivalent to the little boy with his finger in the dyke, holding back the sea.
 
She came inside and told us to get some things together, that we would be spending the night with neighbours, she was crying, I didn’t know why, I think my sister did, she stopped me from making a fuss and we went and packed our favourite toys.
 
I remember standing on the back door step watching, watching and not believing as this wall of flame headed down over the hills on two sides of us.
 
I remember crying, and being scared.
 
I remember my mother standing by the back fence and crying, still watering the fence with the hose.
 
I remember my mother swearing as the water slowly stopped flowing.
 
I remember the look on her face as she came inside and got her purse and the photo albums (mothers also have strange priorities).
 
I remember the fire engine, the siren- loud, the fireman yelling at my mother to “get the fuck out of here” to leave and leave now. 
 
I remember the look on my mothers face as she stopped the car at the top of the street, got out and looked one last time at the house, I swear she was saying goodbye to the house. 
 
I remember our neighbours, all crowded into one house away from the fire, my mother refusing to look anymore, all the children crammed into the cubby house up the tree, looking but not wanting to look, the silence, even the cockiest child was awed by the scene they were watching.
 
Hell, pure hell, hungry flames, ordinary men pitted against that, hell would win, it had to, now I know why my mother refused to watch, her life was in that house.
 
Hours and hours later, dark, the flames finally out, my mother nearly fainting as she was told that the fireman had saved the house, mainly due to the wetting the fence had gotten from her, tears, tears of laughter and joy, and sadness as we hear of others less fortunate than us.
 
The next day it rains, strange that, I was carried home that previous night asleep, the morning brings utter destruction to our eyes, trees hundreds of years old, gone, nothing but black as far as the eye could see, the pitiful noises of the animals who got caught in the fire, in pain.
 
I remember my father coming home, expecting to find the house gone, he’d been told that all the houses in our street were destroyed, my mother crying again, everyone crying.
 
I remember dad climbing over the fence, with his gun, the crack crack as he shot the animals in pain.
 
I remember my mother nursing a bandicoot back to health.
 
“TODAY IS A DAY OF TOTAL FIRE BAN”
 
I HATE that

 


One Man’s treasure is another Mum’s trash.

When I was a kid my father used to go to auctions and buy all sorts of crap, Mum would never know what he was going to come home with; boxes of old assorted kitchen gadgets, cutlery, old books it was usually all junk.

But he did have his moments. One time he came home with a box of old cups and saucers, and for once they were absolutely gorgeous, I fell in love with every single one; for they were delicate and tiny and so so fragile, I had my favourite cup and saucer, and I would use it on special occasions.

Another sterling purchase that my father made was an old old adding machine, it was amazing, there was something arcane about it, how it worked, because it wasn’t just like adding 2+2 together, you had to press a series of levers, there was a method, and I learnt how to do it, it was big and heavy and so full of wonder, I loved it.

The other purchase that I remember very vividly was a set and blow wave hair styler, now this wasn’t any normal hairdryer, it came in a pink suitcase with curlers, and a bright pink hair cap that you put over your head after you’d finished styling it. The cap had a hole where the nozzle from the tube fitted in, and the other end plugged into the case, you plugged it in and turned it on, and it was like having your own salon hair dryer at home. This one also had a nail polish dryer, a vent you could slide open and dry your nails over.

I loved this machine, I would help my mum style and set her hair, and then get the dryer out and carefully slip the cap over her head, and turn it on, and she would sit there for thirty to forty minutes, reading a book, smoking many cigarettes and drinking at least three cups of coffee. We would talk, and after she had finished I would be allowed to put the cap on and turn it on low, for some reason I just loved the feel of the warm air on my ears, and the noise it made.

A few other things come to mind, an old heavy duty mincing machine that screwed onto the table, an 1872 copy of Lambs Tales of Shakespeare, with the most amazing illustrations, which I still have, an original copy of Hoyles book of games, which my Sister and I played many many games out of.

Most of what he brought home was utter crap, and Mum used to dread the Saturdays when the auctions were on, like the time he came home with an old locked suitcase. He paid fifty cents for it, on the off chance that there was something valuable in it.

There was something in it alright, the mummified body of a long departed feline. Mum made dad burn the suitcase; he was all for keeping it and using it-the suitcase that is, not the cat, and Mum said over her dead body.

I think the final straw was when dad went one day and came home with a fairly decrepit Morris Minor that he was ‘going to do up’ and that it was ‘such a bargain at only $20’. Yes, there was a reason it was only $20, it didn’t go, was held together with rust and hope and sheer bloody mindedness.

It sat in the carport for months and months until dad managed to con a friend into buying it off him for parts.

And wardrobes, yes, yes of course, that’s where our wardrobes came from. My big old white one which was huge and perfect for hiding in, and had drawers and a mirror and a secret compartment where i hid my diary and important stuff. I remember when dad and Mr Waldie brought them home tied one on top of the other on the roof of the car.

Mum nearly had conniptions, they were so big they almost didn’t fit through the front door and dad was all for ripping the door off the hinges. Then there was the sliding doors, Mum did have conniptions then, dad came home with a set of double sliding doors and had this brilliant idea of knocking a hole in the wall between the lounge-room and the kitchen and installing them.

Mum said over her dead body, but then we went away on our annual trip up to stay with my Aunt and when we came back dad had already knocked the hole in the wall and put up the supporting beams.

I think if Mum could have killed him then she would have, he finished the beams and hung the sliding doors, and they lasted for no more than two or three months and then he ripped them down again, said they were a nuisance.

So then he ripped out the normal kitchen door and replaced that with one of the sliding doors, he did this while Mum was down at Nanny’s one Sunday, Mum was ropeable.

Then he decided, also one day when Mum was down at Nanny’s that we didn’t need the door from the lounge-room into the kitchen, so he took that down and built a very dodgy bookcase into the top half and blocked off the rest.

Mum didn’t dare go out for a months after that, just in case he decided to renovate the kitchen or something.


Space Invaders

This post has absolutely NOTHING to do with grammar, spelling, English, pronunciation or anything remotely connected to any of those subjects..

In 1978 Taito released a game called Space Invaders, this game indirectly led to me to spend far more time than was probably recommended at the Bowling Alley playing said game on the arcade machines, I do not even CARE to think of how much money I spent playing this game, I think my Mother would have been horrified to learn the reality.

In 1979 an Australian group called Player One released a song to cash in on the craze that was sweeping the country, it was called, Space Invaders, I LOVED this song with a passion, it was written by Brown and Dunlop and all I know is that apparantly Player One consisted of well known music producers and engineers of the time, they are a group shrouded in mystery, I am intrigued.

For your delectation, the lyrics for Space Invaders, the 12 inch version, which is the one I have on my iPod.

Space Invaders:

(c) Brown and Dunlop
(Long intro Music, various space invader sound effects)

Through dark sunken eyes
I see another pale sunrise
surrounded by soldiers
glued to the screens
hold back the invaders
their infernal machines.

We fight to survive
running to stay alive
our bodies aching and tired
there’s no where to hide
our covers’ been blown away

Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders ooooooooooh

They’re closing in on me
dark forces cold and unseen
Oh my hip pocket nerve is aching again
I must go back in and fight it out to the end

Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders ooooooooooh

(musical interlude, more space invader sound effects)

They’re closing in on me
dark forces cold and unseen
Oh my hip pocket nerve is aching again
I must go back in and fight it out the end.

We fight to survive
running to stay alive
our bodies aching and tired
there’s no where to hide
our covers’ been blown away

Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
We fight to survive
Space Invaders
running just to stay alive
Space Invaders
oooh oooh ooohh hooo
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
oooh hoo hoo hoo
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
oooh hoo hoo hooo
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders
Space Invaders (fade)

Pure pure late 70’s classic pop/cheese..  Love it.


Curse ye Meroz!

I have no idea who Meroz was, or why he warranted such vehement cursing in the bible,  as a side note I only know about Meroz because he turns up in the delightfully written series of Anne Of Green Gables, whereupon the Minister if he was bereft of ideas during the sermon would wrathfully thump the pulpit and yell “Curse Ye Meroz” at the top of his lungs.

But what brought that to mind was a very funny incident I remember from my childhood, now my Mother was not prone to swearing or using a lot of expletive deleted even when she lost her temper, I think the worst word I heard coming from my Mum was either bloody hell or at worst shit.

Which meant that I grew up blissfully unaware of the vast majority of swear words that were around until I reached High School, at which time fuck was THE worst word you could ever say and if you so much as muttered it in earshot of a teacher that would mean a trip to Mr Harrington who would just LOOK at you, until you felt the whole shame of letting him and yourself down.

He had VERY expressive eyes.

Even to this day I very rarely swear, occasionally a fuck will drop from my lips and I’ll feel ashamed and imagine I can see Mr Harrington or my Mum looking at me, usually I’ll say FUDGEBUNNY or even BUGGER or my favourite from The Dragon Riders of Pern books FARDLES.

But back to my childhood, my Sister and I used to play a lot of games from  Hoyles Book Of Games; it was from there that I learned to play patience, blackjack, cribbage and about 500 other sorts of games, one of the games involved taking a random word from the dictionary and then seeing how many words you could find that rhymed, usually this was a great deal of fun, except when my Mum, getting sick of the game would pick something incredibly difficult, and tell us not to come back until we had 10 words that rhymed.

Now one day the word she chose was punt, and she told us that we needed to find 30 words that rhymed, handed us our dictionaries and went off to do something Motherly, like reading.

We didn’t think that would be that hard, however after about 20 words we ran out of inspiration, and just started, as we thought, making words up, so when Mum came back we started to read out the list, and then we got to the first made up word, which just so happened to be c*nt.  (I don’t particularly like this word, I find it offensive and ignorant)

Well, you’d have thought that we’d both just killed the cat, robbed the neighbours and called our Grandmother something rude, Mum dropped the dictionary and screeched, yes screeched, I don’t think I’d ever heard my Mum screech before:

‘WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY, HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT WORD, THAT WORD IS FILTHY AND DISGUSTING, DON’T YOU EVER SAY THAT WORD AGAIN’

And then she slapped both of us, hauled us off the bathroom and washed our mouths out with soap, all the while shouting:

‘If I ever hear that word again I will smack your legs red raw, you hear me, I’ll have the jug cord to your legs quicker than you can blink’

Now by then my Sister and I were just nodding and crying and saying:

“Yes Mum, Yes Mum, Sorry Mum’

All the while still not really sure of what we had done that was sooooo bad.

When Mum calmed down she did explain and apologise, but even now I still get that faint tang of Palmolive Gold in my mouth when, if I forget myself, and say the C word.