Fog, 11 & 13 don’t play well.

I was going through a few things in an old jewellery box on Saturday and came across an old worn envelope. It was folded down into a strip, like it was keeping something safe. Unrolling the folds, I pulled the envelope apart and there clumped in the corner were a reminder of just how lucky I have been.


June 13th, 1986 was a Friday, a Black Friday, or so they call them. The dreaded Friday the 13th when everything that could go wrong, does. I was eleven then, innocent and happy. We were living on the ‘block’ at the time, winter days of thick fog and drizzling rain. As we bustled around the caravan getting ready for school, Mum hauled two huge baskets of dirty washing out to the old white Renault wagon and jammed them into the back, she would take them to the Laundromat after the school drop off.

My sisters and I scrambled into the car with our school bags, Mick sat in front, while myself and Lana jumped in the back. It was always a shit fight as to who was sitting in the front seat. My kids now whine about it too, like it matters. It doesn’t now and it didn’t matter then. The seats were cold and the windows fogged up thick. We wiped our sleeves across the wet glass as mum kicked the Reno in the guts. On our way to the bus stop we dropped by our “Block-lords” and grabbed their two kids Joey and Lozza. They were younger than me, happy and smiling. Climbing into the back seat the four of us sat squished in for the three kilometre drive to the bus stop.

The dirt road was corrugated and rough. You couldn’t go too fast or you would lose a mud guard or worse still, a wheel. The belting and bashing of the road was noisy, and mum had the cassette player cranked up and Lesley Gore was singing It’s My Party, and I’ll Cry If I Want To. We were all laughing and singing along, the heater blasting the interior of the car. The fog was thick outside but we could still see a little bit in front of us. It had that eerie mist feel. A car passed by us going the other way, a neighbour who had already dropped their kids off at the bus stop perhaps.

We drove up over the crest in the road and coming down the other side Mum murmured the words, “hold on” as she threw her arm across the front of the space between the front seats, reaching across at Mick. As I looked up I could see head lights and a tray truck turning in front of us. What seemed like minutes went by as Lesley Gore groaned about crying at her party and we plummeted bonnet first into the side of it.

Opening my eyes, the smell was the first thing I noticed. Iron and metal. I looked around me, Joey and Loz were already out of the car, the seat was bare to the right of me where they sat and Lana wasn’t on my left. Doors opened and voices called. It’s a blur, and fuzzy with yelling and hissing. I slid across the seat and stood at the side of the car, leaning against the door. I’m not sure who gave me the jumper from the laundry in the back, they pushed it to my forehead and I held it there. I was confused.

Looking down at the jumper, my red blood pooled on it. I reached to my head searching for the bloody source. dazed I spun around to see Mick sitting in the car holding her mouth, blood and saliva dripping from between her fingers, her eyes full of tears and confusion with more than her share of terror. I realised then what had happened and a rage pushed up from my stomach and purged out of my mouth. My vile voice of hate and anger shifted its focus to the man in the tray truck. With forced vigour I approached him, screeching at him, telling him to look at what he had done, what he had done to me holding the bloodied jumper in the air at him. I wanted to know why he did it? How could he do this?

I was ushered away from him. Were there other people there? An ambulance? It was noisy. Crying, and tears I couldn’t see through. The terror that surged through me, and where was Lana? I was so cold.

I laid on the hospital bed. Shaking. The smell of blood all around me. That iron metal smell, that dense, thick pungent and earthy smell, underneath the ether and disinfectant. A blue cloth covered my face and the sting and pushing of a needle punched my forehead. More than once. I sobbed under that blue cloth. My hand squeezed mums hand, I knew it was hers. The gritty cotton trickled through my skin pulling it tight, over, and over, and over, and over.


The three of us laid there on the floor in the caravan annex lounge. Cuddled up together in front of the pot belly stove under our feather doona. I laid there with my sisters that night, so afraid and so worried that it physically hurt me to breathe. I listened to their every breath, their every murmur, and we whispered about how we felt, our worries and how we were scared. I held them both until we all fell asleep. It was my job to keep them safe that night, there in the lounge, in front of the fire, where we belonged, together and alive.


The eleven stitches, that were snipped from my forehead 29 years ago, dropped out of the envelope and onto my hand. One for each year I had thus far lived he day it happened. I touched my forehead with some amount of gratitude. It was a Friday the 13th I will never forget and a day that began my superstition belief. A day I could have been killed, or perhaps one of my sisters just as easily. The fog still scares me a little, and I stay home if I can on Black Friday’s. Perhaps Lesley Gore predicted the gore and the crying that would present itself that morning and she was warning us? I don’t like the song… safe to say.

Lesley Gore

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom

Smears ‘n’ Echos

So I’ve started making my way down my Fucket List. If you missed that post then you best check it out.

blood2Today I went to the Red Cross Blood Bank all ready to donate my much-needed red stuff and guess what… no go because I need the all clear from my doctor or cardiologist because of my heart murmur. Fuck it! So, it just so happens that making sure my ticker was okay was actually on my Fucket List. I went and had my echocardiogram done last week, endured a halter strap for 24 hours too, just to make sure all is okay. Lucky I did, because I’d be doing it anyways now to donate blood. Like it was almost meant to be hey!

Having an echo done isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world, particularly with a huge set of tits. Undressing completely and donning a gown three sizes too small and opened at the front isn’t a grand look. Very, very unsexy. The gown covered my back. It was like I was wearing an apron on my back. Then laying back on the bed completely exposed while the skinny piece next to me lifts my tit out-of-the-way to get to my ribs… embarrassing much! Thanks love, just ask me next time and I’ll move my own tit, okay? I’m sure she didn’t even notice she was doing it and I’m even more certain she didn’t even care, but I do.

Then began the pressing and pushing of the hard handheld what ever you call it probe thing. Jabbing it beside my breast bone, into my boob. It’s like being poked with a really hard bony finger. Ice cold gel caked all over it, like I’ve been in a sex orgy and covered in lube, ha, no I’ve never been in a sex orgy! So for a half hour or so I lay there while she probes my chest, under my boob, beside my boob, on top of my boob, breath in and hold for 15 seconds and breathe out… Fuck me, if I didn’t do that thirty times over. Then she pokes the probe thing up under the bottom of my ribs and then down my throat at the middle of my collar bones. The joy of it.

Having routine checks done when you’re a woman is common, and necessary. The old pap smear is just as joyful, I promise. Yeah, I’m fucking kidding, it’s not fun, and it’s not enjoyable AT ALL. Being as I’m almost forty and I had my first smear when I was 19 years old and then every 2 years there on, I’ve been up on a doctors bed with my legs splayed more than 11 times not including the in between checks for shit like child-birth.

The Pap smear is generally not a conversation most women will elaborate on. Probably for good reason, but hey, I’m a bit of a 30-62realist so explaining a Pap smear could be fun. A lot of women delay, put off or don’t ever have one. It’s a dangerous game to play with your own body, and to be honest, for the sake of 5 minutes of sheer discomfort its worthwhile. The old speculum has come a long way in my life time. The set of expandable ‘tongs’ probe they use to stretch a ladies vaginal wall open, exposing her cervix… yeah there’s no other way to write it… used to be stainless steel but is now disposable and plastic. It’s a refreshing thought, having a new unused speculum inserted. I always wondered just how sanitary the metal ones were even when they’re sanitized and who 466-354-thickboxknows what else. Wait though, because these expandable tongs come in different sizes! Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to be told, “hang on love I’ll need to grab the other size”… **insert crickets chirping** Fucking lucky me, I have to endure TWO lots of probing and being told I have a big vagina! Thank you…

So once the cervix is exposed, we then have to wait for the scraping. That’s the part I don’t like the most. It’s uncomfortablecytobrush-plus-standard-unsteril and can sometimes hurt a little. The dull scratch on a part of your body you never have any sensation on normally. Your brain tries to process where the ‘pain’ is coming from; it’s not a normal sensation and quite confusing to the senses. Normally I will lay there with my eyes wandering over the ceiling, finding things to look at so I don’t have to see the mini-dunny-brush-cross- tooth-brush being inserted into ones open vagina.

Imagine a man doing this. They whine about having to have a finger popped up their butt to check their prostrate… Oh the horror of some rimming!

So there you have it. The Pap Smear explained… for those of you I love, get it done if you haven’t.

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom

Just Take Those Old Records Off The Shelf…

I sit and listen to them by myself,

todays music aint got the same soul,

I like that Old time a rock’n’roll.

Bopping away in my car this afternoon a song came on that I haven’t heard in like a BILLION years. ‘Old Time Rockin’ Roll’ being belted out by Bob Seger. Classic? Hell yes, but that’s not only why I love it. For me, and all my Grade six classmates it brings back the days of the Jim Welsh Dance Studio; and ten weeks of dancing lessons every Friday for two hours. Gosh it brought the hugest smile to my face.

Grade six was, in no doubt at all, the best year of my school life. I loved that year. I loved my friends but more so my Bestie, we were inseparable; sleep overs every weekend. Trips to I have no clue where with her Mum and old Bill in his chariot and out to Card Nights or Bingo in Ballarat. We would perch ourselves up on the bench seat in front and sing all the way to Ballarat. The vinyl seat smelled of plastic, it was hard and cold at night. The dash lights lit up the front seat, we’d push the square buttons on the radio to find a station.

My grade six teacher Miss Wilson, was the first lesbian I ever knew as it turned out. Yeah sure, I knew she was different, but back then you just didn’t think about that sort of stuff. She wore the coolest of clothes, bright fluro multi-coloured shirts and loose pants. I look back now and see it clear as day, but to me she was just Miss Wilson who took no shit from anyone. I looked up to that, and to her and credit her for part of my back bone. She was fucking awesome. While other kids hated her, I thought she was cool.

Marge Welsh our dance instructor, who was the coolest old chook ever. She could seriously DANCE! She had a bit of Flash Dance going on. The studio was upstairs and very un-air-conditioned! It would be stinking hot up there. The class would climb the old stairs into the huge room. Light flooded in through the windows. The old wooden floor was worn from millions of trods and clops over it. It smelled of sweat and wood. Partnering up standing in a great big circle we would fox trot, waltz and rock’n’roll. I always had the same partner, who back then was my boyfriend – who is now my brother in-law. Ha, sounds so incestuous and naughty, but I promise you there was a good 15 years between those dances and the one he danced with my sister on their wedding day. I remember dancing with my future hubby too, he was always happy to grab hold of me back then, but I never really realised until later on that he had a thing for me all the way back then. There was always that awkward space between the dancers and Marge would have to encourage us to come together. “Come on” she would say “They wont bite!” as she flicked around the room pushing couples together.

jim welsh studio

I remember the hot summer at the local pool, melting choc buds on the scorching hot metal plate that covered the pool filters. We practically lived at the pool, the whole town centred around it. It was the social hub, the place to be. “Bombing” competitions where the local hunk what’s-his-face-Millar always won. He was stunning back then, bronzed, muscled… groooowl! All the boys were something to look at back then. Days of not worrying about sunburn, or anything else except Cath giving you a free dim sim or two at the end of the day.

Not a worry in the world back then, just listening to Bob Seger belting it out in the background on Risky Business while Tom danced his way to stardom with a mop and sunnies to star in Top Gun; Wham was waking us up before we go-go and fucking John Farnham pre retirement six times wasn’t the “Retiring Jack!” he was apparently Whispering and the rest of the worlds artists came together and sung We Are The World; Grease was still a staple flick and BMX Kids were burning up the arse of the late cast of Stand By Me; rah-rah skirts bounced and hair bows held back a spiral perm while we danced to Madonna in tulle before she morphed into a talented, pointy titted old lady. Those were the days.

We-are-the-World

Vale Marge Welsh. I am saddened to learn that Marge passed away last month. She must have taught thousands of children and adults to dance. What a great loss her passing is.

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom