Tuesday, 15 October 2013
in the suburbs
We had a few days in the city before we caught the ferry across to Rottnest. Days that were supposed to be filled visiting friends, many of whom had yet to meet our little girl. But the day before we were due to arrive the smaller of our boys came down with hand, foot and mouth disease. One of those childhood illnesses that does not make you terribly ill, but does render your child terribly contagious. So we found ourselves back in my old childhood home with nowhere to go and nowhere else to be for a few quiet days. And it was quite lovely.
I walked the boys around the suburb, telling them stories about about when I walked those same streets clutching my pocket money and heading for the milk bar to buy a bag of mixed lollies. A gourmet delicatessen had replaced the lolly jars years ago, so we stopped for a pastry at the bakery instead. We took the old short cut home - but the chook yards and the fruit trees which used to dangle over the alleyway had been replaced by concrete mansions looming over the thin strip of green.
At my parents' house at least, nothing has changed. Except the grass is much softer. The buffalo grass of my childhood always left me with stinging cuts on my wrists after I had cartwheeled the length of the lawn. My boys built cubbies and made racetracks through the dirt. My baby girl kicked on the grass beside me. And I reflected that it had been a wonderful place to grow up, with the river a short bike ride away and patches of bush still scattered about the suburb. Not that different, really, to the life we have found down here.