Hey it’s my birthday…

You’ll never guess that today’s my Sixty Second birthday. Yep that’s right, I was born at 3am 62 years ago, on this very day. It took place on Fullarton Road, opposite the horse race track, inside the Maternity Hospital there in the suburb of Rose Park. They tell me I was 2 months premature and wasn’t allowed “home” for 6 weeks. Was in a humid-crib for 4 weeks. Back then, the family lived either on Greenhill Road or nearby Palmerston Road, I’m not sure; but I do know we lived in both places at one time or another. The Palmerston Road place was the first piece of property my parents bought here. It was a very very small workman’s cottage type of place in the middle of a reasonably well to do area; at the other end of the street were houses of 5 to 10 rooms, and at the other other end, there were houses of 3 to 6 rooms. One house always got my attention as it was the biggest house on the street, and a girl lived there along with her parents. Maybe her name was Elizabeth Lone, I’m not sure; but she never invited me into her house and we never really hung out together. We just knew that each other existed in almost the same space. Her house, though, had a small creek running along it’s Northern side; this creek had been modified by the council into a concrete lined run-off storm water drain. It was about 10 feet wide at its widest part, and around 5 feet deep, and most of the time was completely bone dry. Algae didn’t even grow in it due to a complete lack of water, caused by all the “plumbing” the council had done to it. Sometimes in Winter, though, it would fill up and run really fast, mainly from water that had fallen miles and miles away. After all, it was one of the few major drainage channels on the south side of town that existed. On those sorts of days I’d go and stand near the fence that protected you from falling in, and just watch the water rushing along, carrying all sorts of debris and junk with it. Eventually when I started going to school, they had me do a project about this creek and so I had some photos made and pasted them into a thin album with hand written descriptions of exactly its purpose and how well it performed that duty. Living in that street wasn’t easy at all, though. Our house was one of the smallest, and there were only 3 others the same size, all next to each other. On the Northern side lived a married couple from Ukraine who were called Auntie and Uncle; while on the Southern side there were 2 such houses which were identical. Right next door lived the Watts family, of 2 parents and 3 kids and next door to them was my actual Uncle and his wife and their 2 kids who were twins. My real life uncle was a surveyor, but he was also an immigrant from Europe and as such had hardly established himself, hence living in such modest quarters. After a few years he moved to a town that’d been set up completely as a Mining town for brown coal, Leigh Creek, and then a couple more years passed and he dropped dead of a heart attack when he wasn’t even yet in his 50s. I once spent a summer holiday staying with him and his family away up north and he had a regime of making “healthy” drinks from full cream milk, eggs, chocolate power and some other stuff. It was really a high fat low protein drink and is what killed him with clogged arteries. He must have been insured because after he was gone, his wife and the kids moved a couple thousand miles to Western Australia where they somehow managed to buy a substantial house they lived in for 20 years until she re-married and the kids had moved out into their own lives. We also moved, as did the Watts, but the so-called Auntie never did; her husband had been some kind of officer in WW 2, and he was about 20 years older than her and he died in the late 60s. She didn’t move after it happened and stayed there by herself until she became too old to cope with anything and someone had her placed in a care home. She had a stroke while there and went into a coma that lasted for years and years until she eventually passed away. I never actually saw her after 1972, except once when my father brought her to our house on Christmas day for a meal. She was really quite old by then, but wasn’t yet affected by dementia, so she ate heartily and then was driven home. I didn’t ever see her again, or even go to her funeral that was held in the newly built Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Greenhill Road, Wayville. My parents didn’t attend either. I have a sneaking suspicion there was only one person at the funeral, and she also one of those women we used to call “Godmother” even though she played no part in any Baptisms or was ever legally assigned that role. That immigrant outlived the “auntie” by 25 or 30 years! She used to walk every where, and into the city in particular which was at least a mile and a half away. Plus she had some type of menial employment, while the “aunt” never worked a day in her life in Australia, relying on the pension after her husband died. The last I heard of her was that she was amazingly still alive in her 80s and still as fit as a fiddle, with her golden corn coloured hair. Her husband, though, had died many years earlier, so you knew it wasn’t only a matter of diet, but also of exercise. The other thing about the “auntie” was how she started imagining things. She began to believe she had secret lovers and admirers; that she had secret wealth hidden somewhere, and that people were plotting against her to get it through illegal means.