We Pack Up & Leave

I got Asthma very bad when I was a kid, I was put into the Monto hospital I couldn’t breathe and come close to dying, I had so many needles they run out of places to drive them in, the same horse needles with the hand grip the vet used, I was a skinny boney kid and they hurt, I think the nurses sharpened them with a horse shoe file.

I had no visitors as there was no transport and my mum came if she could get a lift off some one that had a car, and very few people had cars, I’m alone in a ward with a lot of other people in varying degrees of dying in this god forsaken place, people died in those days in open wards with just a curtain around the bed, I had to listen to an old bloke that had been in a car accident in his death rattles he kept me awake with his moans for days on end, and only quiet came when he died, I felt as if this was the way I was going to end up as some days I could hardly get my breath, I could only take short breaths, and struggled.

Boy was I glad when my mother finally came and got me out of that place even today I get an uneasy feeling around hospitals, the doctor told her she had to get me away from all the pollen and dust from the crops grown in the area, take him to the ocean and get him to drink seawater, an old Aboriginal man gave my mother a bottle of dugong fish oil for me to take, he said it would cure Asthma, well when we left the area I did get over the asthma maybe it was the dugong oil, maybe the change or both.

I had nearly drowned, got asthma, stood on a few snakes running through long grass, branded myself jumping over a red hot steel bar used for a guy forks night, tossing a cricket wicket into my foot, hit a bullet with a hammer and lodging the bullet in my leg, falling off horses and whatever else I climbed onto, including falling out of trees and off roofs of houses, for ever getting stitches in my feet from broken glass and anything sharp I slipped on, I got through Mulgeldie pretty easy as a kid, I think all kids should have a bit of Mulgeldie in their lives.

carriage

Old rail carriages

Then one day my whole world changed, we were packed up and down to the train station, Tom was there to see us off , Pat me Mum and not much luggage we had no real possessions, Pat and I had new shiny black shoes, new socks and our hair combed and parted, Tom looked sad along with my best mate Fido my only possession looking balefully at me as if to say why can’t I jump up on the train with you, he was trying to jump up but to high, and me too young to understand what was going on it never occurred to me I would never see him again, leaving Fido behind was a pain I wore silently for a long time I really loved that dog, Tom told me years later they had to shoot Fido he was too much of a one man dog and to savage, I guess he missed me too much, and I grew up a lot like Fido.