Hide and Seek

I like to pick my granddaughter up from school each Wednesday afternoon.  I mix with the young mothers and other Nannas and Pops who are on duty to ensure that their little one is safely in their care.  

I am often amused by the other children who are smaller and must wait with their parent for an older brother or sister.  This week a little boy, still in nappies and with a pacifier, which was more an ornament than a necessity, was watching some other children as they ducked and dived into a bush which is in the garden just outside the kindergarten window.  

There was a hollow arch in the bush and it was a great source of fun for some little boys and girls who played hide and seek among the branches and leaves.  The small boy I had been watching, bent to look in the hole that had been made in the bush, he tentatively stood in the natural doorway and peeped in.

It was then that he discovered perhaps for the first time what a wonderful place it was to play hide and seek in.  As I watched him I was taken back to my own childhood in country Tasmania.  I was a railway child and the railway line was my playground.  

We had a very large back yard of course, but there was always a sense of adventure one had when playing away from home.  Along the side of the railway on one side was a hedge of hawthorn bushes.  As children we discovered very early what a wonderful play area it was, we played mothers and fathers maybe even doctors and nurses amongst the thorny bushes as the trains whistled and grunted along the railway line beside us.  

The hedge of hawthorn bordered a paddock where cattle and sheep grazed, they often came close and nosed into the bushes when they were disturbed by rustling and giggling, for they are inquisitive creatures and we were never frightened, the animals became part of our little bush house and we gathered long grass for them and hand fed them from the boughs of our cubby.

 The branches and leaves were so thick that down on the ground we were even kept dry when it rained, we never worried how we would get home, because our home was just over there, just across the railway line.  

Sometimes there were some old cattle carriages on a side rail that sat until someone claimed them and perhaps took them to Herrick or Scottsdale.  They smelt somewhat, but oh what fun we had clambering around inside, hiding underneath and always getting cattle dirt in our hair and clothing.

Another place on the railway line where we always liked to play hide and seek was a culvert under the railway line – it was so exciting to hide there – ostensibly from the train driver, and be excited by the sparks which flew off the railway line as the train wheels spun, there was also the smell of oils and burning which gave us a thrill, of course there was never any water in the culvert, and no one ever knew we were there.  

As children who had to make their own fun, hide and seek was played in many other places as well.  I remember quite clearly playing the game around the wood mill that was at the end of our street, after knock off time, when the saws were idle and the men had left after a hard days work, there were always great hidey holes to find amongst the piles of wood.   

We also played the game amongst the hay bales in the summer season when they were stacked under an iron roof with the sides open, what great fun and we never once considered that there were dangers in what we were doing.

It was a good thing that the little boy I saw peeped in first to see what awaited him inside the hidey hole in the school yard bush and his father kept a watchful eye from only a metre away.  

What careless parents we must have had in my day, they believed that as long as we were home before dark everything was fine.  The little boy probably went home in time to see Play School or Peppa Pig.

We got home in time for tea!

Janice Titmus.

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“G’day Troops”

G’day troops, it’s us again,

You’re probably lying in some bloody drain.

With the wind-n-the sun, the flies-n-the rain,

And we all hope that soon, you’ll be back home again.

The footy is over, and some teams have won,

We saw you on telly, you were all having fun.

In our country’s hearts, you’re still number one,

While you’re over there, we all say “well done”.

When you arrive home, you’ll be in for a shock,

The wharf will be crowded as you come in to dock.

There’ll be loved ones-n-children-n-old uncle Joes,

Some Aussies down there that you don’t even know!

So keep up the good work, the world’s watching you,

We’re all Aussies together, and that’s called “true blue”!!

by Waldo Bayley, Bush Poet from Humpty Doo

 

 

Our Ocean (poem – one for the kids)

The Dolphins swim from side to side,

Leap from the water, they seem to glide.

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The Flying Fish, he does the same,

These lovely mammals are so tame.

The Porpoise bobs, then swims around,

They make a lot of funny sounds.

The old Whale just lays in the sun,

Watching over them while they have fun.

These lovely mammals in the sea,

Are very much like you and me.

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They cry and cry when they get hurt,

Like when you fall down in the dirt.

Please let them live, do them no harm,

The ocean is a big fish farm.

So use it carefully, don’t be mean,

It’s sparkling clear when it’s so clean.

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If we always help it look this way,

It won’t go brown, rot or decay.

The schools of fish all swim in vain,

They’re all part of the sea food chain.

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So catch a couple, make your day,

Then the rest of them can swim and play.

The Crabs and Urchins, Dugong too,

Are all a part of natures zoo.

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So care for them, do them no harm,

For they’re all a part of natures farm!

 By Waldo Bayley, Bush Poet from Humpty Doo

 

 

 

 

 

The Ben Harrison Story

BEN HARRISON

(29/09/82 to 18/05/93) ben harrison

from his best mate,

Graham Harrison (Father)

Life-support machines winked and beeped in the cardiac intensive care unit at the Children’s Hospital in Camperdown, Sydney, as I hunched over a bed, gazing numbly at the unconscious figure of my ten-year-old son, Ben. Naked except for a sheet covering his lower half, his body lay connected to a maze of tubes. A ten-centimetre-wide strip of plaster ran down his chest.

As I had already done countless times that night in early autumn, 1993, I vigorously massaged his hands and feet, trying to transfer some of my strength to him, willing him to keep going. Come Ben, you have to pull through, I thought. Yesterday my precious son had been healthy.

Now I struggled to comprehend he was battling for his life – and seemed to be losing. How could things have gone so wrong so quickly? I wondered.

Ben Stuart came into my life on September 29, 1982, in Sydney Adventist Hospital. As my wife, Elayne, and I joyously inspected our new baby, I counted my blessings. We owned a spacious house in a leafy Sydney suburb. I enjoyed a challenging job. We already had a beautiful, 18-month-old daughter, Kyla. Our three-kilo son, lustily bellowing at the bedside, was the perfect addition to our family.

An inkling of trouble came when a nurse placed Ben on a trolley and inserted a tube into his mouth to suck fluid from his throat, it did a U-turn and came back out. She frowned, and called the doctor.

An examination revealed that Ben was a TOF baby. “Your boy has a tracheo-oesophageal fistula,” the doctor explained. His oesophagus is joined to his windpipe.” Hour later, after Ben had been transferred to the Children’s Hospital, we waited while the upper portion of his oesophagus was surgically detached from his trachea, then stitched to the intact bottom half of the oesophagus. By 2 a.m., he was recovering.

Hugely relieved, we thanked God that our son had pulled through. Other families were not so blessed. In the next bed a couple lost their five-day-old daughter. Witnessing their anguish, Elayne and I vowed that if we ever were in a position to help, we would do what we could to alleviate others’ suffering – including donating each other’s organs.

Tests later revealed that a number of things in Ben’s development had misfired. He had an extra rib, his kidneys were joined by a common wall and his fifth vertebra was misshapen. The abnormalities were nothing to worry about, the doctors assured us, though Ben might eventually need surgery to prevent a sideways curvature of the spine. He should not play contact sport, or do anything that might hurt his back.

One evening three months later, I heard Elayne scream from Ben’s bedroom: “Graham! He’s not breathing!” I rushed in. Ben’s face was blue. I restarted his breathing with mouth-to-mouth and by the time we arrived at hospital, he was sleeping peacefully on Elayne’s shoulder.

A bronchoscopy showed that Ben had softer-than-normal cartilage round his trachea, causing it to narrow when he inhaled. Doctors decided to open his chest and suture his aorta, the main artery from the heart, to his breastbone. “This will take the pressure off the trachea, allowing the cartilage to strengthen as he grows,” the surgeon explained.

From then Ben was blissfully normal. As he grew, he became known to our neighbours as a free spirit for ever on the move. He routinely abandoned his homework to collect frogs’ spawn from our fishpond, swing from trees or play in bushland behind our home. Never once did his delicate back slow him down. One weekend, while helping out at a function at his school, I heard “Look Dad!” from behind me. Ben was balancing on the crossbar of the football posts three metres above the ground, wearing a gap-toothed grin.

Ben showed similar independence in most things. I once brought him a model-plane kit, hoping we could build it together. He refused to let me help, labouring over the model every night for two weeks. The completed jet was lopsided and encrusted with glue, but it was hard to tell who was proudest when we installed it on his bookshelf.

Noisy at home, Ben was often tongue-tied and shy around strangers. His most enduring mate, Calum Martin, lived round the corner. Calum’s dad found Ben sitting outside their house one Sunday morning. Ben had told him he had been waiting for his friend to emerge for more than an hour. “I didn’t like to wake anyone,” he explained.

As Ben approached his adolescent growth spurt, our orthopaedic specialist warned that he could experience problems with his back. Sure enough, in March 1993, x-rays revealed a noticeable curvature. If we don’t arrest it,” said the specialist, “he will have a server, progressive deformity.”

The operation would involve inserting a bone graft from one of Ben’s ribs into the vertebral column to stop his back from bending markedly to one side as he grew. Surgeons would gain access through his chest, opening the breast bone.

Elayne and I realised surgery was necessary but worried nevertheless. At night, when the kids were asleep, we discussed it, comforting ourselves with the thought that Ben had already survived two major operations without problems.

Ben seemed to accept the planned surgery as a challenge. Even when the orthopaedic surgeon explained that he would need to wear a plastic head-to-waist cast to keep his spine rigid for three months after the operation, Ben did not complain. Instead, he cheerfully donned the cast for a couple of hours each day to get used to it, then tried sleeping in it. He even wore it proudly to school, like a suit of armour.

Only later did I discover that Ben was secretly frightened. In a school exercise book, he had drawn an operating theatre and masked doctors with oversized syringes. He wrote: I wish I didn’t have to go to hospital.

On the day before the operation, I stood in our driveway as Elayne left for the Children’s Hospital with Ben in our station wagon. He was wearing a yellow cap and a new jumper, big enough to fit over his cast. He waved and yelled “Bye Dad.” The neighbourhood kids waved back as the car pulled away. (That was the last time I saw him awake).

The surgery was scheduled for 8 a.m. and Ben was not expected in the recovery ward until at least 11 a.m. After spending three apprehensive hours at work, I drove to the hospital to keep Elayne company. As I entered the waiting room, I sensed something was wrong. “There’s been a complication” Elayne said.

When the surgical team had attempted to move aside Ben’s aorta – sutured to his breastbone ten years before – a small hole opened up, spurting blood. A surgeon plugged it with his finger, but with no room to apply stitches, he tried to detach a fraction more. The hole began to tear, now requiring two fingers to stem the flow.

Technicians started a heart-lung machine to pump blood through Ben’s arteries and veins and “breathe” for him. But before it was fully operational, Ben’s blood pressure plunged, depriving his brain of oxygen for between eight to twelve minutes.

As Ben lay in intensive care, I forced back the despair and tried to think positively. Everything will be all right, I told myself. After all, Ben was an old hand at medical emergencies.

But the brain is the most fragile of organs. Starved of blood, the capillaries feeding it begin to break down. When blood flow is re-established, the weakened capillary walls begin to leak.

Now, as blood and fluid leaked into Ben’s brain, pressure in his skull built up. At 11 p.m., I urged Elayne to go home to get some rest for the next day. Kyla, safe with relatives, would also need her. Meanwhile, I tried to sleep in the parents’ hostel. At 1.30 a.m. the phone rang. The registrar, Dr Scott Ferguson, asked me to return to the ward. Ben must be coming round!

I hurried there, but the news was not good. The pressure in Ben’s head was increasing. Ferguson gave him drugs to contain it, and for a while his signs returned to near normal. Then the pressure crept up inevitably. At 3 a.m. Ferguson administered more drugs. By 5.30 a.m., I was still desperately rubbing Ben’s hands and massaging his feet. All I wanted was to hug him, to make him better. Why did I send Elayne home? I need her with me! At that moment, a social worker materialised. Like a guardian angel, she provided the support I needed. She said nothing, just put her arms round me as we cried together.

I was losing my son. I saw it in his eyes whenever the nurse cleaned them. There was nothing there – no sparkle, no life. It is not fair! My mind raged. I haven’t taken him bush-walking, or camping in the mountains, or all the other things a father plans with his son as he grows older.

At 6 a.m., Ferguson took me aside. He had done everything possible, he gently explained, but the gauges indicated that Ben’s brain was dying, although further tests would be needed to confirm this. I called Elayne. “Hurry, they say we’ve lost him.” We cried, then hung up.

Back in the ward, Medical technicians arrive at 9 a.m. to carry out an EEG. They placed a cap on his head, connected by a tangle of wires to a machine beside the bed. Of the ten gauges, only one moved to indicate brain activity and this very slightly. Despite my horror at the thought of losing him, I prayed for Ben to go in peace.

When another test later in the morning showed no blood circulating to Ben’s brain, the doctors took us into a small room. The medical technicians returned again to carryout a second EEG.

This time there was no movement recorded from any of the gauges. At 12.30 p.m., the doctor confirmed our greatest fear; “Mr and Mrs Harrison, I have to tell you officially your son is brain dead.”

Elayne and I were silent, drained. As we looked at each other, I thought back to the time when Ben was first in hospital. Even in my grief, I knew what I wanted to do, and Elayne seemed to read my mind. At the same moment, we said; “We want to donate Ben’s organs.” The doctors looked surprised. “We’re in such pain,” I explained. “If Ben’s organs can help alleviate someone else’s suffering, its the right thing to do.”

At 4.30 p.m., after an independent medical team performed further reflex tests to confirm Ben’s death, I signed papers allowing my son’s organs to be donated. Later, the Australian Red Cross transplant co-coordinator described the operation to remove Ben’s heart, lungs and kidneys, stating the transplant team would treat his body with the utmost of respect.

After spending the night in the hostel, waiting for the transplant team to assemble, Elayne and I accompanied Ben to surgery for the last time. Keeping pace with the trolley, I held his hand as a doctor pumped air into his lungs with a hand-held respirator, the only device keeping the rest of his organs alive. As he was pushed through the swinging doors, Elayne and I turned away.

For four hours, we walked in silence round the hospital grounds. Finally, a nurse escorted us to a “quiet room.” Ben lay on a bed, dressed in his green flannel pyjamas, his hair neatly combed.

I picked him up and sat with him on a sofa, where Elayne and I cradled our son in our arms. For an hour-and-half, we stroked his hair and talked to him for the last time.

On May 21, 200 people attended Ben’s funeral – family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, teachers, school mates. I am not a very religious person, but as I listened to a neighbour reading Ben’s eulogy, I was overcome by a strange sensation. Starting from my feet, a tingling slowly rose through my body, leaving me with a feeling of peace.

In August, I received a letter through the Australian Red Cross from a middle-aged man who suffered from severe kidney disease; “The wonderful gift your family has given me has opened the way to a new life that I value and hold precious every day…. There seems so little to offer for such a fantastic opportunity, but when all other words are swept away, only two remain forever – thank you.”

By the time I had finished reading, tears were running down my face. Here was living proof that Elayne and I had made the right decision.

Later that year, I received another letter, telling me that a young Melbourne girl’s life had been saved by Ben’s heart and lungs.


Post Script following the year’s after this story was published

In the year’s that have followed the publication of Ben’s Story, Elayne and I became heavily involved with; ACCORD, Donate Australia, Transplant Australia, and went on to meet David Ridoutt (Ben’s kidney Recipient), and finally Sharelife Australia – in an effort to motivate the public and change the medical approach to organ donation and transplantation management.

harrison

Eighteen years after Ben’s passing we have since had to farewell David who died in 2009.

We also continue to assist Sharelife Australia in overcoming bureaucratic hurdles that continue to impede the significant change required, to enable Australia to achieve world’s best practice so that we can achieve transplantation rates of 90 per million of population. As of 2012, Australia is slowly improving with a current rate of 44 transplants per million. If the community has the will, this target is achievable.

I have also become involved with a new dynamic donor family group called Donor Families Australia headed by Bruce McDowell. I would recommend all donor family members interested in communicating with other donor members and/or wishing to become more pro-active within the donor family area of organ donation and transplantation to register with us.


ben at 5 yrsBen, Dec 1987  Ben at 6 yrs  Ben, March 1989  Ben at 8 yrs

Ben,  Ben, March 1991   Ben, Sept 1990  ben harrison

For Violet – The Huon River

The frost had settled hard on the grass.  It was a cold, clear night and the moonlight lay flat across the absolute calm of the river.  The woman lay still.

It had not always been like this.  Winds had blown across her face as she sat in the sidecar of a bike as a young woman at the edge of her life.  The woman had braved this trip once before to meet her future mother in law, now she was making it as a bride.

They lay together in the calm of the night; there was nothing to hear, nothing to connect them physically, or she to anything or anyone.

nla.pic-an23752677-vHuon River at Franklin

Many times she would travel the road close to the river.  When she first began these journeys to her new home, she was filled with both hope and sadness.  She was sad to leave her family, but she hoped for a good life for herself and unborn child.

She made many trips over the years.  In time a car replaced the sidecar, but she would not drive it.

“Women shouldn’t drive cars,” she would say. “They are too easily distracted.”

You might say she was her own worst enemy.  By the time her granddaughter tried to teach her to drive, she was too stiff with arthritic pain.  She wished she had never travelled here at all, she longed for her home and her youth.

The road changed over time, from gravel and dirt to bitumen.  The young woman grew to be an elderly person who took very little interest in the passing scenery as she rode along beside the river.

The woman and the river had a long acquaintance.  Two children were born and the trips to the city continued.  Initially the trips were for practical reasons.  Twice they took her back to her home and family in Victoria.  On these she took her children.  Once was to bury her mother.  She always returned to her husband.  It was both a trip down into the remote country, and to the more immediate pain of isolation

The woman was sad.  The years of toil had left her financially comfortable but feeling trapped.  Her marriage was not happy.  Her daughter left home at seventeen, making her own journey past the river in a frenzy of excitement as she attempted to find a better life.

By this time her son had beaten his wife many times and she’d left him.  The woman had taken in her granddaughter but she resented her.  Her anger and bitterness had blinded her to anything positive in her life.

Her husband had a lover.  This had happened some thirty years after they married.  The woman lived with humiliation.  This added to her despair.

The trips to the city became fewer and in the end were only made to go to places like the hospital, or out of sheer necessity, for provisions or clothing.

The grandchild grew and became “too much” for the woman, or so she thought and it was decided that the girl should be placed in a home with the nuns.  The child was devastated. The woman’s desolation grew.

Her daughter would visit over the years with her growing family of three.  The woman would wait hungrily for these visits, waiting for letters.  All this activity passed by the river.

The river had been there a long time. It saw all these comings and goings in the woman’s life, such as changes from starting out to prosperity.

Perhaps the river should tell its version; it had seen the whole tragedy unfold.  The woman’s encounter with it was yet another variable in its existence.

As she lay in the stillness of the night, she felt no pain.  Her husband lay beside her.  No words were spoken. Nothing could be known of the windswept young bride or the tortured woman.

What could be known were their names and their respective dates of death on their combined head stone.

“For Violet: The Huon River,” a poignant story about her paternal grandmother,

by Janice Konstantinidis (Exter) was published in the National Museum of

Australia Exhibition “Inside Children’s Home: An Exhibition for Forgotten

Australians.” Janice was an inmate in Mount Saint Canice, Sandy Bar,

Tasmania, where she worked as an unpaid child laborer in the Good Shepherd

Sisters’ commercial laundry. Janice is a member of SLO NightWriters -The

Premiere Writing Organization on the Central Coast of California.

The Elsey (poem)

The Elsey stood for all these years, her spirit lives forever,
Through family generations, hard toil and nasty weather.

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Floods and droughts these bushmen worked, with scrubbers, horses, cattle,
They took the good times with the bad, and ne’er gave up the battle.

Now Aeneas Gunn’s the boss man at the old Elsey Station,
And with his new wife, Jeanie, they caused some consternation.

The homestead staff were a funny mob,
The Scott-n-the Dandy dished out the jobs.

The drovers name was Dan, a quiet sort of man,
Out bush for weeks-a-mustering, he really loved this land.

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A traveller passing by took ill, then taken to the homestead,
He was comforted all through the night, by morning he lay dead.

His grave is in the cemetery, down yonder by the road,
Although his spirit e’re lives on, the Lord has shed his load.

With the campfire burning, fish-n-steaks,
Then Cheon arrives with some Johnnycakes.

Jack-n-the Fizzer always clowning around,
And Bett Bett-n-dingo nowhere to be found.

In a world of its own stood the Banyan tree,
You can ponder your thoughts, in this place you are free.

In bed with the fever, his wife by his side,
On that very sad day, Aeneas Gunn he did die.

Now the lady in charge of this huge cattle station,
With her poise and her grace really charmed our nation.

Respected by all, through the great cattle runs,
Stands an elegant lady, her name Jeanie Gunn.

JeannieGunn

The Elsey stands amongst the best of all our cattle stations,
Proud families born and worked on her are the salt of the nation.

Now those people’s lives have been changed forever,
In this spiritual land called the ‘Never-Never’.

by Waldo Bayley, Bush Poet from Humpty Doo

elsey station

The New Washing Machine

Breakfast time was filled with an air of excitement. My grandparents were speculating as to what time it would arrive. Nana was quick to clear the table and begin the washing up.

janice granny  My Nana, Violet Exter, sitting outside the Wash House – 1960

“They’ll be here by eleven,” she said.

“If they’re lucky,” replied Grandpa, sipping his tea.

“I’ll get the dinner on the go,” said Nana. “I’d like to make a Queen Pudding,” she added.

“Going all out are we?” said Grandpa, grinning. Nana shot him a look.

The kitchen began to fill with lovely smells as Nana prepared the midday meal – dinner as it was known in the country back then. Her best dinner set, seldom used, was brought out along with her best cutlery set.

“Wedding presents,” she told me.

Along with the tablecloth she used when the visiting parish nuns came to eat with us. Cloth serviettes were used. I was in awe. Thoughts of the Queen coming floated through my mind. I’d have to wear my white shoes.

Time passed, the clock was checked. “They are running late,” said Nana. I had a momentary vision of ‘them’ running to our house and said as much. “Don’t be silly,” said Nana.

The sound of an engine filled the kitchen. Nana smoothed her hair and apron and went out to meet them. I hung back to watch from the kitchen steps.

A man and a woman got out of a white utility truck. Smiles and handshakes filled the next few minutes.

Grandpa walked up from the barn smiling a welcome. “I see you got here,” he said.

“Yes,” said the man, “we hit some traffic coming around the mountain road, slowed us down a fair bit.”

Grandpa said he’d thought as much. “You can’t get much of a move on once you get behind a truck,” he said. “It’s a two hour drive at the best of times.”

All eyes were on the utility. Grandpa helped the man take off the tarpaulin, which covered the tray of the utility. There it was – a brand new washing machine, standing proudly in all its white glory in the back of the utility.

The two men manoeuvred the washing machine down a ramp to the safety of the driveway, and wheeled it slowly to the washhouse.

Nana had been preparing for this and it was no trouble for the men to wheel the washing machine to the designated spot. Every one left the laundry to have a cup of tea.

washing machineThe new washing machine.

The woman showed Nana a book with a photo of the washing machine on it. They talked about this over their cups of tea and fruitcake – Nana liked to serve fruit cake to guests. The man was talking to Grandpa about the machine as well.

After they’d finished their tea, we all trooped down to the laundry. Hoses were attached, the newly installed electrical points checked and the water was turned on. The machine began to fill. The woman had a packet of “Lux Flakes” with her, she showed Nana how to mix them with some hot water in a container before adding them to the machine. The water in the machine became very frothy. Slosh slosh went the new agitator.

Nana had a cream woollen blanket ready to be washed. The woman showed Nana how to put the blanket in the washing machine, and then turned it on. The agitator began to move the blanket this way and that. My grandparents looked on, amazed.

The woman and man demonstrated how to feed the clean blanket through the wringer, into the waiting laundry trough. They showed my grandparents how to drain the water and then refill the machine with clean water. The blanket was rinsed and hung on the line to dry.

My grandmother thought it was too good to be true. She went on to tell about the years she had boiled her washing in a kerosene tin on a fire in the early years of her marriage. She’d graduated to a copper boiler over a fire in the washhouse, where she’d stir the washing with a stick, and then lift it into the rinse trough. Years later she’d been able to buy a hand wringer.

She looked at the blanket on the clothesline with great joy. Her hands had been greatly affected with a crippling form of arthritis over the past couple of years. She was happy to think she could manage her washing again.

Dinner was a great success. The woman and man praised my grandmother’s corned beef, and the Queen Pudding was pronounced the best they’d tasted.

The man and the woman talked more about the washing machine and had more tea and cake as the afternoon wore on.

“We’d like to be back in town by five p.m. “said the man. We waved goodbye to them as they drove out the drive and over the hill on their way back to Hobart. It was all part of the service.

exter roadExter Road, Dover (named after my Grandparents)

Nana and Grandpa took the blanket inside to air. They were very pleased with their purchase. Nana’s washdays were much easier from then on.

I managed to get my fingers caught in the wringer just once. But Nana had been watching when the woman had shown her how to release the wringers.

No harm was done to my fingers, some to my ears as I was told how I had almost given her a heart attack.

It was 1955.

by Janice Konstantinidis (Exter)