Daughter gave me a book full of writing prompts. So sweet. She does most of her shopping online these days while she’s home, near the bathroom, waiting out the dreaded UC and hoping for remission. When the boxes arrive she gets all excited. Opened one yesterday and with so much joy said ‘oh I bought this one for you mum’.
I open it randomly and think about the suggestions. One said to think about the trees in your childhood neighbourhood. That just set me off thinking about our backyard.
That wonderful proud, tall gum bang in the middle of the yard. Jacaranda down by the incinerator. The paddock full of gums all planted by my father. Crepe myrtle up near the Salters’ fence – interesting texture. And what was that one next to the laundry that I climbed? All those other magnificent ones in the front yard, screening the highway from my bedroom. Hear the trucks roll by all night but don’t inhale the fumes.
My father was the champion of trees.
Remember the coal chute of childhood, down the path at the side of the house leading to the laundry and tack room. The path lined with geraniums in old school terracotta pots. Wally the strange garden statue – strange that my parents would have a statue. The chalkboard in the garage, ping pong table on the front verandah – amazing childhood, amazing garden.
Frogs in the back loo. Smoking behind the pool equipment room. So grown up. So Not.
Teenage evenings by the pool enjoying Tim in his speedos, loving his every word, glance, smile. The scent of jasmine, the sound of cicadas..
And then really growing up.