When Mum hit the nursing home, she was lucky to remember what day it was but two years on and she is almost entirely with it. Almost, it's been handy having her short term memory fritzed since I can tell her the same thing every visit but her long term memory has sharpened.
I bought her a book of the history of Mentone published by the Historical Society and I've been told the most amazing things about the family which I've never heard before. Just flicking through the photos has jogged memories to the surface and Brindisi Street where the nursing home is now, has been a busy street since the 1900s.
From out of nowhere she told us a story about our father. There's not much that stops my sister in her tracks but this did. He worked at the pre-fab building factory at Holmesglen and we think this must have been in 1955 since a lot of the work was building the Olympic village for the '56 games.
The main bus along there was the Ventura, still is, and there was an awful accident where a truck tore along the side of the bus, ripping it open. According to my mother, at least 7 people died. The men from the factory came down to help. There was a small girl with her leg trapped underneath a seat and my father, having driven buses for the past few years, knew all he needed was a screwdriver. One of the blokes had a work bag but wouldn't give him the tools and I don't know what Dad did, but he got a screwdriver. He had the seat off the little girl and she was out in no time. So, knowing Mum's memory, why do I believe this? Because my father instead of giving the bloke back his screwdriver, threw it at him. Now that is my father.
I asked her why she had never told us this and she said it never occurred to her to tell us. That's what it was like in our day, you didn't tell kids anything. It explains a lot about why the old boy used to get hysterical if we were five minutes late from the bus or train. And the first time I went out with friends in a car, there was a crash just around the corner from the house. Mum told me then that he nearly wrecked the house for fear it was me. When sister and I went on a cruise, he raced to the cabin to count the life jackets and it was all downhill from there. We had a cabin too far down to have a porthole so he raged in anxiety for the whole 14 days we were gone. The day we docked, my mother looked exhausted because he'd been at the wharf since the early morning to make sure the ship didn't turn turtle 5 seconds from home.
We didn't tell him about the sewerage problems on board or the fact that they had to keep the engines running in every port we went to since they weren't sure they could restart them but he did ask questions when it caught fire on its way home to Greece. He was too polite to ask questions about why I came out of customs carrying a large wooden spear and supporting a drunken yob while my sister carried his suitcase. He should really have said something then, I married the drunk.