My stepmother was born in Casterton, in south western Victoria, but before long she she was growing up in a tent on the banks of the Murray River that divides the states of Victoria and New South Wales.
Unlike myself who knows little of NSW laws, Step Mother knows more than I do. She knows about the country New South Wales in a way I don't. While my upbringing was not privileged, I did not go without and I grew up in a house and not in a tent on the edge of a river. Step Mother did it tough and who would blame her if she had a serious chip on her shoulder and at times offended almost everybody. That Father loved her far more than he ever loved Mother is to her credit. In reference to a previous post, the noise that emanated from Step Mother's and Father's bedroom was as horrendous to teenage lad, as it was marvellous.
Where am I going with this. I must complete it as I like what I have already written so far.
Father, Step Mother and myself were sitting on the riverbank of the Murrumbidgee River, dangling a hook as they say. I was about 19. Step Mother had squeezed out the adolescent black heads on my back and then told me I should have a girlfriend to do such a thing. Father then spoke of wonderful young nurse at his local hospital who might be an appropriate marriage prospect for me. It wasn't the last time he suggested a woman who might be suitable marriage material for me.
Some years later after Father died, Step Mother gave me a good serve for getting her drunk on whiskey the night before. What? I got myself drunk too! Some home truths came out and I asked her why Father never accepted me as being gay. The ever caring R, was as kind to Father as he is to rest of my family. Clearly Father knew we were in a relationship but he never recognised it. Step Mother could only reply with a fudged answer. Yes, Father knew, but he could not understand.
My father was very clever in a practical manner and also in a learned manner. He read books, he could fix anything, he could speak Latin and tell you the hypotenuse of the circumference of the radius, whatever. The records of his breeding cattle were meticulous. As a builder he would question architects about the foolishness of their plans and was proved correct. He played Australian Rules Football, danced beautifully and was on many local committees. When a new school Head Master began at the local school who the locals instantly disliked because he was young, had long hair, holey jumpers and played a guitar, Father defended him to the school committee and he stayed and in time became respected by all. Did I grieve terribly when Father died? No, not really. I felt sadness and now I feel some loss as there are things I want to ask him about, but personally, I don't really miss him. Our connection was never so great and the year 2000 was a long time ago now.
I am not sure what I was going to write about now but my fingers have run fast. It began with Step Mother and so it shall conclude. Step Mother living on the banks of the Murray River on the NSW side had Aboriginal playmates, who were also impoverished and lived in similar humble circumstances. Children don't see colour of skin or different culture. I am trying to think of a year, perhaps 1948. One day, Step Mother's Aboriginal playmates were all taken away by the authorities.