I recall the house had little to no natural light…..
I recall being alone, and feeling scared most of those days….
I recall there were few if anyone in the house with me…..
I have no recollection of hearing someone talking to me, or any conversation, humour, laughter or joy during these days……
The greatest recollection I have of those days, was the sound of my heartbeat beating above all else….
This audio event represents the earliest recollection of my life…..
I grew up in a middle class family, third child to a young couple. My parents had recently arrived from interstate to start a new life, with their one daughter – my sister. My dad was a salesman, and had secured a job for a leading sugar refinery company in this new city, enabling them to make the trip. They rented a house initially, with mum giving birth to my older brother shortly afterwards.
I learnt much later in life, another reason for the change of city was because of a failed business venture of my mother’s – a haberdashery shop she named Betsy. The shop was a start out venture, and as a result was apparently not insured. They had in the shop possession of a lot of client’s rolls of haberdashery materials in order for my mother to make them into clothing items, curtains and other household furnishings. They were burgled one night, and not only lost their uninsured possessions, but the material possessions of their clients. They were not in a position to repay anyone for the financial loss, and had to place themselves in what was effectively bankruptcy.
My mother was from a family in very good standing – the extended family were well-known nursery vendors, with my grandfather a Mayor of a Melbourne suburban region. Mum’s shop – even though fairly recently launched – had apparently become well-known due to their family’s standing. With the loss of the business, I understand my mother also lost the face of her family – most notably of her patriarchal father – within the community.
Shortly after the birth of my brother, my mother apparently had an accident. Falling down the back stairs of the rented property, she injured her back. I am unsure of details, but I believe my mother did not need to go to hospital at the time of the accident. However, she went to a GP to get some advice as to the damage she had done. Apparently, as the days and weeks passed over the next three months, my mother’s back started presenting more problems, deteriorating to considerable pain, and causing her loss of movement.
Settling into his new career job, Dad bought a humble house on the lower north shore of Sydney, moving in just prior to the birth of their third child. However my mother’s back issues were continuing; in fact degenerating to the point of her being regularly bed-ridden, and a number of times hospitalised. During this time, my mother suffered a miscarriage, suspected to be the direct result of her degenerating back and growing health issues.
My father was in a new city, with two (2) kids under the age of three (3), with a third planned. There was limited family support due to being in a new city away from their direct families, he had a new job in which he was trying to make an impression, and a mortgage for their recently purchased house. My mother’s health prevented her from contributing with either the care of the house, or the children. My father somehow had to manage to the best of his abilities, and budget.
With little improvement with my mother’s health, I arrived shortly after. I guess with a new arrival, and now three (3) kids under the age of four (4) years of age, my father’s ability to manage only decreased.
The following prose best represents my memory of my earliest beginnings, several years later.