It once sat on the mantelpiece in the dining/sitting room of my grandparents’ home in Testar Grove, North Caulfield. I stayed with my grandparents often as a child – though I don’t remember them referring to it, it was there, intriguing me, making me ponder on issues of ethics and morality whenever I looked it.
There were three leather armchairs near the little gas fire which we huddled close to on cold days for some warmth. I think we sat in comfortable silence for much of the time, though there was an old ‘modern’ radio in the room. My grandparents always listened to 3DB, news, some serials, and I suspect during the day when my grandmother was playing croquet at Caulfied Park, my ‘sport of kings’ loving grandfather listened to the horse races. After the serials we always had cup of tea and something sweet to eat for supper before bed.
Today I was able to mentally picture each item in the room in great detail and think about where the items in the room are now – the sideboard at my sister’s home on Tiger Hill near Molyullah; the silver tea set which always graced it (a wedding present to my grandparents) at my brother’s home in Brisbane; the dining table and chairs and the painting of a beautiful Maori dancer now with my cousin in Sydney, though up until recently I’d always been able to see them at my aunt’s home. Sadly, now aged 99, my aunt is in a nursing home and so I’ll rarely, if ever see them again. I think we all remember the Maori ‘princess’, purchased on tour when my ballerina grandmother was in New Zealand with J C Williamson’s theatre company.
The comfy brown leather armchairs, always well cared for by my grandparents, became sadly decomposed skeletons in the old milking sheds at my Uncle’s farm on Tiger Hill; the sturdy black marble ionic (or Doric?) columned clock is now on the mantelpiece at my sisters; the little brass/gold travelling clock with a visible mechanism at my brothers’ – and the broken ‘three wise men’, with me!
They sit now at home on a little table with other family treasures, including three volume illustrated works of Shakespeare dated 1864; the clock which sat on the mantelpiece above the stove in my Grandmother’s kitchen (given to her by an old lady she read to as a girl) and various ink wells and table lamps.
Thinking about this brings back my grandparents so vividly! It makes me wonder – where was it purchased, for whom, why?... and more....
The substance of story was originally written for Judy Perry's 'Creative Writing of Family History' class in 2013. I loved writing it then and enjoyed presenting it again!