The first involved a tray bodied truck owned and driven by dad with my elder brother Greg and myself. I’m pretty sure my younger brother was just a wrinkle on dad’s brow, as this is just in the memory box. We were travelling along Canterbury Rd. Punchbowl – Bankstown when the brakes failed. Dad was able to crash the gears down and turn into a small side street that ended in a creek. Dad gave the order to abandon ship and Greg and I dutifully jumped out without serious injury. The truck stopped in the creek at an oblique angle and that’s the end of the memory. This was the last time ever, that dad drove a vehicle. The prospect of injuring his children and his own fright of the accident, drew simliar emotions from his war time experiences. Reflecting, with lots of unstated knowledge, I’m very sure this triggered the first of what is now called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The second is a clearer memory as a four to five year old and involves a previously cited memoir of neighbour “London.” There was no back fence so London strolled up asked me if I wanted to go for a ride in his car. Mum agreed, so off we went. The vehicle was a dark coloured 1930’s something with running boards and there my knowledge based inventory of motor cars ends. I was the front seat passenger, a privileged position and enjoying the familiar scenery of Josephine St. albeit from my new elevated front seat visage.
As we passed Nettleton St. my door flew open and out swung “young Morro” care-free, and flapping merrily in the breeze, much to the mortification of London. The window was down courtesy of 1950’s air conditioning and I remember holding onto the door post and shouting with glee at this novel experience. The legs must have found the running board as the car slowed down and stopped, with “young Morro” safe and sound.
When we returned home mum recalls asking if George (aka London) was OK - as he was white as a sheet. Over the years, the incident was mentioned a few times but always with the Albion faced George taking dominance.
Well, “young Morro” is 16 in 1967 and attending the P.M.G.’s Technicians’ Training School at St. Peters Sydney.
One lunch break saw me in an old rusted FX Holden sedan driven and owned by Paul Dalby of Cootamundra. My fellow passengers were Theo Dentrinos of Wellington and “Lizard” from Lismore. Returning, we were driving along a busy road and braking when in slow motion it happened. A parked tray truck had a large concrete cylinder strapped on its tray. The overhang was enormnous and visibly apparent to all of us. This truck illegally started to enter into the traffic, forcing Paul to brake and stop to avoid a collision. Well, the overhang hit and snapped an electricity pole bring the wire down on our vehicle and the truck.
I mentioned the slow motion aspect. As the truck hit the pole the apparent danger of the overhead wires coming down became apparent. All four of us managed to lift our feet just before the wires hit Paul’s car. We froze. The sparks and blue electric flashes lit up the scene Guy Fawkes would have been proud of. The pole fell away from us onto a number of parked and fortunately unattended vehicles.
The scene remained in limbo for some time, we were not getting out of the car and neither was anyone else or the nearby pedestrians. Shop owners found prudence in keeping their distance from the still arcing and moving overhead wires.
We eventually drove off and returned after the lunch break. Paul was able to show the supervising technician the gash blisters on the roof and bonnet of the FX, visible reasons for our tardiness. We were not docked any pay, from memory $18 a fortnight.