The bobs were set up in the lounge room, with the back board near the gas fire. Normally played in the hallway, but a 90 turn, shortened the course for a “long” game, so the lounge room it was. On the tiled gas front stood a sentential vase, just another decorative object in the home. Things were going swimmingly with me competing in the “world championships.”
An eight year old does not do a risk assessment. Actions versus consequences, probability and actuality. What are odds? What are odds indeed! Well, the inevitable happened after a lusty shot, the wooden ball aerially departing the safety rails and over the mouse holes directly into and smashing mum’s vase. The vase was beyond redemption and so was I. Packing the bobs away and placing the vase shards in the unaffected base, all I could do was wait my fate.
What happened when mum returned is etched in my memory and is one of those moments when wishing the clock could be turned back.
Mum was beside herself with grief and her emotional response was something I had never witnessed or seen in a parent. Two years earlier, mum gave birth to my sister, Jennifer, who did not live out the day due to a hole in the heart. Of all the sympathy cards, mum’s Aunty Susannah Tregenza [nee Beauvais 1886-1966] sent her the vase. This vase had a very special place in mum’s memories and grieving process – and I unlocked the tender grief all over again. It was her most precious object.
I could have sat on sixpence and dangled my legs over the side.
Well, the bobs disappeared forever, but I’ve no memory of how mum recollected her composure in the passing days. Redemption came in 1976 when our only daughter was born and named Jennifer. When we took Jenni to see mum and dad for the first time, mum gave me a hug and thanked me for honouring her own only daughter. She said with a wry smile that it made up for breaking the vase, the only time it was ever mentioned.