Sister Brendan was a robust woman with a ‘farm girl’ background. She took a dislike to my older brother Basil, who was forthright and occasionally disruptive. She was always ready to “have a go” at him.
The perfect opportunity arose one cold, wet Ballarat day in the school shelter shed where the whole school, all 25 of us, were gathered and doing ‘horse’ exercises (remember the wooden horse and the springboard?)
I was only a slip of a kid and Basil, being two years older than me, was somewhat bigger. Due to my small build and my agility, I was quite versatile with ‘horse’ exercises. Let’s just say that Basil did not shine at these gymnastics.
Sister Brendan, with an ulterior motive, set us up to compete against each other.
As was expected, Basil stumbled and tripped, and made a ‘goose’ of himself. I was in good form, and to Sister Brendan’s glee, outshone and humiliated him.
Then it happened!!! As I was turning to make what would be my last jump, Sister Brendan moved a little closer to the horse. Too close, as it turned out. I proceeded with my vault, and with legs outstretched, leapt from the springboard, and my two feet struck her dead centre in the mouth.
Just imagine the hilarity of the boys!
As I take time to recall, I can still visualise the imprint of my two dirty sand shoes on her startled face.
Sister Brendan had intended to humiliate Basil and had succeeded. But in turn, she herself was humbled.
Poetic Justice! Serves her bloody right!
Melbourne Cup Day always triggers further memories for me. In 1962 I was living in Melbourne and three of my Wodonga friends came down for Cup Day.
We had a great day, though not financially rewarding.
My friends were staying at the Federal Hotel in the city. This hotel had a great rapport with country people.
After leaving Flemington Racecourse we adjourned to the hotel for our evening meal and the after-dinner entertainment. Two of my friends each won themselves ‘a heart’ and I loaned them my car to take the girls (both nurses) home to the nurses’ quarters.
Mick (the other friend) and I adjourned to their room to await their return.
When they did return, I set out for home, but didn’t make it. I collided with and electric light pole. (The SEC later sent me a bill for one hundred pounds!)
I suffered a depressed fracture of the skull, a punctured lung, a fractured sternum, 12 broken ribs and brain damage. I was in a pretty bad way. (I experienced later sensations which I called ‘brain slides’). I was placed on Dilantin medication “for the rest of your life”. However, after 25 years I was off it.
Having told that, I am now pleased to say that, after 60 years, I am hale and hearty.