Saturday, 2 November 2013

Youth: Guy Fawkes night 1967.

So I used to go to school with Russell XXXX from grade 1 in 1959.

Russell was the baby of the family like me.

And by the time we got to 12 we were both mad on push bikes, motor bikes and of course cars!

Now Russell had an older brother Eddie (who worked at the XXXX in years past) and Eddie had a Malvern Star bike with 4 speed Sturmey Archer gears.

Most bikes were only 3 speed.

I was impressed!

As soon as Eddie got his licence.. Russell inherited the bike!

So.. where Deb's shop is at Clayfield, there used to be a Chemist shop.. Mr McSweeney's Pharmacy.

(Used to buy my B&W film there as an 8 year old)

And Russell used to deliver prescriptions on the said Malvern Star after school each day.

Behind our house at Clayfield lived Mrs XXXX who worked in the chemist shop.

She and Russell didn't always get on.

Cracker night is upon us in 1967 an as usual Ken XXXX and I were up to no good!

We used to like to stand on the railway bridge at Eagle Junction Station and drop lit crackers down the funnels of steam trains as they passed underneath.

The trick was to time it all.. the length of the fuse / when you light it / train speed to get the cracker to explode just as it dropped into the funnel and so a great big blast of soot would come out!

As I said.. we up to no good!

Anyhow.. with Ken and I were Wayne XXXX and his younger brother Glen... I can actually see their former home from my back deck.

If you ever watch ACA they often do stories on bugs in cooked food from cafes.. they get Glen XXXX to look for bacteria.

He has come a long way since then

So.. remember Russell.. well we run into Russell and another mate Rowan XXXX (his mother started Margaret XXXX Cheese cakes which became the Cheesecake Shop)

Russell was off to blow up Mrs XXXX letterbox to get revenge for the way she spoke to him at the chemist shop.

So.. Ken and I and Wayne and his brother Glen watched from the corner of our street.

(Mrs XXXX was our neighbour)

Russell had enough bungers taped together to blow up a small building.

Long story short... BANG!!!

We scamper for home.

Come Sunday morning... Mrs XXXX goes to the local Catholic Church and tells Wayne's mother that someone blew up her letterbox the night before.

Wayne's mum knows that Wayne is out and about with me.. so blames him for the blast.

Despite his protestations of innocence... which were true... she made him go around to Mrs XXXX house and apologise for blowing up the letterbox.

And.. try to fix the bloody thing.

It was a home made job made out of thick aluminium with a heavy wooden floor.

It didn't deform too much at all.

(Her ex husband who had made the letterbox was an Ansett Electra/Viscount pilot and I suspect the aluminium came from Ansett)

So.. by noon that Sunday.. word got back to Russell's mother and she made Russell apologise to Mrs XXXX, square off with Wayne and his mother... you could have written a song about it.

Talk about a Clayfield Incident.

A bit like Ode to Billy Joe.

So... 46 years later.. where are all the players?

Well.. Russell is a self made zillionaire with XXXX Wholesale Cars, XXXX Tyre Co, etc.

Wayne drives a bus for the RSL at XXXX to bring in poker machine players.

Ken became a GP at Sandgate and sadly died in 1990 from cystic fibrosis.

Glen owns his own biology lab and features on TV now and then.

I am the pro photographer.

Rowan XXXX drives a BCC bus.

And Mrs XXXX?

Well she eventually joined the public service, sold her house in 1972 (it was demolished and now units stand over my back fence instead of her old Queenslander) and bought the house next door which also borders our place.

She lived out most of her days there and  sold it about 10 years ago.

Her daughter was retiring to Tassie and she was going to join her.

It was sad that she died from the flu before she got to Tassie.

Back in 2008 from memory we bid her farewell at a local Catholic church.

Here is a picture of Russell XXXX that I took of him in our garden in 1965.

And so endeth this story.
Russell XXXX

Mrs XXXX house.. letter box on the RHS,.