Class consciousness II

Working class roots

‘Moonah? I wouldn’t live there!’
Flippant words said at a party reduced me to an adolescent, in
a different city:
Steelworker’s daughter
Poor
Dirty
Industrial.
I’ve lived without before. My life choices mean I live difference
every day. I am qualified, successful, clever.
Do I seriously have to do class now?
Over the slag heaps of
Newcastle.
My dad was a fitter and turner
at the BHP for over 30 years.
For most of my childhood he got
one day off a month.
I used to watch him scrub the grease out of his overalls on the path that led to the backyard each night when he came home.
I’d been feeling so big.
I’d just bought my own house and was so
proud.
But destination Moonah was a no go.
So is it true, you can’t escape your past?
I was thinking that I’d made myself a different life.  Instead, I’d come full circle.
My working class roots buried deep in the working class soil of my
adulthood.
Moonah.
Fifties architecture on the fringe of industrial development.
Off the busy daily thoroughfare of Main Road
are quiet suburban streets that offer me refuge, community and identity.
I have made my own space here.
Renovating room by room. My labour transforming physical space,
constructing my personal space.

Prized novelties in random locations, things I love. Someone once called ‘ethnic’.
I am here in these rooms, on these walls, and in these niches.
My kitchen a hub, a suburban centre of enterprise.
I share plates as diverse as the objects decorating my walls.
Moonah, my place to rest. My four walls blanket me from the outside.  My space is quiet.
In the darkness, I look across the district at fairy lights, smoke plumes and imposing Mount Direction.
My walnut tree planted by the first person to make this their space, almost entirely my backyard.  In summer, loaded with nuts, and in winter it is skeletal; skin shed.  Somewhere in between are cockatoos who make their annual pilgrimage, gnawing in their nut cracking beaks, the tail end of
the season.  The raucous herald of their
return and departure.
In my childhood, we kept a cockatoo in a cage.Moonah. My first real neighbourhood. Community. ‘We’re going away next week, would you keep an eye on the place?’ Of course. In Moonah, we look after each other.

Thousands of kilometres from here, my working class childhood gave me the materials to build myself: the tools I have collected in adulthood and I have brought them to this beautiful place.
What is it from your past that has shaped who you are?

2 thoughts on “Class consciousness II

  1. I think it is more a 'who' than a 'what' that has shaped my past the most. I've named my son after my FarFar – my grandfather – and therefore thought a lot about how he and my FarMor influenced my life. They both loved travel, and weren't afraid to move countries. Reading and learning were important to them as well. And photography. And baking mazariner at Christmas!!

  2. Wow Snuva what a beautiful legacy! It sounds like you have instilled some amazing spirit in you baby through the spirit of FarFar's name.
    But hold on a minute. Sentiment aside for just a mo mo. What is a mazariner?http://www.cmariec.com/?p=9157
    We've found a recipe.
    I believe you may have inadvertently set the Two Girls a new challenge!
    Bless!
    xxxxxxx

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