Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Sentimental Chick

Towards the end of last year, our elderly neighbour, Uncle Ted (pictured above at Christmas 2007 - the last Christmas he spent with us), passed away at the ripe old age of 93. He'd lived alone for 21 years and spent the last ten months of his life in a nursing home. He lived three houses down from us and was like a grandfather to us kids. He and his wife (whom we always called "Mrs Bock" for some reason, never "Auntie Winnie") were of great help to my mother when she was bringing up five kids with her parents far away in the Torres Strait. (Mrs Bock died in 1986. They never had any children.) Uncle Ted always came over to our place for Christmas, Chinese New Year and any other big celebration we'd have.

I didn't mention it at the time because it was just too sad. Too many deaths occurred at that time, too many funerals. It was hard.

Uncle Ted's house went up for sale today.

I went along to say my final farewell to him and Mrs Bock and their house. Just thinking about it in the morning made me a little sad.

But when I walked into that house for the last time, I took one look and burst into tears. I couldn't believe it. A whole bunch of memories came flooding back. I haven't really been inside for years. Everything was still the same. The same furniture, the same carpet, the same smell of Sunlight soap.

The other people inspecting the house must have thought I was completely loony. They gave me the strangest looks. The real estate agents gave me a wide berth. I didn't care. I was remembering visiting Mrs Bock with Mama after school and on weekends. I remembered the bars of soap they used to fashion from the tiny leftover bits of soap. I remembered the old transistor radio they used to listen to. The stairs at the back of the house. I remembered playing in the back yard and the rows of beans and veges growing on trestles, sadly now all gone.

That's me, the baby.

I hope the new owners will be happy in that old house. I hope they treat it well and fill it with new life. And I really hope they don't knock it down.


lillipilli said...

Beautiful memories.

Shanathalas said...

*tearing up*, what a beautiful post.