Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Pa's car

I never remember him driving it, but the Kingswood always sat in the second garage, under the awning on which my fathers childhood scooter hung. The scooter is now in my parents garage, after one of my brothers thoughtfully retrieved and restored it as a Christmas gift. Bright blue scooter with yellow rims, the handles bars a modern gooey substance but the only ones they could find that that had the same rainbow streamers as his childhood.

The first garage contained rusty barrels, almost as tall as we were, one filled with wheat and the other with chook pellets. Sometimes when we were all sent out the back to play, we'd stick our arms into the barrel of wheat, deep up to our shoulders. I still remember the feeling of the wheat between my fingers, the way it would fall from your hands as you raised them up and the way we would try to see how much we could keep balanced on our arms.

When we weren't in the first shed we would be by the large tree through the gate. Fred the cockatoo lived there for as long as he remembered, after being taken from the nest out the front of the printing shop where my father worked as an apprentice. Fred had a voice for children, imitating their laugh and asking their name, and an adults voice - used for chiding the dog in an imitation of my Pa. "Get out of here you mongrel". Fred passed a few years ago, after eating a thistle that had been lovingly handpicked for him, my aunt unaware it had been sprayed with weedkill.

Next to Fred's tree was a bush with bright pink flowers which we were warned to not even touch the leaves of. The whole tree was poisonous and dangerous - the kennel of my dads puppy Timmy lay abandoned underneath. I'm unsure whether Timmy died from eating the plant or if I just have the two memories confused, but I know neither he nor my father were very old at the time.

I don't remember my Pa ever driving the car, but I'm told he had an accident and was no longer allowed to drive. It was something my mother once mentioned in a hushed voice - concern for my Pa, but concern for those who could have otherwise been injured. At some point in time the car transitioned to being driven by another aunt who would look after us after school. She would eat chocolate and then get a migraine and chide us to be quiet, but we never would. We would draw anti-smoking propaganda signs and stick them on the glass door and play her songs on the keyboard that we thought she would like. I used to play The Rose for her and sing so quietly under my breath.

I remember sitting in the car while my aunt drove, but I can't remember where we would have been going. One time we went to the nearby shopping centre and I saw a dress for $4 that I wanted but couldn't afford. Eventually I wore her down and she took me back down there and gave me the money I was short - I only wore the dress once, for a Santa photo my mother made us get when I was in year eight. I often thought that way, that I could get my own way if I just tried hard enough. My parents had a friend who owned a Persian rug store who, whilst my parents were paying for two handpulled rugs, called me back into the shop and asked me which was my favourite of two small tugs - he had seen me admiring them and thought I should have one. The free gift rug sits on the floor of my study and I wonder if he or my parents really knew that I wanted it, that I was looking at it so intently because I wanted him to give it to me for free.

The seats of the car had giant coils that you could feel through your legs, causing you to bounce around jovially, even over the smallest of bumps. You would stick to the seats in summer until you peeled your legs off, unclacking the seatbelts that had no tension left in the cloth, but a summer of heat in the shiny metal clips.

My aunt passed the car down to her son, who sold it for his own gain. I don't remember seeing any evidence of it, but I remember hearing how much this upset my Pa. I remember thinking I would never have done that to him.

I wonder where his car is now.


Adam said...

Whoa, dude! You became a writer!

Nice work lady.

Kristine said...

What a beautiful post Enny!

It made me feel a little sad and melancholic: those memories of 'things' from childhood which can never be redeemed, much like childhood itself.

I still regret giving away my favourite book of nursery rhymes to the op shop. No one will ever realise it is worth a million dollars, other than me.

Kristine said...

PS. I'm not much of a meat eater myself. I'm not sure I could do another every-meat-group was experimental!

Rosanna said...

This was a beautiful post, Enny. I loved your description of the car in summer... so very beautiful! Looking forward to seeing y'all in Melbourne xo

(PS: I never really say 'y'all' but it sounds fun)

DelightfulJen said...

My Pop had one of "those" cars, it wasn't a Kingwood though, but it had the same sticky seats in summer, bench seats front and back and those non-tensioned seatbelt with metal buckles.

When he died we sold it to some guy who loved cars because no one had any means of using it (it was one of those column gear boxes), I see it sometimes parked on a street in Paddington, it's very nice to know that his car lives with someone who seems to look after it well and in a nice suburb, it makes me very pleased :D

Great post!

Enny said...

adam - awww, thanks team!

kristine - perhaps that's why I'm such a clinger-onto-er of all my stuff?

kristine - it's ok, I'm not a hater ;o)

rosanna - thanks again, team! I will hafta write something up here to organise it, I guess>?!

d'jen - it must be part of being a Pa! It's good that it at least went to someone who liked it and that you can still see it - that's a lovely thought.

Boysenberry said...

A beautiful post, Enny, that captures the links between memories exquisitely. It makes me envious when I look at the shallowness of mine.

Enny said...

Mr B'b'rry - why thankyou :o) And that's not the case at all!

Trish said...

We had a Kingswood - I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know what model, but we got it in 1976 - and I learned to drive in it, went to my wedding in it, and actually cried when eventually it went to the big Kingswood carpark in the sky only a couple of years ago. That was a magical car. Thanks for the memories.

Nicely written post.