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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The One That Got Away

By Peter Tibbles who writes the Time Goes By Elder Music column that appears on Sundays.

I have written before about the loves of my life when I was a boy growing up in a country town in western Victoria. That introduction might make me seem like the local Don Juan but nothing could be further from the truth.

I was a shy, retiring lad and besides, what can one get up to at age five, eight, thirteen? This time it's about the one who never was.

The Wades lived next to us in the Lands' Department house. Sam, the father of the family, was the representative for that department. Among other things he went out into the Little Desert to lay poison, 1080, to kill the rabbits and foxes.

These are introduced species, feral, and have found a niche in the Australian countryside to such an extent that native species have become endangered and others are now probably extinct because of them.

Sam also, perhaps to the despair of my mother, introduced me to Little Richard. After his family had left town, he returned a year or so later for a visit. He brought me a couple of records, an EP and a single of Little Richard. Six tracks of sublime rock & roll. I was in heaven.

There were two kids in the Wade family, as with ours. Their oldest was a boy shared my name. He was several years older than I, but younger than my sister. He had a guitar and there were a couple of times I tried to learn to play it without any success. I later did learn the rudiments but nobody outside my own living room would want to hear me.

Pat, his sister, was a year younger than I. We were firm friends as we were closer in age than was her brother. I remember at the time thinking, “Oh, a few more years…” as she was a comely girl. However, they moved away before those years came to fruition.

Sometime later we did the same and we both ended up in Melbourne. Even back in the Sixties, Melbourne was a large city geographically and we were a considerable distance apart. They were in Ringwood and we were in Oakleigh.

We visited them once or twice, but it was difficult as my folks didn't have a car so it was a train into the city and another out again. Two-and-a-half hours if the connections were in our favor. They visited us maybe once. After a while contact dwindled and was lost.

I went on with my schooling, university, work, life, a couple of loves of my life. Now and then I'd think of Pat and wonder what she was doing. Procrastinator that I am, I did nothing about it.

Last year, I was Googling a Canadian mathematician also called Wade and I happened upon a notice that said that Patricia Jennifer Black (nee Wade) had died. It mentioned her brother, Peter, and her parents by name. I now knew what she was doing.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


That's sad, Peter. At least you were spared being a widower.

We often wonder what happened to people we knew when we were young, but most of us never find out. In that, you were lucky.

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