7 July 2020
Those of you who have been reading these things for a while will know of the ongoing movement of ‘stuff’ around my house due to renovations, new carpets etc.
In the sorting of ‘stuff’ from the store room today, I came across a bag of ‘stuff’ that I’d brought back from Mum’s unit when she transferred into the nursing home. It contained a bunch of letters, cards etc, that I wasn’t 100% convinced should be turfed out straight away, and needed someone to have a bit of a sort out first.
And I’m glad I did. In amongst the ‘stuff’ were gems like birthday cards to my mum from HER mother and mother-in-law, and cards from Dad. Along with letters from her loving children (the best were the ones from me, obviously, but the others fairly interesting too).
There were also Mum specials – inspirational quotes written on the back of a paper bag, skits from Ladies Guild events, funeral orders of service, and books containing fuel and mileage information from a trip up north in 1991 (petrol at the time ranged from 64.5 cpl up to a whopping 85.5 cpl at Pardoo, just in case you would like to know). And a LOT of interesting things that required two good cups of coffee to assist with the examination thereof.
Something that particularly caught my eye was the exercise book with its handwritten title “THE BOOK”. It is a Target exercise book, and was apparently approved by the Education Department. ‘The’ and ‘Book’ were written each side of the Target picture, so whether it is meant to be “The Book” or “The Target Book” we will probably never know (Mum has denied all knowledge of the book or its contents, although her handwriting inside the book is a bit of a giveaway).
The book contains lists, starting with when Mum and Dad were moving from Wembley to their second time in Yirrkala, (in the Northern Territory) in 1982. There were lists of stuff they were taking with them to Yirrkala, stuff that was going to Busselton to the holiday/eventual retirement home, and stuff that had to be got rid of. And Dad (handwriting noticeably different) had assigned dollar values to the stuff that was going to Yirrkala, obviously for insurance purposes.
I did want Mum’s opinion on what they took – two sets of sheets for the double bed, ten pillowcases, and a dozen tea towels, for example. They were obviously going to be doing a lot of dishes. And obviously they were going to be entertaining quite a bit, because 6 tablecloths went with them as well. The radiogram and transistor went with them as well. Tools and golf clubs also noticeably on the list. Along with the typewriter and duplicator, something a church minister of the era never went anywhere without.
The lists in the book progressed through their time in Yirrkala – pages of lists of peoples names, Yolngu (indigenous language of the area) words and phrases and translations, and then progressed to lists relating to their subsequent move back to WA to Scarborough – more lists of people and household items etc.
It was a fascinating glimpse at a part of their life together. But the thing that caught my attention first, and precipitated this diarrhoea entry today, is the bit written on a page with no comment on what it was for, where it originated from etc.
I can only assume (again, Mum has no recollection) that it was relating to their work in the indigenous community. It does seem as if that’s the most likely origin, but it could just as easily relate to being a parent, to being a member of a family, or to just being a decent human being.
I leave you with the words written in “The Target Book”, and present it as a target for us all to be decent human beings:
I want you to know that I am committed to you.
You’ll never knowingly suffer at my hands.
I’ll never say or do anything knowingly to hurt you.
I’ll always, in every circumstance, seek to help you and support you.
If you’re down and I can lift you up, I’ll do that.
Anything I have that you need I’ll share with you, and if need be I’ll give it to you.
No matter what I find out about you and no matter what happens in the future, either good or bad, my commitment to you will never change, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
NB – have found out that the quote is from a book called “Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness”, by (Pastor) Jerry Cook (1979)