Archive for the ‘Penrith South Primary’ Category

The change,

New school, elevated responsibility,

Captaincy confuses loyalties

School loyalty and student loyalty.

Imposed religious duties

Somewhat resisted,

And enforced limiting of distractions,

No TV, no “treehouse gang” (or the like),

The Medal.

In gold letters on shiny maple honours board,

And medal awarded,

1967 Dux.

Gives me choice for high school.

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“I’ve tried , Mr Smith,

I don’t know why I can’t remember it?”

The Headmaster is exasperated by

My continuing to read rather than recite

The Lord’s Prayer to assemblies.

Two terms, 25 readings.

We both have

Resigned to reading rather than reciting.

I’m very pleased.

Pressure relieved, absolved from guilt.


* This Short Memory relates to two earlier Short Memories. The first one was 91. Ignorance exposed, prayer answered and the second was 108. Encouragement or warning? Stop reading, start leading.

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Layers & layers of clothes.

… how many?


Transformed skinny Phil into

Phil – He was skinny, athletic & loved to make fun – the perfect person to play … The Fat Man.

A beach ball with legs & arms.

“The Fat Man.”

Innocent pedestrians trigger his release

This screaming, screeching, demonic Tweedledee

Attacking …

Rushing down the driveway, final falling

Onto front lawn, turtle-like, legs, arms flapping ineffectively.

Pedestrians agog.

Monumental crack-up!

Notes & Extra:

* The Fat Man was an innovation on the activities described in Short Memory #129 – Unsuspecting, under-the-weather club patrons: fair game for fun. We were always looking to improve our efforts.

** Poor Phil, we put so many clothes on him that he was almost suffocating. We often had to frantically rush to get the layers off him. Mind you he played the part like he owned it and loved it, despite the discomfort. I wish we had filmed it, it was the funniest thing – I’m giggling right now just thinking about.

A few years later, Ian Anderson heard about “The Fat Man at 138” and wrote a song. Here is Jethro Tull still performing the song in 1999.

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The dog door,

Needs use.

New addition to the family

Mixed, unknown parentage.

He slips and slides around the polished back-room floor.

(The rollerball rink.)

Chewed shoes, house training blues

Generating anger, anxiety, and …

Cries of:

“Oh, he’s so cute!”

All white, one black eye.

Part corgi,

He is Lucky.

A mature Lucky.

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Lunches packed, in schoolbags.

Pile into the car.

“Bags the front seat.”

“It’s my turn.”




Seats settled, still a few punches & elbows.

Before we’re halfway,

Stephen’s eaten his “little lunch.”

His lunch gets done at recess.

And lunchtime is starve-time.

… routine repeats

and repeats

and …


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Sunday, trip to footy.

Bus leaves from outside club,

Dedicated fans travelling.

Today, cyclonic weather.

Empty seats aplenty

Arriving at Redfern Oval*

Umbrellas blown inside out.

Even the grandstand can’t shelter,

Redfern Oval Grandstand 1967

Panthers fans huddle together.

Souths fans admire our devotion.

We cheer.

We lose.

Long trip home.

Soaked, sad …

But staunch.


* This game late in the 1967 season at Redfern Oval had one of the smallest attendances (1,772) I’ve witnessed. The score was Souths 14 (T: Jones, Coote; G: Simms (4)) def Penrith 7 (T: Johnstone; G: Landers (2)).

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The Bowling Alley has

The real magnet for boys developing a misspent youth

Pinball Machines!


Play the silver ball with crazy flipper fingers.

Unspent school lunch-money, odd-jobs, bottle redemptions, pocket money.

Finances lights, sounds, action,

Silver balls, flippers, bumpers & bells.

Fast hands,

Shake don’t tilt.

Striving for …



Free game.


Don’t leave until pockets are empty.


How could I not insert this here?

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Pedestrian parade passes by No. 138.

Club patrons, late hour.

Strolling easily or

Staggering, drunk.

Targets for mischief.

All quiet …

From behind the tree, front-room window, descending from the roof:

The front garden of 138 Station St – just over the shrubs was the footpath along Station St.

A blood-curdling scream or
A ghostly, haunting voice.

Strollers, staggerers stunned

Show humour or fury.

Cackling kids, hysterically funny.

Especially at fury!!!

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Pop is down from Gosford

Stationed at Kingswood PMG depot.

He spends leisure time:

On our roof watching the trots,

Drinking tea with neighbour, Miss Brown.

Hunting around the tip with Stephen

Searching for stuff,

Stuff to fix,

“It might come in handy one day.”

Penrith tip.

His favourite place.

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Thursday night – opposite home.

A ribbon of light illuminating

The Trots.

Horses pulling “gigs”

Hooves pounding, drivers shouting.

A panoramic view from our roof –

Tiled, gabled roof … the perch, precarious,

With Pop in charge of safety, we train binoculars on races.

We perched on the roof to watch the horses compete.

Picking winner after winner.

Never falling … even in photo-finishes.


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