We stayed at Lovell's motel in Corowa last Thursday night. It's a rather old but clean, comfy and rather cheap motel. Most rooms have a kitchenette, so it was bacon and eggs for brekky, then off to visit TO's Uncle D, 84 years old.
At the moment he's doing well in his ongoing battle with prostate cancer, but recently had a horrible shock when one of his daughters collapsed in the main drag of Corowa and was dead a week later. Apparently she'd been suffering with liver cancer for yonks and it was way beyond metastasised.
No one knew; she was always visiting people and running messages for others, never once mentioning feeling seedy.
R, on hearing about her sister, set out from
to say goodbye only to get a call herself somewhere near Wang, to say her own husband had, a few
hours before, been killed in a road accident. Melbourne
When shit like this visits people in bucket loads, I can hear my own grandmother say "He must have killed a Chinaman in a previous life". [Got to blame someone, why not the Chinese?]
Cleaning out J's house, Uncle D has been shocked even further. J had had a touch of the family Aspergers, and was one of those extreme hoarders that fascinate me so on pay TV docos about hoarding. [50 is the new 40, water the new oil, and Asperger's the new depression?].
No, Asperger's is just a name we can finally use to gain insight into some of the odd behaviour on various branches and twigs of TO’s family tree. The hoarding thing - not necessarily something that afflicts everyone with Asperger's - should be a good hint in this family… now that we know. But I digress.
The house was chockers, dangerously so, and the dirt and dust and grief have exacerbated Uncle D's asthma badly. He'd filled two skips with rubbish before the housing commission finally stepped in and said they would take over - someone was desperately waiting for accommodation and they could do the job quicker.
TO had been unable to visit people because of her pneumonia and bugs, and had missed her own mum's 92nd birthday. We took Uncle D across to Jindera to visit TO’s mum, [his big sister] grabbing some pies and cakes from the bakery to share lunch together in the hostel dining room.
Forget other people's issues like cancer and death - I was disappointed with my pie! I'm not a great eater of pies, but mine had dried out for a week in the pie warmer from what I could see, and someone had tipped a packet of salt into it before putting the pastry lid on. I take back all the nice things I've ever said about Jindera pies.
After lunch at the hostel, TO pulled out lots of hitherto unseen old family photos. She'd recently met yet another bunch of cousins through Ancestry dot com [I keep wanting to call it Amazon.]
The photos are good for jogging TO’s mum’s long term memory, and distracting her from her confusion. It also gave Uncle D and TO’s mum a chance to discuss some elephants in the rooms of their past: Uncle D's story reads like Albert Facey's A Fortunate Life, and the photos prompted TO’s mum to help him fill in some gaps.
Yet what a lovely man Uncle D is, with not an ounce of bitterness about any of it.
Another photo of TO's grandmother.