Walking 400 Miles….

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Most kids around the age of 6 would think when they hear they are relocating to another region/suburb is ‘what will the house be like and will I have to share a room’.

It never enters our minds are that particular age, our parents are going to spend weeks packing, moving and unpacking our house.  With that, the need to start afresh has begun and the thoughts of making friends and settling roots makes any parent think ‘was this the best decision I could have made for my family and I?’

As children we think about our prized, treasured and utmost adored toy and our favourite shirt being lost within the move and the fear that squeezes us.  Until we rip open that box containing our treasured possessions and discovering that my doll named Lucy and teddy, Big Ted were safe and had in fact, enjoyed their travel.

As a child, it never occurred to me to question my parent’s decision to leave the house amongst the cane fields that had seen so many joyful events happen there.  Or why we were leaving our family behind as we relocated to a whole new house City and entirely different state of the country.

It certainly didn’t enter my mind at all when we relocated to Queensland from New South Wales.

Ah yes, Queensland.

It would once see a state formerly known as the ‘sunny, smart state’ morph into something referred to as ‘The Sunny State of Bullshit and Heart Ache’.

This move to Queensland came about one weekend when my parents packed my siblings, Satan’s Hand Maiden and I into a car.  Before beginning the incredibly long and tiresome drive, this was cramped, in hopes of reaching our new destination before two things happened.

One: we ended all committing mass murder and some poor person coming across the bodies.

Two: we couldn’t escape over the border the magic clock tolled and the end of our deal had arrived.

I have no knowledge my parents were in fact escaping from the hands of Satan, herself and feared they would be found.  The child they were protecting would expose them all the while being truly alone as they faced this journey without family.

Having been a child amongst the corn field and paddocks filled with bulls and heifers; I wouldn’t have known what spurred my nomads of parents to pack up house. Until much later on in life as a teenager, I would stumble across the true reasoning behind the motive that causes us to up and go.

Or rather, the up and flee for safety.

This motion of action came from an Aunt’s desire to protect an ‘innocent’ child was launched into full steam when Satan’s Hand Maiden came to Lois one day. During her visit on sucking in the family atmosphere, Satan’s Hand Maiden told my mother that our Grandfather had been trying to inappropriately touch her and had resorted to physically hitting her.

Like any person who had come from a background of Lois’, who spent a majority of her life fighting to survive amongst the hands of sexual, physical, emotional and mental abuse.  The first thought would enter any person’s mind whether they had been abused or not, would be: ‘I need to protect this person at all cost’.

All the while thinking this and then acting upon that thought, Lois never once sat there and looked outside of the box.  Nor did she have any inclination what words were being said by this child, may have actually been lies.  Until many years later with photographic evidence laid out in a family book containing our history, it would show Lois exactly how manipulative Satan’s Hand Maiden is.

Not to mention how Lois had been played a chess piece in a very clever and manipulative game of chess.

With Superwoman sitting on her shoulder and Protector’ mode already locked, stocked and ready to barrel; Lois knew in regards to protecting this person, she would have do something out of her comfort zone.  She went to the Police.

Putting aside the fact of never having openly speaking of this to anyone, bar a few selective people, Lois decided she would let the world know the truth.  The deep dark unholy secret she had been keeping locked away since childhood and finally spoke the truth.

It would be over the next few weeks and with much agony, torment tortured nightmares which had been kept at bay with a band aid; Lois unleashed something her family and her had spent 20 plus years since Grandad returned from ‘Nam, protecting fiercely.  Yet all the while implying that the family was one of ‘strong devotion and remember to smile, kids!’

My Grandparents, Uncle and Mother spent those 20 plus years making sure the can containing those nasty little worms, which would lead to their oldest children sitting there going ‘did it really happen?’ be kept shut, bound and glued with industrial strength super glue.

Due to living in a small town where literally everyone knew our family name; gossip ran like an acid high hamster on a wheel.

As investigations were conducted by the local police, my Grandparents were trying to find a quiet place to hide while telling everyone in sight, “it had all been a little mistake.”  All because they didn’t like they now had a very open and very much wriggling can of worms they now had to juggle.  They tried ever so hard in a sick, disturbing as fuck and masochistic darkened way, to shove the lid back on that can as they pretended their life was like being ‘The Walton’s.’

I had no idea Lois had pressed charges against both of my Grandparents.

This resulted in Lois being physically attacked in the main street by friends of my Grandparents. The crunch would come when she came home one day to be beaten senseless by a piece of wood by an assailant, who casually told her to ‘stop the case now or else’.

From that day on, my family had police protection and we went into a form of witness protection.

Simply due to Lois deciding to man up, unlike her older brother; she opted to put her arse out on the firing line.  So at the end of the day she laid her head against her pillow, she knew her niece wouldn’t have to fear for her life.

When it came time to settling the course case for the protection and guardianship of Satan’s Hand Maiden and my Mother’s niece, it was settled in my Mother’s favour.  It meant from that day on, Satan was to come and live with us and my parents were still subjected to threats of violence and abuse.  This continued until the final straw driving the nail into the wooden coffin would finalise what my parents had been thinking.

My Mother got a phone call from my primary school, stating that a lovely, kind elderly lady had come to pick me up from school.  Like any Mother who loves her children and is particularly concerned about their safety at all times, this of course set warning bells off in Lois’ head.

As her parents had been previously known to have pulled something similar that saw my grandparents kidnap Satan and leave the country of New Zealand to reside within Singapore for years.  Until jetting back to the brown and dusty red plains of Australia; where they would live amongst Australians all the while, maintaining ‘guardianship’ of Satan.

Having driven around the small town, looking for us and being subjected to my Grandmother physically attacking Lois; my parents decided it was time to leave.

It would be in the middle of the night having packed our bags/boxes and telling those few who needed to be told as to what was about to happen; my parents woke us from our sleeps.  This would be the final stage of being known as a ‘Mexican’ as my parents relocated my siblings, Satan and I to Queensland.

Much to the surprise and anger of my Grandparents when they discovered we were no longer residents of Mexico.

Unlike the 21st century’s introduction of modern day technology and social media, we didn’t have to worry about our location being tracked nor found.  As a result, it was almost like we had gone into witness protection, minus the new identities.  This witness like period meant when we left the chaos residing south of the border.  We could let out the breath we had been holding for weeks and months.

It also meant we could think along the basis of we were free from the bullshit.

Bullshit caused by my Grandparents.  Bullshit caused by Satan and her ever rotating mind of pure evilness.

Bullshit that seemed to have flooded the streets of Sydney which saw my parents not only suffers the loss of financial dependence gained by owning a business.  But also saw my parents suffer losses within their emotions and physical balances.

All because of selfishness and greed upheld by my Grandparents, which seemed to flow within the veins of their body and flowed within the veins of Satan’s Hand Maiden.

This meant we could start afresh.

The first house we lived in Queensland was located near an ocean town that was quaint before the rat race moved in when we left.  My parents had no idea they had left one sort of hell hole to find another in what seemed like your average kind of picture perfect house.  Rather it could be described as something starring in Haunted House, minus Eddie Murphy being present.

This house had everything from things that went ‘bump’ in the night, to things coming out of the ceiling that would make the Ghostbusters want to run screaming from the scene.

The final straw in making this house sound like an exciting death trap would be the time Lois thought our family cat, Rosie, was outside and running across the backyard fence.  Only to discover that our cat wasn’t indeed running across the backyard fence but rather was being held hostage against the wall by a cat sized rat.

All I can say is if Miss P from Heaven on Bourke is reading this: I seriously believe I win the Dirt House award for having cat sized rodents being present for all meals.

Like most periods of my life, life in this little water town was fantastic until three things turned up.

One resulted in my gift for being able to see the dead (thanks Mum) being exposed and the old man who sat on the toilet every day, making himself settled.  This scared the crap out of us and the endless hours of chains being dragged up and down the steps at night.  Any normal person would have packed an overnight bag and left that shit behind, vowing to never return.

I had no idea at 6 years of age; my parents had been witness to many other peculiar events.

Two caused my parents to rethink the hard game of what money was really like and the ever joyful thought of the rats keep populating.  No matter how many baits were thrown in the ceiling and the rent increasing to the point another move came onto the horizon rather rapidly.

Three, my Grandmother arrived on the scene for my parent’s 10th wedding vow renewal only to tell Lois that it was a pity she couldn’t have lost some weight.  Also, she was so fat that it was a wonder that my father could bear to be with her. The year of planning for the happy event slid quickly down the toilet and the beautiful wedding dress was thrown into the cupboard never to see the light of day again.

Like most people facing these moments, Lois never showed the pain she had suffered and set about trying to conquer the fields of what had just been dumped in her lap.

After pissing my Grandmother back to the dungeon of doom and gloom, she made the decision to move.  Especially after catching a 2 year old Pablo, playing with a four legged and potato eating ‘pet’.  She knew then it would be best to relocate and unknowing to us, Dad would move to another job.

Since the place he had been working for had delightfully informed their 800+ workers, by the time they finished their shift, they weren’t required to return for any more work. Just like Donald Trump telling his newly sacked apprentice, “You’re Fired!”

Thankfully, the man on the toilet was shut down.  In particular, she decided it would be best to put that particular gift on the kybosh for now and keep it under lock and key until the timing was appropriate for me.  In this case, God decided to actually pay heed to my Mother’s words and followed them to a tee before opening that lovely little present again.

After leaving the Haunted House as I like to call it, we relocated to another suburb within the south side of Brisbane.  I would stay south bound until I would leave Brisbane for the open plains of tussock, kangaroos that could leap in one swoop over a four wheel drive and Rednecks who wore jeans to a deb ball.

During the next five years, we relocated from one suburb to another.  The family unit we had once been no longer existed and our family’s financial status was something of an eyebrow raiser.  My Father had been seriously injured at his workplace and once again my parents kept our finances under lock and key from us kids.  For my parents worried every day as to how they were going to feed, clothe us or keep a house over our heads.

As a child, I felt there were moments in those years were the going was great.

I thought we had more than enough money to keep our busy lifestyle of friends, entertaining and sports free flowing. I drifted through life not worrying about money expenditures, lifestyle habits or the actual thought of ‘why don’t I have a relationship with my blood family of grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins?’ My parents gave us so much love, we never questioned WHY.

Before long I was a 13 year old where lifestyle appearances, Harry Potter and sports seemed to rule my life; I lead a very comfortable and plush life.  So much so I was greedy and selfish with my own needs, rather than focusing on those around me.

Not once thinking as I said “I need tuckshop money for lunch” even though I had been given money the day beforehand, was this causing strain on my parents.  When I wasn’t on the netball courts or running laps around the soccer oval to get rid of my ‘jello-thighs’, I was known to be ‘Miss Susie Homemaker’.

Where my friends from school would came over for the day/weekend or even though I had just left them five minutes ago, I would call them up and have a two discussion on ‘omg, like, he totally like looked me for like five seconds!’.  But when it came to being around my best friends at the time, which I’d been friends with since grade 5, I was Miss Wild Party.

Who would raid her parents liquor cabinet, throw parties in her room under the pretence of ‘just talking’ and walk down to the bridge and bum a fag from the rather cute guy.

My life in a middle income, blue collar family while living in Brisbane from the age of 7 to 13 was in a roundabout way was pretty selfish.  For I had no concept what it was like to be poor, struggling with money or hell, be someone without friends constantly keeping me entertained.  I think my parents did a pretty good job of ‘protecting’ us kids and letting us merely enjoy our childhood.

Because I certainly had no qualms as to how people earned an income.  What it was like to earn an income as it was simply given to me, hand over fist.  Also, I didn’t know what it was like to be someone without anyone to talk too because my friends were there to cover up the fact of: ‘I don’t really have a family unit’.

This girl had no friggen idea.

But like most things when the going is good and everything is perfect, there is going to be a moment when things slip out of place and then everything falls to shit.

In this case, it happened one night as my father did his usual night shift at the abattoir.  My Father’s shoulder was the little thing that slipped out of place, landed somewhere close to his elbow region and so began the next journey of our life.

Our life had effectively and essentially gone tits up.

Like most of you would know by now particularly with the last blog, my Father has worked all of his life from a young teenager as a butcher.  It is well known within the butchering industry that if you have all of your fingers and toes, you are not only a good butcher but also you are very lucky.  However because your fingers/toes are not knobs or a tip is missing, the next thing that will be asked is: “so what internal damages have been caused?”

In my Father’s case, he has had both shoulders reconstructed, still suffers from a botched hernia operation.  All of which have resulted from workplace injuries, causing years of battling the court system, my father’s employers and Insurance companies.

The lifestyle that had been funded by my parents both working and slaving hard hours to provide comfort and food on the table essentially came to a stop.

A very cold, shuddering and life changing stop.

I don’t know exactly when the downfall started but when it came to a crashing stop, it brought down my Mother with a sudden horrifying crash of epic atomic proportions.  Lois had been coping in her own inexhaustible way, caring for Dad, raising 5 children, working full time and entertaining our friends.

Then one day Lois went to work one day and unbeknownst to us, suffered a mental breakdown.

It had been building up for a long time, but the crash came in the form of her spending all day hiding underneath the desk at work, shaking with fear before something literally snapped inside.  She was still able to function as a person but with no memory of who she was.

She told us the story many years later of how she watched the clock reach 5 pm and she felt that was an important time in her day, so locked up her place of work and followed a man out to the car park.  She had no idea why, she simply followed him.  He hopped into his car and so she walked to the one remaining vehicle (ours) and hopped in.

She followed this man through the streets until he reached the highway.  She had no idea what direction to go, so simply went where he went.

She told us that a sign post caught her eye and she felt she knew someone lived there, so turned off and went to the house that in her memory banks looked familiar…. Luckily it was our own home. She parked the car.  She has a vague collection of then driving on the other side of the city to collect us kids, but had NO IDEA why we hopped into the car but felt it was part of her job to take them ‘home’.

After that it is a nice long blur.

As a 14 year old child, I knew that something awful had happened and it just got worse.

One night my Mother didn’t come home from work.  I was frantic, as Dad was at work on his night shift; I rang all our friends, hoping someone had seen her. So to fill in the time and bite down on the fear, I was subjected to the thought of playing ‘housewife’.  Of course this made my nose out of joint as I had to bathe, feed, put to bed and make sure my younger siblings had down their homework for the next day.

All the while wondering where the hell our Mother was at it was now 8.30 and she should have been home by 6 at the latest.

As I was about to dial the local police station to report a missing person, Lois; I heard a car pull up.  Due to being broken into several weeks before as I heard a knock on the front door, I automatically grabbed the nearest weapon.

Creeping down the stairs with my Father’s wooden didgeridoo clasped tightly in my hands, I swiftly opened the door.  I was about to bring down my weapon of choice before the realisation I was about to hit Lois, stopped me.

I stood there with my arms raised about my head and I took in the site of my Mother standing there nervously, shifting from foot to foot while clutching her handbag.

It was in that moment after putting aside the didgeridoo, I realised Lois wasn’t quite right and if I let her go, she would never return.  I told her to come inside. After promising her, my Mother didn’t mind a stranger coming into the house to use the phone as her mobile battery was dead; I set her up on the couch and watched from the background as I made her a cup of coffee and something to eat.

I watched as Lois glanced around the room while raising an eyebrow at the fish tank before promptly sitting herself on the very edge of the lounge.  Complete with handbag still clenched within her grasp.

It was in that second as I watched my very docile and slightly disturbed Mother glance back and forth around the room as if she had never been there before, I knew I was destined to look after people similar to her.

Taking on that thought, I kept her entertained.  As the hours crept by realizing I could not let her out of my sight, I sat up past my bedtime and well into the early hours.  I showed her photos of my siblings and even photos of Lois.  It was a shock to realize she didn’t even recognise herself and had to often had to refrain from making comments when she commented about the ‘stranger’s dressing habits and how dowdy she appeared’.

We won’t mention that she gave herself style lessons as to what she should do with her hair and how she should dress herself.  Something that both sounded very much like both my Great Grandmother and Grandmother were making their way out of her mouth.

Needless to say, my seven hour nightshift was about to come to an end when I heard the keys entered the lock downstairs.

After kindly asking her to stay on the couch and that I would be returning soon, I raced down the stairs to greet my Father as he had just finished work. Essentially catching my Father in surprise and shock as I was still awake and out of bed at some ungodly time of 3.30 in the morning.

Having fobbed off the lecture which was about to come my way, I told him the reasoning as to why I wasn’t tucked up in bed, sleeping and dreaming of my high school crush, knocking my friend out and declaring he wanted me.

This in return caused both my Father and I to head upstairs, Dad not knowing what he was really going to get involved in and me hoping Mum hadn’t decided to jump off the balcony that connected to the lounge room.

Least to say rather a billowing curtain blowing in the wind and the image of a dead body, I was greeted with my Mother running her finger around the room before abruptly stating, “You need to hire someone to clean.  This woman doesn’t know what she is doing”.

This was of course rich from her as all I can ever remember was my Mother on her hands and knees with a toothbrush, cleaning the skirting boards of every house.

After having been told that Mum needed a break from her draining life and lifestyle, much to still present bitterness of ‘you’re meant to be the strong one’; I stepped up to the mark.  As Dad decided he would do the ostrich outtake on life.  Dad simply couldn’t cope with what hit him…. His Wife is literally a Fruit Loop.

Not knowing later on life, I would resent my decision and become bitter.

I soon would learn before my time what it would be like to be a woman who not only ran a family, who seemed to spend every weekend doing a different sport and formatting a plan on how to get us there.

But also a woman who had bills pilling up, dinners to cook, baths to be taken and get a Father to and from work with a cooked meal and pat on the back.  Not to mention, undertake my own studies as an A+ high school student; who not only had assignments to complete but had to make sure that her brother was still in school every lunch time.

I learnt as a young woman how to juggle incoming and outgoing bills, school excursions that not only required payment but also a parent’s signature.  This is how I became a professional at paying my student bills as a university student but also a phenomenal forger of Lois’ signature.

I learnt very quickly how to pay bills, juggle household expenditures and three children under the age of 9.  My somewhat social life was between the hours of 9 and 3 before revolving around picking up my siblings and getting information as to how their school day had been from their teachers.

This information would then be later used in either baking a cake in a form of bribery for a certain teacher or making sure that all homework was completed and double checked by me.

Consequently my life as a selfish teenager was brought to an end and my eyes widened as to what true life would be like down the tract when I had my own family and household to run.  During this time, none of my so called friends or teachers knew of what was happening at home.

For some reason, I was still pulling those A’s even on two hours of sleep from stressing over how I was going to pay what bill and wishing Mum would stop being sick and take back her job.

Her job of being a wife, a mother but also someone who would pull my Father up out of the sand by the scruff of his neck and tell him to grow a set of balls.

Life would become even more complicated when I was informed that we would be moving into someone’s rumpus room at their house as we were being evicted from our house.  As we had fallen behind in rent and there was nothing we could really do for we had tried everything.

It would be in that dank, cold room as us kids listened to the sound of physical violence and screaming, the family ties of which brings a family together were starting to grow.

As Mum slowly recovered, Dad’s shoulder healed from being near his elbow with subsequent surgery, I learnt that our family possessed strength and determination.  The friends we lived with showed us kids what we had never ever seen in our lives… sheer physical domestic violence of the worst.  The Police became our new best friend again and a regular visitor to our house especially after a binge of Jamaican Rum.   Where we would be woken to fresh holes in the wall, bruised faces and wondering when we could escape this living hell.

In those few months which felt like years, I witnessed things most people wouldn’t wish upon their enemy to bear witness, hear or be part of.  As much as my parents tried to protect us, it was an eye opener and we all saw what a relationship between a man and woman shouldn’t be like.  We saw both partners treat each other like shit and feel as if they need to use their children as pawns against the other.

The time in that room taught us and showed us, our own parents were truly people to be admired for their sheer tenacity and love for us.

It would be in the last month of being subjected to this type of violence, someone offered my parents a house to rent for cheap. Sensing this was their only way of getting out of the rat race, moving away from the destruction we were living in; my parents piled us into the car and we set out for the destination of our new home.

The land of grass known to be waist high to kangaroos poking their heads into your kitchen window, as they watched you cook dinner.  To rednecks and discovering a new set of words that ruled our lives for over 8 years;”when is it going to rain?”

Up the range we drove, following the moving truck.  None of us knowing what was going to greet us but with hope in my parent’s heart, this would bring peace and a sense of finality to their worries; we continued to drive onwards.  Once we reached the house, we all sat in the car with a mirror image of ‘oh fuck, no way’ written on our faces.

It was a hell hole of proportions and I refused to get out of the car because the ‘grass’ was taller than me and I was five feet five at the time.

We had literally landed in the middle of bloody nowhere!!

Finally after being dragged out of the car and being physically sick due to the stench of the house, I was told by Lois in a rather desperate plea to ‘think outside the box’.

Lois’ ideal thinking as to what outside the box meant was based upon something that belonged in McLeod’s Daughters.  The image of a quaint little homestead sat plonked on 20 acres of rolling green grass, gardens containing fresh produce, flowers and an endless amount of water.  That woman can spin a great story if it meant her 15 year old daughter didn’t run away!

In my logical side of thinking, which did not consist of rolling plains of green grass, I truly saw the state of the house.  For what it was and how it looked, served on the dinner plate.

The derelict house sat on acreage of 20 acres, the house paddock was 5 acres.  This was filled with grass like reeds that were over the top of my head.  In the front yard was mountains and piles of disposable and used nappies, containing I do not want to even know.  Rubbish strewn from one side of the front yard to the other, some 20 metres in length.

Chopped and rusted bodies of cars lined the damaged beyond repair backyard fence, if that’s what it could have been called.  Inside the house was not much better as one of the bedrooms had been converted into a birthing room for one of the dogs.  Complete with placenta and umbilical cords attached or rather cemented to the carpet.  As I ignored the stench that had made me run outside and heave my breakfast up, I glanced up at the ceiling and noticed a patch of duct tape.

This would later reveal a hole that would show you the twinkling stars of the evening sky as a result of a shot gun bullet going through the roof.
This was going to be our new home.

We had truly sunk to the depths of hell.

You are no doubt sitting there horrified at the thought of someone entering a house like that let alone sleeping in one and trying to make a home of it.  But there is one thing you do not understand and that is: we O’Chunky women can turn a derelict and sodden of a house into something worth living in.  Even if it is to purely put a roof over your family’s head for the night.

Fast forward two weeks of back breaking hard work to make the interior of the house somewhat liveable; we began our new life in the Wilds of Redneck County.

We would be enrolled in the local primary school where I would be greeted with a questionable eyebrow being raised at my school results.  Kaffy would be greeted with the Principal admitting he had done research as to who she was and her previous Running Championship Honours.

The fact that she was scouted by 2000 Olympic World runner, Cathy Freeman’s Manager and proudly told, “YOU will be going to compete for our school as long distance runner, oh my god, we will win so many medals!”.

The poor Bastard was told in no uncertain terms, by Kaffy… “Thanks but no Thanks.” She had hung up her racing boots after being physically attacked by an opposition team and had been seriously injured.  This caused her love and passion of running to become dried up and be placed on hold for it never to be picked up again.

On the first day of school, dressed in our blue and gold school uniform, each of us would be told in a variety of different ways by these redneck, inbred bogans to ‘fuck off and go back where you come from’.

I think if I had been a wise arse and a person who stood up for herself.  I no doubt would have turned around and said, “Well technically, I can’t crawl up my Mother’s vagina so why don’t you crawl up yours?”

Definitely think I would have made friends that day.

Instead, I was resorted to daily bullying from Monday to Friday and the weekends would be my only reprieve spent chopping and sawing wood for winter, before it would no doubt begin all over again.

During this time since Dad was now working in Brisbane, 3 hours away, and we were living in Hicksville.  Money like many other things involved in a marriage, family life became incredibly strained.  It was a hard time on our family and the ultimate blow for my family’s pride came when Mum had to ask for financial donations from the local St. Vincent De Paul’s as we weren’t able to afford essentials.

Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the first time either. I didn’t cope at all with this. I would rush out of my class and locked myself in the toilet cubicle.  I felt like my world had just fallen to bits and pieces and there was nothing original about it at all.

In a matter of weeks a relationship I’d had with someone ended abruptly.  This resulted in me sinking into a deep depression.  As I had thought our friendship would carry on through this time of severe struggle. I had gotten my taste of freedom before it was roughly shoved back into its packaged little box when I was told, ‘don’t bother’.

This of course made me step into my professional liar pants and pretend like what I was being told wasn’t cutting me to the core.

I felt so alone, unneeded and sad.

Instead of thinking to myself: we have a good set of parents who are struggling to be people to look up to. Living in a house to live in regardless of how it looked, my Mother making food from an empty cupboard to feed us regularly.

I compared myself and our lifestyle to a family sleeping in their car and as the children sleep, the parent/s are wondering how they are going to be able to afford their next meal.  Because all they have to their name is 19 cents and counting.

And what can you buy exactly for 19 cents?

But having said that, my family and I have had similar experiences that made us take stock of what we had and build a solid foundation that still exists to this day.  We became in that horrible little house, The Mighty O’Chunkys.

During those times when we were living in Redneck County after being given a house to live in; we still found ourselves begging, pleading and scourging for food or money because my parents were now suing my Dad’s old work place. Like moments were things didn’t make sense or we couldn’t make ends meet, Lois had to put aside her and our family’s pride and ask for donations.  Just so when us children came home from school and sat down at the table for dinner, we had a simple but hearty meal.

Never knowing until we were much older that our parents had gone without during the day, just so us kids were able to having something for school.

In one stage of circumstances and promises, Lois could only afford flour and with access to water; we would bring damper and scones to school to nibble on.  All the while, we watched those around us staring at us in disgust.

Never once thinking past their small mindedness, there were families out there doing it tough and didn’t have their family rolling around in dough.  Where at the end of the day and being knocked back multiple times because I lived in the estates and not in town, I learnt that money didn’t grow on trees.

Effectively learning that I would have to work my arse off to get somewhere in life, grow old and tired before my time and when I retired; I would have serious consequences.

Just so I could break through that threshold of being a middle income family.

What made it even harder for my parents during that time was a rebellious and ungrateful teenager named Scarlett.  Who unfortunately couldn’t see past the humiliation of handing over a food voucher to someone I went to school with.

Knowing that by 9 o’clock the next morning I would have to deal with another day of being stuck in hell but I would have to deal with the comments about how ‘poor families should be abominated’.

I think it is why my Jewish heritage side of life kicks in and I do not discuss my money concerns, wealth or jobs with anyone.

It is not to do with the factor of people are curious as to where I work, what I work as and how much money I earn per fortnight.  Rather, I have worked on the basis that information is personal and therefore private.

I know that there are people worse off than myself but as a 15 year old, sometimes it was more than this and it made me step into my professional liar pants and pretend like what I was being told wasn’t cutting me to the core.

I felt so alone, unneeded and sad.

Instead of thinking to myself: we have a good set of parents who are struggling to be people to look up to. Living in a house to live in regardless of how it looked, my Mother making food from an empty cupboard to feed us regularly.

I compared myself and our lifestyle to a family sleeping in their car and as the children sleep, the parent/s are wondering how they are going to be able to afford their next meal.  Because all they have to their name is 19 cents and counting.

And what can you buy exactly for 19 cents?

But having said that, my family and I have had similar experiences that made us take stock of what we had and build a solid foundation that still exists to this day.  We became in that horrible little house, The Mighty O’Chunkys.

During those times when we were living in Redneck County after being given a house to live in; we still found ourselves begging, pleading and scourging for food or money because my parents were now suing my Dad’s old work place. Like moments were things didn’t make sense or we couldn’t make ends meet, Lois had to put aside her and our family’s pride and ask for donations.  Just so when us children came home from school and sat down at the table for dinner, we had a simple but hearty meal.

Never knowing until we were much older that our parents had gone without during the day, just so us kids were able to having something for school.

In one stage of circumstances and promises, Lois could only afford flour and with access to water; we would bring damper and scones to school to nibble on.  All the while, we watched those around us staring at us in disgust.

Never once thinking past their small mindedness, there were families out there doing it tough and didn’t have their family rolling around in dough.  Where at the end of the day and being knocked back multiple times because I lived in the estates and not in town, I learnt that money didn’t grow on trees.

Effectively learning that I would have to work my arse off to get somewhere in life, grow old and tired before my time and when I retired; I would have serious consequences.

Just so I could break through that threshold of being a middle income family.

What made it even harder for my parents during that time was a rebellious and ungrateful teenager named Scarlett.  Who unfortunately couldn’t see past the humiliation of handing over a food voucher to someone I went to school with.

Knowing that by 9 o’clock the next morning I would have to deal with another day of being stuck in hell but I would have to deal with the comments about how ‘poor families should be abominated’.

I think this is why my Jewish heritage side of life kicks in and I do not discuss my money concerns, wealth or jobs with anyone.

It is not to do with the factor of people are curious as to where I work, what I work as and how much money I earn per fortnight.  Rather, I have worked on the basis that information is personal and therefore private.

My lesson that I have learnt from being a participant of carelessness to a witness of what life is truly like, I know that there are people worse off than myself.  But as a 15 year old, sometimes it was more than I could cope with.

As a 25 year old who is about to graduate University having succeeded in finalising what her life goals are and where she finally wants to be for this second; I am thankful for my life lessons.  Yes they were an eye opener from seeing the dead guy on the toilet at the age of 6 to seeing my Mother suffer her mental break down; at the end of the day, I am thankful.  Because without these lessons, dreams being destroyed or being repeatedly to ‘fuck off!’, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

So my parting words of a mature aged twenty something year old is: No, I will not tell you if you ‘have someone standing next to your shoulder’.  Money doesn’t grow on trees and it doesn’t find you ‘love’.  Instead, money finds you a gold digger, an empty bank account and a sad thought of ‘why didn’t you love me for me?’.

Finally, if you see someone who is poor, poverty stricken or is sleeping on the streets: a cup of coffee with sugar, bananas of however many you can purchase and something to eat is what they need.  Do NOT EVER tell them, ‘You’re worthless scum!’.  Think about the journey as to what took them there, in that moment of time and how far they have lost things that once made them someone special, important.

Because you never know if you might end up walking 400 miles in their shoes.

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