It's true, it happened to a friend of a friend of mine...

We've lost an Aunty...

, posted: 16-Mar-2008 20:01

Actually, I didn't lose her, mum and the other sister lost her.  She was ensconced in Grandpappy's house as she had looked after him, and they had to crow-bar her out when the house was finally sold. 

Here's her story.  Born second child, after the war, so there were approx. five years between mum and her.  She was christened Barbara.  As in 'Bar-berra-berra-berra - greek for faulty starter motor.  And that's from a funny book she gave me on baby names.  (St Linda is patron saint of those who break down on motorways, although she hasn't a clue how to help them!!!  So appropriate...)  Or - BBBBBarbara the BBBBlack sheep of the FFFFFamily, to the terrorised boy next door.

Mum says she was always a strange child.  Couldn't get her to school, apparently.  Don't blame her.  The head mistress went to school in the good old days with my Grandfather in a horse and sulky.  Obviously out of the ark, and Very Scary.  Carried a feather duster for a cane.  Good grip with the feathers, fearsome whack with the bamboo handle.  I should know, I copped it once.  (And once was definitely enough...)

Apparently my uncle, her little brother, never needed worry about bullies when Barbara was around.  She took care of the rooster that used to keep the kids at bay at egg-collecting time,too.  (A bit tough to the tooth, I believe, and then there was the broken brick...)

Left for her big OE after doing part of her nursing course.  Probably couldn't wait to get out of the house of horrors.  Mum always reckoned the house should be bulldozed when Grandpappy died, don't know why Barbara didn't want to leave... 

Well, anyway, she got on a boat, and went around the world.  I remember getting parcels in the post - once a 'bandito' puppet from Mexico.  I loved it.  Another time an anonymous parcel (Hey, she had ADHD too...) from Hungary.  A book called Hungarian Folk Tales.  Lost, unfortunately, and out of print, I asked her about getting another one in the nineties, when she was squatting in Europe, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The OE was so much fun, she stayed away for four years instead of two.  And brought back a handsome Italian man.  Paolo Ferarri.  How's that for authentic?  Honestly, it was enough to make a teenager gag.  It was always kissy kissy, ciao bella, ciao bello, 'chi chi' was the nickname they both used...  I was 'the sprog'.  Hmph!

They got married secretly, she had wanted the deed done on Weddingcake Island, off Coogee beach, but the celebrant didn't want to get her feet wet.  Three or so weeks later they bothered to tell us. 

They both went to uni, and then broke up.  Barbara was very uncool about it all, but Paolo was ok.  He went back to Italy to reclaim his Italian Citizenship, after becoming a 'New Australian"  She graduated as a criminologist, and because she couldn't/wouldn't drive, couldn't get a job; so back to uni she went to the Post-Graduate School of Librarian-ship.  Used to earn good money researching and writing speeches for politicians.

Driving and cars were one of her bug-bears...  I told her the safest place in the car was behind the driver, so she would sit there and instead of going ooh - ah and covering her head in various ways on the front seat, I could only hear her and guess what she was afraid of. 

She started taking drugs to see if she could remember why she was afraid of cars.  And that after being with an Italian by the name of Ferarri and driving around Italy, especially Rome, with him!

That was her downfall, I believe.  She lived with mum, and I would find her LSD in the freezer.  Luckily 'Stan' (aka little bro) didn't find them.  Then she started hydroponics in her bedroom.  No, not tomato plants.

Living with mum at another flat, she used to carry her belongings around in plastic bags, and accused mum of stealing off her.  Mum nearly had a nervous breakdown. 

She went to England etc for a few more years, and learned the art of French Polishing, which she was good at...  Living in squats, plus in the other sister's home.  She left tons of precious belongings in the basement of one of the other sister's homes when it was sold, and the new brother-in-law tossed it all out.

So, she hated them, too.  As well as Paolo.  Plus most men. 

But not my Dad...  He actually caught her 'up the cross' as a truanting teenager...  Didn't dob her in, so I guess that kept him in the good books.  She used to house-sit for Dad and his wife.  He rang me from Adelaide once, beside himself.  Barb had rung him and said a man was stalking her.  This was when she was looking after my grandfather.  Then she reckoned someone was living under the house.  The house was made into a fortress, with my grandfather's money-much to his disgust.  The under-the-house workshop was barricaded. If there was anyone there, they would have starved to death, as they couldn't have got out...

One evening the police came to the front door, and my elderly, dementia-d grandfather watched them drag her off to the mental unit...  The case came before a judge, who let her go.  Mum blames feral hormones, I blame durgs, but she was always weird...

Aunty J, the younger sister, took her up to the Blue Mountains to find a house she could afford.  I think she has probably spent her inheritance, and hasn't bought a house up-country like mum did...

Last we saw of her was when Mum dropped her off vaguely in the area she had chosen to live, and we have not seen her since, although there is possibly still money waiting at the solicitors for her...

So, if you see her, let us know!

Other related posts:
So, How's Junior?
Losing our sponsored child...

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Linda George
New Zealand

Five Children*, Three Cats*,
One Husband, One of Me.
(Oddly enough...)
A few Aussie Accents,
One dedicated Kiwi,
Several ANZACS.
Go Figure.

*One Kitty Kat...

What I write from my life might just help you in yours...