There some things a 17-year-old just should NOT see!

Dear Raelene

It was January 1970; harvest was completed and the family took a holiday at the Lake, the idea, as usual; would be that Dad commuted between the farm and the Lake.

It was to be my last holiday with the family, or at least; Terry, Margo, Mum and Dad. I was looking forward to spending time with Margo and Terry, they were both growing into interesting and loveable kids.

It was unusual that the “Help” came with us on these holidays, but this time was different, and you were part of the family.

Maybe; Mum had some inkling as to what was happening, maybe; she did not want Dad going back to the farm alone to spend time with you there. Perhaps; she wanted you where she could see you and this is why you were asked to come along. Who knows what my mother made of the outbreak of peace that had happened since you arrived?

We had hired a four-bedroom cabin sitting just above the beach at the Lake. I am not sure how long we had been there but it was certainly not long into our holiday when the world erupted.

I heard Dad get up around 6.00 am and go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, this seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time.

It was with a sense of foreboding that I heard Mum get up and head to the kitchen to see what was happening.

In the next few minutes our little world for all its imperfections, would be blown apart.

The scream of rage echoed through the small cottage, I hurried to the kitchen not knowing what to expect.

Your room was adjacent to the kitchen; half asleep I was greeted with the sight of my Mother in the kitchen throwing anything that moved into your room.

Saucepans, pots, plates smashed against the walls, accompanied by banshee screams!

I pushed past Mum, to look into your room, more curiosity than courage, I must admit!

You were on the bed with the blankets pulled up over your head, it would have been comical in other circumstances, pots, pans and other kitchen utensils littered the floor and the bed.

Dad was trying to hide in the corner; an open pajama top, doing nothing to hide his dribbling manhood, obviously; a mere shadow of what it had been just minutes before.

Screams and yells echoed around the small cottage as I made my way back to the room I shared with Terry.

All sense of keeping up appearances had gone out the window; God knows what the neighbours made of their lazy, holiday morning being interrupted  by the torrents of abuse emanating from our small cottage at 6.30 am

I quickly got Terry and Margo up, and dressed, grabbed $20.00 from Dad’s wallet lying deserted near the front door and we went to have breakfast.

I was peppered by questions from Margo and Terry but I was lost for words; simply telling them that Mum and Dad had, had an argument.

We wandered back to the Cottage about 10.00 am, Dad’s Ute had gone and there was no sign of you.

Mum sat desolately in the lounge room, we tried awkwardly to comfort her but we were three kids; 17, 13 and 9.

Our family had just been decimated and we had no idea how to deal with a scorned and bitter mother.

I was still trying to come to grips with what I had seen earlier; the sight of my dribbling father, cowering naked in the corner is something I have never been able to erase from my mind even; after almost fifty years.

After all this time;  the sheer, fucking stupidity of the whole situation still confuses me.

My Father was not a stupid man and you were a worldly young woman.

How the hell did you ever think you could fuck madly in the Cottage  at 6.00 am?

There was no outside noise, and as I look back now; it is as if this idyllic, peaceful, family  morning  was simply too good to be true!

The motto of Dad’s RSL is; “the price of peace is eternal vigilance”, this had been drummed into us all our lives.

It is a pity my Father did not practice what he preached.

Distant memories of the bombing of the trenches of the Middle East, or; the fierce fire fights of New Guinea  must have seemed like a holiday camp to Dad as he frantically  tried to evade the contents of the kitchen, hurled with all the force, a scorned wife can muster.

The calm had certainly given way to a hell of a storm and in some ways, life would never be the same.

I don’t know what either of you were thinking, but even after all these years; I still marvel at the sheer stupidity.

I can never “unsee” that morning!



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