• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 12
Image by

Not All Balls Are Round but That’s Ok

Jimmy the Postie enters my lilac dreams on the eve of my departure. He delivers a letter.

Catania – Messina – Fremantle – Melbourne. It’s the land of opportunity, sis. You’re going to live in Richmond. And there’s a special wall at the end of the street that has a big sign on top that lights up at night. We can even kick a ball against the wall and the wall won’t tumble. Aunt Carmelina has even planted an Italian garden. You wait, in no time, we’ll have prickly pears, lemons, olive trees and even pomegranate.

Jimmy the Postie warns me about seasickness before homesickness. Jimmy the Postie reads my letters.

Neptunia looms in the distance. Trepid steps make their way up the plank. Unknown faces poke out of portholes.
The journey is filled with Christmas carols, rosary recitals and proxy brides staring at a not-so-faithful- picture of their future husbands. I wander the decks reeking of expelled breakfast, lunch and dinners, build castles with playing cards, and cover a black shawl with buttons that have lost their home.

I abandon my home—made to—a lost button, but Jimmy the Postie says life is about hops, skips and jumps like the Aussie kangaroo. A what? He takes a photo out of his black satchel.
*
I catch my brother kicking the ball against the special wall.

“What happened to it? It’s oval?”

“Nothing sis. Bobby down the street is going to teach me footy.”

I try footy but the ball never bounces back to me. Maybe it’s lost too.

1

Not All Balls Are Round but That’s Ok

Jimmy the Postie tells me to get out of the house, so I walk to the milk bar and I buy a raspberry icy pole. I lick all the way home. I make funny faces in front of the mirror. I laugh at my red tongue. My first smile in Australia. Laughter. Brief glimpses of happiness.

Jimmy the Postie says that I’m expected at Mrs. Smith’s English class next week. 8.00 a.m.

Jimmy the Postie delivers an invitation to swear allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second in 1965.

Jimmy the Postie enrols me in Richmond’s top Machinists Training School and in my dreams I tell Jimmy everything about plain, overlocker, blind, stitcher and buttonholes.

And I was a lost button no more.
*
I still get brain freeze when I lick raspberry icy poles though that’s not what I would have called it in the 50s. My granddaughter taught me that one. Mrs. Smith would have nodded her bespectacled face.

Jimmy the Postie is in retirement now but he revisits my dreams to reminisce about icy poles, immigration ceremonies, the evolution of the sewing machine and online postal services. He likes to remind me that Home really is where the heart is. Homes. The plural works.

2