1961 A can of cherries for dinner

I was around 4 or 5 when my mum and I found ourselves almost homeless sitting on a bench seat at a bus stop on Crittenden Road in Findon South Australia with nothing for dinner except a tin of preserved cherries that Mum had bought for us initially for dessert.

We had been staying at my grandparent’s home, a Housing Trust home on Birch Street in Findon, my grandfather, an aging returned soldier had patiently put up with me an inquisitive toddler always getting into stuff and super interested in what he was doing all the time as he was always gardening, making, repairing, and inventing useful gadgets for my grandmother who was an amazing Homemaker, sewing, knitting, cooking amazing meals, cakes, jams, making preserves from my grandpas homegrown produce.

He could only be so tolerant of a toddler hanging around all day and night when he was long past that so an argument ensued between him and my mother over me, I had probably re-sorted his perfectly categorised collection of something, or maybe put a happier face on one of the ancient family portraits they had, none of them were smiling.

So my mum grabbed me and we went walking, we really had nowhere to go and no money to do anything, mum was working at the Stirling Hospital as a cleaner which was long hours for very little money as in those days there were no pensions for single mother’s or no widows pensions, we were on the Housing Trust waiting list for community housing but that was to take another couple years.

We sat together and ate the cherries with our fingers after using the attached key to carefully wind around the tin to open it and chatted about the meaning of life until I fell asleep with my head on her lap then she carried me back to the grandparent’s house.

My mum Evelyn went through so much hardship to keep me, I really think that’s what stopped me from even contemplating blowing my brains out each time I was beaten and bullied at school.

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