The return to Mount Isa was a sweet, joyous relief; only slightly offset by the fact that it was still just Mount Isa.
Full disclosure: I don’t really have a story for this address in this time period. The main reason for this is I don’t really have a memory of this time period. Most of the first half of 1990 is kind of…fuzzy. I think the reason for this is that the time I spent in Bamaga, Yorke Island and Thursday Island occupied a great deal of space in the spectrum between “stressful” and “traumatising”, and the wash of relief of leaving and coming back to familiarity (and indoor plumbing, and medical care, and Kentucky Fried Chicken) completely overloaded my brain circuits.
In fact, all the stuff in the previous story about Lauren going into hospital with impetigo, and mum going into hospital as well with dengue fever/a foetus? I didn’t remember any of that. I mean, I remember the foetus, kind of, because I now have a 24-year-old brother. But all that information came from mum, while I stared at her like this:
I mean, it’s not like I don’t have an excuse: I had very recently learnt a new language, survived multiple ant attacks (and one shark ride), busted my face open, gotten scurvy and been molested, so it’s entirely understandable that my brain’s RAM was spread a bit thin. Hell, my MacBook shits itself if I try to run iTunes and Chrome at the same time, and there are hardly any ants in my MacBook at all.
SO, considering the circumstances, I’m giving myself a mulligan on this address. I did find out where we were staying: it was in my grandparents’ house; they were staying with my great-grandparents, because my “Nin” (great-grandmother) had had a stroke. The house was nicknamed The Grubbery (for fairly straightforward reasons: when they bought it, it was a dump – see picture), and we were there for a month or so.
Here’s everything I remember myself. Don’t say I didn’t at least try:
-This would be the first time (but not the last time) that I would return to a street I had previously lived on. This is partly because Mount Isa doesn’t have that many streets to choose from, and partly because with our rate of movement it was bound to happen eventually.
-I was at Happy Valley State School (again), in a composite class of year 4/5 students. Mr Sharp had gone! 😦
-We had two excellent teachers, however: both women, who would split us up into our individual grades when required (there was an accordion door in the middle of the room they would use to make the giant classroom two small classrooms), but for the most part we were all taught together, and they would teach as a comedic duo.
-The two teachers seemed like they were BFFs, and I loved them. My brain tries to tell me that one of them was named Ms Lawrence, and the other one’s first name was Jennifer, but then again I could have just read an article about The Hunger Games and be confusing myself.
– I had a white digital watch. I think it was a promotional watch from a video rental store.
– I was so in the habit of speaking Pidgin, it took ages to train my brain to stick with English. Mere months after the “Who’s on First?” routine I endured in Bamaga, I would go through it all over again, this time in the other role. It remained as unfunny as the first time.
– I had a ridiculous haircut. Though, having said that, this is technically true of every address I’ve ever had, up to and including the one I’m in right now. So that’s less of an impressive memory gem, and more of an educated guess.
– Since leaving Mount Isa, television licensing had changed, so the one local station that had been “ITQ” was now called “Ten” (a rural version of the “Ten” from the capital cities; now known as “Southern Cross Ten”). The advertising campaign had a jingle that went something like “T-E-N…that’s en-ter-tain-ment!” I thought it was glossy and shiny and metropolitan and everything I aspired to be. I sang it non-stop, and occasionally still do. This is a version of it, and yes part of the “rap” in the middle (performed, or at least mimed by, Bruce Samazan) does include the lyrics “Neighbours, E-Street, L.A. Law! Doogie Howser, lots lots more!”
You can totally sing along to it. I dare you.