Friday’s Child is loving and giving
I arrived in the middle of summer with my Dad pacing outside the delivery room at St Anne’s Hospital, Mt Lawley after being asked to leave. It was January the 11th, 1974 at 9.20 in the morning. I was in brow presentation and ten days overdue. Dad’s were not allowed to be present if there were any complications. I was pulled out with forceps, leaving a lovely big V dent in my forehead, but otherwise ok.
My parents were taught how to look after me and then sent on their way, 13 days after I was born. I was an unsettled baby, not content unless I was being held. I didn’t sleep well and threw up when being fed. Two weeks after I was brought home, I was taken to the local doctors surgery after my parents had discovered a “rattling” sound in my chest and I was continuously projectile vomiting breast milk. They were told that as new parents, they were just being overcautious and to go home and wait for my cold to disappear.
Luckily, my parents were persistent and went back to the doctors surgery two days later. They were then given a letter and sent to Princess Margaret Hospital, where I was admitted for pneumonia. When my parents were allowed to see me after I was admitted, I was connected to drips and leads that came from everywhere, including my newly shaved head. They were in a state of shock, to say the least.
6 weeks after my admission, I was hospitalised again with another bout of pneumonia. This time I was also malnourished and dehydrated. During this admission, the hospital began doing investigations to find out what was going on. The results came back and a specialist was sent up to see my parents. His findings were nothing my parents ever expected to hear.
© Melinda McKeon 20 May 2020
Sonder – n. the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
The realisation that my parents had lives before I came along didn’t strike me until I was in my teens and I started having conversations that weren’t just disgruntled replies and idle chit chat.
They met at Forrestfield Speedway in 1968, two complete opposites. He was a shy stock car driver – blonde, skinny and quiet in his early 20’s. She was a sporty spectator – dark haired, tanned and gregarious in her late teens. They were introduced by a mutual friend and the attraction was instant. They began dating the very next weekend, doing the usual young couple things like the drive-in movies, days out to watch the football and the occasional meal out at a pub. Whether it was just a case of young hearts in lust for a short time or if it was genuine love that was meant to stand the test of time, we’ll never really know. A family tragedy cut the relationship short and this should have been the end of the story…But luckily for me, it wasn’t over just yet.
A night out at the speedway brought our couple back together. Two well meaning brothers accosted our shy, young stock car driver and convinced him to start dating their sister again. It wasn’t long before things were full steam ahead. Our dark haired beauty fell pregnant in May, speeding up the process and the couple got engaged and planned a winter wedding. On June 30th 1973 at 3.30 in the afternoon at a place called Alfresco’s in Perth Western Australia – she in a long white gown with draped sleeves and a train edged in ostrich feathers and he in a hired suit – married and began their lives together.
After driving off in a car festooned with toilet paper, tin cans and shaving cream writing, they bypassed a honeymoon and drove back to the Grooms family home in Raleigh Street, Carlisle. There they returned to every day life – he worked on the trains and she worked in the printing press – and awaited the arrival of their firstborn
© Melinda McKeon 20 January 2020