Bexley

If you ever get a chance travel to Bexley, NSW Australia.

In that shopping centre, one of the busiest you will find in Sydney there used to be a small corner shop that sold 5 cent bags of lollies. For comparison you need 100 cents to make a dollar. Ever the entrepreneur I built a machine out of a cardboard box that dispensed the lollies one at a time.

At 1 cent each. That meant that my lolly purchase before school was worth 10 cents worth of machine aggregated sugar. My business lasted till lunch time. I made 20 cents profit.

With that profit I bought a packet of what are known as 'football cards' - cardboard cards with football players from differing teams on them. St George were the most popular closely followed by the Rabbitoh's.

The object of the game was to stand near a wall with a predefined chalk mark and throw the card towards the wall...flick it. It would land and if it landed on top of another you then were able to collect that card. Amass them. Heavy with cards I soon became aware of the power of 'things' over others.

Cards became cigarettes. I got caned for bringing (trading) cigarettes at age ten in school. My parents knew nothing of this. Nor did they know of me stealing the biscuits from the Church Vestry. Climbing trees at 3 AM in the morning. Riding my scooter to Arncliffe and back before daylight.

Bexley was filled with truck fumes, the delicious cooking of Italian families wafting through long tiled corridors, the din of traffic...the screech of bats and the stench of their piss.

Occasional visits from Cousins.

The garbage truck men (yes...gender divide again) who were often muscular footballers, left us kids toys they found discarded. We longed for a Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon to find out what our 'new' toys were to be.

The cat 'Poppy', a stray kept us company. So did another ginger tom cat that ended up eating the kittens under the house. Poppy went mad soon after and got stuck which required precision crawling.

One vivid nightmare had me standing at the back door of the house. Terrified and frozen to the spot a creature with no eyes or ears pushed the normally very noisy wheelbarrow down the path. I wet myself. Again. The dream or what ever it was repeated itself for years and my sleep walking became more widely roaming.

My book reading intensified. I ventured further down the drain networks of Rockdale, Kogarah, Hurstville with my Brother. We became fast friends.

Forever friends.