There were a few memorable incidents that year that led to me being punished rather severely and one that left no doubt as to how much trouble my parents’ marriage was in, even though it took a few years more before it finally collapsed. The first and the least damaging was the Jacaranda tree episode.
In our front garden we had an enormous Jacaranda tree that split into four massive trunks about a meter and a half from ground level, creating a perfect place to build a tree house. Roping my sister Karen into being my apprentice, I duly built one between the four branching trunks. I had been given a junior woodworking set for my birthday that came with a wooden sort of suitcase where all the tools had their own slots. The set contained a saw that worked a small hammer and various other woodworking tools.
The hammer was far too small to drive the six inch nails that were required to support a tree house, so we borrowed Two Teeth’s building hammer, the one he used to split bricks with, for that purpose. The wood we obtained from the empty shipping crates that my father’s machines arrived in which he brought home to use as firewood in the large fire place in the lounge, during Winter.
The empty packing cases also doubled up as pirate ships and various other things in our everyday play. When we had completed the platform, we realised that we needed some sort of ladder or steps to reach it, so I decided that I would strip the bark from the front of the tree trunk and cut footholds into the living tree, which I duly did. When my father arrived home that weekend, he noticed the damage to the tree, it was a repeat of the tennis club, he shouted at me for about an hour, something he had never done before as punishment was normally handed down with a solemn lecture and judge like sentencing.
I had not known that my father was a tree lover, but I found out to my detriment, I was told that the tree would die as I had stripped the bark and the tree would now dry out. I was sentenced to three days to my bedroom without food as usual, but with the added discomfort of no clothes and bedding so that I would learn what it was like to be stripped of my outer layers of insulation.
Lots of Hugs and more,