What follows is a short story from Rosemary’s past. After talking with her, I have taken our discussion and turned it into a series of small stories highlighting the incredible life that she has led. Direct quotes from our discussion are highlighted in quotation marks. All else is a retelling written by yours truly.
Bill was not happy in Melbourne. It was no secret that Bill was not happy in Melbourne. He was a man of action, a man who got things done, and the laid-back, why-do-today-what-you-can-do-tomorrow attitude of the people he worked with was not uplifting. He wanted a change.
It was some months after settling into life in Melbourne that Bill was taking a stroll during his lunch hour and ran into some people from his old job. They talked. He mentioned that he wasn’t particularly enjoying the work. They asked him to return to his old company. He was a fantastic worker and they would love to have him back.
He was thrilled.
Rosemary, not so much.
Going back to his old job meant going back to Iran, back to disappearing for five weeks at a time and leaving Rosemary, who now had four children, to fend for herself.
But it was clear that Bill was really struggling here and – already being the one who made Bill quit his job and leave Iran – Rosemary didn’t want to be the one to force him to stay on here. So she prayed. She prayed and she prayed and in the end she came to the decision that she would be ok if they moved back. She was a fighter – albeit an unassuming one – and she would be fine.
(Her exact words when she told me the tale were, “I got over my little hissy fit.”)
Well, after the decision was made there was no time to lose. Preparations were needed. Plans were drawn out. Rosemary went shopping for all the things she knew she would need and thought she couldn’t get there. It was a busy time as Easter drew near and the family prepared to leave. Less than a year ago they thought this would be their home for the rest of their lives.
Then, out of the blue and not long before they were due to leave, a telegram came. It was from the company. It said ‘wait’.
Wait for what?
There was nothing to do but wonder. They couldn’t call them up and ask. Telegram was the only real way they could communicate. So they waited.
Luckily it was only a week later that an answer came and the answer brought relief to Rosemary. They were not going to Iran. They were going to Perth instead.
Well the good news was they were packed and ready, wherever they were going. So instead of finding the best route to Iran – I remind you, with three children and a baby – they drove their new Chrysler to the train station, loaded it and them onto the train, and journeyed across the dry, Australian land and the famous Nullabor Desert. It took a couple of days, stopping occasionally to let on and off people and animals and supplies.
When they got to their destination, still about 100 miles from Perth, they all jumped in the big Chrysler and drove off. It was Easter Sunday that day, which doesn’t really make much of a difference to the story except in that Rosemary remembered it was Easter Sunday.
The final 100 miles were hot and flat and straight. The road just continued and continued into the distance. There were no cars, except for one lorry that began appearing in the distance. It was wobbling a bit, swaying a little. And the road wasn’t very wide, definitely not built for a lorry and a big Chrysler to be passing each other. As the truck got closer, Rosemary realised it was carrying a bunch of what looked like wire cages, and they weren’t particularly secure.
Bill moved the car as much as he dared over to the side of the road as the truck closed the distance. The timing was, well let’s say unfortunate. As the truck passed, one final swerve dropped the wire cage over the side and it scratched along the side of the brand-new car. Bill stopped. The truck driver stopped.
The cages had hit the side of the car so hard that the back door wouldn’t open. The driver, it was quickly apparent, had been drinking. But what could they do? There was nothing but to get back in the car and drive off. There was no insurance out in the desert, and the driver wasn’t exactly going to pay for the damages. And a drunken sorry didn’t exactly go a long way.
So Rosemary and Bill and the children drove on – in a very crippled car – towards Perth.
And that was how they arrived in the city which, this time for sure, was to be their permanent home.
Stay tuned for more stories from the life of Rosemary. Please note: these stories will not necessarily hold any chronological grounding. They are designed as snippets of understanding into the life of Rosemary and while some will hold chronology, others may not.