Seven years old. Walking behind my sister along Moreton Bay’s shoreline at Margate, I picked up an interesting stone. My lucky stone. I asked my Science Master in high school about it. No answer, until weeks later when I had an appointment with his dreaded cane. “Did you manage to identify my stone, Sir?” I asked hopefully. “Ah! Yes – an operculum.” Reaching into his pocket, he told me a little about gastropods. His cane rested that day. My lucky stone.
Leprechaun soccer booties
Eight years old: revisiting western Queensland after some years away. We had learned to swim in the city, living near the beach and St Bernadette’s “Olympic” swimming pool. Roma, halfway between the coast and my first home. I still have the trophies I won that day, in the country town with dangerous beetles in their pool. I stayed with the sporting goods shop owner, opposite a vineyard. The nights were crackling cold with frost. He gave me a tiny pair of Adidas boots, fashioned for the little people.
My American aunt – born in Halifax, raised in England, resident of Florida – and her US Coastguard husband gave me this keepsake after a swimming carnival. Flying Arrow. I was a little embarrassed to think that they had given it to me out of pity, instead of to my sister, who was by far the swiftest.