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Annie B Taylor

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Member Since: Feb, 2007

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by Sylvia Ramsey

Begin an adventure under the sea with the mermaids and merchildren, and then sail the ocean of the evening sky on the waves of the Milky Way. Merchild Land is a children..  
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Eucalypt
By Annie B Taylor
Friday, February 09, 2007

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Stories I've heard from my Grandma so many times...

When the sun began to set on Saturday nights and cast long dark shadows under the trees on the footpath, just as the ships in the harbor switched on their lanterns and the sailors would begin to iron out the creases in their uniforms, a group of young men would begin to form outside Lola’s front door their arms laden with chocolates or the precious silk stockings, a vanity hard to find during World War Two. Lola would watch them from her window as she slipped into her dancing shoes and clipped earrings onto her un-pierced ears. She would study each of them and when she finally saw one she liked she would take off with him over the back fence and they would make their way through a maze of backyards to the valley with its night clubs and dance halls filled with Australian and American soldiers on their night off. There Lola would dance until the sky in the east became light and she would arrive hair knotted and eyes smudged home to her mother Annie sitting on the verandah waiting for the sunrise, a steaming cup of tea in her hands. Brisbane, our little seaside town was thrown into a cultural revolution during WW11, it was a main war port for soldiers and the docks were suddenly filled with ships and officers as the war came closer to home and the imminent threat of Japan invading heightened everyone’s patriotism. But my grandmother, a young girl among all the confusion remembers the war as a time filled with laughing and dancing, and hundreds of young “nice smelling American boys”.
My grandma had ivory skin and raven black hair that she let fall in a cascade to her slim waist. Only 7 stone 2, “she had to run around the shower to get wet,” my uncle used to laugh as he heard Grandma telling me all her stories.
“I broke my ankle swing dancing at city hall,” she says, “two lovely American boys carried me between them all the way home.”
In the dining room at my aunt’s house there is a framed photo of my grandma on her honeymoon at Yamba on the coast. She is standing in a white dress on a long sandy beach, holding her sandals in one hand over her shoulder the other hand resting on her waist. She smiles at the cameraman, my grandfather, and her black hair is blowing out behind her, long wisps of curls streaking across her face. I used to stand in front of that photo and think how beautiful she was, so carefree, not laden with the lines that time has burdened her with.

My grandparents met when grandma was just 19. She fell in love with his uniform, his Australian tan and piercing blue eyes. He was a soldier and as he got older he began to stare into the distance covering his ears to keep out the sound of the guns. But when my grandma met him he was as carefree as she was and they married and only eight months later she gave birth to her first son. Jack was named after his father but as he grew older it soon became apparent that he looked a lot more like Elvis than my granddad. My grandparents moved to Tingalpa to a large farming property a few kilometers away from the beach but my granddad fussed and became paranoid it was too close and the Chinese were going to moor their red boats on the beach and work their way inland hiding under the beds of innocent Australians and scalping them while they slept. He joined the local council and prayed five times a day to the Virgin Mary. His madness must have caught on to my grandmother who began to dress in a black robe and on Thursday nights attended secret meetings at the church.
Granddad died and on ANZAC day Grandma visits his lonely grave that sits almost adjacent to their old house in Tingalpa. She pulls out the weeds and the grass that has begun to send its long tentacles up his gravestone, but she needn’t bother, there is never a lot of grass to pull up because my aunty Susan still remembers him and leaves flowers and bunches of Eucalypt he never sees.

© Annie Taylor 2006 


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Reviewed by Megan Rockwell 2/10/2007
The imagery in this piece is incredible. The first paragraph really is the start of something amazing. You could really flesh this piece out and create real characters out of your grandparents, delve into how they fell in love, make this piece longer than just a page. I know I'd be interested in reading more.

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