A Genteel Ghost

a true story by Roger Britton
I never believed in ghosts before, but now I am not quite sure … perhaps a "presence" is what I mean ... St Mary’s Convent and school, in Warren, central New South Wales, had been the home for Josephite nuns for over one hundred years. A shortage of vocations meant that they could no longer staff the school. I had accepted the position of the new lay Principal. This old, two-storey convent, with its iron lacework verandahs, was to be our home. With my wife, Angela and our four children, we moved in during the Christmas holidays of 1977. A willing band of excited children carted bedding, toys and toiletry items up the stairs. Angela unpacked and set about organising the kitchen boxes and food, knowing that hunger would soon call us to table. [caption id="attachment_11694" align="aligncenter" width="619"]convent-building-warren The Lovely Old Convent Building in Warren[/caption]

There really are FEELINGS IN YOUR HEART you don’t even know exist until you have a child of your own. It’s a sensation without description. When our first-born finally arrived, it was the greatest day of my life. A fortnight after the expected time of birth, my wife was put into hospital, as the doctor was worried: the baby was too long overdue. Five days later, with still no signs of action, and on the doctor’s orders, the nurses began inducing the delivery. Two days after that, the baby finally deigned to arrive, but only after some twenty-four hours of labour. I was teaching the two dozen students in my one-teacher school at Cobbora when the phone rang just before the lunch break that day. It was Doc Campbell ringing from Dunedoo Memorial Hospital telling me I was the father of a boy. He also said both mother and child were well, but very tired due to the protracted labour. I had spent a week batching, but had known THAT day would be THE day; it was Friday the thirteenth after all, when else would it happen? dunedoo-hospital

A Happy Childhood ... by the beach

Memories of Freedom and Security
As a kid, I lived in a treasured place and time. It was the forties and fifties in Brighton-le-Sands. Life was simpler then. Kids could—and did—play outside all day. The crime rate was lower, we were happy with simple things, and only came home when the street lights went on. The streets were much safer places and were the venue for many games. Back then, we drank water from the tap or from a hose, not from bottles;  nobody knew about the dangers of lead poisoning, or asbestos, let alone worrying about fluoride. We ate white bread, biscuits, cheese, real butter and bacon, untrimmed beef or greasy lamb chops, and we drank whole cream milk without any health issue qualms. Those were the days when we knew and trusted all of our neighbors, when we either walked or rode our one family bicycle everywhere we went. [caption id="attachment_12869" align="alignright" width="730"]historic-photo-of-brighton-school Historic Photo of Brighton-le-Sands School[/caption]