Enter Eighty-Eight: Heaviness, Holes ‘n’ All… (1-3 January)

This year will be a particularly difficult transcription for me, for a number of reasons:

Because I’d decided in ’87 that I needed more room to record, I didn’t buy a day-to-a-page diary. Instead, I started out with a little ring-binder folder (see Tuesday 29 Dec, in the previous post] but as it filled up within the first few months, my 1988 diary ended up scattered throughout various notebooks and writing pads. Thankfully I did collate and transcribe them by hand some years later into a thick A4 spiral-bound notebook (pic below).A Life in Words

Because I wasn’t confined to an allotted space, I wrote more. A LOT more (…and gawd, did I dribble on…) This is painful in itself: it’ll demand more time & effort to publish my weekly posts.

Because of the scattered entries, but also mainly because of my particularly frenetic social life, some entries (days) were lost as a result. I’m fairly certain this is the only year that has ‘holes’ in it. This would be one of the main reasons I reverted back to ‘day-to-a-page’ diaries ever after. The limited space also encouraged me to continue my routine: an open book (unlimited space) is quite intimidating and feels like a lot more work… )

And finally, to be totally honest, I just didn’t like 1988. I can’t really explain why: maybe it was simply the Real World, the literal end of childhood. I was now facing Real Life and Responsibility. It wasn’t an easy year for me; the whole world as I knew it fell away beneath my feet. I somehow found it traumatic, but in an entirely different way to the bus accident: it was more personal. There was no extraordinary tragedy/ies to which I could ascribe my feelings, my actions and reactions: this was me drowning (as it felt) in the face of ordinary, everyday life experiences.

Friday 1/1/88

Well at midnight it was hug like crazy. I hugged so many people and got some kisses too. I’m sure I could’ve kissed Philip (N) had I not pulled away in the first place. [There’s that inherent shyness that most people can’t see in me…] I was so hurt when I saw [privacy omission] and Jim … they went all the way. I really wished Mark was there then, but was O.K. Soon after, though, Megan Sharon & I left: got a taxi to the Hill. Wasn’t too bad in there, but all the sleazes were left. […as they always are….] I was in a real mood.. not really happy (very tired) and thinking one hell of  a lot about Mark. God I wish he was here. So much. Well in Smithy’s we sat (after Sharon & Megan “exploding”) [that is, after they each downed the particular cocktail we all favoured for intoxication purposes- aptly named ‘Explosion’. For those who missed the description previously, it was a glassful of straight spirits, set alight and consumed through a straw…] & I was real bored- that Darren S guy came up beforehand and was saying how he’d wanted to see me again after that night (I was so nonchalant) (almost bitchy) […yes, well, clearly not interested…] It was really boring (CB & I were dead tired Sharon annoying me so much ..getting shitty ‘cos I “wasn’t getting into it”. Anyway we left around 3:30, with [privacy omission]. Dropped Sharon home, then to a 24hr [service station …”servo” as we called them] Megan & [privacy omission] got food – CB & I nearly bombed [fell asleep] in the back of the car (talking a lot about [privacy omission] tonight she had Shane McM; bitch) so then [privacy omission] took us to Megan’s where we sat and talked for a while in the car. Finally they left (CB & privacy omission]) and Megan & I prepared for bed. A Life in WordsAfter reading Mark’s letter, it was about 5:30 and daylight was breaking. I woke a few times, but got out of bed at, get this: 1:00pm! Megan & I had food, a swim, food then mum got me (about 4:00) We talked a lot in between. I’m still worried about what to do this year. What will I do?? SHIT!! So I watched TV all afternoon. Mrs H came past (walking the dog, Gemma) and stopped to talk… all about careers & life after school. Megan forgot to ring me tonight ([privacy omission] did this arvy- she knew I was shitty with her about Jim) Just watched the 4hr AUSTRALIA LIVE show (bicentennial thingy) was quite good! Some things were really funny! Now I’m going to watch DR. ZHIVAGO while everyone else bombs A Life in Words(I probly will too) Have so much to do: get Mark a present, send him a telegram, [Ha, seriously? For anyone under the age of thirty, imagine going to an office in town to pay someone to send a text message for you. That’s pretty much what a telegram was…or IS if they even still exist?] decide about my QTAC, get Mark’s family a prezzy, clean my room, etc, etc, etc! …Ugh! Well Goodnight. First goodnight of 1988!!

Saturday 2/1/88

Well, I got to bed around 2:15 last night after Dr. Zhivago (which I really loved) deciding that Rage wasn’t worthwhile watching. I woke, god knows, to answer the phone (Joannah: [privacy omission]) around perhaps 10:30(??) I spent the day, well, most of it, cutting up magazine pictures (watching cricket) and was still doing that when Mike & Cynthia and Dougie, Thomas and couz Kylie & her best friend Nonie, arrived. I felt unsociable because of it, but I tried. Could tell they were bored. Sharon rang in the meantime & invited me to Green Is. tomorrow I said I’d ring her back. So I finished cutting pictures and cleaning out more drawers (and “regions”) of my bedroom. Taylors & Co and Sharon rang – I said yes. A Life in WordsTonight I have a rather large mess on my bedroom floor. It’s 9:30 or so and I don’t care if that’s the way it stays. […which is impressive considering how neat and organised I am – verging on OCD…] I need an early night. Gotta be up early tomorrow. God I’m missing Mark! Only 3 days left! Catching up my ’87 HW diary this arvy too – that took up time & space. [And was it really so important? No!] I have so much to do!!

Sunday 3/1/88

Mum woke me I don’t know when because I was tired and hadn’t finished my dream, but I got up at 7:38 anyway. Had breakfast, waxed armpits (!!) then rushed around trying to figure out what to take (& wear). Had nothing in the fridge I could take to eat, neither did we have any suntan lotion (only 15+ sunblock – so I took that) Got there just a little late (Sharon said she was beginning to worry→ panic) Bought tickets & boarded. Packed boat→ had to share our seat. Once there (long boring trip) found ourselves an area, swam then baked. A trip to the kiosk (and back for a swim & a bake again) revealed… NO spunks (unattached ones, that is) How depressing! So after another trip (to get lunch) then another bake (I felt I was getting burnt) we went, got a loaf of bread and Sharon fed the fish. She borrowed snorkels and goggles from this man and occupied herself . I sat, staring into the water, watching that man’s [the snorkel-and-goggles man’s] lady (wife!) having heaps of trouble in a canoe when I realised this most gorgeous guy (worked at the island) was sitting close by… laughing now & then. He made some comments and I laughed. A Life in WordsGod he was cute! Grant Kenny lookalike! [Grant Kenny (see right) was an Australian Ironman champion in the early 80’s] I said after awhile (Sharon had come up) “where’s the lady in the canoe?” and we laughed again (Uh, yummy!) So Sharon & I hung around, then went for our last quick dip (having gone back, gotten our gear, and placed it on our boat) Got on, then went off again to get food at the kiosk & on again & there he was! We went up to ask one guy some silly question just so we could perve. [Ha, teenaged girls…] Trip home seemed faster. God my legs are so burnt: so’s my stomach & lower back ..mph! Pain! Walked up to the Hostel, I rang mum & Sharon caught a Hayles bus home. [Hayles Pty Ltd was the company that ran the vessels to the islands at that time, and they naturally (a tourism essential) provided courtesy buses so she snagged a free ride home since one of their routes passed close by. Unfortunately, they didn’t ‘service’ my part of town.] Did nothing at home except worry about the amount of things I have to do tomorrow. Presents + telegram for Mark… clean room, go through QTAC forms. Oh dear! Watching cricket now – it’s depressing cause we are losing (again?!) [maybe that’s one of the reasons I’ve ended up with an aversion to watching it now?] and it’s about 10:00. So I might go to bed, now. Beautiful weather today. We were going to go to beach night but decided we were too exhausted. I’M BURN’T!! [I have no idea why I threw an apostrophe in that word. I did know better… sunstroke, maybe?]

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The Scene of the Crime, A Family Gathering & An Innocent Sleepover (13-19 April)

Monday 13/4/87

Almost missed the bus – my pants were wet [I’m thinkin’ perspiration…] & I forgot camp photos ‘n’ everything, but I did just get the bus! Boring day – walked round a lot (Lucy’s put on lotsa weight & smokes now) I tried on some formal dresses- some so gorgeous (my favourite a silver dress $499) [which was definitely mega-expensive for that era, and totally out of my reach] We went to the movies “TOP GUN” yet again. After, I finally bought some shoes – gorgeous white flats with a cut-out heel A Life in Words[and here I’d included an illustration for better clarity…see right] & punched holes [like the patterns in leather ‘brogues’ (see pic below) …which by the way were just coming into fashion in a big way.] only $30 from Sportsgirl (believe it or not!! Gorgeous! A Life in WordsLucy came to our place till her dad picked her up. Got the TV & video rental Gonna watch “About Last Night” tomorrow. Missing Mark terribly already. Wonder when he’ll ring? oooh! 10:30 I’m tired Ate so much chocolate tonight. I feel fat!! [Uh huh, you feel fat …but you are totally oblivious to the more serious damage that rubbish is doing to you inside…at the cellular level…] Another mouse this morning – sick – caught it & ‘fore throwing it down the back, Mike bashed it, to make sure it was dead. [Boys love that shit, huh? I know plenty of ‘fellas’ who’ve taken to toads like they were golf balls over the years. Not to generalise of course: I’m sure some girls may have had a turn or two as well…] Ooh! No more mices! I hope!

Tuesday 14/4/87

A Life in Words
A (marginally) better view of my scar, than in the full picture (below)

We went to the site today (after mum worked in the morning & I finished all the choc. out of my ‘show bags’) we drove to the site. I cried a bit to start with but went down & collected as many souvineers as possible. [Really, all that I gathered up was junk and ended up being binned at a later stage. I think the act of ‘collecting souvenirs’ was itself symbolic or a method of ‘processing’; an excuse to physically return (down in)to the very place where so much trauma had hid me all at once on that fateful day.] I couldn’t believe how different it was, to my thoughts[Memory. In other words, it wasn’t as I remembered it…] Then, stopped at Edmonton to see the bus- yeuch. It’s a bloody mess. [I have included photos of it at the end of this post.] Stopping at K-Mart, then once home, around 5:30 Mark rang – was cut off first & after 2nd time, didn’t ring back – but it was good to talk to him. Video tonight “Best Defense” was stupid. Is 9:40. Only just found out, on the answering machine, that Fi rang, so I’ll have to ring her tomorrow. Damn it! Rainy-Overcast weather set the scene perfectly at the site .. it was so much steeper than I thought .. & the bend less sharp, but also shorter than I imagined. Otherwise I recognised it all. Can’t wait till Mark gets back. Oh I’m tired. Boring day (strange, untalkative mood after the bus site revisit?) [Sounds like a rhetorical question to me: I’m fairly sure I knew deep down that visiting the site would bring ‘stuff’ up… even if I wasn’t exactly able to define what…]

A Life in Words
At the top of the drop (you can’t even see the bottom of the gully) my crouching pose deliberately emphasises the scar that was born in this place. Interestingly enough, this verge on the side of the road seems not to exist anymore: when I returned in 2012, the drop from the guardrail at the edge of the road is almost immediate. The road must have been widened since the accident….?

Wednesday 15/4/87

Boring, boring, boring. I rang Fi _ _ she said she’d rung to talk cos she hadn’t talked to me “for ages” ..said Jemima wanted everyone to go bowling tonite – GREAT! I thought. so I went to town & Earlville with cousins etc. At home, did very little ..sunbaked (lemon juice in hair) & started my camp/crash scrapbook. Then after ringing Fi (not home) & mima, found out they went to Green Island so I decided I wouldn’t go bowling [a reaction purely based on hurt, the thought processes behind being “all or nothing”: if I’m not invited to everything, I won’t attend anything… I won’t be missed…] ..went late nite at Kmart instead. Laughed a lot! Watched “North & South” at home. Saw Linda P & Steven- actually talked rather comfortably with him for a few minutes (shit this pen’s stuffed) [the biro I was using that night wasn’t working so well] cloudy & sunny day – Marks coming home tomorrow I CAN’T WAIT!! Want to see him so badly. Shit, so many late nights since Jo & Mike came (I can’t stand the mess & laziness they show.) Mark..!!! LOVE YOU!!

Thursday 16/4/87

Mark rang tonight – 10 minutes after he got home! (I thought that was so sweet – straight away, practically) we didn’t decide what to do tomorrow so I’ll ring him around 9:00 Woken by the phone ([our] mums were at the dump) I answered & it was for Julia. SHIT OFF TO THE MAX! [Ha! “..to the max(imum)” was a great adverbial phrase.] Watched TOP SECRET, while doing my camp scrapbook ..sat in the sun browning myself & then to to work on my scrapbook again (altogether I didn’t do much at all on it today!) A Life in WordsWent to get the video on dusk… and it was soon after our getting back that Mark rang about 7:20 I think. (Watched TV & now the new chosen video – MONEY PIT) I hope we do decide on something to do- I badly want to see him again. Mrs B visited today – and Mr. G. also dropped in – I thought he’d rev me about my assignments; luckily no! warm day Brent finally brought the typewriter back!!

Friday 17/4/87

Well, I rang ‘im about 9:30 – & as I thought, he was still asleep… so I felt really terrible- talked abit & finally decided I go to his place (& take my photo albums too!) at 11:00. Well, we mucked around (& tickled- ouch!) Looked at photo albums- I went into his room (umah) – almost slammed the door on my fingers. Was good, but the time went so quickly ..only 2 little kisses, But some affectionate moments, when we just looked at each other. Ate cheese sandwich for lunch..mum came & was talking for awhile to Mr. & Mrs W (told me later we may be going to Josephine Falls with them on Sunday for a BBQ) HOPE SO!! So I told Mark to ring me, when he wasn’t tired. I love him I know I do… I feel it all through me ..this wonderfully happy, relaxed feeling when I’m with him (ESPECIALLY when we’re alone & at night!) [Um, yeah Liss, that’s a different four-letter ‘L’ word…] Did nothing at home. boring. Watched EUROPEAN VACATION tonight … bore! [I’ve never been fussed on the National Lampoon series. Give me Monty Python any day…] Is now 9:15.. early really! (compared to other nights I’ve had) god I hope he rings me soon .. am dying to see him again soon.

A Life in Words
The last photo I have of my Nana was taken on this day. She was wheelchair-bound by this stage due to her rheumatoid arthritis. See her gnarled right hand? …and by the way, the cigarettes in her handbag? She smoked right up until she was unable to hold anything in her fingers…

Saturday 18/4/87

mmph! woke only after 7:00 (got up around 7:45) this morning – not fair – I can’t sleep in. Did nothing, basically.. watched Between the Teeth [a quite short-lived music programme on the ABC] & that was about it. (all that I did) Michael & I went with mum around 11:00 to get chicken, change the video & get Nana (saw Paul W on the way) When Auntie Thel, Uncle Ross, Michael (mum’s cousin) & cynthia (his wife) & child came, we were watching BACK TO THE FUTURE. Sharon rang me .. we talked for yonks (she did). Auntie Thel helped me make a big (solve a big problem) decision…my CAREER ..She said Libby (daughter) was booming in her interior dec. business & could (does) need help.. so all of a sudden, I’m interested..think of the prospects!! It’s an excellent idea! [That, like the few others I ever had, left my consciousness after that day. What do they say…”all talk no action”?] Anyway, Mark rang after Sharon..talked for ages (mum & Mrs W decided on tomorrow’s trip to Josephine Falls) & after (visitors left) I got ready to go to his place . . . it wasn’t quite as “touching” this time ..we did kiss now & then (not that I didn’t like that – I loved it! But, ah, somehow it was less “touching”… we watched TV, ate dinner late, during the sick movie.. mucked around mainly.. tickling not much talking ↵

Sunday 19/4/87

But, anyway when I rang a taxi at 11:15, no answer… Mr & Mrs W came home after their dinner & suggested I stay.. I thought so..Mark didn’t want me to..wonder why? But anyway, I rang mum & it was O.K. I was in Sandra’s room, with FM4CCR on her clock radio (Mark set it up for me!!) I went to sleep around 12:30, I guess woke around 7:00, but snoozed till 8:15 – Mrs W got me up (I heard Mark play “Candy” – he played it to me last night) this morning) Had brekky & finally around 9:30 mum & the gang came. I went with the W’s.. Mr & Mrs & Mark and Keith too..trip up there & swam ice-cold water (not many people looked at my leg – I wasn’t really embarrassed at all!) After lunch (BBQ) left (I went with them again) stopped in for a look at the Bus at Edmonton. Left Mark’s ..went to Nana ..BORING!! Got a video SHORT CIRCUIT after that & watch it this arvy .. then dad came (I got $15 believe it or not) ..then we watched the movie again. Mark was working 3pm to 9pm tonight, so unless he rings me soon, or tomorrow, I’ll speak to him again Monday night before school. J&M and Julia & A.H. are going to G. Island 2morrow – I’m staying home to do the work I should’ve done over the hol’s. Saw Lyn. C. at the BIG TOMATO today (working there) Ugh! Am tired… have had an unreal weekend!!

A Life in Words
The bus wreckage was housed at Edmonton Police Station for quite some time. Here, I’m pointing out to my sister & cousin approximately where I had been sitting. The window struts caved in as we rolled so the roof sheared off the vehicle as it came to rest.

 

A Life in Words
All of the deceased had been sitting on the left-hand side of the bus & mostly toward this rear corner.
A Life in Words
the front of the bus
A Life in Words
The rear righthand side just behind where I had been sitting. This is the luggage compartment: the extra weight in the rear most likely decreased our chance of staying on the road…