Pedi-Cabs, Parties & Regurgitated Vodka Orange (14-20 December)

Monday 14/12/87

Woke rather early- wished I could’ve gotten more sleep (but what’s new?) Hanging out for the postman .. but he’s getting later & later now cause of xmas mail ‘rush’. Plus our. phone wasn’t working (all day, it turned out.→ lines were cut) so I couldn’t ring Fiona, so I bludged all day till she came to visit .. to talk about dinner. She left & I kept reading magazines ..then she came back again & jules & I went with her to get videos (etc) then home again. Watched TV till Chris & Cameron visited. I went for a drive; so did they! And Sharon was there when we returned. She told me all about herself (as usual) [um Liss, I don’t think you can point fingers…] Then I had to hurry to get ready. Jay & Anna & Jenny picked me up. At the LIN NAM restaurant, we waited ages … but when everyone who was coming, was there (Fi, Brent Jay, me, Sue, Anna, Jenny & mima) we ate yummy chinese foodA Life in Words – then ice cream balls (fried) for dessert. [Gawd I love those things! Mum actually made them a few times at home. Mmmm, nom-nom-nom!] At Fi’s again . . watched FROG DREAMING and then THIEF OF HEARTS. I was dead after that.

Tuesday 15/12/87

Had a rather (short) restless sleep. Mima had to leave earlier .. Fi dropped me home before going grocery shopping.. then picked me up after. (no letter from him again) we went to mima’s & watched TV mostly all day… taping music for their trip. Went to Smithfield at one stage & had a ½hr wait (browsing in shops) for them to fix the heels on Mrs B’s shoes. TV (& a pig-out) again, then talk (about old times) and finally to indoor soccer. Freak rainstorm during it – came & went instantly! Got home before 7:00 – watched TV all night – Now’s about 9:45. Need good sleep tonite_hopefully going out tomorrow night (haven’t been out for yonks!) – (over a week!) [My my, a whole week? That’s shocking. You’re hard pressed to get me to leave the house these days. In fact, I hate getting to bed later than 10pm] thinking about Mark today & my feelings were different – I didn’t feel so sick or angry I had a strange feeling of nonchalance – like no matter he was there: he loves me. Wierd!! [Yes, weird: badly worded. I think basic gist is that I was finally ‘leting go’ of an issue that had been plaguing me…] I can’t wait to have that talk with him – it’s imperative!! NITE!!

Wednesday 16/12/87

A Life in Words
Pedi-cabs were everywhere in Cairns in the late 80’s but oddly enough, despite the tropical heat, you’d rarely see them with the hoods up, like this.

Woke rather early again .. remember waiting for Fiona (& the bloody mailman!) did art – the crash scrapbook (only a little) she came, and went, Adam rode down here, she came again with Nyrie & we all went [to see our friend and her family off on their European holiday]. There were so many people .. and it was so emotional! (You’d think they were leaving for life) then we went into town. Saw Tania & she gave us a pedi-cab ride to Dad’s [Ah, ye olde pedi-cabs. They were THE thing at that time.] (where I got a loan of $10 & a big nag lecture about my career.) [Yep. Dad was certainly the disciplinarian. No one could ever accuse him of failing to instill in us work ethic and the value of a dollar…] Fiona got lots of her shopping done (me, included) and we got home around 4:30-5:00. Fi rang & said she wasn’t going out; ditto Jo. So I couldn’t get onto Jude so – Sharon ..she came late & in town we had trouble: NPBS [Northern Permanent Building Society – I’m fairly sure I had a bank account with them too…] ate her cashcard and at ANZ she had only $2. Went around esplanade. ..finally loaned $20. [To think you only needed $20 for a night out on the town… that is surely unheard of now?] Got in up there [the House on the Hill] no sweat. But there was barely anyone there. Juliet Jude, Anna, Danae Juliet & Sharon made up. [Made up? Erm, obviously there’d been some issue/s between these girls previously… that I can’t recall…] Nigel was back – he won Bruce SpringsteenA Life in Words

Thursday 17/12/87

→album & gave it to me [damn, I’d always believed I’d won it myself …in one of those poncy dancing comps the club DJs sometimes randomly held] – so there’s something for Julia (Xmas prezzy) [ah yes, ever the pragmatist: with very limited funds for christmas shopping, I had to be resourceful. Mind you, if I’d really wanted the album I wouldn’t’ve re-gifted it, I’m sure…] I was smoking too got rather drunk – people buying drinks for me. Later I drank so much I had one whole cigarette & was spinning badly then I vomitted (inside – yes! EMBARRASSING But I think no one saw me x-ept who I was with – Anna & a guy she knew) [Oh yes, I remember this quite clearly – considering how intoxicated I obviously was. I’d been drinking vodka & orange, and was standing a a ‘dry bar’ (a table you stand at) with Anna & her friend when the urge came over me and I basically ‘re-filled’ the glass from which I’d been drinking. Needless to say, we all promptly vacated the table (the other two obviously faster than I) and full glass, and later contemplated the likelihood of some grubby cheapskate happening upon said receptacle, only to receive a nasty surprise…] FUCK! Then I took it easy [too little too late?] – sobered up. . danced with new St M. [St Monica’s] Friends & ‘David‘ & Richard (O’S) left around 4:30- Anna paid taxi- Jay didn’t come back to pick us up. Anna was so mad. Anyway bombed it & woke around 9:45 Got up_feeling DEAD & rang Jo. But I rang her back to say I felt too sick to go. I honestly felt real bad. A Life in Words[Finally a hangover worth mentioning…] Slept all day, nearly .. till 1:45 & watched TV for the rest. Boring!! I really badly want to go op-shopping (Xmas shopping – get it out o’ the way). I feel so mixed up about Mark too. I want him to love me real lots – with a strong passion [it is what it is, Elissa] .. but I can’t help feeling he likes (I can’t say it Loves) Nicole. It makes me sick to think he could & probably does. [Ego’s reaction] Oh what’m I to do?? [Well, nothing right now, obviously; the guy is thousands of kilometres away from you. What you need to do is quieten the incessant, mostly ridiculous, stories your Mind is pushing at you so that you can allow your gut instinct to surface…]

Friday 18/12/87

I spent the day at home (mostly). see I’d wanted to go op-shopping or Xmas shopping in town, but also go to the beach, however Fiona said she was working when I rang her. So I spent the day (well, for starters, I’d ‘slept’ a lot of it ‘in’) doing scrapbook, but mostly watching TV. Sharon rang & about 3:30 mum dropped me in town (talked to Giles) she bought stuff & we walked round saw Gordon for a while, then we met mum & julia. Missed the pedi-cab ‘grand prix [I have no idea what this was for, or in conjunction with, nor why my Dad was involved…] (saw the end tho’. Yeah dad won ..big thing about it .. no time to talk to us & By the way, he wouldn’t let me have the weekend for 2 at the Hilton. [Why should he give his prize to you Liss?] A Life in WordsI bought, only his prezzy – $6.25 3 glass storage jars. home by 9:30 ..Sharon & I got a taxi around 10:30-11:00. There were more people than Wed, (more young ‘uns) but not enough to open upstairs, Mark R. was there & I tried to keep looking at him. [Why?] We did basically nothing but talking mucking round with Dean, till Jeffry M & ‘Heiffer’ asked us to dance

Saturday 19/12/87

→(I don’t remember his real name) Jeffry was dancing with Sharon. “OK…” I thought, but when we sat down, they Sharon & Heiffer seemed to disappear & we talked & eventually got together. He left 2:30, kept saying about the party ..if I wasn’t going to ring him; If I was I could ring him anyway [privacy omission – I had inserted his phone number here and was stoked I actually memorised it→] I remembered WOW! Of all people – I got Jeffry M!!! (& [privacy omission] didn’t even!) So we danced & Megan C said she’d take us home ..she left at 5:00. Great.. I’m too old to stay out that early late anymore! [Oh that, that is hilarious…] So I got sleep (mum was awake!!) till Jo rang 9:20 & I had to answer it. Wasted morning: Fi came over & we went to Smithfield, then beaches, but too windy, so after a slip’n’slide in Sharon’s backyard, we sunbaked there. A Life in WordsGot home around 4:00 -slept till 6:00 or so. Sharon & I got there around 8:30. Jeoffry [I clearly struggle with deciding how to spell some peoples’ names…] was there .. so were millions of other people: it was a massive party! Jimmy was there God he’s gorgeous. Apparently he broke up with his girlfriend .. sharon told me he wanted to talk to me! (Well, the party: was good. Not a RAGE! just good. Mark R was there Jeffry talked to me … and later, in the house tried to .. well, he did want a relationship ..[privacy omission] said so→

Sunday 20/12/87

→so then I decided to say it : and I felt so bad .. I still do, but it’s the truth. I don’t want to screw anyone up. [That’s me: too nice, too honest …too gullible?] SO he won’t talk to me ever again, probly hate me (& his friends will too) But I don’t care: Jim!!) [WTF?!] so. There were lots of fights, the party ended round 2:00 I think .. I found out staying over wasn’t a simple matter of anywhere you want, so I walked with [privacy omission] & CB to Hoare St, we caught a cab to [privacy omission]‘s ..ate what we could find, and fell asleep in front of RAGE (TV) woke early .. CB & I talked .. went & got clothes from Lisa’s place up the road .. then Tasha S came down & [privacy omission], Tash & I went to the shop for brekky stuffs. Mum picked me up round 11:00 & I slept till about 2:00 at home. Mulleys place I bitched about Nicole, to Moo- we watched RUTHLESS PEOPLE on video, then went to LeB’s (gorgeous) new house. At home -rang Fi .. I would’ve walked with her [to (yet another) party] but she was going to be too late so I went by 8:10. A Life in WordsDrank Fosters all nite. [Ew, really?! The Aussie beer with the highest international profile that isn’t actually consumed (and is actually detested) by a vast majority of Australians… Well, it was popular back in the 80s’…] I got so drunk. I mean it was BAD – the whole night I regret completely. See, I got very drunk .. finding it hard to walk, even (usually I have no trouble with mobility when I’m drunk – look sober) [well, so you think…] so I was→ [uh-oh…. in true soap opera style, you’re going to have to wait til next week to find out how this exciting tale unfolds…]

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Heartbreak Week: the Bus Crash Inquest & the Inevitable Break-Up (14-20 September)

Before launching into this week’s entries, I thought I’d include a copy of a letter that our principal sent out to us in the previous week. It didn’t really apply to me because I was summonsed to appear – I had to go – but outside of that commitment, I think I managed to witness most of the proceedings. My mum had no problem with me attending either, because she spent as much time there as she could outside of her work commitments as well.

A Life in Words

I have also included, where possible, scans of news clippings related to the inquest that I’ve attempted (with my meagre means) to make as legible as possible in case you were interested in reading them. I apologise in advance if the quality is too poor.

Monday 14/9/87

At Steve S’s [my solicitor] at about 7:45, we started on my statement. I told him things (answ. his Q’s) & he spoke into a tape. Downstairs, around 8:30 I waited with Trina while Becca was up there. I hated my statement [the perfectionist in me: but I knew this was an extremely important document so had to relate my experience accurately] so, while Becca & Trina & Steve went to the Courthouse, I rewrote my statement & a lady typed it etc & drove me down. It was 11:00 & everyone was coming out – cameras everywhere ..Mr & Mrs Perrem, Strooper & Fisher [parents of the deceased] all trying to avoid them. Court had adjourned until Guy (the driver) could arrive (they’d waited all morning for him- wrong date issued on his summons) so, killed an hour with Trina & Edith. So, actually started again at 12:00 – stopped at 1:00 for lunch (so boring waiting- the detective on for that hour) Mum dropped me at school- got things from Ms. Forbes. Sat Yr 12 area. Mark went to drive in Fri. night & Tamara’s party saturday “Forgot” to ring me. That hurts. And all he could do is laugh. Mum picked me up at end of lunch hour – I bought lunch, then waited outside again (Glyn, Steven, Trina, Edith, Brian etc..) Finally, around 3:00, Yru first one in. In for 20 mins (shitting ourselves) Recess then Steven L, Sean D & me .. not really scary – I felt like laughing- [laughter is my default stress response…] wanted to be asked more Q’s ..got $31 for it! & photo for Courier Mail! News coverage wasn’t “hot” ..Steven, Glyn were in background!!!!!!!

Tuesday 15/9/87

A Life in Words
Part of Tuesday’s article on the inquest in the Cairns Post. Note Detective Brooks’ opinion (second paragraph)

Today, everything ran according to schedule. We sat in the hearing until about 11:00; the machinery inspector (an engineer) (inspector of bus remains) was in for all that time & basically what came out of it was that there was no handbrake at all, the rear brakes were not operational (the adjustment was very ‘out of place’ incorrect) [To clarify: the bus had, prior to its fateful journey, received a service by Northland’s mechanics specifically on the brakes only a week before, after the driver Guy had complained about them failing at an intersection in the CBD. The service (the ‘adjustment’) was improper; the mechanics were negligent] & the whole frame of the bus was rust infested (hence the roof slicing off) […and this was the fault of the previous owner of the bus (who appears on the stand later on). See the news clipping below Wednesday’s entry…] Did my biol. test .. it was rather easy for the little amount of study I did (some things I’d neglected to look at stuck me, tho I know I’ll pass at least). Didn’t talk to Mark at all at school .. went to Home Ec room with Justine & Fi & had some cake. Fi was really interested in what was going on. She wants a copy of the records, too (a manuscript) [I still have the a copy of the findings in my possession to this day…] I missed out on the guy who saw the bus go over the edge [there was only one witness to the accident, who wasn’t actually involved in it, that is…] & quite a few student testimonies, but after lunch another inspector (a mechanic) took up nearly all afternoon, just re-iterating what the guy this morning had said. Made news again tonight. I wasn’t in the Courier Mail today, maybe tomorrow. [Ah, the Ego!] Rang Mark this arvy . . talked long about (well jokes about) me being evil & horrid & satantistic & him being good & innocent (Bullshit!) Getting warmer (courthouse is airconditioned) [← believe it or not, airconditioning wasn’t standard in all buildings in FNQ back in the 80’s, unlike today. We definitely felt summer in our classrooms at school!] Got my shorts from Kaffa but they’re too short – take em back, but you can’t [I think I meant, I wanted to return them, but couldn’t for ? reason…?]

A Life in WordsWednesday 16/9/87

Well, Mark was the first up today; there were quite a few students today -Cameron, Brent, mima, Fiona, jason, bella, jaque & Mark to name a few. The courthouse was packed in the morning (Mark stayed for it) but spare seats in the afternoon – boring mechanic (brake specialist) testimony -went on for ages (he was being rather “evasive” – Mr McKenzie said when we talked to him at lunch & were filmed – yeah! I was on T.V.! (NQ10) Lunch went quickly. Still haven’t started my english assignment. SHIT. Due Friday. I rang Mark this arvy, cos’ Fi told me she heard Tricia talking about the Drive-In (I got worried) but he was at Terry’s. He rang back around 7:30 and it was probably one of the best talks we’ve had for ages . . I mean he was being really nice and he said “I love you” again, which made me feel even better. He said he wants to spend time just me & him together on the holidays.. which I also enjoyed hearing from him. Forgot to  take back the shorts from Kaffa today. Must do it tomorrow. […buuuut I thought you couldn’t?] Wore my white mini skirt in public today – actually felt more confident & care-free than I have ever!! [Perhaps because I was attending an ‘event’ that directly related to my scarring. If people saw it, they were more likely to “put two and two together”…and be compassionate. Not that anyone has ever been unsympathetic (or nasty) to me about my scar anyway…] WOW!! SO BORING IN COURTROOM – MAKES YOU SLEEPY!A Life in WordsThe tone of this article (a recap of Tuesday’s evidence) indicates the bus company and the mechanics were at fault: both a government engineer & a transport inspector saying as much.

Thursday 17/9/87

A Life in Words
This is where the inquest seems to make a turn against the driver. Monique’s father questioned the ‘independant’ brake specialist and some of my testimony features in this article, although true to the media’s form, they spelled my name incorrectly…

A Life in WordsIt’s 11:00; I’ve just finished a few ‘choices’ for my english assignment (descriptive passages) Only 2 that I’m happy with, in fact. But it’ll have to do. Who cares? (Me, of course) Today, Glyn, Cameron, Mark came to see Chris (he wasn’t on til after lunch tho’.) (Cameron, Mark & some others were on T.V, too) Well the previous owner was on the stand today & the prick has pretty well laid the blame on Guy [the bus driver]. I heard Guy could get “manslaughter”. It’s not fair he doesn’t deserve it. [Obviously I personally laid NO blame at the feet of the driver …even prior to the inquiry. In fact, from the word go, I never felt an ounce of animosity toward him (and of all those I knew, neither did anyone else). Why? Well, it’s hard to fathom but I think it basically boils down to pure compassion. Knowing this man would live with the deaths of eight children hanging over him for the rest of his life… that burden would be insufferable alone. He didn’t deserve the added torture of others’ ill-will or negativity. I only ever viewed him as a victim, like us. It was the bus’s fault (and therefore the company’s) …not this man.] It’s because he was in too high a gear (3 hi, instead of 3 low) Big diff, huh? [Well, clearly enough of a difference to be used against the driver…] This shithead owner reckons he could’ve made the trip down safely. [Oh.. would that be the same owner whose incompetent maintenance in the rusted out chassis of the bus resulted in its roof shearing off? Not quite a respected person, in my books…] What a shithead. Poor Guy. [What I failed to mention here is that it only took ONE one hour lesson to get a bus license. This previous owner of the bus – who claims to have expertly traversed the Gillies in that very bus many times himself – also happened to have been Guy’s instructor. (See Friday’s clippings) What I really want to know – and it didn’t come up at least in my recollection – is whether any trainee driver would be instructed how to negotiate a mountain range in one one hour lesson? Somehow, I highly doubt it. Yes, clearly I am still biased towards Guy, all these years later.] Mark was being quite a sweetie today – smiling a lot, a little affection I changed those shorts (refund) & got an excellent pair for $36 at GOOD TIME, get this – with a free tan leather belt (after I forked out $12 for one – shit this free one’s even a closer colour to my shoes than the $12) Saw Vikki & Gemila in Big W this arvy ..they’re funny. Dropped ½ my lunch at the Esplanade today (made me angry) God I need sleep. Ate SNAKES in courtroom. Mark, Cam & Keith told to stop talking or they’d get thrown out.

Friday 18/9/87
[Articles from this morning’s Cairns Post, re-capping Thursday’s proceedings…and looking grim for the bus driver]

A Life in WordsA Life in WordsIt’s SHIT. Results of today were absolute SHIT. First, at inquest, we heard the addresses. It seemed certain Guy would get some charge- almost every barrister was against him. But his representative put up a good arguement. Then Mr McKenzie spoke, accentuating the company’s fault. [After all, had Guy not been made to take that company’s unroadworthy, malfunctioning vehicle up the Gillies Range to begin with, his driving skills would never have been questioned.] Mr Perrem & Mr Strooper also spoke (both nervous – Mr Perrem shaking terribly) After recess, the judge related his findings I cried at the mention of Monique’s form of death + earlier when  her death certificates were handed up as exhibits etc.) A Life in WordsThe stupid shithead found Guy to be driving recklessly, causing death [So the official charge against him was Dangerous Driving Causing Death] Cameras reporters outside. Mum was interviewed on FNQ10 News. [She expressed her dissatisfaction with the outcome.] NO ONE agreed with his decision: the mechanics got off SCOT-FREE IT’S UNBELIEVABLE. What sort of dick, prick, cunt, wanker is Trevor Pollock? [One whom I personally believe may have potentially been instructed by a higher power to find scapegoat. Yes, I have my own conspiracy theory, which I won’t disclose simply because it is – of course – conjecture.] Fi, Jo & I after dropping my eng. assign. at school, stayed in town all arvy.. I got some $15 jeans from KAFFA – need taking in at the waist, tho- but they’re great. Mum, Jules & I went late nite: I got a tape, too. See I rang Mark at home & he wasn’t in a good mood at all – last night [privacy omission] So apparently everyone’s shitty with Mark. not his fault. So I thought “great”, another boring night… depending on his mood tomorrow, we might do something sat. night SHIT

A Life in WordsSaturday 19/9/87

[I chose this particular news clipping from my collection because it was the most succinct article, but also exactly highlights the sentiments of the wider community about the inquest results: shock & disbelief that the mechanics & the bus company were liberated of any responsibility. Monique’s father poses the question that everyone wanted the answer to… see the third last paragraph of the article. (I’ve deliberately broken the  article up into segments (separate photos) so that the text can be more easily read.)A Life in Words

A Life in WordsA Life in Words

Today I did very little. . I re-arranged or, re-organized my drawers in my desk, then wrote the overdue birthday thank-you letters. [Yep, that’s VERY overdue: my birthday was in July.] I rang Mark around 3:00, he was feeling better today – [privacy omission] (Bad, huh?) He said he’d ring me back .. by 6:00 I thought I’d ring him, it was getting late. So we mucked around talking – he didn’t know what he was doing – I got upset -he said he’d ring back. I rang Fi & Jo & decided to go to Judd’s party with them. When Mark rang back he said they were going to Steve’s & then if they went out after, would I like to go? Well I said I’d be at Judd’s. Sure enough, they came & Mark was rather drunk. I kept my eye on him.. I noticed him kissing this girl at the bar & I got upset. He smoked a cigar & I was repulsed. To cut the story short; we argued & he broke us up. A Life in WordsI’ve never cried so much in my life. I begged, pleaded & threatened [crossed over to the next page…]

Sunday 20/9/87

him not to do it, but he .. oh shit, it hurts so much. There’s so many things. He kept saying he killed it: 9 months down the drain with [privacy omission] he doesn’t even know (well I know: Trisha F according to Deanne – St Monica’s slut. And I nearly hit her) […now that I can’t believe…] I tried my hardest to talk it out with Mark. [privacy omission] I had to walk home got to sleep 1:30, woke at 2:30, 3:30, 4 & got up at 6:00 – couldn’t sleep & had no appetite all day (did nothing ..some crash scrapbook) SO WORRIED. SO. DEPRESSED SO UPSET. I planned to go to his place to take his denim jacket back & talk. It was so hard .. he wasn’t going to change his mind. I couldn’t understand what he said. .he, I remember, “forget me, elissa. I’m no good for you. You’re making a mistake.” DON’T MARK. How can you say that? [Maybe because he was being honest?] Finally, I convinced him he said we’ll have a break, till he wants to get in touch again.. but I can’t handle even that. I need him. [Urgh. Those words most certainly do not exist in my vocabulary now.] I was looking forward to the holidays with him, so much. FUCK THAT PARTY. FUCK IT [Sorry honey, but that party – and everything that happened at it – was necessary…]

As an afterthought, I decided to include this article from Sunday’s paper, penned by the father of one of my Year 12 classmates (who obviously had a vested interest in covering the inquest) He highlights what is to me an exquisite and genuine human virtue: Selflessness Sun 20 Sep headline

A Life in Words