Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Goodbye Northcote, we have loved you

We've lived here with some sadness these past few days, wondering how best to memorialise the house and the area, but it is always unexpected what about a house you remember and what you forget. These house holds a piece of all of us now, but especially Fred and Una, and it has been added to the Museum of Lost Houses. Soon we will be ghosts only within these walls, and only the house will recall us, new memories will fill the rooms with noise, memories of which we are not a part. Life has been rapid and joyous in this house. I wrote three novels in the eighteen months or so we've lived here: Drift, Josie and Indigo Girls.

The girls fell in love with each other here. Una became a girl. Here she first talked, walked, and broke her arm. She had her first mouthful of food. She learned what chocolate is. She found her true laugh. Fred has begun to decipher the mysteries of the alphabet here. She has sung and danced and laughed and raged and cried inside these walls. She has learned to sleep. She has learned to wake again and only recently has returned to padding up the corridor in the dark.

Martin became a student here, here we lived another life, a quiet life, a life with good friends close by and close to places that became an extension of home for Fred: the museum, the library, the zoo, John St Child Care. We imagined we would be here for at least four years, the duration of Martin's course. I am excited about our move but a part of me grieves the life we would have had here, the them they might have been if we stayed. Reflecting like this is part of who I am, it helps me move forward to spend a moment or two glancing back, watching ghosts play like shadows, like shafts of light entering an empty room, pale but dynamic, the spooling dust of memory and forgetting.

The pond, home to Sprinkle, Santa and Reindeer
Painting, Una becomes a girl, and Una and Fred become friends and playmates
Una's first meal

The bike trailer, transport of choice for museum trips and early morning rides to John St

p.s. I don't know when I will be online again. It's in the hands of Telstra now. Love to all.


  1. aw there are many sweet memories of inner city life. I hope the next part of your journey brings many fun adventures and wonderful new experiences. Hope to hook up with you at the markets there...
    Jazz xx

  2. Anonymous5:23 PM

    So many lovely memories you have is good to reflect..then on to exciting new adventures : ) It is amazing to wonder how the walls we lived in would of shaped us though if we had stayed : ) Best of luck Penn, Rachxxx

  3. Anonymous9:49 PM

    my family started a tradition of "wall kissing" long ago. When you leave a house, kiss every interior wall of the house in thanks for the shelter and the history.

    Its the last thing I always do before I move out of a dwelling, and it is like that old mantra "bless it and send it on its way".

    And cheers to a new life, new playspace, new silence, less traffic and collecting the mail from the shop.
    Just think, now you can let the bills pile up all week!