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Story by Algernon

Streets of your town – The Go-Betweens

John goes to the letterbox to see if anything is there. He walks out to the kerb looks one way then turns to look the other way. Turns around then goes back inside. John and Jane built their house in the mid ‘50s around the time they got married. They’re now lived in the street the longest. John is about 80 and Jane two years younger. They’re active and belong to a caravan club up the coast. They head off on small trips regularly.

“Algy will you collect our mail for us” they’ll call out often at a time when you’re in a hurry. No problems John, bins as well. He says he’ll be back on Tuesday. Lately it’s just a knowing nod with a quick question how long are you going.

John goes to the letterbox to see if anything is there. This can be repeated 5-6 times a day. John will come and have a chat after all he’s a haveachat. He can talk the legs of a chair. A two hour session with him isn’t uncommon and you’ll come back wondering what he was talking about. The theme could change three times in the one sentence. Jane will often come out and rescue you from the chat.

Not much gets past John, he sees things that most other wouldn’t. Charlie next door lay at the side of his bed for a couple of days. John knew something was wrong Charlie never left his car outside the garage after 5:00pm. Little things nobody else would have picked up. Probably saved his life.

Next door to him lives Jill, said to have been a victim of the Granville Train Disaster, I need compensation she’d cry when we first moved in. She’s older now and somehow appears to have moved on. Her son Jed has lost his licence a few times for Drink Driving; he’s grown up a bit too.

Two doors down lives Nana the Greek lady, her husband George died about 10 years ago. George would have given you the shirt of his back, a generous man. Nana is the exact opposite. Appeared to hate children, if they looked at her she’d threaten to report you to DoCS. Needless to say all those with children over the years learnt to ignore her; leaving her to wallow in her own bitterness.

On the other side, lives Chet and his wife Vicky. They’ve got kids the same age. Chet came from a small timber town up the coast and left school in year 10. He’s worked for the government all his life. Vicky on the other hand grew up in a non conformist family at Glebe. They have kids the same age as ours. Vicky would tell you that they never did anything for Christmas or Easter. The oldest Alan was still believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny in year 8. Ours were about 6-7 when they worked it all out. Each year Mrs A would do an Easter Egg hunt for the children and did that until the youngest was 9. Alan thought no different. His Mum and Dad didn’t buy the eggs so the Easter Bunny must be real. He was most upset when Junior told him that Mrs A had been doing this for years.

Next door to them lived Alaric and his wife Sharon, they’re Chinese and both have lived here since their teens.  Their parents live a couple of kilometres away. The lied about their address to get their kids into a supposedly better school as do many of the Chinese out of area for that school. Each to their own I suppose. He’s lived in the street about 17 years. Often asks questions about our car as we both drive the same type. We often catch up at home auctions around us. Across the road was a new development three strata units and a pair of two storey houses. The houses are an architectural abomination. Alaric and I went to one of the auctions. The builder was walking around the crowd. The houses are well built. He was looking for a pat on the back, I mentioned that it was a shame they didn’t use an Architect to design the buildings, He quickly walked across the road.

The auction came down to two bidders both Chinese. One was constantly on the phone. The House salesperson was there with the calculator. Alaric reckoned they had the exchange rate wrong. All the new owners are Chinese, which shouldn’t surprise given the area we live in.

John and Jane on a few occasions have had meet the neighbours get togethers to break the ice. Many go along to these occasions. John and Jane hark back to an earlier time when people looked out for one another. They tend to be well attended.  Phone numbers are exchanged but you hear nothing more from them.

John and Jane talk of moving up the coast in a few years to a retirement village maybe. They’ll get a bomb for the house but it will get knocked down to build another one of those Architectural wonders I suppose.

John goes to the letterbox to see if anything is there. He walks out to the kerb looks one way then turns to look the other way. Turns around then goes back inside.


Some of the local drivers….



Merry Christmas to all the Pig’s Arms patrons from the Algernonian tribe…