Remembrance of Things Past

     I and Lady Judith, in pre-titled days, lived in sunny Queensland. In 1970-ish the call of big-city radio drew us to Brisbane and we purchased a tiny 11 square house in the cheapest suburb of Brisbane. Right at the end of the railway line at Ferny Grove. It seemed like the Outback then. It took a whole HALF HOUR to ride my Honda into Newspaper House, Queen Street. Our neighbours were all dollar-poor, young marrieds hoping for children, driving old cars or motorbikes, and, in our case, sleeping on a mattress on the floor while waiting for the next pay cheque to fund a bed base.
     The house cost $11,500 and we borrowed the deposit from my Dad.
Mission Brown and White was de rigeur in 1970
Our Ferny Grove neighbours in 1970

     We got to work. Created a lawn. Both Dads (not yet Grandpas) built retaining walls and steps. We planted some trees. Filled in the downstairs. Added a boy and a girl to bedrooms. And, as fashions began to change, repainted the house in Heritage colours with yellow highlights. Yes, it WAS the 70s.
Mission Brown AND Heritage Green now.

     In July 2013, we returned. Invited to visit some old friends who now lived in the renamed suburb of Ferny Hills we drove through foreign freeways, tunnels and long arterial roads along which we recognised nothing but their names.
     "Is this really Stafford Road? I don't remember any of this?"
     "What about that school. Was that there?"
     "I think there was A school there. It didn't look like that."
     "You must be getting old, Dad."
     Long silence.
     Ferny Hills, of course, has grown and developed. Well, exploded, really. It is now vast. The homes are huge and expensive looking. The suburb a dense tropical jungle of trees and shrubbery.
     And our old home?
     "Let's go have a look," I suggest. Lady Judith looks diffident. Maybe they have bulldozed it. Or maybe it went up in a bushfire. There seems to be plenty of fuel hereabouts. Or maybe it has just been let go. Rotting away. In the slummy older part of Ferny Hills. The Grove. From the Hills, do  they now look down on the old Grove?
     We find the turn-in. The corner houses are shops now. A little grocer. A real estate agent.
     "That would have been convenient," Lady Housewife comments.
     And the house? Yup. Still there. Still recognisable. And, actually, looking quite healthy for its 43 years. If a bit yellow.

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