Much of my early adult years is a blur. Ask me to recall any specific memories between 18 and 25 and you will usually be met with a blank look (and yet somehow I managed to get a degree during this period).
But there is one memory that is etched in my fog – one night impossible to forget. It involves my mother, a garden hose, and nerdy me trying to impress the coolest friend I had. Let me give you some context: I have just returned from Grandparents Day at school where my three kids fussed and fawned over my 83-year-old mother. The day is a very important one on the school calendar.
Principal Anna Owen made very clever comparisons between wizards and grandparents. They both often have silver hair; they remember times the rest of us cannot (time travel); and they spread magic by means of sneaky ice cream bowls or trips to the movies.
My mother loves to put on a midnight feast for her grandkids. I explain that my kids do not need to eat lollies in the middle of the night as I will be the sucker holding their hands when they get fillings at the dentist. Yet, Mum was very strict with me growing up and took no prisoners in teaching manners and enforcing rules.
My kids’ jaws were on the ground when I told them my Kara Chiconi nightmare tale. Kara was the blonde bombshell at university. She wore the latest clothing and seemed a decade older than the rest of us. One morning, I dropped into her house to find her wearing a pale-pink feather gown with matching slippers and a tray on her lap with coffee and toast. I had never seen anything so fabulous in all my life.
Anyway, after a big night drinking West Coast Coolers and smoking countless Benson and Hedges, we snuck into Mum’s garage and stole a cask of wine before proceeding to the garden. We were clearly making heaps of noise in our drunken stupor when Mum appeared in her purple pyjamas, wielding the hose.
She turned that hose onto Kara and her fabulous outfit and wonderful hair. The teenager didn’t look so fabulous when my Mum was done with us.
My eight-year-old can now be heard saying: “Don’t squirt me with the hose, Grammy’’ when he is in trouble. Those silver-haired wizards in our life were actually witches, too.