These little pair of boots and shoes have been around since before I was born. I used to stick two fingers inside them and pretend to walk them around. Sometimes I would put them on the feet of my Cindy doll despite the fact they were a little big.
They are made of leather and are originally from Finland. They are quite small. The leather has become stiff over the years. But one thing has stayed the same with them and the is the vile stink of the lining in both the boots and the shoes. Even as a child I recall how revolting the sour smell was.
My mother brought them over with her when she migrated from Denmark to Australia. She was only eighteen at the time when she came alone, across the ocean, to meet up with a boyfriend.
When she made the decision to leave Denmark, leave her mother and father and come over here she did not actually want to. A few years ago she said to me that the reason she made the decision to leave was to be a show off. To be the centre of attention. The more she spoke about it, the more the star attraction she became.
Not once did her mother or father tell her to stay. They did not want to interfere. She was now eighteen and her life was her own.
All the time leading up to the departure date, all she wanted was for someone to tell her to stay. One word would have kept her in Denmark.
But the days ran out and she had to continue with her decision for her pride would not let her change her mind. There was no way she wanted to lose face.
Her desire to look brave, to be outrageous, to appear to be a traveller was too great and off she went.
The journey was about six weeks. On board she met a woman ten years older than her who took my mother under her wing so to speak. That woman now looks after my brother’s children and is a family member.
When my mother arrived in Melbourne it was summer. One of those scorching, stinking hot summer’s that Australia is well known for. What on earth was she doing here?
The boyfriend did not work out. There is a photo of him somewhere in a tin box I have stacked away. I remember looking at him once and thinking he looked kind. Nice. He could have been my dad.
My mother met my father at a party. He was ten years older. I think she may have been with her boyfriend at the party but I am not really that sure. When I asked mum recently she said she could not remember. Anyway, six months later she was pregnant and, as was the done thing, they got married.
Years ago I asked why she did not marry the boyfriend? She said he was too soft. What is too soft anyway? Too kind. Too gentle? She certainly picked the opposite with my father.
Lots of lessons to be learnt here I suppose. Don’t be afraid to lose face. Tell your children how you feel about them doing something you don’t agree with, even if they are old enough to not listen. Plus the old “don’t get pregnant” one will always be hovering around those with daughters.
None of it all matters now of course. But it is interesting the steps we take in life which lead us to places we may well not have planned to arrive at.
In the end, you just make the best of things for to do otherwise is to live with pointless regrets.
Or, to look at it in a more positive light, to live with greater challenges than you imagined.
In the end, wherever you are is just where you are at.