Behind The Eight Ball

You never met your paternal Grandfather, her husband and your Dad’s Father. All your Dad told about him was that he died while potting the eight-ball in a game of pool; it occurs to you that there’s an explanation (other than your misspent youth) for your prowess with a pool cue and your chronic sense of futility.

In 1927 when Melbourne lost its pride of place as Australia’s capital, her family lived in the poverty-stricken outer suburbs. Then in 1928, as the world teetered on the precipice of the Great Depression, your nana Sarah found herself both blessed and burdened with another baby boy, your Dad.

Some say that, as a soul, you choose the time, place and circumstances for your Earthly arrival. While this idea helps you to believe you’re not a complete victim, you wonder why you made your own choice and why Sarah chose a life punctuated by a global depression and two world wars.

I have a sense that we carry the past in our bones. That whatever our forebears went through is imprinted in us when we are born.

You reflect on what life was like for Sarah and how she must have scrimped and saved every penny to keep her boys fed and warm.


Maybe this is how you had a sense at six years old that the one-crumpled dollar bill your nana put in your birthday card held far more significance than Grandma’s crisp twenty-dollar note and how you carry within you a relentless and excruciating discrepancy between money and love.

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