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Trams and Trains.

May 15, 2010

 I was listening to Uncle Jacky Charles, I met him when I was in my twenties, and now I am listening to an ABC documentary radio program about his life.  One degree of aggravation, is how Fran Drescher put it in her series.  Uncle Jack kept saying, ‘ I was never held’.  This resounded clearly with me.  I remember asking my father in his last years, when you saw me as a 10 month infant, did you pick me up?  He said, ‘No!”.  This hurt but also expained the relationshiop that I had with my father for my whole life.   He was a soldier fighting in New Guinea, the  Japanese were the enemy.

He was of the ‘bleeding hearts generation’, the men who went to War in the 1940’s, they went to save a nation.  They were the ANZAC’s.  At his funereal I made sure that he was given the appropriate RSL send off.  Men who knew him dropped their red poppies in the basket as was arranged for his final farewell, a soldier and a gentleman.

And no, he never held me!  Uncle Jacky, I knew you as a young black man, a friend of a friend.  Not the angry Gary Foley.  You are and were a thespian.  Often I wonder about the state of my ‘ trams and trains’..An indginous man with ‘trams and trains, not the easiest place to be in the 1960’s.

These sad, emotionally stunted, men.  They were fathers and husbands.  Some robbed of their future.  They went to work, came home to the wife and the dinner and the children.  The Melbourne suburbs were filled with these men.  They were the bastion of the 6 o’clock swill.  They ordered their 6 or more pots after work, and had till 6.15 pm to empty their glasses.  They played their civic role.  They were decent men.  But sadly they never held their children.

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