Garden of Dreams

“I wasn’t at all prepared for high school so high school itself didn’t prepare me for life. Because of the treatment in primary school, I didn’t learn anything and I’ve got a brain, I can see that now. Maybe there were other factors too but the nuns were just horrific. It was such a draconian, strict Jesuit regime, and the cane was the ever-threatening presence. If you as much as blinked, you’d get the cane. It was all fear and terror. I remember fainting on more than one occasion. It wasn’t until after a new head nun came that the attitudes in the school changed. I remember waking up in the playground with her rubbing oil on my forehead and the back of my neck and she was cuddling me – I didn’t realise that was going to be so emotional but it is, it’s brought tears up. Nobody cuddled me, you know? That was important. I remember that more than any lesson. When I got into her class, I was better. That was sixth class. I totally lost the plot with anything that came before, maths was just Martian to me. I didn’t learn anything there but I do remember she got me liking poetry, little poems that she had us read. I still remember one…late last night when the whole world slept, along to the garden of dreams I crept and I pulled the bell of an old, old house where the moon dipped down like a little white mouse. I think it’s called Memory by Zora Cross.”

– Aunty Barbara Nicholson, 12 March 2016

Photo by Nina Kourea