Those sweet dreams

never leave me...

In 1988, from my bedroom at number 5 National Street in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Rozelle, I had a clear view through my white timber framed window to the Harbour Bridge. It was a long way off in the distance, standing tall beyond the swaying tops of fig trees, backyards with coal barbecues, fibro sheds and kids’ chatter, rusted power station chimneys, and a shimmering expanse of dark blue water filled with yachts, ferries, tug boats and the occasional cruise liner or warship. It was all mine, that view. And it was beautiful. I stood there a lot. 

Now, many years later, having not seen the world from that same vantage point for nearing on three decades, whenever I see photos of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, my thoughts turn straight to memories of the view from my old bedroom, of childhood, of classrooms and teachers and playgrounds and bullies and buddies and girls I liked that didn’t like me, of streets I raced around on my BMX, of my Balmain Tigers and the home of rugby league, Leichhardt Oval, of pats on the head, especially from my Pop, of sticky fingers from melting Sunny Boys and chockie Paddle Pops and orange tongues from drinking Fanta, of stepping in dog crap every single day, if not more, and knowing well and truly that smeared pooh on the end of a stick was the only unbeatable weapon of mass destruction as long as my stumpy legs could carry me faster than anyone else’s.

"Liam Carroll burst upon the literary scene as Slippery, a lubricious wolf in sheep's clothing, as he winged it to a fortune on the trading floors of Asia and Europe. Now comes the big switcheroo to a sheep in wolf's clothing. Liam is a too fat seven year-old Fanta addict. He cops his fair share of cruel and wounding put-downs from his peer group bullies and becomes their daily target.

 

They say ‘Balmain boys don’t cry’ but Liam sheds many tears until he realises he has to fight back. He sheds the flab and the Fanta and with help from his warm and wonderful family he sees off the bullies in fine style and becomes ‘Balmain’s best boy’. This true story is for everyone, fat or thin, young or old, whether bullied or not, Liam invites you to raise your can of Fanta to a world without bullies.”  

 

Ted Spink.

Now, many years later, having not seen the world from that same vantage point for nearing on three decades, whenever I see photos of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, my thoughts turn straight to memories of the view from my old bedroom, of childhood, of classrooms and teachers and playgrounds and bullies and buddies and girls I liked that didn’t like me, of streets I raced around on my BMX, of my Balmain Tigers and the home of rugby league, Leichhardt Oval, of pats on the head, especially from my Pop, of sticky fingers from melting Sunny Boys and chockie Paddle Pops and orange tongues from drinking Fanta, of stepping in dog crap every single day, if not more, and knowing well and truly that smeared pooh on the end of a stick was the only unbeatable weapon of mass destruction as long as my stumpy legs could carry me faster than anyone else’s.

Mostly though, I remember all the time I spent standing at my bedroom window looking at the Harbour Bridge, deep in seven year old thought about God only knows what, before there were mobile phones and iPads and Ritalin and helicopter parents and helmet laws and Kardashians.

I was a fat tub of freckly lard with rosy cheeks on a moon face to rival Bert Newton’s and I had the greatest childhood anyone could ever ask for. This is a story about the boy I remember being in 1988, a young fella with bright eyes, open ears and big dreams, blessed with the invincible strength that every child has when they know with all their heart that the people they love the most in this world love them right back even more.

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