Monday, October 5, 2009
This Victorian rowhouse "Beaconsfield" is my parent's address on my birth certificate. It's my first home:
This is Victoria Avenue, in the suburb of Albert Park, in Melbourne Australia. My Dad says he purchased/sold Beaconsfield for around the $14,000 mark in the 50's. Current value in the order of $1,500,000 plus. Those overhead electric wires are for the tram.
I am a Victorian. My grandfather was a TRUE Victorian - he was born in 1899, during the reign of Queen Victoria. I guess that makes me a double whammy Victorian.
There are two pubs on Victoria Ave - the Victoria, across the street from my old place, and the Bleakhouse, down by Beaconsfield Parade which runs parallel to the beach. Bleakhouse is a novel by Charles Dickens; an apt name for a windswept piece of sand on Port Phillip Bay. I once stood on that beach and saw a flock of penguins swimming by, I shit you not.
Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia
This is the house I used to live in before I shot over to the States in '81. It's on the same street; Victoria Avenue, about two blocks up from the Beaconsfield.
Unfortunately it is no longer in the same happy state it was thirty years ago when I lived there, now in very neglected run down state: veranda disintegrating, garden overgrown, woodwork unpainted and weathered, glass around front door broken. This is unusual for this area which is nowadays infested with yuppies paying high prices for rundown inner city homes which they then extensively renovate and extend.
This was before I became a soldier in the best damn Army ever to march across a battlefield, of course.
I actually went back once, had a beer in the old pub, and made the mistake of actually telling some drongo at the bar who I was and what I'd been up to.
Drongo: "You're not Australian."
Me: "Yes I am, actually."
Drongo: "Where are you from, then?"
Me: "Here, this place. I was born at St. Vincent's hospital, my parents lived up the street."
Me: "I shit you not. I'm from Melbourne and I barrack for Collingwood. Mighty 'Pies."
Drongo: "Well if you're from Melbourne, then who's Chloe?"
Me: "Chloe's the naked lady by the door at the Young & Jackson Hotel, across from Flinders Street Station. Everybody knows that."
Drongo: "I'll be buggered, you ARE Australian!"
Of course I am, everybody knows that. I am what I am. I am Victorian.
And now I'm an American, of course.