On the day they left home, of course sister Alice did not go quietly into that spring sun. Godfrey at 16, felt shooed away like a pigeon, ready to go yet bewildered at what he had done that was so wrong,his homemade Beet- A- pult, the beet birthday cake, the two nights since he had been home, out cavorting with the fish ladies’ daughter.
The last day of school he had climbed out the window of Mr O”Hara, the narcoleptic Irishman who taught french class, after O”Hara was asleep and vowed never to return.
Ma did seem more annoyed to him than usual… There she stood with her broom having cleared out his room, she said before my program comes on, she requested he and Alice be long gone. 16 years of beets every day Ma cried,16 years of beets every day! Always eat breakfast, keep your feet warm and dry, go away, Alice quit shouting, Godfrey shut up, go away. Take your pony, dog and cat, wear your sunhat, go away. He was shooed down the hall, like a pigeon from St Pauls”.
In the yard we could hear Alice bawling. because of beets I am cast out alone !!!. Godfrey said I”m off to Australia it is my calling. No more beets for me, thank you Ma,take care, goodbye from Godfrey.
That’s the day he left me his pony, dog and cat , we heard hollering for hours from the yard where Alice sat, until their Uncle Lou took her in. Indeed they were shooed away like a pigeon.
The Welsh word for longing is Hiraeth. Godfrey left home with a deep longing for adventure, for wide horizons. He said a tearful goodbye to his pets, and especially Simon Fraser his Siamese cat,whom he had been owned by all his life, and Grubby the good grey pony, he knew I would give them the best life I could. Ma, not minding Barley the dog kept him.
There stood Godfrey in the middle of the road, same un kept hair, no pompadour but crudely cut by Alice in the style of a Monk’s Tonsure, though she promised not to of course. He wore his good kilt, bloomer shorts, a quick drying practical cotton shirt and his gumboots. He carried his new plaid backpack which could easily be converted into a suitcase for travel in areas where Hippies were regarded with suspicion.
I held his hand and gave him a special gift I made in Mr Plank’s metal work class.( Godfrey had taken sewing) It was a silver bracelet engraved with the words “I do not like beets” It was May 30th, 1967, he looked back only once and waved.
He was bound for Australia. As was his way Godfrey took the roundabout route, the high road, the goat track, the sea, he found his way through gutter, barn and mansion. The odd young man incapable of learning in a noisy smelly school room, was to aquire a lifetime of knowledge and wisdom , roaming the world- his 7th perhaps ought to have been his first,….NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT FIRST USING THE LOO, OR PASS UP THE CHANCE TO WHEN THERE IS ONE. BYE BEATRICE.