People often ask if you remember what you were doing the day such and such happened. I do. Let me run through my list.
First, there was the day queen Elizabeth II came to Perth. 1954 it was and we, almost the entire extended family, were on Stirling Highway and because of my size I was constantly demanding to be lifted high above those in front. It was easier to lift me up because while down I was unmanageable and kept yelling: “Is she here yet?”
Then there was the day Big Johnny Jones ran over a lady during the annual Bridgeton Soap Box Derby. Most folk have heard about it but I was there, front-row finish-line and saw him knock her clean and break one of her legs. The other one didn’t look too good either.
When President John F Kennedy was shot I was asleep in my boarding house bed but woke early to listen to the news on my little trany-radio and lay there sobbing believing life as I had come to know it was at an end because my hero of the free-word had been assassinated.
Who could forget where they were and how they saw the first man place his foot on the moon? I was in a South Perth Motel with my then girlfriend and her brother and we watched it unfold on a very fuzzy little black and white tv.
And, finally, that day, how can I forget it, the day Julia Gillard, the 27th Prime Minister of Australia, came to town. Everyone was talking about it, asking the same question: “What are you going to do when Julia walks down York Street?”
I had no idea. I had no plan. Once I had completed my meeting at one of the city’s most fashionable coffee houses, I stood for some minutes looking up towards Anthony Horden – he’s the bloke up the top of York, in the middle of the first roundabout – but nothing came to mind.
Feeling empty headed, I climbed into my car and drove to Ellen Cove, which was in a glorious mood. Not only was the ocean just my kind of temperature, it rolled in waves the perfect size and shape for an aging, injury prone baby boomer.
What next? Of course, the automatic car-wash. But no, hang on, what’s that on my windscreen?
And that’s why I’ll never forget the day Julia came to Albany, for it was on that day I received my first ever parking ticket, slapped on my windscreen for overstaying on York Street.