Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Saga of the Lost Sandal

One of the nice things that happened during our Canberra visit was a catch-up with my friend Michelle. She and I were second-best friends in Grade 5 and 6, and absolute best friends in Years 11 & 12 and beyond. We drifted apart for some in-between years - she lived overseas for a while and I moved to Melbourne - but we always kept in loose contact. And then, like complete dags, we reconnected on facebook. Which is so corny but actually really nice.

(Michelle's 21st, the 2 of us with awful 80s hair. Yes, my fringe - and only my fringe- was permed)

Anyway, on the Friday afternoon of our Canberra visit, Michelle came and collected the boys and me, and took us to her house. There we hung out with 3 of her 4 children, and Michelle's Mum, who immediately kissed my children like they were her great-nephews; which when you think of the years that I was like a spare daughter in their house, they sort of are.

(21 years later, the 2 of us at Michelle's house)

Then Michelle drove us all back to Bronnie's house and at that stage we cracked open the wine. Michelle's youngest, who is in-between my 2 boys' ages, was by this time feeling very much at home with Climber and Cherub, and along with Bron's kids they all disappeared for some backyard fun. The next thing we knew Bronnie had magically produced an extra plate of kiddy-dinner and the 5 kids sat down happily at the table. Meanwhile Michelle and I sat on Bronwen's front verandah, drinking wine and trading confidences and just being like the 2 besties from years ago, except that we didn't talk really fast pig-latin to each other which we used to do on the bus when we wanted to try and impress people or discuss boys. But we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves, while Bron kindly managed the children.

However. It is my considered opinion, that whilst trampolines are an excellent thing in general, they do have a high incidence of Play That Ends In Tears. And with 4 of the 5 kids playing on the trampoline, it did not really surprise me to hear wails emanating from it eventually. Predictably, it was the smallest member of the bouncers who was wailing, my 4yo niece.

And this is where the saga of the lost sandal begins.

Now, we had to piece this together and it was all very confused at the time but here's the flowchart

Niece wailing :: Caused by Climber bouncing really close to her with intent to knock her over :: Caused by his anger at her deliberately throwing his shoes over the back fence :: Caused by her thinking it funny that Michelle's boy had just accidentally lobbed Cherub's shoe over back fence :: Caused by Michelle's boy being amused at Climber throwing his shoes around on the trampoline.
Cause and effect, Climber, cause and effect.

When the adults came outside to sort it, it looked a bit like this: Three mums trying to get a straight story out of wailing or angry or guilty or worried-about-shoes children, Bronnie comforting the crying daughter, Michelle and I standing on the edges of the trampoline peering into the neighbour's very overgrown backyard, attempting to direct operations, meaning that Climber was sent over the fence to retrieve his 2 shoes and have another *proper* look for Cherub's sandal, my nephew (who had not been involved in any of this but came out to see what all the fuss was about) also deciding to climb over allegedly to help but actually just to stand on top of the neighbour's tin shed - this then required adults telling him to get off that roof straight away and help look. All to no avail. So we re-grouped in the backyard and the suggestion of walking round to the neighbour's house to have a good (and authorised) look was raised, only to be instantly knocked down by my sister and her partner who informed us that the neighbour was a mad-woman who had once impounded their dogs and then screamed at them when they tried to apologise. At this point Michelle, very sensibly and nicely and with a mother's 6th-sense, discovered that it was her child who'd thrown the missing shoe over and that in all likelihood we'd been searching in the wrong spot. So then we asked the Climber (to whom backyard fences are as nothing) to pop back over in the middle section. Of course then my nephew wanted to go over again too but unfortunately he was not wearing shoes and the neighbour's yard was prickly. He frantically demanded shoes, sensing that he would miss out otherwise and my kind sister ran off to find them and helped him put them on, (you do the left foot I'll do the right) only not quickly enough because just as my nephew got over the fence Climber called out Found it! to general applause and relief. Which left my poor nephew feeling completely frustrated on the wrong side of the fence and he instantly declared he could not get back over, so his father had to haul him back up and over.

At which point the party broke up and Michelle and I gave each other a big hug and rejoiced at having found each other. It's not like we'll get to actually see that much of each other in the future but we had enormous fun and meanwhile, there's always facebook.

(Caroline likes this)


  1. Now that's a good story. I could see it all happening in front of me, except it wasn't, which was really good!

  2. Yes, those things are always so much better in the retelling than in the actually being there trying to direct over the fence traffic, calm the wails of the bounced on child and get the boy off the tin roof all the while keeping an eye out for the crazed witchy-woman whose backyard you have directed small peopl to invade. Definitely glad to be a part of the retelling.

  3. So many boys and only one outnumbered girl! So glad you all had a good time.
    Your eyebrows look very elegant in that old photo. I have just been looking at old photos of the permed fringe, and yes, I like the natural look better.

  4. I love the first photo. It brings back the eighties in a very visceral manner.

    Lawzy, lawzy. Where would we be without kids to bring drama into our lives?

  5. Parenting is always an adventure, no?

    Love this story! You tell it so well (as always). So glad it had a happy ending (even with the dodgy middle bits).

  6. What were we thinking with the perms???? When i got mine, after months of begging, I was hoping for the cool surfer chick loose cascading sun kissed effect. I still cringe when I see the photos, it was more the classic poodle than surfer chick.

  7. Aunty Evil likes this too.

    Great story!!

    I particularly like the lunatic elderly neighbour, why do the offending items always go over THOSE fences??

  8. 21 years later, and you're both even MORE gorgeous!

  9. EIGHTIES HAIR!!!! Not that I can talk, seeing as I may be sporting a classic eighties side-ponytail RIGHT NOW. I mean, it's more of a wonky normal ponytail, but give me a neon scrunchie and matching belt and I will have that look nailed.

  10. Love the 21st pic!

    Sounds like a great time all in all.

    Incidentally when I start my own religion it will be called, "Cause and Effect."

  11. I think your fringe looked ace in the 80s!

    Nothing is so complicated as a big group of kids!

  12. In the 80s I would have killed for a permed fringe as good as yours.

    Great tale of footwear lost (and found).

  13. I love those photos. The 80s one where so much is ahead of you (in life I mean and who can predict what at that age?) and the recent one where you both look happy and
    sort of grown into yourselves and personalities. Thanks for sharing.

  14. You told it all so well. I had flashbacks to beheaded gnomes and all sorts of 'other people's children' events.

  15. Good story. Reminds me of a children's book I have from my childhood actually, where some kids throw a ball into a neighbour's overgrown yard.

  16. Michelle (a different one) likes this too!!


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