The truth is out there
By Siv Parker
Something about their beat alerted me to a secret in my midst. Mrs Petersen had come around for a cup of tea with mum. Mum drank a lot of tea with various women in that mining town. Her CWA gang. Her book club cronies. Her tennis team members. Most of the time there was nothing of interest to eavesdrop on. But this day felt different.
And then I was booted. ‘Siv, please go read somewhere else, we’re talking.’ No offer of a treat, no bribe, nothing. Just take your primary school library book and get.
I gave a sign that I no longer required sheltering, and lobbed a bombshell, 'Mum swears'.
I got a reaction but not the one I’d been saving up for and expecting from declaring my earth shattering worldliness.
Mum snorted and Mrs Petersen smiled though it didn’t set her tightly rolled helmet of curls aquiver.
I fired off two more bombshells. 'All the time. ... Really badly.'
Mrs Petersen replied, 'we all do dear'. Mum snorted louder this time. I stiffly bare footed it from the kitchen, taking The Great Brain with me.
It turned out, I discovered after intensively eavesdropping, that Mr Petersen had been diagnosed with schnizophrenia.
For a long time I thought that schizophrenia meant that you threatened to cut your wife’s head off with an axe, clear out of the blue.
It never occurred to me that the Tom Price chapter of the Country Women's Assocation wasn't up to the task of dealing with this imminent threat to one of their close set. I wondered what they were going to do about it so I took even more notice of their comings and goings. It seemed reasonable that if they drank enough tea and ate enough cake and scones they'd have it sorted out. Mrs Petersen's head wasn't chopped off so it seemed to have been a fair assumption.
And I have continued to wonder about a lot of other things. This year’s blog will be a quest of learning, discovery and bald truth.