My name is Redmond or Red as most people call me and I am an only child.
I was growing up in a household that was normal to most, but one day my whole world changed when my parents separated and I moved away with my Mother.
My Mother was a tall woman with beautiful wavy blonde hair who only wanted the best for me. She had decided she could no longer live with the abuse that was often endured when my father came home almost every night drunk and always late.
One day I got home from school and Mum had our bags packed at the front door and told me we were moving away.
Although I wasn’t totally surprised, it was the shock that we were actually leaving Dad behind.
Mum said we were going to have a brand-new life and I was to think of it as an adventure.
She told me I would discover “the riches of life”.
Mum had called a taxi to take us to the bus stop. We were catching a bus and then a train to a whole new life. Mum told me this place was called Kendall Springs.
She said Kendall Springs was a small town and she was sure I would make lots of new friends. I didn’t really have any close friends where we had lived, so I wasn’t really sure I would find anything different in Kendall Springs.
Mum said Kendall Springs was where an old friend of hers lived and she had already arranged a house for us to move straight into that also had furniture. She had arranged for Mum to do some work at the local paper too.
Mum was really good with typing and had always worked for as long as I could remember. She was in charge of the local paper when we were in Cookeville my old life that I was now leaving behind. I had only ever lived there and didn’t know anywhere else.
I was really excited about this new start in Kendall Springs and I was hoping to make some new friends, some real friends. The kids in Cookeville were not really friends. I mean I got along with most of the kids at Cookeville State School, but I didn’t really feel close to any of them. Everyone knew my dad spent most nights at the local bar and I felt ashamed and didn’t want to talk about it. How would they understand what it was like when Dad came home after his drinking. They could never understand Mum coming into my room and sleeping with me in my bed. None of them would understand. We just took comfort away from Dad and his drunken ramblings.
I needed a new start in Kendall Springs where no-one knows our past and I can really get a chance to make some real friends.
Time went really quickly and before we knew it we were arriving in Kendall Springs.
“This is it” my mother said. “We are here. Welcome to your new life Redmond”.
We waited until the train came to a complete stop and then hopped off. Mum was looking for her friend Sue who was going to meet us at the station and drive us to our new home.
Mum was looking anxiously around and we started walking towards the exit gate when a voice cried out “Caroline, over here”. It was Sue calling my mum.
Mum started walking faster towards Sue and then stopped and they both stood face to face and hugged each other. Then Mum introduced me to Sue. Sue seemed like a nice lady, probably in her mid forties like my Mother. Mum had told me they were old friends that had gone to school together and even though they hadn’t seen each other in a long time, they stayed in touch and wrote letters or spoke on the phone from time to time.
We walked over to Sue’s car and put the suitcases in the back of the station wagon. Sue was talking very fast and was obviously very excited that we had come to town. Sue insisted on giving us a quick tour of the town before taking us to our home.
First stop was Kendall Springs State School followed by Kendall Springs Secondary College. Mum was taking me to the State School tomorrow to enrol me so I could start straight away.
Sue was adamant that I would need to complete a series of tests to ensure I was put in the right class. I was in Grade 5 in Cookeville, but Sue explained that I might be higher or lower and would be put into the correct class depending on my test results. I had always been a good student not top of the class, but definitely not in the lower part. I was probably an average student. Mum always said I am the best at everything and she is always so proud when she talks about my schooling.
Next stop on our grand tour was the local shops. Including the local paper Kendall Springs Journal where Mum was going to work. It was a tall light brick building sitting four storeys high. Mum had two days before she had to start working at the Journal, which would give her a little time to look around before starting.
It looked like Cookeville, but it was bigger. Cookeville was a small town and only had a population of around 400. Sue pointed out that Kendall Springs had a population of around 1500. Well that is a lot bigger than Cookeville. There were a lot more shops here.
We drove only a couple of minutes from the main street and turned down a windy road. The roads were lined with trees on each side and were really tall and full of leaves. Sue told us the beach was only a short drive away. I had never been to a real beach, but I had seen pictures. I asked Sue if we could take a look at the beach first, but Mum assured me we would do that tomorrow as we had plenty of time to see everything. I think she wanted to get to the house and see our new home.
We pulled into the driveway of 17 Harrison St, this was our new home. It was big and much bigger than our old house in Cookeville. It had a narrow driveway with trees on one side. The house was white with a second storey, but it only had one window on the second storey. We walked up the two steps to the front door and Sue handed Mum the keys to the house. Mum was so excited she had trouble opening the door. Once she opened the door we stepped in to find a big entrance with a lounge room on the right side. On the left side was the main bedroom. We walked through the house and found stairs just off the kitchen. I was first to race up the stairs to find another bedroom and a second room which had a bathroom including a toilet. Mum told me this would be my room. I couldn’t believe it. I was beside myself with excitement. I had never seen a room so big and with my own bathroom too. Mum said she would have the front main bedroom and there was also another bedroom at the rear of the house next to the stairs.
We came back down the stairs and went out through the laundry out into the enormous backyard. There were a lot of trees. Trees I could probably climb or even make a tree house. I couldn’t stop smiling. Sue had been to the grocery store and got a few things and put them away in the kitchen for Mum. While they went back inside to make coffee I took my time to look around the backyard.
First of all I would climb the biggest tree and I seemed to get a fair way up the tree when I suddenly looked down and realised how far I had climbed. I looked around and noticed in the distance a lot of water. That must be the beach. It didn’t look that far away. I can’t wait to go there tomorrow. Now I know I am going to love Kendall Springs. I climbed down the tree and headed back into the house to see Mum and Sue. They were talking at the dining table, so I went straight up to my room to unpack my things.
I started to unpack my clothes into the drawers that were in the wardrobe and when I looked around in the wardrobe and noticed a door or manhole on the roof of the wardrobe. My curiosity got the better of me and I found myself trying to pull on the chain that was dangling from the door. It was too high for me to reach. I pulled the drawers across to stand on to reach the chain. I climbed up onto the drawers and was just able to reach the chain and pulled down on it. To my surprise it opened out and there were some stairs that pulled down. I pulled the stairs down gently and then climbed the stairs that led me into an attic in the roof of the house.
It was really dusty and didn’t smell too good. I don’t think anyone had been up here in a long time. I found boxes of clothes, books and even some old pictures. One picture I found had a ship that looked a lot like a pirate ship. I had to have this picture it was amazing. So I took the picture and packed everything else up and returned back through the manhole into my wardrobe and closed the stairs and door back up.
I dusted off the picture and found an empty hook on the wall to hang it on. It looked great.
I finished unpacking my clothes and went back downstairs to join Mum and Sue. Sue was telling Mum about the schools and how there were a lot of kids there and I was sure to make many friends.
I decided to take a good look around inside the house, as this was going to be our new home. There wasn’t a lot of furniture, but enough for the two of us. Mum said we would eventually get our own furniture to add to the charm of our home.
The lounge was big enough with a couch for the two of us to sit on and there were also two single chairs and a coffee table. I noticed the lamp behind one of the chairs and pictured an older gentlemen sitting there at night reading by the light from the lamp.
There was even a TV sitting on a smaller table, so I went over to switch it on. I figured since Mum was busy talking with Sue, I could have a look at the TV and see what kind of stuff they had at Kendall Springs on TV.
I couldn’t find anything to watch and ended up turning it off and going back to the dining area and sitting with Mum and Sue. Just then Sue stood up announcing it was time to go and leave us to settle in. She would be in touch over the next few days to see how we were settling in.
After Sue had left Mum asked if I wanted to help find something to cook for dinner. We went through the fridge and the pantry and found an assortment of things and decided to make pancakes for dinner. A celebration dinner. The first night in our new home eating pancakes. Perfect.
We sat and watched the news bulletin and then a family quiz show when Mum announced it was probably time for bed as we were going to the beach tomorrow morning before going to the school for enrolment. I was so excited. We were going to the beach tomorrow.
I said good night to Mum and went upstairs to put my pyjamas on and hop straight into bed. Not before Mum yelled out “Don’t forget to brush your teeth”. I thought it funny how Mum remembers everything. It was funny having my own bathroom and I went in to brush my teeth in my own bathroom and then hopped straight into bed.
I think I barely remember putting my head on the pillow and then before I knew it, I looked up and there was daylight coming through the window. I looked around remembering where I was and smiled to myself. I had been so tired I had gone straight to sleep.
It was the first full day at Kendall Springs and we were going to the beach first today.
We finished breakfast and cleaned up and then Mum announced it was time for a walk to the beach. Sue had told her it was straight down the end of our road and through a laneway that would take us straight to the beach.
It was only a short walk and took us about fifteen minutes at the most. It was really amazing, but a bit windy. There was a lot of white sand and the water had tiny little white waves. We took our shoes off and walked in the sand and even went into the water just a little bit to kick the water and feel the sand between our toes. We walked a fair way along the beach and came across a cliff and what looked like a cave. We walked into the entrance of the cave. The tide was out, but when it came back in I was sure the water would fill the inside of the cave.
There was a river or stream running inside the cave that seemed to start not far from the entrance. It was really wide and Mum said we couldn’t walk through it. I felt like I was being drawn to it and really wanted to see where it would lead.
Mum said it was time to head back as we had to get back home and change and then go to the school to get me enrolled.
Once we were back at the house and changed, we started to walk towards the main street that would take us straight to Kendall Springs State School.
Mum told me that once she had me enrolled, we were going to the car dealer to see if there was a small car that was not too expensive that Mum could buy, so we could travel further and not rely on walking everywhere.
We reached the gates of Kendall Springs State School and all of a sudden I was nervous. I hadn’t really thought about it much, but now that we were here, it really hit me. I didn’t want to let Mum know how I was feeling, so I just kept a brave face and walked beside her.
Once inside the entrance doors we found a lady sitting at a large desk. Mum introduced us both and asked if I could be enrolled to start school. Miss Flynn was her name and she got up from her desk and came around to the front of her desk to shake our hands. She had a warm hand and I felt myself relaxing and knew everything was going to be alright.
She asked us to take a seat while she called the principal and also got the enrolment forms together for Mum to complete and for me to complete entrance tests.
Mr Mercer appeared from the side of another door and came over and introduced himself. He was a tall thin man and put his hand out to shake our hands.
Mr Mercer started to explain the layout of the school and the different classes they held as well as activities that were part of the school day at Kendall Springs.
He ushered me over to the desk where Miss Flynn was sitting when we came in and asked me to start completing the tests, so they could see what level of learning I was up to.
I started going through the tests and while Mum and Mr Mercer and Miss Flynn were talking on the other side of the room.
There were two separate tests. One test for English and one test for Maths. It didn’t take too long and I had finished both of them.
Miss Flynn came over and started going through my tests. She remarked that I had a good understanding of English and I must be a good student.
Once she completed marking my tests, she announced that I would be at Grade 6 level and I would only attend the final year here before going to Secondary College.
Mr Mercer and Miss Flynn led us around the school to show me the classes I would be in and we also walked around the school grounds. It was bigger than my old school in Cookeville.
We went into the classroom of Grade 6A where I would be and Miss Flynn introduced me to the whole class and to my teacher Miss Have. Miss Have came over and told me to pronounce her name as in BEHAVE but without the BE. I thought it was funny, but didn’t say anything and smiled. She was a tall woman and wore her hair in a bun at the top of her head. She had small rimmed glasses that sat on the tip of her nose and she looked over them when she spoke.
Miss Have was teaching the class about Parliament and about the politicians. She explained that I could start tomorrow and gave me a book to take home and read, so I would be able to follow once I started school the next day.
We left the class and said good bye to Mr Mercer and Miss Flynn and walked out of the school and walked towards the car yard.
We found a car almost straight away. A small red car that Mum said was perfect and we drove around the town and back to the car yard and Mum announced that she would buy the car.
After completing the necessary paperwork, we drove back to the house in our little red car.
Mum got busy in the kitchen to make us some lunch while I went tree climbing in the back yard. This was such a neat place and there were two trees that I knew I would climb all the time. Once I reached up high I looked out to the beach and remembered the cave that Mum and I had found. I knew I would have to go back there and explore where that river went. It looked like it went far inside the cave and I knew if I was going to try and go in there I would need a small boat or a raft to be able to paddle through.
I climbed back down the tree and went inside to have lunch with Mum. After we ate, Mum asked if I would like to go for a drive and see what else was around the outskirts of town.
We drove up and around and turned down streets and mostly there were just houses apart from the main street that had shops.
Once we returned back home I went upstairs to my room and sat on the bed. I found myself drawn to the pirate ship picture I had found in the attic and took it off the hook on the wall.
It looked really old and was a black and white picture. I wonder who had drawn it and how old it was. I put it back on the hook on the wall and went down stairs to help Mum with dinner.
Once we had finished dinner Mum asked me to get myself ready for school tomorrow. That meant getting clothes out and getting my school bag ready. I knew what I had to do. It was something that I did each day when we were in Cookeville. It was my routine Mum said.
I went to bed early as Mum had asked me to and fell straight to sleep again. Before I knew it, the daylight was coming through the window and I headed straight to the bathroom for a shower and to get ready for school. I was hoping I would make some friends on my first day.