02 – Candy and Sticky Fingers
Im in love. I’ve always been in love regardless of the chaos of being a child growing up in a home infultrated with intimidation and violence by my father. Living near the aboittoir in Kilcoy, hearing the terrified cows begging for their lives all day and night was the norm. Dad’s job as the meat inspector meant he was elbows deep in the end result of the killing room floors. He became increasingly ill, having to spend time in and out of hospital as his body weakened with diseases from raw, bloodied bodies. Memories of skipping along next to my father as a toddler, wanting to be by his side at home, were quickly fading. He became angry. Angry at my beautiful mum, whose only role in her mind, was to do whatever she could to keep us all happy and carefree. We had to move away from the place that was starting to make our whole family sick. Anyone who has grown up with a parent or parents who are volatile know how insanely scary life is and terror pervades every aspect of that child’s little spirit.
I begged my parents to attend a private catholic school in the new area we moved to in Brisbane because my new friend was attending. Although Dad had stopped working at the slaughterhouse and now was working fixing boilers in ships, his anger and volatility only increased. My 10yr old self was living a bi-polar life…one day happy and carefree when Dad was calm and fun, the next day, scared and fearful of being beaten when he was drinking and fierce. My mother also started drinking to cope with his behaviour. With her drinking came even scarier episodes in and out of our house. My younger brother, dopted and so very precious to me that the day my parents brought him home at the age of 8months old, I put him in my dolls pram and pushed him around the garden and introduced him to my animal friends, was adhd and too much for either of my parents to manage so he was regularly beaten and locked in his room, whilst my mother cried in her room. My older sister, who I looked up to so much for her confidence and swagger, was now rebelling against dad’s beatings she had regularly received and moved to another state as soon as she was of legal age. I also wanted to escape the terror so I gathered my books on animals and created a “library” under our old wooden house. I made it all nice with old curtains and bits of boxes for shelves and would sit on my plastic seat with my best friend “Candy” at my feet. Candy was a gorgeous caramel labrador that was mum’s dog but in my heart and mind, she was on this planet to be with me only. Dad never allowed her in the main part of the house, only on the enclosed back verandah. Candy and I spent many hours in our little library reading Edith Blyton stories that took us away to a peaceful, fun place. Candy was the only customer to my library and that was just fine by me.
High school was not for me. Particularly a strict one with nuns and priests making us confess our sins and singing at funerals of those we never knew. I discovered music in a big way. Mum had always played Glen Campbell and a variety of cheesy albums to take her away to another place. The radio was playing music that really spoke to me…The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Cramps. Music whose riffs were mad and whose rebellious lyrics gave me confidence that I was not alone in feeling at odds with the world. I was obsessed with the Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” lp that I bought with my pocket money and took it to school to show classmates. The album cover, a zip on a pair of jeans undone coupled with the album title didnt mean anything to my clueless self. The nuns werent so naive funnily enough and swiftly told me not to bring the devil’s work to school ever again. That also put paid to the next lp I soon discovered “Symphony for the Devil”!.
My love for Candy deepened with every moment I spent with her. In all the chaos and dysfunction of my home life, she was always happy to see me and spend time being cuddled and kissed by me. We often visited the chickens together in their garden pen, placing ping pong balls in their nests as dad told me this made them clucky and they would lay more. I had found a picture in a book of a dog that looked just like Candy so I cut it out and bought a second hand frame to put it in. I put it above my bed so I felt that each night she was with me in my dreams. The day that will never leave me is the one I played on the swings in our yard with my girl friend and we started talking about how we couldnt live if our dogs ever died. That evening as I lay in bed I felt a presence at the bedroom door. It was Candy. She’d never come down the hallway to our bedrooms as she wasn’t allowed. My memory immediately after she visited is a little hazy but the next vivid recollection I have is laying in my pajamas on the back verandah wrapping myself around her, clinging so hard to her but she wouldnt warm up. She was so cold and I was confused. Mum came and ushered me back to bed. My life would never be the same. I had lost my best friend in the world. Clutching the old frame with a picture of my Candy in it, I cried unlike I had ever cried before. My first heartbreak was not because of a boy, but because of a big fluffy puppy dog. She had shown me that life would get tougher than I could have ever thought possible.
Please help give animals a voice this Saturday 15 October, to protest the disgustingly barbaric bullriding event at Kawana Stadium 3pm onwards. Media will be covering our protest so bring placards, loud voices, friends and family.
“Apathy The Deadliest Weapon of Mass Destruction”
For the Animals