La Trobe University
'I'm going down the garden,' down along the verandah, past the sickly sweet silence of my grandmother's bedroom, past Nanny's high iron bed with the mosquito netting hanging from a hoop attached to the roof - for Nanny slept outside my grandmother's room in case she called in the night; down the path between the roses, larkspurs and hollyhocks; through the latch-gate of old gray wood and chicken wire; between the overgrown white may hedge that lashed you with soaking branches after rain; under the wildly riotous pink tecoma vine; and into the dunny, the longdrop, the outhouse. There all was quiet except for the songthrush and wren. The scent of may blossom floated on the air. The seat was a smooth wooden bench with a round hole polished by generations of bare behinds. Whatever was down that hole was lost in blackness so dense that you couldn't even see the pieces of torn white newspaper. Nothing seemed to be in there. The whole family's contributions disappeared without trace. In fact, as a child, I'm not sure I ever thought about them. Until now, I haven't wondered why, but it's obvious. In the normal order of things, there it all is until you flush. But with the longdrop, it's gone forever; gone into the roots of the tecoma that covered the little hut in twenty feet of massive trunk and branches, and a profusion of the most magnificent pink flowers.
[from Scriptorium: Selected work from Harvard University's Summer Writing Program, Issue 4 (1997) p4]
Vol 2 No 1 April 1998
Editors: Nigel Krauth & Tess Brady