Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Liberal Left, Political Correctness and Religion


There are some disturbing features of the internet world that I find is at odds with democracy lately. We read of teenagers being bullied to death through mobbing and cyber bullying. We read of lies being perpetuated by groups of malicious internet users who decide that someone or some organisation or group of people is 'the enemy' and thus the harassment starts. I will give you some examples.

Let's take the secular humanists who seem to want to portray themselves as at the pinnacle of all that is good and righteous. Yes, the atheists and non believers are even more fanatical and 'pious' than most religious people when it comes down to extremism. They will take any means fair or foul to bring down the 'religious groups' and to show them as hypocrites or hypocritical. But, let's just ignore their glaring hypocrisy, shall we?

On Facebook there is a post by someone calling her self frumgaygirl or such like. That is a bit of an oxymoron in and of itself. You cannot be a frum (religious) Jew and homosexual, because by the very nature of the lifestyle you adopt, then you are no longer frum or religious. I read a few of these posts then stopped myself further allowing this muck to muddy my thinking. It is all appealing to emotionalism and soap opera. This 'rebitzin' is supposedly the mother of 10 and confided to her eldest daughter she was gay and now the girl who is married no longer speaks to her. She confides to her audience that she has had 'attractions' for her fellow women for many years but controlled them to conform to community standards. I read this and thought, 'What a load of CRAP.' This is not real, it is made up stories by some secular humanist who hates religion and religious people and wants to portray them as nutty. The so called 'Rebitzin' sounds nutty. I could imagine someone like the author of Dancing in the Dark writing such garbage that has no credence on reality or the outlook of a frum or religious person. If someone said that she was frum and thought like this person is purported to speak and think, I would recommend a course of intense counselling.
Her poor poor family and her poor husband. How dare she disrespect him like this?
We have to be careful that we do not get led astray from correct behaviour and commitment to what is right and appropriate by this emotionalism of the so-called 'Love movement'. I think it is akin to a mental bowel motion. We are supposed to respect the fact that two people 'love' each other in a way that is expressly forbidden.
Love on a spiritual sense goes beyond the physical expression of lust and desire. Homosexuality is about misplaced lust and desire and a wallowing in the gutter of one's physical emotions and ignoring the reality and sensitivity what is right and correct. Real love is about the correctness and appropriateness of that love. Love is allowing and respecting the rights of an other person. Homosexuals and pedophiles in their search for expression of their physical desires with whomever they want destroy and take away the rights of others to be correct and appropriate  in their approach to lifestyle. There will come a time when we have to make a choice between what is right and appropriate and family and the path of Political Correctness and allowing others to ride roughshod over our rights to choose to bring our children up as religious or secular or atheist. I can respect their rights to want to be 'right' but if by their behaviour they destroy my child or families innocence, then I do not need that. No one does. The worst sorts of perversions simply have no place in my life or people who think as I do. We want honesty, clean living and normality. Is that too much to ask?
Think about it. It may be boring but it is far safer and it is right.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

There is a new ALP leader - Do we really care?

Honestly no longer interested in who the ALP get to lead them into disaster. We have a new party in power and let's hope the do their best to make this great country move forward. It is a new chapter in Australian Politics and I am hoping for real changes, but by the same token we must push for them. What do I want of Tony Abbott and the coalition government? I will list my wish list.

1. More solar energy initiatives and solar panels and solar battery storage on every roof top in Australia by the year 2020. We need and deserve cheaper, more affordable power. That also goes for solar powered cars.

2. More funding for education resources and teachers and teacher education in Australia. It is a must.

3. Stricter requirements about chemicals and additives in food and food production.

4. Funding and research done on the explosion in the autism cases and more support for children and adults with autism or on the autism spectrum.

5. Commonsense in the green movement. They need to listen to the older farmers and the Koori environmentalists.

6. Tossing out the 'marriage equality' bill as irrelevant and beneath the dignity of parliament to debate when we have much more pressing concerns about survival in the 21 st century and the future of our children and grandchildren. Believe me, it will not(our survival as a race) depend on whether two women or two men are allowed to play at being married or having their union 'sanctified as legitimate' by an act of parliament. It is a red herring issue.

7.More employment in rural areas of Australia and resources and infrastructure developed to encourage people to decentralize and move from the overcrowded, bursting at the seams urban areas.
8. Values and clear thinking taught in schools again.

Thank you G-D if we can get at least half of this done in the next few years, I will be eternally grateful if I am not already.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Causing Ripples in the Gay Community


Occasionally I google my name to see what hate feasts are being held by the gay and lesbian community about me on the net. It is quite fascinating and grubby to see what goes on in the minds of those who talk about love and 'marriage equality'. I actually think it is like looking I to the sewer pits of real psychotic depravity.  I am accused of a lot of things, cowardly etc, bullying etc, and attempts have been made to see I never teach again by ringing the Vic and NSW departments of Education bearing in mind my lack of support for this 'marriage equality' thing. I personally do not discriminate against any child whatever their religion, gender issues or race but these people would have you believe that I do and have even devoted FaceBook pages to wishing I were dead, calling on decapitation for me and my son, having my son raped and dismembered in front of me and then me being done over with a giant dildo - some instrument lesbian manufacture and use because they hate men but still want penetration by something - anyway who cares, it is all so depraved, and me being disembowelled. Gee and these types want marriage equality. The mind boggles.
What I find ironic is that I have never once advocated violence against a gay person or indicated that I thought they should be discriminated against in the workplace, yet there are comments about people waiting for my death so they can hold a party to celebrate and worst advocating for my destruction both emotionally and mentally. What lovely 'sweet, gentle people' NOT!
I imagined that the many decent, law abiding gay people I have worked with or associated in the past to be above that sort of thought pattern, or at least I hope so.
While I will never support what they term Marriage Equality because I believe in all honesty it is against nature and has really destructive spiritual repercussions for the person who gives in to such lusts and physical desires, I will never advocate harm to come to a person who expresses such unnatural actions. I would rather see them change their behaviour and acknowledge with a full and honest heart that their previous deviant behaviour was very wrong.
My concerns are for such people filled with hatred of hetrosexuals  to be in control of manipulating the emotions of impressionable young children and teenagers into accepting abnormal or deviant behaviours as the 'norm' and for them to feel guilty that they are NOT gay or do not have gay tendencies.
Last year I refused a counsellor offered for my son because this counsellor was a young male homosexual and given the trauma suffered by my son no way was I going to have my son counselled by a person whose values and social perceptions are diametrically opposed to mine and my community. Yes, I could be criticised strongly for that and continue to receive death threats  and threats of being kicked into the gutter and unemployed forever, but that is better than having a son forced to believe he is gay by some twisted inhumane being who only wants to create more like him to prove that being gay is ok, right and the norm and that being heterosexual is somehow wrong or not right.
I probably should go and honk at my geese. It would be far more intelligent than holding a conversation with some of these people. Even my goats and sheep have more to offer.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Those without hope

Today some friends of mine are going to a funeral. He was a policeman who committed suicide. The fourteenth police officer to take his life this year. When I was told this fact, it bugged me no end. WHY in capitals runs through my mind over and over again.  Why does a person who is in a position to help others and whose job it is to preserve and uphold the law and order in society take his or her life?

Why indeed? When the corrupt elements in society have the upper hand and anything goes in moral terms, then society is chaotic and the glue that keeps us all on the straight and narrow is being washed away in a tsunami of violence, porn, loose moral values and infidelity and lies. It must be very distressing from a police officer's point of view. They come across the worst kinds of depravity and the lowest types of human behaviour. They try to keep society clean and people honest. However the laws and the justice system pander to the worst types. The police put them behind bars but only for a short time and then they are unleaded on the long suffering public to rape, bash, rob and even murder once again.

No wonder some of the best officers probably do take their lives in despair at having their powers eroded and the authority of the law flouted again and again. Imagine going into the police force with the highest moral values and integrity and then having to lay it aside. Police work like teaching, like ambulance officers, like nursing is a calling that goes beyond the financial re numeration.
If good police officers are committing suicide we need to look at what is happening in the workplace and in our society. Something is drastically wrong with our society and we need to take a good long hard look at where we are travelling.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Rosh Hashannah and Tzum Gedalia and on to Yom Kippur - A journey of self appreciation


It is hard to believe that Rosh Hashannah is over for this year and we have just finished Tzum Gedalia (the Fast of Gedalia) and are in the ten days leading up to Yom Kippur. It went too quickly by far and I am setting up lists of things to do for the week. The election result was pleasing – an understatement but to be expected.   Some rather crass women in Sydney were very abusive to Tony Abbott. It only reflects on them and not on Tony Abbott or the Liberal party.  They actually swore at him which shows how stupid and dumbed down under the ALP some of us have become.
Apart from  writing, I have housework, washing, tidying up to do, gardening, animals to care for – our goats will need to be sold (the two boys) in the next month as I have a vet bill to pay and they will have to go. I was never going to keep them because to be honest, their dad was obviously a Boer cross of interesting parentage, but not a dairy billy goat and their mother is a dairy goat and she will be joined / mated with a suitable young buck that is at the Topaz Park stud. When you start to take goat breeding seriously, you spend a lot of time choosing suitable mates for your does. You don’t just say, Oh that’s a billy goat (a male) and that’s doe (female) and join them. A lot more thought goes into it. For Dairy goats at least and I am sure fibre goats (goats bred for hair and Boer goats (goats bred for meat) are similar if you are breeding good stock. For the dairy goats you look not only at conformation, but there is milk production, udder attachment, teat size and you try not to breed with goats that have undershot or overshot lips, wonky ears and cow hocks (hind legs turned inwards)  and many other factors go into choosing the sire for a doe.
I do not know my doe Osnat’s parentage and so I have to breed up which means getting a good buck that has thrown (bred to other does) kids which are of good conformation, good milk production, healthy and with a nice solid udder attachment and it is desirable to have longer teats rather than smaller to facilitate easier milking. Ideally the teats should point slightly forward and that is often what is considered desirable in show stock but if you look at many does that are going to be in a commercial herd, the teats that point downward are easier to attach to the milking machines and therefore you have to decide what you want. If you are going to show, a lot of factors have to be considered and then there is temperament. You want nice quiet does and bucks. You want a temperament that is not too feisty or rough. It is no good having an excellent conformation and good milk production, if the doe is hard to handle or the buck is temperamental. You want him to go in and do what he is supposed to do and no dramatics and not have a problem with him because all this takes time and energy away from good management practice. Therefore you look for animals that do have personality but they are clever and personable. I was lucky in Osnat and will hopefully have a couple of does next year that I can breed up and produce a nice herd of animals that will produce good milk and in some quantity. Half of it is keeping your animals calm and happy as much as well fed. They also need supplement and block licks as well as their feet and general health being looked after.

How is this important to Rosh Hashannah and to the ten days? Well I was thinking along the lines of if we are so careful when breeding stud animals and looking at a whole range of attributes when choosing animals for their particular purpose, how much more so should we be careful when choosing the right behaviours and actions in ourselves to nurture and to develop our better qualities. We should also choose our associates with care and not be forced to follow the dictates of the crowd. We should be our own person in other words. We all follow our own truths to a certain extent and while we may be critical of the actions and behaviours of others, sometimes it is better to shut our mouths and not judge any person negatively unless we are 100 % sure that what they are doing is wrong.  We should look into ourselves and search for our own faults and correct them before we start to judge others or be overly critical of other people. I have had occasion to hear very good people criticised for very little reason. Often it is jealousy that drives a person to attempt to pull another person down. ‘Oh’, the person may say in an inner dialogue, ‘that person is up themselves and they are not so good.’ The person they are critical of may just have self confidence and self esteem. The insecure person is somehow insulted and angry that the other person has a secure sense of self and it irks them. They are jealous and in an inner dialogue they will try to reassure them by belittling the other person or person who displays qualities that secretly they wish they had. They denigrate the people who display those qualities instead of saying, ‘Oh that person has something I am aspiring to and I wonder if I can learn something from them’; they put them down in an effort to put themselves on a higher level.
Personally, I have, over the years, learnt to appreciate the qualities in people that I associate with. I tend to be my own person. If I find some aspects or behaviours of a person objectionable, I just tend to avoid having a lot to do with that person if it is something that will may my every day association uncomfortable. For example, a person who smokes anything at all, I am uncomfortable with. I do not like cigarette smoke and passive smoking is a major cause of health problems. A person who tells lots of stories that deal with negative aspects of other people, I am also uncomfortable with and I don’t want to hear it. It is interesting to me that if you go to a doctor’s surgery or a dentist surgery you can pick up any one of these women’s magazines and they are full of stories that are about other people’s lives but there is so much about negative behaviour of these sporting stars, movie celebrities and public figures that is grist for the gossip mill. What is it that makes people want to try and focus on negativity and the angst of others? I will give you a few examples.
Take Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. They have adopted some children and given them a home and yes they do move a lot in the course of following their careers to provide for themselves and their families. But so do many other families. They probably have at least one or two fights a week. Most healthy relationships that develop over the course of the years do. However not every family gets headlines about impeding divorces or is criticised for their child rearing and parenting quite so publicly. Is it our business anyway? Are we such perfect parents or people? I find it fascinating that media and magazines focus on the negative and sensational, rather than the good that these two people do. Also these magazines are in the business of selling issues and often do not mind half truths to sell. In other words, they tell lies and embellish the truth.
Look at the media frenzy over details of Gina Rinehart’s court battles with her children. It is enough to make one feel quite ill and is it any of our business anyway?  Yes, she has billions and there is obviously some tension there, but why is that so fascinating for others?  She is not our mother and we are not her children or her lawyers and quite frankly it is boring. If she is doing something good with her excess millions, yes, that is interesting and I do not mind knowing about it. Oprah built a school for girls in South Africa. I enjoy stories like that because here is a person with money who wants to help the less fortunate of the world and give them a chance to climb out of the hole of poverty. That for me is real.  Oil rich sheiks who build massive luxury hotels in Dubai with solid gold taps and diamond inlays on the edge of the Jacuzzi tub are just plain outlandish and into obscene luxury that offends me as a G-D fearing person and as someone who is trying to be a half way decent individual.
It is better to live well and simply. If we surround ourselves with the charming and the charismatic, if luxury items become every day necessities and our heads filled with stories that have no real purpose except entertainment – then, who are we and what have we become?
We need above all morality and a path to self improvement that is ongoing.  The ten days between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur allow us to reflect and to mediate on what our true purpose in this existence is really for. Whether we are a cleaner, a taxi driver, a CEO, a doctor, a teacher, a student, a tradesman, a housewife – it does not matter who we are – we can grasp the basic concept of teshuva and work on bettering ourselves. We can work on the inner self, rather than allow ourselves to be lost in reflection of the external self. The outer or external is what this world is about and while it is important to a certain extent, there are other qualities which we need to work on. If we work on the inner hidden self it will translate to the outer in a positive way.
Those who do not value themselves enough will be more critical of others, than they need to be. First you must love yourself and only through the development of self love and self appreciation, can you develop the qualities that allow you to see the truth hidden in that person you are critical of.  I read somewhere once, that a person’s life can be written in their face but you have to study them for the fine details and watch them closely.  It is true if you learn to read the faces of people and their body language, you can understand them better and see the messages given out by the way they act, I never used to believe it until I really started to study people again for characterisation and sometimes you turn away from a person because you do not want to invade their privacy by reading too much into their facial expressions, their body language and their behaviour. It is almost like mind reading and you have to close off and focus on the good in that person and remind yourself of their better qualities and put that in the forefront of your mind. You have to weigh them up favourably at all times.
Every person has a purpose and has their good points and their weaknesses.  Often in families, there are people who allow us to develop our weaknesses into strengths and it is not an easy path or a painless one. We are all here to help each other be better and more competent and understanding people. Nothing is gained by the destruction of another human being. How much more admirable it is to bring them to life and allow them to realise their real potentials and to grow into better human beings, year by year.
The books are open and we are hoping for favourable judgements in all ways and hoping that the Abishter will allow us to continue our mission in this life with blessings rather than curses and give us the means to do so.
Gimar Hatima Tova and Tzum Kal

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fox Red

Fox lies red and dead
on the road,
His wintery coat rusted
with blood.
His furry blonde testes
neatly displayed
Beneath his thick brush
Between hind legs
Elegantly crossed
In a final sleepy pirouette
Toes pointed down.

His teeth gleam in the early sun
His days of fun have run their course
No more phishing presence
On the  verandah of the sheep breeder
Whose lambs he breakfasted
So vigorously on
In the early dawn hours.
Her door mat shall remain
Where it is put
After her sturdy broom
Has swept the verandah clean.
A satisfied smirk lingers
On those deft lips
And cold incisors,
As if he was unaware
Even at that last moment
When the bullet’s impact
Smashed his knowing from this world
To the next as the hunter became prey.
Would the lambs have been so unaware
Of his intent in their final moments?

© Ilana Leeds

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Coke Cola

Coke Cola is ZERO now.
Is that zero for nutrition? And HOW?
Perhaps it is
Zero for health and Zero for wealth too.
Because  ZERO coke is a dentist's delight
And your accountant will get a jolly fright
When he sees you have spent thousands of $
On crates of the jolly black stuff, sugar loaded
Additives galore and colouring what's more.
What's this he says, $10,000 on dentist's bills
for five teeth pulled. Whatever for?
They were rotten to the core.
You reply. You see, I had Zero the new cola
In my baby's bottle, before I could toddle.
My first teeth turned as black as my favourite tipple
and for a while I had a cute gap toothed grin
Before my second lot appeared, grimly
edged in black, like funeral notices,
I had them whitened and the dentist told me
You shouldn't drink soda and stay off coke cola
Especially ZERO or you'll be seeing me again
 Before the year is out, without a doubt.
It will not be joy, it will not be social, but pain
for your mouth and your bank account.
After years of Zero Cola consumption
It will be possible your head to mount
On wall as a warning to the nation
your wisdom teeth blackened or gone
Your molars mere stumps
Your eyes shining like lamps in the night
Filled with sugar crush delight
Your hair limp and falling out
Your flesh cured and leathery
puckers at the corners of your mouth
Where you sucked from the bottle.
Zero cola, Zero Nuitrition, Zero on everything
Your health sucked into a black whirlpool
of disease and toxic overload.
You are better to find a well
Drink water and water and water
to flush your kidneys
Stave off diabetes.
So Zero out on the Zero Cola forever now...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

To Accept or Reject - Healing

Too often in this world we are subject to judgement and subject others to judgement without realising that it can be very destructive. Destructive to the self esteem of a spouse, child or peer or a stranger, it can have a very negative effect on the way a person perceives him or herself. Kindness and compassion costs nothing and can save a life. An emotional life. 
Words can be healing. Words can be soothing. Words can be as sharp as the teeth of a sabre tooth tiger and dangerous. The bite of an unkind, insensitive remark can fester in the soul of a child, a partner, a sibling or peer for years. It can be a cancer that destroys the psychological equilibrium of others if used to belittle or to denigrate. Words are a powerful weapon and the mouth is more dangerous than a nuclear warhead if used in a negative way.
People all need praise and all people are worthy of praise. The Abishter created us all for a divine purpose which is to bring holiness into this world and to perform a tikkun in their own small way. 
We all know how hard it is to be perfect. Only G-D is perfect. Therefore we need to forgive the imperfections of others, accept that they like us are on a path to perfecting ourselves which is continuous. We spend our lives learning. We thank G-D for opportunities for growth. Sometimes it is hard to stay with the programme. We need to discipline ourselves continually. We get down and we feel at times, oh, what is the use AND G-D WHAT DO YOU WANT OF ME? You sometimes cry in the dead of night, like Tevye of Fiddler on the Roof and you say half musingly, 'It's a darn pity. You put all these obstacles in my way. Can't you choose to TEST SOMEONE ELSE? Or G-D PLEASE TEST SOMEONE ELSE TODAY!'
However G-D expects us to try and not give up. Continue to work on ourselves and not to judge others. If they behave in objectionable ways we accept them as fallible human beings and hope and pray they find their feet and continue their journey in the right way.
Remember a person can live a terrible life, indulge their animal soul and deny even that G-D exists but if in the last hour of his life he understands and does a complete teshuva, it is accepted. 
For some of us who spend their lives on a path of teshuva this is hard to accept. We may want that degenerate perverted person punished. Forever. However Hasem's boundless compassion is evident in all ways. If a person has TRUE remorse that shakes his soul to the core and he or she puts aside all errors of the past, they are purified and blessed.
We should see Moishiach in this generation and immediately. There is much work to be done both on a personal level and otherwise reaching out to bring the world back from the brink of destruction morally and in all ways.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

G is for gorgeous and other things


G starts many things
It is a beginning
It is an ending
G starts with G-D
G starts goat
G starts geese
G starts good
It ends sing and singing
Also song
So how could G ever be wrong
It can do a middle
Or second from the end
As in belongs
And altogether
Where it joins
Alto to the ether
Grrrr says a dog
When he wants to warn
Grammar is the building blocks
Of language which has two g's
Fancy that! Now we are back to
A gaggle of geese
Going goaty
And then it all boils down
To alpha and beta and gamma
And last but not least
G-D and the ultimate GOOD
Gee, gee gee....

Monday, July 29, 2013

The age of excuses


The Age of Excuses
We are living in an age of turmoil when we are making excuses for the bad behaviour of people when we should be asking, actually NO DEMANDING that they own responsibility for their actions. Leading on to that we should demand that they have remorse for hurting or injuring others, even if it was accidental or they plead immaturity. That latter excuse is only good up to a certain age.  Yes, I know the frontal lobe fully develops at 25 years of age, but we do understand the difference between right and wrong at an earlier age in many aspects of life and morality.
This responsibility for actions like the hurting of a child, an older person or another peer or parent or friend or sibling must be owned and accounted for by the perpetrator. The perpetrator must understand fully that what he or she did was wrong and they must have remorse and display an eagerness to make amends and to repair their ways and to somehow alleviate the hurt of the injured party in any way they can. You cannot pretend that something did not happen or sweep it under the carpet.
Then the onus is on the injured party to forgive and mend bridges and let the healing process begin. If the injured party does not forgive and then they are the party standing in the way of the teshuva of the perpetrator and or accomplices and their own healing as well as the healing process of the perpetrators. Unfortunately it is the injured party who had to stand tall and be better than the perpetrator. That aspect of a conflict or a matter where there is an injured party places heavy demands on the injured person but ultimately it is for the good of both parties. It becomes a process of rectification and it is an assurance that the behaviour will not be repeated or given the opportunity to be repeated because both parties will put in step processes to prevent any sort of harm to the vulnerable people who are the victims.  It can change the perpetrator for the better.
Sometimes there are perpetrators who commit offences like child abuse or molesting younger vulnerable people and they will begin a process of denial when their victims speak out. They are often very convincing because of the very nature of their crime, child abusers and molesters are very clever and very devious people. People will say, oh no, not him or not her. They are such nice people and so kind and so special and they do this and they do that. It is not surprising that someone like Jimmy Saville could get away with the horrific abuse of children from very disadvantaged backgrounds and some who were not so disadvantaged but totally taken in by the charisma and charm of the persona that he presented to the public which hid the depravity and the sickness of his true being.
A person cannot use immaturity, a poor childhood, or being abused himself or herself as an excuse to abuse and expect to get away with psychological murder. To do so, is to allow that this person is so immature and stunted intellectually and emotionally as to be almost impossible to have them contribute in a meaningful way to a healthy society. To allow them in a healthy society is like allowing a person with bubonic plague to walk around in our midst. Often the person who does what he or she does cannot control their most base instincts and this makes them a danger to children and families.
We seem to have blurred the lines between what is healthy and good behaviour to allow the worst people to travel in our midst and to allow them free rein in the hope that they will see the error of their ways. That maybe true with a small minority. However there are those people who seem to take licence in today’s permissive society to indulge in the worst excesses of modern licentiousness and depravity.
The permissive sentencing handed out to sex offenders who strike at the very heart of our society and who corrupt and spoil our children, the future of any community must be deplored. Children have been psychologically mutilated by these predators to grow into adults who emotional and psychological equilibrium has been damaged for many beyond repair and these people suffer until the day they die.
Yes, we can look away in shame and pretend it does not happen and blame the victims as often the Catholic church and the Anglican churches have done and probably will do again if they are allowed to get away with it. But the real cost to our society is becoming grievously apparent and we must make repair and ensure that sex offenders are not tolerated in any way and any sort of deviant behaviour in education faculties is eradicated.
Respect for others is the key and I believe too much emphasis is placed sex and sexuality in education and not enough on relationships and respect and indeed morality and ethics.
Therefore we tolerate and allow incidents that we should not. The sentence handed out to David Kramer is a disgrace and will allow this man the freedom to roam and choose more victims as he most invariably will. Those who have such unspeakable appetites for children are very rarely reformed totally.
It remains to be seen what the results will be of the trial of another individual. Who hurts more in these cases? The innocent family members of the perpetrators who have done nothing wrong except to be born into the same family or indeed to have had a child who would grow to do such things. One can only imagine their states of mind. Again, the perpetrator has no thought for his or her family. If he or she did, they would not have behaved in the manner they did. Unfortunately that is what a sex offender is. Someone who uses and abuses another person for his or her pleasure without a thought for the distress of the victim and no thought of the shame that he or she brings on his or her family. They are sex offenders because they have no shame and are totally selfish individuals. That is why they should be given the maximum sentence because they are unable to be contained safely in society around families.

Sentencing laws should reflect this aspect of repeat offenders and those likely to reoffend. We have had Jill Meahar’s murder and the murder of another woman in the past year by sex offenders on parole should be warning bells. The number of children abused by selfish and callous adults who think they can get away with it or receive very light sentencing has grown. We need to send a clear message that sex abuse and the molestation of children is abhorrent and not to be tolerated.  By the same token, preventative measures must be taken and if mothers and fathers are hyper vigilant on behalf of their kids and are out to protect and save their child from grief, better that than the other way. We must not neglect the needs of our children. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In Praise of Longwarry Primary School

Last year I was faced with a difficult choice. I had to endure homelessness and am still experiencing extreme poverty despite having three degrees and 17 years of teaching experience and other assorted experience in editing and writing, I am unable to find employment.  In July 2012, despite our poverty and lack of funds, we had to move house because we had been given notice and also because I had to find a school suitable for a small boy who had been bullied and assaulted at his previous school. We have been assisted thankfully by charitable organisations and Jewish Care to find housing and given funds for the basic essentials of living and I still continue to search for employment that I am able to do and that is well paid to ensure that I can support my son.
I searched for several weeks and used much petrol to find a school that I believed would be suitable for my son and for him to be welcomed and educated properly and respectfully. I went to a total of ten or eleven schools in country Victoria. The second or third school I went to, was Longwarry Primary School. There I met with the principal Julia Sadler who turned out to be both warm and caring as well as firm. She felt right for my son. Still I wanted to be sure so,  I had a look at several more schools. I kept coming back to my interview with Mrs Sadler. She was the Principal who impressed me the most and her school impressed me. I also looked at classroom rooms, the way staff interacted and the way the students interacted in the playgrounds.
Longwarry came out a very clear winner.
It is a school of 120 students. A nice size and a very hamishe (homey and friendly) atmosphere exists between staff and students and parents. Everyone knows everyone else or gets to know who people are. Even if you do not know them by name, you know them by face. Louise, who runs the office very efficiently, always has time for a friendly word and her smile never seems to leave her face. Nothing fazes her and she takes all things in her stride.
Mrs Julia Sadler visits the classrooms on a regular basis and takes an interest in the students's work and the teachers, as well as meeting parents, organizing activities and going to meetings and is a darn good principal. There are principals who do sit in their offices and kick off their shoes and drink coffee and relax - most of the day. I know. I have worked for a couple of principals like that and believe me, it did not inspire confidence to have to bring a student to the 'box' as they called the isolation room at one school and have the principal waltz down the hallway bearing the letter of suspension for the child's parents and he - the Principal, not the child - was in stocking feet and carrying his coffee cup which he sipped daintily while telling me that this child was suspended for four days. These are the principals you hope retire quickly before they do too much damage.
Mrs Sadler is amazing. She has her hand on the pulse of the school. She knows every student at the school because she takes an interest in them and she knows their parents and their family situation. She is firm, but caring and sensitive. Her staff are amazing and echo her good management in their classrooms and out in the playground. It is wonderful what good leadership achieves and how a principal's enthusiasm filters down through the school hierarchy.
I will give you an example. Today as always we have an assembly in the mornings. There are Principal awards and class awards given every week to students and Maths awards for a maths competition for seniors and juniors in the weekly newsletter. They also give out reading awards. There were heaps of reading awards this week. The Longwarry students must have been reading like buggery over the holidays.My son received an award for 100 days and we are well on the way to 150. However there were 29 awards given to students for 150 days reading.  29 little boys and girls up there in front of their peers and parents with reading awards for 150 nights. That means nearly a quarter of the school has read 150 nights at home reading and we are just over half way through the year. Mrs Flemming and Mrs Sadler even bought a bit of maths into it and asked the students to total up the number of reading nights. One smart little chap multiplied 150 by 30 and then took away 150 to come up with a total of 4,350 reading nights. That is the sort of lateral thinking we need in schools and to nurture in the younger generation.
Kids don't need dogma, but to be taught how to think and to analyse and interpret facts. Yes, they also need to know how to memorise and to summarise but the thinking skills taught at this school are fantastic.

The positive atmosphere the school has made a dramatic improvement in my son's self esteem. He was not wanting to learn. He was depressed and angry because he had been treated like a half witted idiot at his old school and they did not bother to find out who the sensitive little boy was under all the pain and the anguish which had been created by bullying at the school and his previous school. He has been to three primary schools and we have made it third time lucky. We spent kinder at one school in 2008 and then he was only two weeks into the term in prep and I was told that he was mentally disabled and deranged and that he should go to a special school. Part of me knew deep down that that was not true, but I was being pushed into believing that he was a very disabled mentally challenged child and he would 'never learn to read or write'. That was said to me by teachers at two schools.I fought back tears night after night and endured comments from people who told me that I was the one with a big problem and that I just did not see that he had a problem. The second school was forced to take him because we lived across the road from it and we were in the region. The only choice I given when we left the first school was a special school that they were trying to talk me into sending him there.It would have totally destroyed him as a human being and wrecked his confidence in himself for life. He would have gone through life thinking he was a total idiot.  It was a school that  had kids with autism, Down's and other learning challenged students. When I took him home after the second day at that school he was mimicking a boy with autism and rocking back and forth in his car seat and making grunting noises. He was just five. Horrified, I never took him back there. I insisted that the state school take him and they did so reluctantly but treated him as though he was 'different' and as though he did not have a brain to bless himself with. I still believe that the 'tests' are wrong and that they are flawed as to assessing a child or a person's true ability. I, also by the way, do not believe that students with autism or Downs' (especially if they are high functioning) should be in a special school. Is it a problem with our whole school system that other students and teachers cannot cope with a child with special needs? Yes, indeed it is. We are becoming so specialized that anyone who is a bit different, is to be shunted off somewhere else and they are viewed as not as good or as smart or as intelligent as we are.
Learning and education are co-operative activities. There has to be co-operation between the students and the teachers, the office staff and the principal and the parents. We need to value the diversity in humanity and to treasure it. We are individuals and we are a community. We can be treated with respect and with love as individuals and as a member of a broader community. We have to appreciate each person whether they are older, younger or middle aged or teen aged. It is important in a community to mirror the larger community as part of a whole family. There may be some members who are different faiths or from different cultural backgrounds. It is important that there is respect. This respect starts at home within the family. Sometimes that is harder because they are family and being familiar breeds contempt and diversity. We have the examples of Esav and Ya'acov as well as Ishmael  and Itzak - brothers who do not see eye to eye and live different lifestyles. We must learn to be respectful of each other even though we do not agree on certain philosophical and theological questions. So one child or five children in a classroom of twenty  is having difficulty with work. It is better to modify their work, maybe explain it in a different way or even to look at the work and see how you as a teacher can help them to understand and not just condemn them to the trash heap of humanity because in your opinion, (and it is only opinion, after all) they are 'clueless' and 'will never learn to read.'
Maybe it is you who should take a good long look at yourself if you believe that of students or even of fellow teachers. People are only as good as they are allowed to be. If they are derided and held up to ridicule by other staff and students are allowed to denigrate them, then they will become what you help to make them and their full potential will never be realized unless drastic action is taken to stop the steam roller from crushing them.
There are too many games and not enough hard work is put into learning. Learning can be fun but it is also hard work.
At Longwarry they appear to have the right balance of seriousness and fun. They have rules and they have flexibility and understanding.They expect students to be decent and polite individuals because they are themselves respectful and polite. It is a great school and Mrs Sadler is a great principal with great staff who work with great students who have great parents and families.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Greetings from Geheniom on Tisha b'Av

This past day is the saddest day in Jewish history. Two temples were destroyed – one for idol worship and the second for Sinat Am which literally means hatred of others without cause. The expulsion from Spain in 1492 was on Tisha B’Av. There are many, many events that fall on this day. It is actually the culmination of three weeks of mourning in the Jewish calendar which starts with the 17th of Tammuz and the breeching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Romans.  We do not listen to music, eat meat, drink wine or rejoice through weddings or wear freshly laundered clothes or wash for pleasure from the start of the month of Av as our mourning is intensified to the 9th of Av and until midday of the 10th of Av.
Last night I went to the Yeshivah Shule on Hotham Street because two Shoah survivors were speaking there.  The first man recounted his story briefly. Then a man called Nossan Werdiger spoke and it was hard to hear without tears and even more difficult for him to speak of the unspeakable. He prefaced his talk with “I bring you greetings from Gehenoim.’ Geheniom is hell. He spoke about his experiences in the death camps and how he survived barely. He was in the death camps of the Nazi monsters – one should never call them animals as animals do not do to their own kind what the Nazi (may their names be cursed and erased from this world and the next) soulless monsters did to other human beings. They created a hell on G-D’s earth the likes of which we should never see again.
I came away shaken to the core, thinking may no generations to come have to see the world through the eyes of this man’s suffering and of his fellow Shoah survivors those with us and those who are not. His story and the stories of his fellow prisoners must be recorded and they are our few remaining witnesses to a soulless political ideology that decided a group of people should be exterminated as if they borne no human kinship to the beings that ran the death camps and the army that rounded them up to work and die.
Werdiger spoke of his survival throughout the harshest conditions in the camps, little sleep (they had roll call at 4am in the morning in the freezing snow) starvation rations, inadequate clothing and forced labour. He recalled the work he did painting and the fact that he was one of the few people with a good pair of shoes. Emotion cracked his powerful voice when he spoke of those whom he had lost in these dreadful days – a little brother, a sister, his mother and others of his family. Death is not easy, we all die, but to die under those conditions and not be allowed to mourn those you love – your friends, your family and relatives and not to give them the proper burial rites and even not to know them on their last day that is a pain never erased.  You last glimpse a mother, child or elderly parent or grandparent as they are separated from you and then the camp inmates who have been there longer tell you where they go;  children and mothers and the elderly or infirm – to the gas chambers and then the crematoriums whose smoke drifts and hangs heavy in the sky – dark with the blood and ash of your loved ones and everywhere there is death and destruction of morals and humanity and dying is happening everywhere around you.
He talked of his survival after the war when he had already become a Musselman. A musselman was the term given not just to people who were on the verge of death, but to people whose very neshama was in such shock at the horror that they had witnessed that they gave up hope to live. They were walking dead – their souls fled into hibernation and searched for escape from the hell that they had been placed in. Werdiger was four years in hospital after the war and nearly died but for the friends that he had in the camps some of whom survived and some are still with us and some have sadly gone to the next world.
What can we say to a person who has witnessed such hell and survived? To say that they have had a normal life would be wrong. One can only stand in awe of their emotional strength and their endurance of the pain which they carry to their dying days. Can we promise them that we and the next generations will not let them or what they have suffered be forgotten and can we say NO and raise our voices in protest should the beginning of such a thing should ever, ever happen again. (G-D forbid)
I learnt of the Shoah or Holocaust from some of the very first books I read as a child. Our family members are great readers. There was no TV when I grew up and we read and read and read everything we could get our hands on. My two uncles and my father as did my paternal grandfather had extensive libraries on holocaust literature.  There were a lot of books put out in the fifties and sixties especially on the atrocities of Europe. I grew up in houses that had book shelves lining the walls. We also have anti Semites in our family, who would prefer to forget that they are descended from Rachel Aaron a yiddishe maidel whose father Josef was deported to Australia with his wife and children coming in steerage. He stole something I believe and came as a guest of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Once he has worked off his fare he settled down in Australia. I do know that Rachel married out as John Lead who changed his name to Leeds was not Jewish.  Josef Aaron was from Hamburg in Germany originally. Family talked about them being Danish or from Holland. But no such luck. I still have to keep 6 hours between meat and milk instead of one. They only passed through Holland. They were originally from Hamburg and probably came there from Spain or Portugal if you could trace it back.
My mother is also from Jewish stock but again I have neither the time nor the money to investigate. Her father was Jewish supposedly because his mother was a Czechoslovakian Jewess and her mother I do not know as I never knew her nor do I have the means to trace her family back. Who knows what one can find if one searches long and hard enough? This I do know that as the grandchild of someone Jewish, it was enough to end up in the camps if caught up in the Nazi machine. The Germans had a unique system of classification. Anyone of mixed blood was declared a Mischlinge of either 1st or 2nd degree and Hitler himself apparently reviewed files of people who were asking for reclassification so they could be declared  of Aryan enough.  There were many converts from Judaism to either protestant or catholic religions and some Jews were irreligious. The topic is an extensive one and I am not going to judge those who disavowed their Judaism to remain alive in the European infernos. I prefer to stand in awe of those who remained proudly Jewish despite the horrors of the Shoah and rebuilt their lives and families and adhered to G-D and Jewish observance.  Nor will I ever stand to condemn those who did not keep their Jewish faith close. Who knows how and what those who did endure felt about themselves after the Shoah when all those they had known and loved passed over in the furnaces. Who is to say how one would act when placed in their shoes and have to walk the miles that they walked in the conditions they had to trudge.
After the testimony of the holy survivors, I went to hear the words of Rabbi Meir Yaakov Soloveichik who was addressing the Mizrachi shule. I arrived late but still was able to hear the greater part of his historical analysis of the destructions of the Beis Hamikdash  and he was in one word, amazing. He summed up the difference between the Empire of Rome and the Kingdom of Judea as one worshipped power and might of the warrior and the other was a religion of faith. When the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed, the Menorah was no longer lit in the Temple, it was lit in Jewish homes in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people and we adhered to our faith and we knew now and know now and will know just who we are. It was uplifting to hear this learned Rabbi talk and I was glad to have been present at both the testimony of Reb Werdiger and also to hear the words of Rabbi Soloveichik.
The might and power of Rome may have destroyed a temple that was G-D’s physical dwelling place on this world, but it could not touch the spiritual home of the Jewish nation and we need to realize that each part of us is a part of the whole nation. When we realize that and join our hearts and souls together and serve Hashem in a peaceful way and with prayer and mitzvoth, we shall defeat even the most powerful, richest and greatest of the nations, because we have compassion and kindness, firmness and righteousness as our heritage and we have the Torah to guide us and it is the contract from Hashem – an everlasting one that will with G-D’s help and our own mitzvoth bring  Moishiach to this world and to create peace and goodness in this world.

Let the Temple be rebuilt first in our spiritual growth, our hearts and our homes and then, we should see the physical manifestation of the Third Holy Temple and the Cohenim and Levi’im returning to their holy ovada and all Am Israel will journey to be blessed in Jerusalem.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Krudd's campaign

It's our ruddy future
Their T-shirts proclaim
Just ignore
The excuses so lame
For disasters past
The Krudd campaign
Is in full swing
Never mind the sting
Of rising food prices
And utility costs have gone up
Through the roof.
"Our Kev" remodelled
And refilled with more BS
Than pus in an accessed tooth
Rockets around electorates
In his home state
He's everybody's mate
But nobody's saviour
Except his own.
He's flying high
On power trips to here and there
Everyone sees him
But the aftertaste is sour
 This everywhere but nowhere man
It's our Ruddy future alright
That's why I hope people will be too bright
To vote for the Krudd factor.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Shame you haven't got a job
Therefore you ain't got a bob
To bless your name and that of your child
It's no use feeling hopeless and wild
When your biological family tell you "go to the Salvos, they'll help ya!'
Or "there is Vinnies, you know" and then you hear, 'she's got a car',
she can't be that badly off, or "you know my sister always had mental problems,
Not much hope for her' despite the fact you worked for years
And that becomes another issue, "what ever did you do with all that money
When you worked?". Pity about the utility bills, rent and food and clothes
one has to buy, isn't it? Probably better to go naked and hungry and be homeless
Because then they will really believe you.
I'm broke as hell they announce,
Despite taking all they could from a 90 year old woman
and dumping her in a home.
There is money for many things
Trips to Europe and the coast.
Let's go scuba diving and out to Ularu
We need to buy many things and to invest.
Lots of things to do and see
but to help a sister in need with a child

NO NO NO, the bitch was given a ring by our gran
Let's try and rip it off her and destroy her even more.
So good she is being brought down to earth
Rub her nose in the dirt
She is such a waste of space, it's a pity she's alive even to breathe
A pathetic loser individual whose better off dead.
I am just waiting for her death notice
then there is less to share
She is a loser without a job
She needn't come here
And she thinks she is an artist and a writer
Ha HA HA she is nothing but a failed mediocre teacher
a piece of garbage born nearly sixty years ago.
We will teach her.
So she has friends down south
Good let her stay there with her broken mouth
She ain't someone we want to know
Because we have money and talent and are brilliant,
Oh so brilliant and she?
She is just a garbarge single mother on a pension
A loser and a parasite. Better off knocking her on the head.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Broken Ones ( a poem and bit of light relief from the novel)

The Broken Ones
The child draws
Wall upon wall
Of pictures
Big person pierces
Big person touches
Big person ignores
Its cries and moves over
The body of a child
Stealing it's soul
Owning it
Devouring it
Discarding it
Like some broken toy
It is no longer a treasured thing
No longer  loved
Just shattered fragments
Of play.

When blood finds its child
Wild in its pain, it tries
To heal the precious worlds.

It tries and tries
It weeps and weeps
It cries and cries
But it is no use
For some broken toys
Their pieces run like sand
Between the fingers that try to fix
The fingers that try to knit together
The cloth torn
And some just wait
To be reborn.

Others have clockwork energy
Fueled by fierce fires
Others just give up
And become the walking dead
Frozen over like winter lakes
They grimace through the motions
Of life
Dancers on glaciers of ice
Dead inside
But outside so nice.
There is no hope
There is no way to cope
Except to die

Inside out.
Hope is to be
In another time
Another life.
When you are locked in
A strait jacket of pain
There is little gain.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chapter 4 Visitors from the Department


The phone rang just before Ella arrived.
  Brian Witz?
  Speaking. Who’s this?
  My name is Richard Walters. I work for the Education department’s Human Resources Unit. I also liaise with government workplace insurers. I’d like to speak with you. How are you set for today?
   Well…I am quite busy. How long will it take? Can we do it tomorrow?
   Well, it will be about half an hour to an hour of your time. It’s probably better to get this interview over and done with. Haven’t you got some family staying with you? Maybe they could look after the children for a short while.
   Oh, yes but first I want to know what the purpose of your interview is. What do you want from me?
  It’s purely a formality. I will have a partner with me and he will take notes. A Mr William Robins.  Do you mind if the interview is recorded. It is no big deal. We just have to investigate all possibilities in cases like this. I hope you understand. We are only doing our job .
   I am sure you are. Did you see Maria Costella a few days back?
   Yes. We did. Word gets around, doesn’t it?
Brian was not quite sure. He looked over at the clock. 10.30. Maybe at 5 Ella could take the kids out to a movie or for something to eat. He also wanted to speak with Maria before they came over.
  Could you leave me your number and I will ring you back? I have to make some arrangements for my children’s care.
    Look Brian, it’s purely a formality. As I said we have to satisfy ourselves with regard to the manner of your wife’s death.  We’ll ask you a few questions and then we’ll be off. You will sign a statement of course. And that’s it.
   Richard, I am sure, it is only a formality but I always get legal advice before I sign anything.  I would want a friend in the legal profession to look over any statement before I sign it. I hope you understand.
There was a long pause on the other end of the phone. A soft intake of breath was all that indicated Mr. Richard Walter’s exasperation or perhaps his irritation that this small task was going to take so long. His reply was soft.
   Alright then. Suit yourself. But it is probably better for your mental state to have this whole business over and done with and then you can get on with your life.  There was a clipped chill to his tone. How about 11.30. OK.
   No. I am sorry that’s inconvenient for me. I think 4.30 this afternoon would be better.  Goodness me, Brian thought to himself, this man is persistent like a dripping tap but he was damned if he would let them walk over him. They could come this afternoon and that would be that.
   Alright. We will change the appointment time of another person we are interviewing. We will fit you in then.
   Is it possible to have a friend present? I think I will feel more comfortable.
Again a long pause. Richard Walters weighed up the proposition. Finally.
  Alright. Why not. We will see you at 4.30 this afternoon.
  Good. Brian said, I am grateful for your consideration. Immediately he put down the phone, he dialed Maria’s number. The phone rang out several times so he left a message on the fourth time for her to call him. He must get her mobile number as soon as possible. Then he tried Rita’s mobile and she was at a coffee shop with of all people, Maria. He told her about the phone call. Both of them immediately offered to be present with him at the interview. Maria suggested that he meet them at Rita’s house. He had to wait for Ella to return before he could go. Tommy and Tracey also needed a mid morning snack.

Ella arrived back from the coffee shop to the joy of the children. They had finished demolishing and decorating the lounge room and couch. They were starting on the kitchen and the downstairs sleep out before Ella put a stop to the mess making. Tommy was drawing pictures and he used the walls of the house as his canvas. Lorri had bought special pens that you could wipe off with wetex or damp cloth. But he worked with surprising speed and the furious concentration that was the prerogative of youthful creativeness. Tracey just liked to rearrange the furniture and make little cubby nooks. She would drag out the doonas from the bedrooms and drape them over the chairs and couches. The towels from the bathroom indicated doors. She had worked out a whole new interior design and made the space under the dining room table a small goods store with various items from the pantry. They were using the monopoly money from an old monopoly set. Ella came in to close up the shop and got them to help her replace the doonas back on the beds and put the towels away. Brian felt helpless. They never listened to him and he would end up doing it. What did women have he wondered, that made them more effective in the home. Yes, I am sure he thought there are some guys who are just great with cooking and cleaning, but unless it was a car that he was cleaning, the dusting and floor washing left him feeling helpless. As for ironing clothes, forget it, he always bought drip dry for as long as he could remember. Lorri hated ironing and her clothes also testified to that fact. Ella was different. She said ironing helped her to think and she liked to wear her jeans ironed with creases and her cotton tops and trousers might look casua, but it was a worked out casual. She ironed her underpants, her towel, her bedsheets and her pillow cases. She would have even ironed her brassieres if they needed. Brian once asked her why and she said she liked the feel of ironed clothes’ crispness on her body. Privately Brian attributed it to their mother who also liked ironed tablecloths and napkins and their father’s shirts were always precisely ironed. When children are little is sometimes, monkey see and monkey do. One of the things that Brian had loved about Lorri was her lack of pretensions and down to earth approach to problems as well as the fact she did not iron. They had received two irons as wedding presents and these were stuck in the garage except when Ella visited. As a joke they had bought Ella her own ironing board for the guest room. When Lorri was nine months pregnant with Tracey they had Ella stay for a few weeks. Ella busied herself washing and ironing the baby clothes that arrived just after the birth. Lorri used disposables despite being given a huge box of 72 cloth nappies by some environmentally conscious friends they had at the gun club where they would go target shooting on a Sunday. They used them as mops for vomit or spilled items, wiping the windows, shoulder protectors from baby burps but only once or twice did these squares of toweling grace Tracey’s bottom. Ella washed and ironed them for Lorri. Lorri said to him one night, your sister has an obsessive nature. It will be very hard for her to find anyone who will put up with all that ironing. By the way, do you think she has a boyfriend? Deep in a magazine on the latest IT techo-creations and aids, Brian shrugged.
  Lorri nudged him again. She is twenty-eight. It is about time she thought seriously about meeting someone and settling down. What do you think?
Brian shrugged again. I don’t know. I’d be wary of putting that to her. She is pretty independent. She might think you are trying to control her life. Unless you were very discrete, ok?
  Like how Brian? Getting a barby going and inviting her with say half a dozen single guys and inviting one or two other single women, but making sure they were as unattractive as hell, so she could have her choice of single guys. Brian folded the magazine over and looked up at her.
  You might be going to all that trouble for nothing, you know.
  But why? I know my mother thinks she is a lesbian. Lorri sighed. She said it is not normal for a young woman not to have a boyfriend or at least flirt with available men. Ella is just a very serious person.
  You are right. My sister has always been passionate about causes and things. She is very busy writing at the moment. She simply does not have time for a relationship, boyfriend or husband. Your mother belongs to the age where women were nothing without marriage and a husband. That is how women gauged their worth society. You mother thinks every single woman has to be available for any single man that shows the slightest bit of interest in them. Not to do so means that you may be not normal or a lesbian. I think Ella wants more from a relationship or a partner than the fact that he is a man and she is a woman. Give her some space.
   But she is so great with the kids. She would be such a good mum.
   But that doesn’t mean she has to marry the first man that offers.
   She should also not be too fussy. She will miss the boat and then she will really be in trouble.
  No she won’t. She will do what she wants in her good time.
  We need to help her find someone.
  Why? What if she sees it as interfering? She may not be ready yet.
The conversation continued into a fight and it ended when Lorri’s mother also took up the torch and argued that Ella had definite strange tendencies. Brian ended up telling Annabel to stuff off and he and Robert Lorri’s dad had nearly come to blows. Both had been of the opinion that Ella was reasonably attractive and they could not understand why or how she was still single at 28 years of age. There had to be something wrong with her.
  Sometimes he wondered about what she was doing in Sydney but figured it was none of his business. Yes, she was nearly thirty and her biological clock was tick tick tocking, but she was an intelligent human being and she knew that too. She may just have other priorities, he thought.
Quickly he told her about the phone call from the Department.
   So have someone with you when they come. Don’t get caught up by them.
  Yeah, I am going to talk with Maria and Rita now. One of them will be with me, this afternoon.
   So what exactly do they want from you?
   They said it is simply a formality. Not to worry and we should get it over and done with as soon as possible.
   I guess they are frightened of being sued. Or something? Who knows.
   You go now and meet Lorri’s friends. I’ll take the kids out to the park for a couple of hours around four, ok? So if it is really only a half hour to an hour they should be gone by the time we get back, right?
   Have dinner ready for us when we get back, ok? Let’s do a stir fry tonight. She called to him as he went out the door.

Arriving at Rita’s house he found both women sitting with serious faces in the kitchen. Rita had left the back door open down the side of the house. Sitting down, he got straight to the point.
  Maria, what exactly did they want when they came over to you?
   Well, that was the part that bothered me most in the interview. At first, I was sure they were just doing ‘a formality’ like you said. However the older guy, what’s his name Richard, Richard Walters he is a real sleaze bag. He’s an ex lawyer. He tried to infer that she was really deranged and brought up the fact that she was on a work program to improve her teaching performance.  He literally wanted me to support his contention that she was unbalanced and he also dropped a comment that you were six years younger than her and she had had the kids in her forties.
  And what the hell is that ment to infer?
  That she was somehow very immature that she could not seek a partner who was at least around her age. Also wanting kids into her forties, well she should have just accepted the fact that she wasn’t going to have any. He asked me if she had spoken about IVF and was she receiving treatment?
   None of his bleeding business.
   Then he asked if she took a lot of time off during her pregnancies.
  What a bloody load of bull. Lorri was fit and healthy for both pregnancies despite being nearly forty four when Tracey was born.  How did he work her age into the equation as being the problem?
   Oh that was interesting.  Question; how did you feel when the news broke at work that she was pregnant? Didn’t it strike you as odd that she was in her mid forties and she was pregnant? You are teacher. She was a teacher. Wouldn’t you have expected her to be satisfied with her youthful husband? After all child bearing is the prerogative of younger women like you. You are around thirty, I take it?
  So what did you say to him when he said that?
  Maria crossed her arms. I looked him straight in the eye and said, why should I have thought it was odd? I was bloody glad that here was an older woman who really wanted kids and she was pregnant and she was a great teacher. She really cared about the students and was a good colleague in the staff room.  Then he looked at me and said, well, Maria, you are an intelligent woman and you are probably aware of the risks of middle aged pregnancies. Don’t you think it could have been somewhat immature of her to have a child at her age? I mean she was closer to fifty at the last one than forty. How could she cope with teaching and child rearing at the same time?
  Rita broke in. So what did you tell him when he said that?  Lots of good teachers have children and teach – some of them teach full time.
  Maria paused. Yes I know. But I could see that he had his opinion and he was trying to wheedle me into a corner to admit that secretly I thought women who had babies at forty plus are stupid and neurotic. I don’t. She looked across at Brian. He was very persistent. I came away from the meeting feeling like I wanted to throw something hard at his head. He pushed and pushed the line, suggesting ever so subtly that women who have babies past their late thirties are somewhat neurotic, even unbalanced.
   Finally Brian spoke. What about the other guy with him? The one who was taking notes.
  Not a word from him almost the whole time. Except to ask if I minded making them a coffee. He also had a recorder I believe, although I specifically requested that there be no recording. I really did not want what I said to be taken out of context.I think he had something in his coat pocket. He kept patting it. You know people’s body language gives them away at times. I did not want to confront him or ask to frisk them for recording devices. I took them at their word.
  He asked me if I minded if the interview was recorded.
  Did he now? I was sure the other guy was recording and taking notes. He scribbled away furiously for the whole hour or so. You can say no but they have the technology to record anyway and you would never know.
  Rita shifted in her seat. There is not a lot of trust left in work relationships is there? Nowadays.
  Why don’t I go with you? Maria asked him. It would give them a bit of a shock, don’t you think?
Brian shook his head. Bad idea. They will know we have probably discussed this at some point. However, I doubt that it would serve any real purpose. Better Rita who they have not seen. They may even be planning to interview her too. Who knows?
I want to ask you something. Rita leaned forward. Why do you think they are going to so much trouble to blacken her reputation?
   Maria answered her. It’s obvious. They don’t want to be sued or have to pay out money to Brian and the kids. They want to make sure her suicide is not connected to anything that has happened at her workplace. They could not give a shit about her. They just want to destroy her reputation because it looks bad for them. Do you remember the guy who had the breakdown after Barry and Lee had him on this Teacher Improvement Program? Apparently he was deemed not suitable teacher material despite a good working record in his previous schools. Lee thought he was gay therefore prey. She picks people who are flawed in her eyes and makes their life hell. Now he left for Maitland and topped himself in a motel on the Midland Highway near Dookie.
   I think he was before our time. People talked about it though. I heard that apparently he hung around the town for a few weeks after leaving the school.
    Rita spoke. Barry’s got a bit of pull with the police because he drinks down at the pub with them. They used to pull him over for the slightest thing. Sometimes it was not even real, but made up.  I heard Barry and the cops laughing about how they harassed the ‘fairy boy.’ His contract had expired by the time he put an exhaust hose in the back window of his car at the motel. Most people did not even know that he was dead or how he died. I only found out because I was storing some of his things and his Uncle and Aunt came down to collect them.  He’d been dead for several months. It amazes me how some people slide so easily out of the living. It is as if he was never here, hardly anyone remembers him. He was a decent enough guy. It was a pity that he came down to a country school like this.
  Why do you say that? If he was a good teacher, they should have been glad.
  Well they are idiots, aren’t they? He was a history and TAS teacher. He was very good from what I hear. I talked with his Uncle and Aunt. He had been divorced in his twenties and was just sensitive.  My Bill used to invite him over to play chess and have a few beers.
  Brian, I want to tell you that it is not about how well you teach in some schools. It is about who are your buddies. You have to play politics and help the right people at the right time. You can be a brilliant teacher but if the Principal doesn’t like you, you are literally stuffed.
  Ok. Let’s have lunch.  Rita, you and Brian should go around three thirty to be there before four.
  It was then as they were walking to the kitchen that Brian dropped the bombshell. Do you remember the stuff you brought me the other day? Both women turned to face him. Yes. What of it? Rita asked.
  Well, I found a diary she’d written.  The silence stiffened the air. It was in one of the boxes of resources and students’ workbooks that you had bought over the other day. Finally Maria spoke.
   Don’t whatever you do let them know it. At least not yet. Have you read it yet?
  Seeing as the police won’t give me back her letter which was addressed to me, I really do want to finish reading it and then I will decide where this is going to go.
  If you are thinking of suing them, Brian you have Buckley’s or none.
  Where is the diary now?
Brian carefully drew it out of the inside pocket of his jacket. I carry it with me. I am thinking of making copies for the kids for later and … suddenly he sat down heavily on the stool and began to cry. He felt mortified by his inability to control his emotions, but talking about her, holding her diary in his hands, it was all too much. He felt flooded. Rita gave him a box of tissues and a glass of water.
  I’m sorry. So stupid of me.
  Of for crying out aloud Brian. You have been so strong. It’s ok. It’s good to cry. It releases the stress toxins in the body. You need to cry. Maria patted him clumsily on the back. Look I am going to leave you to have some space, Rita stay with him at a distance so he does need you, you are there.
Rita moved over to the other side of the table. He wanted to scream out Lorri’s name but thought they would think him even more deranged than he felt. This afternoon he would have to appear very composed. Maria walked off to prepare their lunch.

   Rita held out her hand toBrian. Do you mind if I have a look at her diary. I mean I won’t read anything too personal, will I? If I read it?  He shook his head and handed the diary over to Rita and blew his nose vigorously.