ZIELONKA – FAMILY GIRLFRIENDS AND ME – for Alexander


POL_Zielonka

I will add bits and pieces to my life’s story as I remember those events……………………….

My first ever conscious recollection of life (approx. 1952-53) was when my dad, dressed in Santa regalia gave me a present at Christmas. We lived in  a shed in Bungendore, a very small insignificant rural…well, bus-stop as there was only the main street, outside of Queanbeyan, another town but larger and next door to Canberra, the capital of Australia, where I now live. I must reflect on this Santa episode for a moment. Two years or so ago (2010-11), I was employed as Santa Clause at a major shopping mall, Myers. I invited my son to sit on my knee, much like my dad did way back then. He was nearly as terrified as I was, but because he was much older and had his mum there, was able to survive the terrifying ordeal somewhat better than I had.  History repeating itself.


War and Friendship

My family had fortunately escaped the war in Europe. They acquiesced an offer for a trip down under. Britain along with Australia, gave immigrants a new start, supplied housing that were transported from UK to Australia in kit form and assembled here in Canberra. These houses were essentially army barracks. Cheap and nasty but cosy. Both my parents experienced the concentration camps. Fortunately it was towards the end, just before the cavalry came in. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t of been a party. My parents were farmers. They took it all away. My parents left family and friends behind. When you think about the sacrifice, you knew what courage meant. Friends and family are the epicenter of life. Without friends you are left to fend for yourself. Life becomes difficult. I found this concept out too late. But that’s another story I will endevour to expand on.


Documentary

1954-55 I vomited running out a movie theater when dad took us to see a documentary of the war. What was he thinking! I was 5 years old. It stayed with me. It was imprinted in my mind, like some indelible stamp, forever haunting me, not to mention the angst I had that my parents suffered this crap. Dad always pined for his native country. His trauma must of been horrible and I’m guessing this but his condition eventually developed into alcoholism towards the end of his life. The impact of war. He had friends there. He was accepted as a human being there. They weren’t discriminated against. He was a musician and loved the ladies, mum told me. He was a handsome and gentle man, as was mum beautiful. There was this underlying silent noise at our house that all wasn’t rosy. This feeling of inferiority. It was everywhere. It permeated all things. Hidden behind all of our actions, decisions was this heavy monster that gnawed at every sinew. Joy is just misery turned inside out.


Life goes on

Our family stood strong even with this underlying condition and there were loads of happy moments as we head on towards our new horizons. Mum and dad cooked but it was mainly mum. She was a wonderful cook. She had a variety of dishes she made for us which revolved on a fortnightly basis. As usual, we kids took it for granted. It wasn’t until I was educated in what constituted nutritious food that it all came home to me. I adored my mum…and more so when I grew to know her better and what she contributed to the family. I can’t remember too much from those days but snippets of images here and there. We had our stuff we brought over from Poland. It fitted into the shed at the back of our house. It was a two foot high by four foot long and three foot wide wooden box. There was a gramophone and mainly clothes. We had a galvanised tin tub to bathe in. We didn’t use it as we now had our new house to shower and bathe in, so mum used it for putting the washing in and hanging it up. Dad had a dozen 78 RPM records of polish songs he played to death until he purchased a radio. He built the radio tower and we all listened to plays and music every night after dinner…that was…until we got our black and white TV.


TV at Boronia Drive

The Sosenko’s and friends of ours got the first TV in our  street. The whole street came to watch it from midday. We watched the test pattern for 7 hours. It was like experiencing a UFO for the first time. The technology was incomprehensible. The whole house was full. Standing room only. The first feature on the TV was “Michael Shayne Detective Mysteries”.  The call went out for everyone to get inside. The TV is doing something. The show ended at a reasonable time of 10pm. The kids had to sleep and the adults stayed up.

As a kid you’re always happy, generally speaking. I saw this period as a settling down time and getting used to our new surroundings. We met the neighbours and joined in on daily chats and get togethers. For five years I was able to play with other kids outside and close to our house. They were my boundaries. The weather was good. The summers long and hot, not too hot. The winter was normal, wet and cold. Spring and Autumn were divinely beautiful. Classic four distinct seasons. Because we were high up in altitude and protected by surrounding hills, most of Canberra wasn’t all that windy. Mum stayed at home until I started school. It all ended then. My childhood was over. Playing all day was over.


St. Josephs Catholic School

I went to St. Josephs Catholic School just down the road. A bit over a kilometer. I walked there daily. The nuns were nice there. I got into trouble only once when after asking the nuns “Where is god” I was punished with a leather strap. It must of been a soft touch because I couldn’t remember any pain associated with it except the embarrassment. Sister Mary Alexis was my favourite teacher. I used to get A’s for all of my subjects. I liked her and she knew it. I paid attention in class and was a poster child for “Best Kid”. I loved making the kids laugh. Each day I made up silly stories with a twist and made my friends laugh. They all loved me. I could tell. And I loved them. Both girls and boys. I used to tend to the convents garden just up the road. That was supposed to be a treat if you did well at school. We used to catch grasshoppers, ‘yellow wingers’ and ‘brown grasshoppers were the two kinds we caught. Don’t remember what we did with them. We made all sort of whistles with grass and essentially had made use of nature to our advantage. We were at one with with nature. After a few years the priest came over and said “which school would Albin like to go to”?. Oh by the way…my real name isn’t Albie. I adopted that name because of my insecurities with it. It wasn’t Bob or John or Peter…you know…normal names…no…I had to be different. OMG! I adopted this from Sophie, my girlfriend, who liked to call me that. Anyways, after much deliberation with my mum and dad…we decided I go to a public school because, one, my sister was going to Lyneham High School and two I had, had enough of the mysteries of religion I decided to go to Lyneham Primary. It was also closer than St. Josephs School. This my decision alone.


The 60’s

The 60’s came. They were the best years of my childhood. We had crazy great teachers. Loads of great friends, both Australian and European. Mum and dad both worked. We had money to burn. I got a green bicycle for my 12th birthday, that I have to this day. I rode to school or walked with friends I met on the way. Sunny, happy days. We did Gym and had fresh raw milk delivered daily. The food was excellent and on some Fridays, we all watched cartoons in the hall..all day…what a treat. We played in the sunshine and made bows and arrows and slingshots out of branches and old inner tubes with copper wire and old leather for the pouch. The could knock out tin cans at a hundred paces. We turned on the hoses and splashed on someones lawn all summer. We built billy carts with wheels we got from prams at the dump up the hill. We dismantled the prams and got axles that we put onto blocks of wood. We took the steering wheels off of old cars and put a rod through the center with rope around the rods anchored to the cross members so we could steer. While other kids just hand steered the carts with rope. We drove those suckers down the hills around our territory at 20kms an hour for gods sake. We meant business. We threw rocks on tin roofed houses cos we were kids. We stole the next door neighbours lemonade and chips and smokes and went with out billy carts up to the bush and had ourselves a party. We lit up and blew the smoke out and pretended we were adults. Good grief! We only stole once. Cos of our upbringing we knew it wasn’t right.


Lyneham High School

I was scared at role-call; firstly because my name started with “Z” and I was the last person to be roll called, not to mention that my surname sounded European and wasn’t fucking English. Yes, I got an inferiority complex. Oh the joys of school. The European kids clung together like atoms. We hung with those kids that didn’t mind our culture. Our street was full of European’s. The whole street. One kilometer of us. The whole suburb was embedded with European Poles, and some. Slowly, we started, with the help of our friends to get over our insecurities. From 13 to 18 years of age, my life was full of hormonal insecurities. I made the best of my situation. As immigrants, we had to start over again. Getting used to Australian life/culture seemed easy enough but on reflection and in retrospect was hard. We were often racially prejudiced against. Not by all but some. It only took some to rock the boat. My father Joseph hated it.


O‘Connor

Yes, O’Connor was the hood to be in. We ruled. Mum and dad worked hard, we bought a car, then another one years later. We bought a radio, washing machine and all those mod cons necessary to life. We gave our copper away, you know, that big tub that boiled your linen and clothes in. Very useful for killing  fungus and parasites and germs that reside in bedding et al. Gone! Progress..pfft!…

The neighbourhood folk partied a lot. I could hear them. Friends would come over for drinkie-poos, cabanossi, gherkins, cheese and all those delicacies characteristic of European get together’s…especially the preserves. All the families had preserves. The kids sat around joyfully playing while watching our parents drink, swear and flirt, all in that order. We didn’t know what they were doing. All I thought was “they were having fun”. I mean, we would get visits all day and night. I loved that. It was a real neighbourhood. Unlike today’s next door neighbours. Who are they? Why are they here? They’re not friendly. In fact quite the opposite. They hate the fact that the hedge is too short. Or I didn’t trim the edges which made their stupid property look bad. Huh? Anyways… There was a thing called “water day”..a polish thing. Friends would go to other peoples houses in the wee hours of the morning open their bedroom door double quiet and pour a ton of water on em…funny as…except when it happened to you. These were the memories of my youth. Long sunny days running amok with my polish friends around the neighbourhood and harassing the Australian kids when we ventured too far into their territory.


Organic Gardens

We all had organic gardens. Mum and dads garden ran from the street to the back fence. Every bit of available land on our property took up space for the sole purpose of feeding the family. Chooks, ducks, pigeons, rabbits, turtles, apricots, apples, pears, plums, boysenberries, cumquat, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, peas, pumpkin, potatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, rockmelon, mushrooms, a huge variety of flowers, a cat and a dog. We had everything required for our sustenance. Self sufficiency. The manure from the animals fertilised the garden. We had a pit dug out and cemented full of manure that ran off of the chicken shed my parents hosed. We had a hedge and lawn and a push lawn mower which was eventually traded in on a…you guessed it…a Victor Mower.  A truck would arrive and tilt its load of wood which we all carried inside this wood shed. Yes we had a wooden stove. Oh joy at that thought. We didn’t need a heater, we had our stove. It heated the whole house and it cooked our food. Sometimes we would fire up the open fireplace. You know, there is nothing like a fire…a live flame. Food tasted better. Looking back we didn’t know how good fire was. We had open bar-b-ques and the food tasted superior to gas, coal or electrical cooking. Oh my word I miss the old ways. They worked for the soul.

The kids especially reveled in the camaraderie, laughing in the streets wheeling our billy-carts, sling shots, bows and arrows and of course our cowboy cap guns. Swapping comics with kids outside the hood and throwing rocks at whoever pinged us off. We were above the law, in the most friendliest of ways. We never got into trouble with the law. Common sense prevailed…that’s why.


My sister

Life rocked on. My sister. There was something going on with her but being a kid I let it pass. In retrospect I was told by mum that she experienced unrequited love and went to some nursing home in Sydney to recoup the ordeal. I didn’t realise the severity of her emotions until my later years. Yes, that old “unrequited love”. She finally came back. My sister worked as a dental assistant after school. She fell for a Polish dude but he left her for some other babe. She went down. She met another man while still at school, but he wasn’t Polish. Dad wasn’t happy..good grief. He asked her to marry him. She didn’t love him. She told mum that. Mum said “you will in time”. She did. They got married soon after. He was broke. Mum had money for our house. Well $350 short. The house cost $4,000 in those days. The next door neighbour bought hers. But mum gave this money to my sister. It set them up. He started a business and ended up a millionaire. Me. Not. But hey. Com si com sa. A little bit of this a little bit of that. Stan was Christine my sisters husband. He was a good man but was a Croatian. This was dads concern. Before my sister got married to Stand she made him promise he would never leave her and asked Stan’s mother to tell him the same. It was that dire. My mum often told me to not argue with my sister as she had a nervous disposition.


Casserina Sands

1967. Saturday night. Summer time. Hot as. Balmy night. My friends and me had just arrived home. We stood at the letter box. I was 17. I was still asking my parents if I could go out. My parents always told me to be back around 10pm. It was past midnight. I heard the door open. Dad came strolling down the pathway towards us. I was shit scared. “I’m in trouble” I muttered to my two friends. He looked happy, but more…content…an inner peace. Of course, I only realised this on reflection some years later. He said “Hi” to all of us…were he would normally blast me. But he didn’t. I found this rather strange. It didn’t sound like him at all. I thought why is he being so nice. I was late coming home!. He talked for a minute or two asking what we had been up to etc and then said bye and went into the house. After a few minutes, i said my goodbyes to my friends and went inside and straight to bed.
The next day we all got up when my friend from last night came over and said “ask your dad if we can go swimming to the Cotter River” a favourite swimming hole of ours. We had been there many times and knew the area well. I asked dad and after some debate said yes. My friend took off to get ready. I wrestled with dad on the bed for a while and asked if I could shave him and we all got ready to go when I noticed that dad took off to the back yard, where the wood shed was. He came back smelling of alcohol. Mum wasn’t happy at all. He didn’t drink all that much. In those days you could drink and drive ok. My dad drove ok. So dad, mum, my two friends and me climbed into our light blue Ford Consul car and drove off to the river. My sister drove off with her new husband. We all met there. Us kids ran down the river at another location. My parents,sister and husband stayed at the Cassarina Sands location. There was a change room, shower and toilet and a cafeteria to buy food at. Lots of people used to go there and this was no exception. It was Sunday, midday.
After a swim, us boys lay in the sun when we noticed a car hurtling down the dusty road towards us. We all sat up. There was urgency in the way the car was traveling. The car skidded suddenly. The door flung open. Another friend of mine ran panting towards me and said..”COME WITH ME NOW”…”IT’S URGENT”…I didn’t want to move but when he said…”IT’S YOUR DAD!!!”…I moved quickly into the car. The other two friends walked the 100 yards back towards were my parents were.

I asked my friend what was wrong. He didn’t speak. Just drove. We got there and to my amazement, I saw the weirdest sight. Everyone there congregated in the one spot. Hundred of people in the one spot. I started to shake in anticipation. What was it? what’s up?. I raced over to mum and sister and her husband. They were sobbing shamelessly, deeply. A life guard came over and handed me a cigarette and said…”Your father…he is over there…we are trying our best….we’re not sure”..he told me that he went in too deep and was at the bottom just over there..pointing to the spot. I wept. Shaking. What the fuck!!!.
This took forever. Frozen in time. I couldn’t believe it. My world came crashing down. I can’t start to describe this feeling. I wish someone had prepared me for this. I was taught that death was morbid. No one told me that death could be actually celebrated as being a part of life. We all have to grieve over a member of the family one day. We should have an education program to alleviate some of the grief or at least minimise it. I was 17.


Grew up fast

I didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t know what to do. My sister said to take a job in the Public Service. I went with her and put my name down. Within 2 weeks I had a job working with Customs and Excise Port Services Branch in Barton, Canberra. Next promotion was in the Drug Section. I can’t go into too much detail here, for obvious reasons. Life at Customs got very tedious after 3 years of working there. I had my band “Iron Pig”..not my choice of name and had some great friends. My first pay was a whopping $37.00 for a fortnights work. I was rich. Those day your didn’t have to go through bullshit CV’s or arduous interviews, slowly getting onto the short list or worse still, staying on the long list. Biting your nails every time the phone rang. You just put your name down and got the gig. Anyway, life went on without my dad..and slowly I got over grieving for him. You never forget…but the pain subsides. I couldn’t believe it could happen to me. I looked in my dreams for him. I found him. He was at a garage, somewhere. He was working as a mechanic or something else there, but I am not sure. I asked him what he was doing there. I can’t remember what he said. Funny thing is moving ahead in time. I met Angela Poole. She sounded like my sister on the phone. She reminded me of my dad. It was her eyes. She was born in 1969, the year my dad died. Her dad or uncle…I can’t remember, worked at a garage. I often wonder about this. It’s like he reincarnated into my life to help me…through her. But…its only my intuition that thinks Angela was my dad reincarnated.


First Girlfriend

1967-68 – I met Helen. My first girlfriend. Helen Soul. I got my car license. Took the Ford Consul to Civic; the City part of Canberra. Two friends and myself. My mate drove. I was at the passengers seat. That way I could talk to girls passing by without hitting another car. It was Friday night. The streets were full of shoppers and young kids. I saw this girl and yelled out to her “hi”…I beckoned her to come over to talk. I asked her if she would like to take a drive in my car. After some chat, she and her girlfriend hopped in. Well, I gotta say…this was my first encounter with women. I was very excited. I asked Helen if she would like to come and sit with me in the front (before bucket seats). Well after that, I don’t remember a thing. I know when I drove her home eventually, we kissed and I felt her boobs and tried more but she said no and went inside her place. She told me to call her. I did the next day. We met and did something insignificant, but I can’t remember that part of my life.

I had a girlfriend. None of my friends had one. That circle of friends split up. That was the end of an era. Long hair was in. Hippies and all that went with the lifestyle. I made new friends at work and through that, I started a band. It was called the ‘Iron Pig’. We played all around town. We all had chicks. It was a good time. The social side of life for me was wild. Friends used to see each other like you do when you’re 19, 20 and 21. The prime of your life. Virile.

In those days, there were things we all got into. Things like ‘Lord of the Rings’ by Tolkien. Led Zeppelin wrote songs about this book. Faeries and magic. Life. Searching for meaning. I discovered Transcendental Meditation. Stopped the wild side and got high on life. I read an article about someone that I didn’t know. Maharaji. The article was scathing. I don’t know how to describe this. All I can do is report this in the hope that someone out there understands what I mean. When I read the article, the following days I experienced an epiphany. Along with the meditation, I experienced what they would call ‘Nirvana’. A cosmic experience of grand proportions. For 18 months this experience never left me. I could do no wrong. This reflected on how my friends treated me. How fortunate I was and this voice in my head was saying “go to Sydney or Melbourne”.

I wonder about relationships and how they evolve. From the ‘wanting’ to the ‘finding’ and eventually the ‘losing’. Something else is in play here. Some bigger force that is out of your control. It’s like no matter how hard your try to stay together, you can’t. Unless two people are willing to stay together, it’s impossible. There is a commitment that is required. A deep desire to be a unit. That period, from 1969-’71 came and went. There were new happenings. Bad happenings. Things that I will skim over and not go into much detail. From 1973-’81 were low points in my life. I had asked this ‘Nirvanic’ to leave me. You never want to do that…trust me. It left me. I was so lost. Meandered here and there like a blind fool, bumping into strange happenings. One bad thing after another, with no light whatsoever.


Gill and Kevin

Finally, I met a girl. Kevin’s girl. He rang me up and asked if I would like to come to a party. He bragged about Gill. Said she was hot. I met her. She looked at me. It was on. I fobbed it off as just ‘friendliness’ but it wasn’t as I found out soon enough. Kevin and Gill had been on and off for the last six months. She said he was having extra-marital affairs and boozing way too much. She wanted out. This was her opportunity. I didn’t know. Anyway, the next day, I get another call from another girl friend and she wanted to invite me to the pub. I didn’t want to go but she put Gill on the phone and she talked me into it. Gill and I met. She was all over me. I felt uncomfortable. Awkward. I told her I didn’t want to sleep with her. She said “me and Kevin are over…we have been over for six months”….”ok” I said…”well sort it out with Kevin” I told her.
She did. She came back and said I told him and we left for her brothers place, where she was staying. It was 1:30am. Before I finish, I want to back track to six months before this.


Hypnosis

I wanted to do Hypnosis. I got hold of a course being held and went along. We all watched how this hypnotherapist poked a needle into both his son’s cheeks through his mouth and not leave a mark. There were other incredible things they did. I later joined his classes. Once a week, we would do hypnosis. Along with lectures on how it works and how to be successful, healthy and have a good life. One of the points he mentioned was for two weeks we would all perform hypnosis for one hour. Nothing else. After the last of the two weeks we would do what he called “Dream”. This encompassed letting your mind dream of what we wanted to happen further down the line. What I dreamt of was this. To be in a loving relationship and secondly to have a band and thirdly to live in Sydney. Well, well…back to my story with Gill and Kevin. As it turns out, he comes to Gills brothers place after realising she isn’t there. I’m not there. Putting two and two together and with his friends rocks up to where we were both shacked up in bed. Oh btw..we didn’t have sex. Trust me..I’m not a doctor…as the saying goes. I get out of bed and pretend to be asleep in another smaller bed. Kevin comes in. They talk for an hour. I’m bored but my hearts racing madly. He leaves but says to me “how could you?”…to that I said…”she left you and I encouraged her not to do this to you this way”. He to this day, doesn’t like what happened. But that’s another story. So the hypnosis worked wonders. Such a wonderful discipline. Have to get back to that…and soon.


Sydney – 1981

So Gill and I start planning our lives. She lives in Sydney. I didn’t want to go to Sydney but I did. An oxymoron. I told my mum. She wasn’t happy. She cried as I left the driveway, with V W Kombi full of my stuff. We get a flat in Vaucluse…a posh suburb and settled down. After a week or two we both decided to go to the pub down at the sea. I met another girl friend. She liked me. She said “are you playing in a band?”…and after saying I’d just arrived in Sydney so “No”…she told me she knew of one..gave me a number and after getting in touch with these people..got into a band. So the three dreams I had came true. And not only the time with Gill, but when we fell out of love after a year..and only two weeks after this ending, I met another friend called Wayne…same old story. He rings me up from Canberra and says “Albie…I have met this wonderful girl called Sophie and I want you to meet her. I did. She laid eyes onto mine through the rear view mirror in my V W Kombi and it was on again. The hypnosis not only worked once but that energy worked a second time. Wayne left crying. I felt so bad. She told me he wasn’t her type and in fact weren’t a unit at all…just friends. So we stayed in the apartment that Gill and I had setup for a while until the band members asked if we would like to move in all together at Cammeray, North Sydney. I agreed. Bad mistake. Too close. We left and moved to Redfern. Across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We got others to move with us. There was Rose, Kathy and Sophie and myself, but we had the boyfriends of the two chicks staying there as well.


Sydney – 1984

1984 was when the last bit of good in society had evaporated. Everyone and his dog was in some sort of business. Investment Portfolios went off the charts. Today, these same stakeholders hold the balance of power. These stakeholders are media journalists. The ones that communicate information to the public.


Canberra – 1991

I had a dream while in Sydney. I dreamt of playing live on stage with my band at Corroberry Park; a community facility and park for public events hiring. The dream was very real looking with vibrant colours and specificicity adorning it. I knew that with these type of dreams that I was about to move to Canberra. It was an end to a time in Sydney that I had loved. Playing live with my various bands and working a day job was some of the happenings, not to mention all the wonderful relationships I had and along with that came the heartaches as well. (more to come…)


Canberra – 2016

I decided to fast forward to where I am at the moment. I am reluctant to report about my situation. I find it embarrassing. Yes. I live alone. I’ve never lived alone. Earlier in my life I had fearful visions of living alone and now I have come to this time. I need female companionship and love. My financial situation is being supported by the state. Not good. I live from week to week with no view of support and move to a better place to heal all of my concerns. I don’t sleep well. Usually 4 hours max. I’m awake for 8 hours then sleep again for 4. Repeating this process daily. Rather tiring. I play on my PS3/4 as a deterrent to the daily monotonous grind as well as Second Life; a virtual reality game on my computer. Growing old is boring. We should all be healthy and have the wherewithal to have the financial means of healing and having those things that make life at the end great. I think of my son a lot and how he will cope with his life. The world as it is isn’t a nice place to live in. I see dramatic occurrences happening. The old guard is crumbling and a new awakening is upon us all. It is slow to move but it gives everyone a chance to change themselves to an ethically sound person. One that considers others as well. Friday 4th November 2016. The American Elections is at the top of global issues. Trump vs Clinton. This is significant in that whatever happens in America will influence the rest of the world. Not only that but the rise of the not so politically correct people who have been ignored and suffer at the hands of the Elite and the tedious PC brigade who don’t have a clue.

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