So I’ve done something I didn’t think I would ever do. Publicly at least. Privately I walk across burning bridges often. I listen to Hartley whisper ‘the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there’ and I shrug off his words and get my passport stamped once more for the sheer Hell of it. I traverse Now and Then with the ease of a trapeze artist, the Old School kind in a fabulous bejewelled leotard. But always on my own time and never sharing.
But in following some message breadcrumbs through a dead facebook thread I stumbled across my first blog, ‘Black Chook’ – named because, when I was a kid and lost something, my Mum would always tell me that is was ‘up the bum of a Black Chook’ – hardly eloquent but then eloquence has rarely silenced a belligerent child.
These ‘half dozen and a half’ posts are written in 2010 – so scroll down to them – and when I read them I’m reminded of a time I loved dearly. For those who didn’t know me then, I was married to the eldest of six children, to a man who had decided nine years earlier that he was going to stay home and build robots in our hobbled together house built on his parent’s bush block. Our youngest daughter had just turned one at the time and our sons were three and four. When I wrote these blog entries my name was still Jen Cook, not Jen Martin, the name I was born with and the name I publicly relinquished for the duration of 19 years, the birth of three children and the life spans of three dogs, five cats, two snakes, three ducks, a clutch of rabbits, a pet rat and an assortment of fish. For that time I was part and parcel of what was known as ‘The Cook Clan’ or ‘Cook County’. Until I wasn’t. But that, of course, is another story.
I never expected to salvage these words. But I read them and my blood turned to syrup and my heart thudded deep and low and I found myself smiling as I found myself back in a place where I belonged and I was loved and I loved big in return. I’m glad these paragraphs and pictures survived long enough to wash up on this shore. So here they are – for you, from me – a glimpse of who I was, a whisper of old songs that still sing in my blood. I hope you like her but don’t get too attached. I’m not her anymore. But I was once, and somewhere, in some time, I like to think that she still exists.