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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 3, September 2017

Marietta Jane McGregor
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Miss Bag Lady

My mother made my costume for the fancy dress parade. I was going as Minnehaha. Mum cut holes in a potato sack for my head and arms and hand-overlocked the ragged edges with yellow wool. With a blunt bag needle and ball-ends of yarn left over from an afghan she was crocheting for the Tasmanian winter, she sewed stars, crescent moons, suns and scraps of rainbow on the sack, back and front. She plaited black wool braids and made a headdress of feathers moulted from our pet Australorp. I wore moccasin slippers without socks. I hoped to win first prize.

landfall faintly on the horizon midday sea mist

Roseanne Farrell took out Best Costume as Miss Lavender Lady. Her get-up was a picture. To my dazzled eyes, the mauve organza gown and straw basket overflowing with scented flowers were perfection. Later that day as our bus juddered home past the zinc refinery workers’ cottages, I sulked. Mum said, anyway, at least you were in the parade. That really settled it; no more eight-year-old's yearnings for “flowery-muslin-fingerless-glove-poke bonnet” fancy dress. I would be adventurous, brave and tough. I would be Tarzan or Robin Hood or Davy Crockett.

lightbulb moment moon craters in darkside shadow

To please my mother I wore my scratchy hessian shift for backyard make-believe. Then one day the cat had kittens on it in the laundry and I cut a coupon from the back of a Marvel comic and sent for a silver-coloured skull ring with ruby red eyes. Never was a girly girl.

spring clean…Pandora’s box still gaping open



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