I’ll never forget when I first left home. I was so excited about venturing out on my own but there were also some fears and nerves and a tinge of sadness at leaving the place where I’d grown up. Where I’d gone to school, had my first date, boyfriend, my first job.
Sale was my home for 22 years. It was where my parents chose to live when they emigrated from Italy to Australia, deciding after a few years that city life wasn’t for them. They settled in this friendly country town in East Gippsland and forged a new life.
When I turned 21 I traveled to Europe and upon returning home I moved to Melbourne. And so the next stage of my life began.
Four years ago I wrote an article on Sale. My Editor accepted it but held it on file. I can’t believe that on the week of mum’s funeral the story was finally published.
Coincidence? Or meant to be. I’ll never know, but what I do know is that some of the places I wrote about were some of my favorite places in my childhood. Here’s a snippet …
Briagolong and Blue Pools
We knew it as Freestone Creek, and I can’t remember how many picnics we enjoyed here and the hours we played in the pristine waters of the creek.
Bush walking, building dam walls with rocks in the creek while mum and dad prepared the wood fired barbecue and the food.
And then years later we brought our own kids here and it was their turn to play in the creek.
Seaspray and the 90 Mile Beach
The beach was always my favorite place in Summer and North Seaspray was our favorite stretch. There were miles of sand to call our own, we rolled down sand dunes, lathered on the coconut oil and sun-baked, had fun in the surf and slurped on sunny boys.
It wasn’t all laughs though. Huge pesky March flies left me with itchy and blotched skin, I got sand in my cracks and often dunked by waves. And inevitably sunburnt.
Marlay Point and Glenmaggie
I remember cycling to Lake Wellington in my late teens. It was a hard 24kms slog, up and down hills on bikes with no gears but a lot of fun. I also learnt to drive out here.
Glenmaggie Weir was a popular day trip and I lost count of the number of times we walked across the dam wall. The first few times it completely freaked me out!
We had so many picnics in the grounds here. The adults played bocce and sang Italian songs and there was always plenty of good food, wine and laughter.
Years later we returned with our own kids and the views and picnics with mum were still just as special. I think I appreciated the place even more with my adult eyes.
This lake is the heart of Sale with a great walking track all around it. It was the place of many birthday celebrations and silly antics.
As well as the scene of an almost heinous violent family crime.
It involved a black swan and my husband.
We were having a coffee lakeside when a swan grabbed my daughter’s most precious toy Tigger (possibly thinking it was a bread stick). My quick thinking man, knowing that if the swan flew away Tigger would be gone forever, grabbed it by the neck and looked him in the eye. That was it, the two of them locked eyes and the bird dropped it.
And fortunately both the swan and Tigger survived to live another day!
Even though Sale is no longer my home it still holds a heap of nostalgia.
Mum’s recent passing has left behind a lifetime of memories. She’s also left me a legacy of love, inspiration and hope for the future.
Wishing you all a steadfast anchor when the turmoils of life are rough. May we always be strong, appreciate the small things, love those close to us and look forward in hope.