ME, MY MATE, HOP HARRIGAN, UNDERCOVER CARSON AND BIGGLES

For the majority of my early childhood I was a latch key child, my father spent a great deal of his working life in Maralinga located in the north of South Australia not far from the Woomera rocket range. When he was not working there he worked in the Western suburbs of Adelaide. Regardless of his employment status he had numerous busts and went on benders for up to three months at a time. Because of his alcoholism my mother had to work to keep a roof over my head, three meals on the table and clothes on my back and shoes on my feet.

Until such time as my mother and father were able to purchase their own home they rented and shared a house with the aging landlady. It was a timber framed corrugated iron clad older type villa. During the winter months it would moan, groan, creek, rattle and bang as the gale force winds and rains battered the corrugated iron exterior walls and roof. We lived there from when I was five years of age until I was twelve years of age.

I received a Kelpie Dingo cross puppy when I turned six years old. I named him Ginger because he had a ginger coloured coat. He became my friend, my best mate, my confidant and my guardian particularly during the bleak winter months.

I had three favourite radio serials to which I religiously listened as a child, Hop Harrigan, Undercover Carson and Biggles. I would listen to them in that respective order each week night. Each serial had the ability to strike apprehension, trepidation and fear, in that order, in the heart and imagination, particularly of one so young and impressionable; hence my reference to Ginger being my guardian. From the first bar of the introductory musical score of the respective serial, anticipation welled up inside me followed by apprehension then trepidation and finally fear. The moaning, groaning, creaking and banging of the corrugated iron clad villa only served to heighten my fear; my heart pounding in my chest. "Ginger, go see, Ginger, go see” I would nervously blurt out and Ginger would spring in to action and scamper down the passage way to the front or rear of the house in the direction from which the noise emanated. Invariably he would scurry back in to the lounge room his tail wagging and then sit down beside me. Everything was all right; nothing to fear; my fear gradually subsiding that is until the next anticlimax; "Ginger, go see, Ginger, go see” and Ginger would dutifully go see.