FOR George Tuscon, his past is his worst enemy, it never escapes his tortured mind. He tries to put it aside, but it keeps coming back.
ANZAC fever is in the air and as a veteran, George takes part in commemorations every year.
He sits to talk of his memories as an ANZAC but his mind wonders down a different path.
“Dot, lost her mind, after our daughter’s death. She couldn’t handle it anymore,”
“Her death left a scar, when she went … so did Dot.”
It’s silent, the kitchen feels cold. He wants to share his memories, but stops.
Finally, the silence forces him to speak.
“Never forget going to footy with Jacky, we were 15,” he says.
“One day I went to my cousins on the way to footy, and he was going with this girl, he asked me, ‘I got her… will you look after Dot for me?’
“I said ‘oh yeah, so we double-dinked on my bike to Prahran and we were going together from then on’.”
George gasps for air as he looks down.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he says unconvincingly.
He pauses for several minutes.
Then he talks of Ceylon, “I saw my father at the arrival gate,”
“I said, ‘what you doing here?’ He said, ‘what does it look like? How much money you got?
“Never forget that, you see …”
“No, it wasn’t Ceylon, wait yes, it was Turkey,” says George as he tries to revive his memory.
But all he really wants to remembers is Dot.
“The best thing was coming home to Dot, oh yea… I was wrapped in her.”
As George juggles his thoughts, trying to remember specific moments. He keeps coming back to it. The missed moments, the moments he should have treasured. Now it’s too late.
“She must have been 14, on the way to Prahran, I leaned closer and asked if she wanted to go to the pictures Saturday night?
“She said yes… but I said I would [sic] be late, Jack and I are going to footy, so go in and we come later ok.”
As George travelled through time his memory was vivid and his eyes lit up. He chuckled, and says,
“It was one penny to get in and we got a bottle of beer for a penny, coz it was after hours,” he laughs.
“So we walked inside with two bottles of beer.”
The clock sounds, tic tock, tic tock. There is an overwhelming silence as George is taken back.
“She was the best thing that happened to me and I couldn’t even learn to bloody dance,” he says.
“Bugger it, its best to put it to one side”
He avoids the topic yet again, and jumps to another moment.
“So it was after Ray we decided that three kids was enough,
“And so a great doctor fixed it for us.”
Now, George has six grandchildren, twelve great grand children, and two great, great, grand children, but he does not know their names.
“Oh you must be joking me, no, I just called them what’s your name.”
He says, as he smiles, but looks away… silence fills the room again.
The eerie sound of the kitchen with the clock in the background, he starts talking again.
“Dot was a great dancer,” he remembers.
“She did ballroom dancing,”
After another unbearable pause he looks at the old newspaper in front of him unfolding the corners of the papers pages, he changes topics again.
“Oh yeah… that’s right, I turned 18 over at Broadmeadows base, and that was Christmas of ’41 and then I got called.
His time at service was once, “eight months in Salon.. with no bullets.”
And he famously remembers, “driving the Jeep for around like a two bob millionaire.”
George’s army days seem less than traumatic. The closest he came to injury or danger was in a ferry, as he recalls.
“There was four of us in the room, and as she took off, it bloody went and bang I was on the floor, fell off the bed.”
While memories of comradeship and travelling remains vivid, post war alcohol seems to have blurred everything.
His doesn’t speak of family memories,
There is silence. A feeling of guilt rises and his eyes tears up, but he smiles.
“In those days, I worked and Dot spent a lot of time with the kids.”
As he looks around his kitchen, he says, “We came here in 1969, the kids were just about to go to high school.”
George was a good provider, but his absence in family pictures tell a different story.
He worked in the beer industry and drinking had become a daily affair.
“’I know you, drank again you bum, come help me with this’, she would say to me when I use to come home… She was unreal,” he says proudly.
12:41pm, His silence fills the kitchen, the clock seems to be ticking loudly. He looks down and admits it, perhaps to himself.
“I couldn’t imagine her just laying… no movement, no nothing.”
This memory haunts George, as the moment he lost it all.