Australia 2005 onwards
Life in Melbourne, moving on...
Marc Levin's brilliant documentary on anti-Semitism has just finished on TV. It's 11.45pm, and the air is thick somehow. I have spent tonight uploading images to the Small Histories site prototype, glancing up at the screen as it it beams to me the confused and fracturous state of ourselves in 2006. The recoiling of the hardy, mouthy and daring Levin at the footage of Daniel Pearl's death, then the trip with his dad to his grandfather's gravestone and its message of common decency.
I go to the toilet, come back. Everyone is asleep. One small lamp is on in the living room. The laptop sits on the floor, spotlighted, surrounded by dark. It feels like I am approaching the centre of the world. This thing is important, I think and say to myself. At this time in history in particular. And where it leads I cannot...
Ride north, June 18
Over the last couple of days I've been sorting through photos, working out which ones to scan and copy for the project. It was Rudolf's birthday a few days ago, and the combination of this and the photos have made me feel a bit raw and teary today. He is as good as gone; I'm not entirely how much my feelings relate to him, the person, and how much they relate to myself, my identity, my hold on a part of my history that will now be forever locked away.
Late this afternoon, after my childminding duties were complete, I went for a ride. The day was cold but clear, somehow sharp and clean, big, expansive, a passing herd of clouds making their way across a light blue field, pink and orange at one edge.
I headed north, into the industrial estates of North Coburg, heart still stinging, and north to Fawkner.
On the way, on Sussex St, passed a road sign: Ashkenasi Street. There were Jews here too?
I decided not to turn into Fawkner Cemetery - too much of a maudlin gesture - but ended up there anyway after skirting its vast flanks in poor, working class side streets with half-painted cars, commission houses and lawns without trees.
Rode through, saw a few families visiting theirs, felt a bit ashamed to be there. Saw the plots for the cremated departed, the mausoleums, the big monuments - you are remembered if you have money - and thought of Helene. She was fucked over twice: lost her ancestral home, had the resting places of her family bulldozed as well as the church where they were confirmed (do Lutherans do that?), married, laid to rest, had at least her brother killed - and then, 25 years later, had her remains moved from Speyer to Munich, only to be turfed out of her earthy bed and moved to an communal ditch as a result of non-payment of plot fees by the remains of a family that were too poor, dispersed, decimated and altogether absent to keep her physical resting place alive.
Going through the North Estate, I ended up finding a information bay. There is a Jewish section here, plus the Jewish pioneers garden I saw last time, dug up from what is now Victoria Market.
I was feeling better as I rode along the hardscrabble shopping strips and suburban houses, the sky almost dark, back home to a crying baby, a boisterous 4 year old and a tired partner making cauliflower soup.