Twenty things you don’t need to know about me

Posted: September 18, 2009 in Family, Musings, Writing
Tags: , , ,

1. I rolled two cars before I got my licence. The first was a mini-moke that teetered on its side before falling back onto its wheels. I was 12 years old. The second was a Toyota HiLux. I was 16 and driving with my furniture to Brisbane to start university. Both times I drove away unscathed.

2. I have six brothers who I have always loved fiercely and will until the day that I die.

3. I discovered motherhood is guilt, the day I gave birth to my first child. I couldn’t rest until I’d phoned my mother and apologised for my appalling behaviour as a teenager.

4. I am not religious at all, but every day I thank God for my gorgeous husband, kids, family and friends (and I will always be grateful to my stepchildren’s mother for her generosity in sharing her wonderful children with me).

5. My step-daughter once accused me of marrying her father just to get her. Given how I feel about her that is a reasonable presumption. However, while I am devious, I am not that devious.

6. I’m a big believer in kissing people you love every day. However, given that we expect our families to put up with behaviour that we’d never dream of inflicting on others, I reserve that belief for the inner sanctum.

7. My son is the only person I know who rubs my tummy when he puts his arm around me. He’s nine. I like it.

6.I smoked from the age of twelve until I was thirty. I actively hated it for the ten years it took me to give up, and when I finally did, I never felt the slightest urge to light up ever again. Yet sometimes I still feel the dirty heat of it as I suck it down deep into my lungs and I get so damn angry at myself that it takes minutes sometimes to wake up and realise it was only a dream.

7. I rode a motorbike, a Suzuki 250, for my first few years in Brisbane. I came off in the rain in front of Toowong Village, swapped it for a bomby Cortina and tried to convince myself it was worth it to say goodbye to helmet hair forever.

8. I can take most things in life on the chin, but kindness does me in. Every time.

9. I like to let people in when driving. There’s something about a smile from a stranger that puts air in my tyres.

10. I like animals to have daggy names. My cat is called Allan Hallam. My dog is called Huggy.  My brother’s cat is called Shirley and his dog, Trevor. He wins.

11. The first night I spent away from my daughter was the night I had my son.

12. I find my husband’s hairyness and male-pattern baldness reassuringly masculine. But I don’t want our kids to go bald. Not even the boys.

13. Facebook can make me more anxious than face-to-face communication – which makes me definitely old school.

14. I feel my father’s presence more deeply since he died.

15. When I was 20 I knocked back a job as media manager for the Department of Social Security in Queensland. My old boss was furious: “You, young lady, will never amount to anything.” Four years later he rang me at the ABC where I was working as a television reporter and stand-in newsreader. “I was right,” he said. “You never did amount to anything.” I hope he’s still alive and hears my latest news.

16. When I was 14 my father cursed me: “I hope you have a daughter and I hope she’s just like you.” I have. She’s 12 and all that a parent could wish for. She’s going to go off. I just know it.

17. My husband is grounded in the surf and has a repertoire of water-based activities for every possible swell/wind condition. He swims, he surfs, he wind-surfs, he stand-up-paddles. I am scared of any degree of swell that precludes a stately breast-stroke in a flowered bathing cap.

18. I have performed a perfect hand-stand only once in my life. On a crowded beach at Mooloolabah in front of thousands of witnesses. Unfortunately I was drowning at the time.

19. I need to listen to music more often but can’t write with lyrics playing in the background.

20. I love silence. With chocolate. Or coffee. Or even on its own.

  1. Deborah says:

    I may not have needed to know these things about you, Chris, but it is certainly fun to learn them

  2. number 9 is a very good policy, I think, helps to contribute to an all-round more happy driving experience for everyone! (and saves you getting stabbed by an irate road-rager too)
    The first night I spent away from my boys (apart from nights in hospital having more babies) was very recently when I flew to Melbourne to meet my publishers. I cried a few (hidden) tears as the plane took off, then cried again when I arrived at the publishers (a strange mix of happiness and shock and disbelief and awe) I am a big sook!

  3. I love these, Chris. All uniquely evocative in their own way. Some that make you smile, others that make you gasp, but each one a little gift! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Chris, your life’s anecdotes always make interesting reading.
    I can’t help feeling like a Voyeur, though … Karen

  5. chrisbongers says:

    Not sure what to say to that, Karen. I don’t post intensely private material, just writings and anecdotes that might resonate with others. Glad you find them interesting. 🙂

  6. WendySimms says:

    The day I had my first child I was stunned to realise this was how much my mother loved me. I can’t remember how many times I apologised. Am VERY patiently waiting for the same realisation to hit my daughter.

    • chrisbongers says:

      We mothers are a patient lot, Wendy. My own mother laughed and said, ‘Well, I waited a long time for that, didn’t I?’ To my great shame, I was in my thirties and most of the worst offences, were more than twenty years old.

  7. Carsten says:

    I like number four. You couldn’t write a book about that topic and get thousands of review…
    I ask my kids before they go to bed to recall the really great things they enjoyed and then I ask them to close their eyes and thank God for all that.

  8. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Carsten, though by the looks of it my computer clock needs re-setting, because it’s not late at all here!

  9. Josie Dietrich's breast blog says:

    Loved the image of you on a motorbike shooting around Brisbane – you wild cat. The rolling of cars is a bit scary though. Glad that pattern is finished. Yes, kindness gets me deep every time too (like your kindness around my first Chemo days with food and lovely words). I thought I finished school young at 17, but 16 is real young. You must have skipped a year (from memory I think you did? or you started young, because were smart and were bored at home – is this right?). Hope the deadline is working or has worked.

    • chrisbongers says:

      Amazing we lived to tell the tale, really. My Mum had six kids in five years Josie, including two sets of twins. The four of us who were born in February all started school before our fifth birthdays – to give Mum a bit of a break!
      And yes, deadlines do work. Here’s to the end of next month for you, Jose. xx

  10. Sue Thomson says:

    nice one bonge!!

  11. Karen B says:

    Oh I soooo love your writing. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful No4 – you’re really nice. But I can very much relate and agree totally with No 14 – I’m crying as I write this!! (my fingers are shaking too – sorry)

  12. chrisbongers says:

    Karen, I couldn’t think of my dear old dad without crying for months after he died. His death put me in touch with feelings I didn’t know that I had … and led directly to my first attempts to write fiction. So, I can relate to what you are saying too. xx

  13. Casey says:

    What a fun way to get to know you! I popped two tires before getting my license, and I thought that was bad! Good to know someone’s got me beat. : )

  14. Mike says:

    Re 2. We love you too.
    Re 4. All depends how you define religious
    Re 14. That to me is religious. So you’re religious!
    Re 16. My bet … no she won’t, but she will teach you many things.
    Re 20. Silence with saturday morning papers is good too.
    See you soon

  15. donna says:

    Hey Chris,
    Don’t launch off your perch! I am reading this before 11pm so cogniscent at this hour to post comment.
    Thanks for hospitality on the weekend, it was great to get the whole clan together.
    Jim and Dougie dug-in @ IIuka, surf outa control, happy campers. Big girl-fest here! Yeah!
    Keep attacking those double spaced lines.
    Love Don

  16. Dennis Hoey says:

    Can you tell me how you came up with the name Henry Hoey Hobson

    Dennis Hoey

    • chrisbongers says:

      Hi Dennis, you’re the second Hoey who has asked me this. The first was coincidenally called Lydia Hobson (the same name as HHH’s mother in my novel): her mum was a Hoey and her nephew was called Henry!
      My husband actually went to school with a kid called Henry Hoey Hobson almost fifty years ago in Perth. I loved the triple Hs, and because there’s no copyright on names, I decided to use it and create a fictional character nicknamed ‘Triple H’ (and yes, I did make sure that my character had nothing else in common with that long-ago schoolboy!)
      But now I’m intrigued – do you have a relationship with the original HHH? Because I never did find any record when I googled the name.

      • Dennis Hoey says:

        Hi Chris. Thank you for your reply. No, I’m not related to your husband’s HHH friend. The other day I came across your book online, and saw the Hoey name, which is unusual, and just had to buy the book. I should be receiving it any day now, but before I read it I’ll give it to my daughter Lorraine, who is writing her own children’s literature book. We live in Lake Mary, Florida, and my only claim to fame regarding the name Hoey is the Dennis Hoey of Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. He played Lt. Lestrade, and as far as I know not a relative of mine.
        I’m looking forward to reading “Henry Hoey Hobson”, and will make my Hoey relatives here in the States aware of it. Maybe your sales will soar by 9 or 10 books! 🙂

        Best regards,
        Dennis Patrick Kevin Hoey (so not to get confused with the rest of them)

  17. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Dennis, it’s great to hear that HHH is winging his way to Florida – feel free to spread the word of your namesake far and wide!

  18. Ross CLARK says:

    Re character names.
    I created Belle (ie Belinda) in a verse novel. In one incident she dons a band’s outfit including dark vest and bowler hat with playing card in the band. Then I began to see a student at my uni, all in black, including vest, and bowler hat with ace of spades in the band. Eventually, when she was walking close by, I accosted her and did the whole “You’ll think this is weird etc”. She didn’t think it was, so we chatted. Then I said, “Oh sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Ross”. “I’m Belinda,” she said.

    ps Handstands for 15 years.

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