Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Dear cats

Tigrinha (Little Tigress) had a short life... she was born on 21s September 2016. She was given a chunk of  sausage laced with 'chumbinho' while neighbours were having a barbecue on a Monday night some 6 months later. She was found stiff and bloody in the followingl morning. 
photos taken on 21st February 2016.
Branquinho (Whitey) was exactly 5 months old.
Botinha aka Pretinho in 21s February 2016.
Malhada aka Branquinha. 
Peludinha aka Mãe.
Malhada aka Branquinha.
posing as a bibelot...
two living bibelots...
Branquinho under the Biblical jasmine bush...

Saturday, 29 October 2016

All Souls Day 2012 - Dia de Finados

Myself at my Mother's grave on All Souls Day 2012. 
Rute Darin at Cemiterio das Flores in Cotia - 2 November 2012.
Mother's grave at Cemiterio das Flores in Cotia-SP. 2012.
my uncle Claudio Amorim & his wife Francisca de Oliveira Amorim.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Auckland, New Zealand 1981

an Auckland typical middle class neighbourhood.
beautiful Auckland harbour... 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

A postcard from Marlene Günther to Jaime Silva 1988

Jaime Silva
Bloco 10 A-23
Condominio Minas Gerais
Parque Cecap
07.000 - Guarulhos-SP

querido Jaime,

Obrigada por sua carta com foto. Confesso que fiquei muito chocada com a noticia sobre o Dago. Fiquei com as pernas moles e como que petrificada. Peguei o Wachu e andei umas três horas perto da água. Até hoje quase não posso acreditar. Não sei como a Elfi não mencionou nada. Não tenho palavras. Só sei que senti muitíssimo. Vou passar 1 semana em New York. E só porque amigos me cederam o apartamento. De resto estou quebrada e vou ter que trabalhar muito para pagar a viagem. Quem sabe, talvez, venda alguns quadros em Hamburgo. Você está muito bonito (menos magro no rosto). Gostei da foto e dos cartões! Beijos, Marlene. 

Sabe que já nos conhecemos quase 10 anos... 

Estarei em Hamburg dia 4 June

Escreva para: Martensweg 8
2000 Hamburg 76
West Germany 

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

My British transported-to-Australia friend...

Britain’s child migrants: ‘I was told I was going on a picnic’

Up until 1970, the UK regularly shipped thousands of orphans and illegitimate children abroad to a life of virtual slave labour and, ofter, abuse. Giulia Rhodes meets two victims of a policy that robbed them of a childhood and a family.

23 April 1938 … Four child migrants arrive at Fairbridge Farm School in Molong, New South Wales. From left: Edward (Ted) Gamsley, Mary Simpson, Clara Park, Cyril Lord. Ted is alive and lives in Molong, the others are dead.

Giulia Rhodes - Saturday, 24 October 2015. 

Sunday evenings were the highlight of the week when Tony Costa was a child. Then, he and the other boys living at Bindoon Boys Town, an orphanage run by the Catholic Christian Brothers in Western Australia, were allowed to watch a television film. Sometimes, says Costa, 74, Mario Lanza, the American tenor and Hollywood star would feature. “I ordained him the voice of hope. When he sang I felt I could keep going. It was the only good thing.”

Costa is one of an estimated 100,000 British children sent to institutions in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) under official migration schemes which ran until 1970. Most of the children never saw their families again. Many suffered years of systematic physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

Tony’s story is among those told in an exhibition opening at the V&A Museum of Childhood today. He and several other former child migrants have come to Britain to share their experiences. “We need to be heard so we never, ever see this happen again,” he says.

Tony was two when his unmarried mother took him to a London orphanage. She told the nuns she would come back as soon as she had the means to provide for him.

Tony Costa was 11 when he left for Australia in 1953 … ‘I was told I would ride on horseback to school and pick fruit from the trees.’

By the time she did, her son had been sent to the other side of the world. She was told simply that she was too late. It would be another 50 years before Tony even found out she had returned.

He was 11 when, in 1953, he set sail for Australia. “I was told I would ride on horseback to school and pick fruit from the trees. We were going to enjoy life.”

Official pictures from the time show groups of excited children, smartly dressed and smiling. As soon as the ship docked at Fremantle, a different reality emerged. Tony spent the next five years at Bindoon, where an Australian Royal Commission last year heard that boys were subjected to back-breaking manual labour, given little food or education and regularly abused.

“We lived in constant fear of being flogged or molested. We had no dignity or self-esteem. I would cry my eyes out at night and wonder what I had ever done to deserve such treatment when I had committed no crime. We were told we were the sons of whores, the lowest form of humanity,” says Tony.

Aged 16, Tony left Bindoon, taking a job in a factory, but only when he reached 21 was he given his birth certificate. “I learned my parents were called Kathleen Mary and Thomas Joseph, a Belfast man, and that I was born at St Mary’s hospital, Islington.”

In 1977, he travelled to Britain seeking some geographical connection and identity. “I just wandered about like a lost soul.”

In 2011, the film ‘Oranges and Sunshine’ told the story of British social worker Dr Margaret Humphreys and her fight on behalf of child migrants. Tony wrote to the charity she set up, the Child Migrants Trust, and six months later was given details of an aunt living in Belfast. Both his parents were dead.

The revelation that his mother had tried to get him back was heartbreaking. “Knowing she wanted me – when I had been told she didn’t – was wonderful, but we were betrayed. The torment she must have felt haunts me. I could have had a normal childhood.”

Age does not diminish the pain of a lost identity, says Humphreys, international director of the Child Migrants Trust.

Tony Costa as a boy. His mother tried to get him back but he only found out in 2011, when it was too late.

In 2010, a government apology was issued to former child migrants and a fund established to facilitate trips to meet relatives. It has been used more than 850 times.

“We can’t give back their childhood,” Humphreys says, “but allowing them at least to be able to say who their parents were, perhaps meet cousins, hear stories, understand the very few vague memories they may have is huge.”

Many former migrants only found out 50 or 60 years after leaving the UK that they were not war orphans. “That was perhaps the cruellest deception,” says Humphreys.

It is time, she says, the truth was investigated through an independent judicial inquiry. “The apology was the start of this country’s reconciliation with the children it sent away. Justice should follow. The migrants need to give their testimony and we need to hear it, while they are still alive.”

Marcelle O’Brien, 71, from Perth, in Western Australia, is another migrant determined to tell her story. Unlike Tony, she learned the truth just in time to meet her mother, who died in 2002.

“She was all hunched in a chair. Her mind was starting to go but I tapped her on the shoulder, knelt down near her and said, ‘Hello, Mum, it’s Marcelle.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Praise the Lord. I know who you are. Those bastards took you away from me.’”

Marcelle O’Brien, from Perth, Australia, was sent to an Australian orphanage when she was five, where she was maltreated.

The result of an affair, Marcelle was put into care as a baby and has vague memories of happy years with her foster mother and siblings. In 1949, just before her fifth birthday, she was sent to Australia. “I was told I was going on a picnic,” she recalls.

On arrival, her luggage was taken – “We had nothing left of England” – and she was sent to Fairbridge Farm, an orphanage in Pinjarra.

She remained there for 11 years, suffering regular abuse from the “cottage mothers” assigned to look after the girls. “You would be locked in a closet for hours, called terrible names,” she says, adding quietly, “I couldn’t mention some of the stuff.”

“I never thought I had anyone. It was easier without happy memories. I thought it was tougher for those who knew what they had lost.”

As Marcelle grew older, though, she began to dwell on the snippets of memory she retained. In particular, she wondered about Valerie and Kenneth, whom her foster mother had taken in at the same time and gone on to adopt. “We used to play together. We were about the same age.”

She placed advertisements seeking information – to no avail – in newspapers in Britain and Australia.
When she was nearly 50, she learned that her foster mother, whom she had always assumed to be her birth mother, had tried desperately to get her back so she could adopt her.

 Marcelle O’Brien, as a little girl.

When the charity in charge of the orphanage refused, Mrs Chapman – by now also mourning the death of Valerie – appealed to the royal family for help. The then Queen Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother, wrote back expressing sympathy, but ultimately supporting the charity’s position.

Finally, through the Child Migrants Trust, Marcelle was able to trace her birth mother, who had changed her name. “To know I had a mother, that I have family, was incredible. She was my mum, I was desperate to see her,” she says.

By the time she met her mother, though, it was almost too late. “I had a few days before her dementia became too advanced. She was a frail old lady. I couldn’t ask her anything. I wouldn’t have wanted to upset her and she was too confused.”

She felt anger and hurt, but never towards her mother. “I felt deep compassion for her. I was so thankful to have met her.” With four children and 31 grand and great-grandchildren of her own, Marcelle can imagine the agony of giving up a baby. “It was only when I started my own family, when I had someone to look after and who might look after me, that I felt I belonged anywhere. That is when I learned what love is.”

Marcelle is now in contact with three half-siblings and several cousins, in the UK and Canada. “You can’t go back for a couple of weeks and cram a lifetime in, but knowing they are there, that we can talk, is wonderful. I have an identity, a past. I exist.”

More information, On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants is at the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, London E2.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown-NSW

I worked at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for most of the 1980s and some time in 1990s too. I made a lot of friends among my co-workers. 

I worked as a Technical Aide at the Anatomical Pathology Departament on the on the 7th floor of the Fairfax Building - which was actually only the 3rd floor counting from the ground floor. I started working at the Histology Section in October 1981. 

There were a few ladies who worked as clerks for the Department. A completely new building was under construction around this time but before they could vacate the adjacent Gastroenterology Ward to where the clerks would move - those unlucky ladies had to do all their typing and filing on very cramped space. 

Margaret Marshall, a very competent typist from Britain would see the whole hullaballo and write rhymes about it. Have a look at some of them: 


In Pathology Anatomical
each day borders on the comical, 
working in the smallest space 
we're always coming face to face.

If you want to move around 
obstacles by the score abound,
just to get from A to B
is a feat you have to see.

To qualify for working here
one must be a mountaineer,
for climbing over, round and under
you must be an athletic wonder.

We are all packed so tightly in
one breathes out and one breathes in,
and if you should miss your turn
I dare not say what fate you'll earn.

On each others' toe we tread
the crowd is counted by the head,
and each minute through the door
come another hundred more.

Soon we're packed so tightly in
to work, you just cannot begin,
now I know just what it means
to be packed in like sardines.

Don't bend down to tie a lace
or on your back they'll set a place,
or use you as a filing basket
the situation is so drastic.

Heather sat beside the sink
and one day teetered on the brink,
whilst trying to overcome a hurdle
she disappeared without a gurgle.

So when the tap you do turn
remember our friend has come,
and keep a grip upon the side 
or you may be swallowed by the tide.

As you settle down to work
if you should get a sudden jerk,
it might just Silvana be
climbing o'er to get her tea.

Sitting by the photocopier
Sandra, she could not be happier,
but alas, is often seen
being dragged through the machine.

This tends to make us all irate
'cause she is here in duplicate,
and on the long awaited day
she collects two lots of pay.

Margaret sits besides the cupboard
feeling just like Mother Hubbard,
and really isn't trying to hide
she just keeps getting shut inside.

Helen is our Opera Star
and we think she will go far,
but meantime to work she's pledged
and is into a corner wedged.

She trills away the whole day through
and soon will make her big debut,
so when for test results you're ringing
she will give them to you... singing.

As the time for work approaches
we're infested by cockroaches,
then to wake us from our dreams
the place is filled with loudest screams.

All day long they crawl around
in many places they can be found,
causing such an awful fright
when on us the do alight.

Parties are held here by the score
and even bigger crowds do draw,
a feast so good to please the eyes 
but makes us all increase in size.

So future staff will have to be 
very thin and rather wee,
to fit within a tiny space
and get a job in this small place.

Margaret Marshall  - 14th November 1983.


Each day at lunch time we all know
that Heather has to ring her beau,
she can't wait to speak to Ron
and tell him all that's going on.

At 12:30 on the dot 
she gets settled in her spot,
then the receiver up she picks 
give me extention sixty-six.

Hello, baby, is that you?
I'm so glad I could get through,
there is such a lot to say 
so I'll begin right away.

The Registrars all passed their test
I guess that they all did their best,
Dr. Goldschmidt got back from Hol's
I thinki he spent it chasing dolls.

Margaret's run off with the Baker
they say he didn't really make her,
she always did say she would go 
for one who had a lot of dough.

Silvana, I have heard them say
might soon be in the family way,
she would like one more for her brood
and is waiting till she's in the mood.

I've heard when Sandra does her shopping
beside the ckeckout she is stopping, 
for a boyfriend to acquire 
someone to set her soul on fire. 

Coming on the bus to work 
Kristine is bothered by some jerk,
I guess she's on a sticky wicket
she really ought to punch his ticket.

Well, I tell you, darling Ronnie
we have a new girl, Connie,
she has lived in Yankeeland
and thought that it was simply grand.

Helen's casting threatening glances
I guess I'd better take no chances,
I must leave you, to my sorrow
but will ring again tomorrow.

Margaret Marshall - 22 October 1984.

clerck & poetry writer Margaret Marshall & Myself at 1984 Xmas party at RPAH.

There was a photocopying machine in the Department that doctors and other staff would use it regularly, disrupting the clerks's routine. Look what Margaret wrote about it:


When this machine you come to use
the privilege do not abuse,
please note before you do begin
the size of paper that is in.

If our quarto you should change
and all the systems re-arrange,
just before you go away
please put back the other tray.

If several copies are for you
the thing that we'd like you to do, 
is put the number back to one
'cause that should be what it is on.

Many copies go to waste
when someone in their busy haste,
does not change the counter back
instead of one we get a stack.

If the paper tray is low
please, oh please before you go,
add a bit more to the pile
so that it will last a while.

It causes so much consternation
when you stand here in conversation,
while others do await their turn
and for your departure yearn.

We may not stand beside and wait
so whilst becoming more irate
to another task we go
hoping you won't be too slow.

So please, do not hold up our work
and make us think that you're a jerk, 
we hope that you'll co-operate
which will make us think you're great.

signed: Frustrated of Camperdown
24th April 1984.

Helen Hoffman showing off her rocking koala...

I used to collect any 'funny writing' I came across... these are some examples:

All doctors know a little about everything
but as time goes on, 
they know less and less
about more and more,
so they end up knowing
nothing about everything.

Medical Technologists,
know a great deal about nothing
but as time goes on, 
they know more and more
about less and less,
so they end up knowing everything about nothing.

Technical Officers, however,
know everything about everything,
but because of their association 
with Medical Technologists and Doctors,
they end up knowing
nothing about nothing.  

The psychiatrist knows all 
and does nothing.

The surgeon knows nothing
and does all.

The dermatologist knows nothing
and does nothing.

The pathologist knows everything,
but a day too late.

Sandra Winstanley expressing herself animatedly...
Sandra, Koala & Myself at a RPAH Christmas party. 

Anatomical Pathology had ony two toilett cubicles for the whole department. This created many an embarrassing situation. Margaret could not be silenced and wrote this funny protest. 


Please do take heed of this rhyme
and in this room don't spend much time,
for there are many others who
want to do the same as you.

While we wait in desperation
and in growing consternation,
some do take the time to read
oblivious of another's need.

When you come into this LOO
just do the thing you have to do,
pull the chain and rush away
then live to come another day.

Many times I am enraged
to find both doors are marked 'Engaged',
and often from behind a door 
I'll swear that I can hear a snore.

Whilst in here you sit and languish
others wait outside in anguish.
Why can't you do the same as we
and only come to have a pee

Keep it brief and to the point
remember others in this joint,
be aware the time you spend
is driving someone round the bend.

When you sit here in peace and quiet
just outside there is a riot,
many desperados wait
each minute getting more irate.

The moral of this tale of woe
is if you really have to go,
make it quick and beat retreat
so someone else may have your seat.

Margaret Marshall - 25 October 1983

Jack is nimble
Jack is quick
but still prefers
the candle stick. 

Constipation is the thief of time!

Diarrhea waits for no man!