Historical Fiction

The Art of Memories (released 2021)

The Art of Memories is a story of friendship and the consequences of the decisions we make in life. Louise is a forty something art therapist harbouring a secret desire to be a full time artist. Walking her border collie through Elkington Park, Balmain, she sees an old man carefully tending the rose gardens. Her dog befriends the old man and Louise gets to know Bob, a lonely widower no longer in contact with his children and grandchildren.  Bob agrees to Louise painting his portrait and as the painting takes shape, Louise learns that living for others has far reaching consequences.  Stretching from Sydney’s inner west to the eastern suburbs, the story features locations as diverse as a locked mental health ward, Leichardt Oval, Bondi Pavilion and Callan Park Aslyum. Spanning from the 1940s to today, the Art of Memories is heartwarming tale of the difference good friends make to your life.

He loved his Saturday walks down to the ground.  As he walked he imagined the early days back in 1908 – the time of the breakaways and the newness of this game.  As the breeze blew in from the water, he wrapped his black and gold scarf a little tighter around his neck.  He wondered if John would be playing today – he was limping yesterday at the docks.  John was always suggesting he take up the game, he was still fit from his water polo playing days but he no longer had time for the training commitments to any sport.  He dragged hard on his cigarette, a bad habit he had picked up in his National Service days.  Bet was constantly on at him to give up, she said she didn’t like the taste of his mouth anymore.

Bob turned the corner into Glover Street, which led down to the rowing club.  He walked past the federation style homes, the type that he and Bet were saving for; although they wanted to be near the swimming baths.    The mighty Tigers were an important part of his history with Bet – it was at the Leagues Club on opening night when he asked Bet to marry him.  He still wonders if it was the excitement of the night that made her say yes. 

He walked up to the gates and had a chat with Jack

“How’s the boats going Bob?”

“Good mate, how are the trains?”

“Good mate, how’s the wife and kids”

“Good, how’s Bet?”

“Good.” 

Despite the goods Bob could tell by Jack’s eyes that there was something wrong.  Bet always said to him that the eyes were the keys to the soul and in Jack’s deep blue eyes, Bob could see an immense pain.  The game wasn’t the place to ask him but Bob knew he needed to get Jack over a drink in the leagues club and find out what was happening and if he could help.  He’d done his National Service with Jack and they had seen some sights that no human should see.  He hoped Jack was not plagued by demons of the past.