- Religion and Philosophy
Is card reading just a harmless parlour game? Part 1 Terri
Claremont Teachers' College
Some people fit in so well. They just seem to blend into the scenery, and everybody accepts them for what they are; or what they appear to be. I found that out very early in my life, so was prepared for it; prepared for it when I went to Claremont Teachers’ College in Perth West Australia.
It’s just a matter of either finding one’s niche; superbly camouflaged, or going out on a limb and proclaiming, “This is me. Take me as you find me”.
Beware intrepid tree climber; those branches are not always too robust. Those branches may snap. And when they do, it’s a long way down to reality.
Claremont Teachers' College
The safer course is to blend in.
So we all showed our individuality; our rejection of stated values, by dressing the same as our peers; by acting and reacting in the same manner.
And we dragged our parents into our statements of individuality along with our late adolescent Angst. Was there a mother in Perth who could not knit, and if she could, did she not knit the longest and the loosest “sloppy Joe” sweater in the most earthy colours? The sweater was an exterior proclamation of our inner burgeoning Angst. Well, Angst of a kind. I mean, what late teens - early twenties in 1961, had either heard of Angst or were prepared to indulge in it? We didn’t know if we had it, but we worked hard at acquiring it.
We had to find out about Angst at Psychology Lectures under the benevolent eye of Mr Kagi.
Brubaker: ‘The Psychology if Childhood and Adolescence’.
But Angst and psychology and dysfunctional traits applied to other people. French Students at the Sorbonne and the like; with Americans in hot pursuit. They had Angst in layers; they were knee deep in Angst.
But in Perth, West Australia, we faced our Brave New World from a safer platform.
Brubaker or Brubeck
Of course we read ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and admired Holden Caulfield. Naturally we read ‘Archie and Mehitabel’ and laughed all the way through ‘Mad’ magazine. Of course we did.
And we wrote blank verse without a single capital letter on the page… not even in the title. And we sat through hours of silence and black coffee at ‘The Pot’ in Wellington Street or listened to Dave Brubeck and Nina Simone at the same venue.
Brubaker during the day and Brubeck at night.
We sat through hours of Nouvelle Vague movies; left cinemas in tears over ‘Bonjour Tristesse’, wriggled uncomfortably through every bit of Fellini at the Liberty Theatre; a tiny airless cinema which showed every foreign movie as soon as it came to West Australia.
So we wandered around College in the eternal uniform of non-conformist youth; conforming to the strictest dress code that any amount of peer pressure could insist on.
So we talked about all the new things that had broadened our horizons, but if I am any gauge of what it really meant, we knew little and understood precious little less.
I certainly had only a rudimentary appreciation or understanding of ‘The meaning of Life’, and I suspected that most of my peers were wallowing in confusion also. But sometimes, only sometimes I wondered if there was something, just something that I was unaware of.
We conformed: from earth coloured sweaters to olive green corduroys; we conformed from loafers to duffle coats; we conformed to each other so well that the makers of camouflage could have come to us for advice. We almost disappeared in our unique conformity. And when, or if, someone stepped out of line and wore a little more colour than acceptable, or looked as if he had any real individuality, or she wore something vaguely pretty, those people stood out from the crowd in an alarming manner.
Colin Spelling wore a shade of blue that was almost frightening, and he made one uneasy step beyond the pale when he had his hair cut short, back and side. The only thing that saved him from total censure was his deplorable lack of personal hygiene. We liked Colin for that. It was his own personal banner to be waved with pride.
Judith Crane wore a shade of lipstick that was too bright and then compounded her sins by having her hair styled so that she looked wholesome and just the sort of girl a mother would be proud of.
Maureen O’Sullivan almost started a riot when she appeared at college in the most flamboyantly artistic clothes, with outrageously red hair done in a style that would have made a member of the mid eighteenth century demimonde look on admiringly, but Maureen had integrity and a flamboyant nature that would not fit too comfortably within education and she took her integrity, completely intact, and left the sacred Halls of Academe and, I believe, went on to better things.
But there, to take up the baton that Maureen O'Sullivan had handed on so beautifully and threateningly, was Terri Rolle.
Terri made not the slightest attempt to follow the herd. She didn’t follow the mature students in their adherence to respectable clothing and attitudes, or their rather desperate attempts to regain missed youth. Even if she had wanted to, she didn’t fit at all comfortably into the plethora of ‘La Dolce Vita’ headscarfed and mini-heeled, wide, black belted pseudo intellectuals on their imagined via Venetos. She hadn’t the slightest sartorial link with the gamins of the Nouvelle Vague, and neither did she conform at all to the depressed and depressing coffee drinking ante-suicidal denizens of ‘The Pot’.
Terri was Terri, and she did it gloriously.
She dressed in incredibly high stilettos and her skirts were just below the knee, and full. And she knew how to walk in those high heeled shoes and to move her body and her hips like an aristocrat… or better still, like an expensive whore. She wore lipstick that was vibrant and yet on Terri it looked understated. She was unfashionably pale skinned in a State that looked askance on anyone without an amazing sun tan.
Nobody understood her or her looks or her attitude to life, and yet, everyone who knew her loved her for her honesty, her love of life, her intelligence, and her understated class. She spoke with the most beautiful intonation and everything she said was worth listening to.
Those who did not know her may have, initially, smiled somewhat patronisingly at her outward appearance which seemed to be out of gear with her surrounding, but they soon learned to love and admire her… or left her immediate surroundings, confused and frequently angry.
They would be angry with her for her charm and beauty, perhaps; angry with themselves because they could not understand, and therefore, could not hijack all or anything that was hers.
Terri made an impact, by simply being in a particular place… entering a room, or even walking to lectures with her lovely head, with its mane of hair, held up proudly, yet not arrogantly. The hair that many admired, but once out of sight, could not tell what colour or even remember the style she wore it in,
And when she walked, those stiletto heels tapped rhythmically, with an almost imperceptible, musical squeak of metal on stone. There are some sounds that we never forget, and for me, the sound of Terri Rolle’s heels on hard ground is one of them.
Luigi's on Saturday morning - Of course!
I was in awe of her, and yet I felt very comfortable in her company. We never seemed to make a date for a meeting, but I would frequently find we were in the same place at the same time, and we seemed to gravitate towards each other.
Perhaps she would be leaving ‘Luigi’s’ Coffee Lounge in Saint George’s Terrace, on a Saturday afternoon, just as I arrived. And she would turn and retrace her steps down the black and white tiled steps and we would sit together over a Cappuccino and crayfish rolls.
Of course it would be a Saturday afternoon at ‘Luigi’s’. That was the time to see and to be seen.
Or she would come upon me in one of those hidden coffee lounges on Mount’s Bay Road. And we would sit together for hours and listen to the owner complain about the rich boys and girls from Nedlands and Dalkeith who sat for hours and hardly spent more than a few shillings.
“Bloody Neddies. Too much money and too tight to spend it”.
Yet the owner would have kept the place open for hours after her usual closing time if Terri were there. Everyone liked Terri, and very often new and unexpected customers would appear; perhaps attracted by the lovely mystery that she emanated. Or perhaps, just by coincidence.
Churchill Avenue, Subiaco
Churchill Avenue, Subiaco.
When I left the flat behind ‘The Daffodil Cake Shop’, I lived briefly in a suburban house in Churchill Avenue, Subiaco.
Jenny and I each had bedrooms in the house, but we didn’t really live together.
Saleema had lived with Jenny for a while before I moved in, but she left very soon afterwards, as she knew that her strict father would have disapproved in no uncertain manner. Saleema’s family were Muslims and the thought of his unmarried daughter living in the same house as an unrelated man horrified him… or would have, if he ever found out. So Saleema left.
I should have realised what a selfish act it had been of mine, but I never really developed the knack of looking forward or thinking deeply enough to envisage that there might be consequences to most or all of my actions.
I should have realised, especially as I knew that the man loathed me, and didn’t like his daughter even talking to me, even in the course of going to the same college.
Saleema’s mother, on the other hand was very nice to me. She was a woman of great beauty; her family being originally from Kashmir, a state in India renowned for its beautiful women and handsome men, along with equally beautiful scenery. I had heard my father say on several occasions that she was the most beautiful woman in Perth. I think I concur.
Saleema, herself, developed into a lovely looking person, with an equally attractive personality. I lovely young girl developed into a stunningly beautiful woman.
I can’t remember ever sharing a meal in that house in Churchill Avenue with Jenny or Saleema, or even cooking in the little poorly equipped kitchen. There was a sink with cold water and a gas oven which we had brought from the ‘Daffodil’, on which we could boil a kettle, or perhaps cook something. But if anyone did anything at all elaborate, I can’t remember it happening.
That gas oven turned out to be a Trojan Horse, but more about that later, perhaps.
There was a feeling of impermanence in that house. There were curtains at the windows, to protect our privacy, yet no carpets on the floors, so the wind came up through the floorboards when it blew, and Perth, West Australia is a windy town. In winter it could be very cold.
Austin Healey 'Sprite'
Terri & Jake, Saleema & Christian
Terri and Saleema were great friends. As well as attending Teachers’ College together, they and we, moved in the same group of acquaintances. Both Terri and Saleema had boyfriends and the four of them spent a fair amount of time together.
Saleema’s boyfriend was a university student named Christian. I didn’t particularly like him, and I think that the feelings were mutual but we were polite to each other for Saleema’s sake.
Terri’s boyfriend, on the other hand was a pleasant guy. Jake was a little older than the rest of us and lived in a country town with his parents, who I believe were quite well off. I think he worked in his father’s business or on their farm, which I believe was their occupation. Jake drove a little white Austin-Healey Sprite; an open sports car, and as most of us had pretty old jalopies or no cars at all, it gave him a certain cachet. He was tall, and his features were so regular and ordinary that one could call him handsome.
What is more, he adored Terri and she was equally as fond of him.
It was the Easter Weekend. Jake had come up to Perth from the Country, arriving late on Thursday evening. He and Terri had planned to go down to spend some time at his parents’ home and Saleema and Christian were to go down with them.
Jake would be driving the little white Austin-Healey Sprite, which was definitely a car for only two. Saleema and Christian were to go in Saleema’s car.
They met at Churchill Avenue, and after having waited for Saleema to finish packing a few clothes into her case, they walked, laughing, to the cars parked in the street. I could smell the scent that Saleema used, ‘L'Aimant’ by Coty. Both she and Terri had dabbed a little on their wrists and necks as they completed packing Saleema's travelling case.
As usual, Terri looked so stylish. I can remember her looking like a fair haired Anouk Amee as she elegantly slid into the passenger seat. Her hair covered by a white chiffon scarf to stop it blowing around too much in the open topped Sprite.
Christian was driving Saleema’s car.
Jenny and I stood on the little veranda and waved Goodbye to the foursome as they drove off in the two cars; laughing and waving into the later afternoon sunshine.
The house seemed quiet and bare without their talk and happy preparations for their trip.
Silent and still, with just the scent of ‘L'Aimant' hanging in the air.
Please read the whole story. It comes in three parts. This is part 1.
This story, or narration of events, (Call it what you will) is in three parts.
Perhaps you would also like to read another Hub concerning Paranormal Phenomena: The title is: Paranormal Phenomena: Hysteria or Good Old Fashioned Mumbo Jumbo
- Paranormal Phenomena: Hysteria or Good Old Fashioned Mumbo Jumbo
Paranormal phenomena are not necessarily of a religious nature, although there are those who will insist that paranormal incidents encompass religious experience and many who consider that religious experience is provable. If so, where does “Faith”