04 August, 2010

my grandmother's waitui

i'm writing a list poem in a workshop exercise and it has turned out to be about my grandmother. it's not as good as the one about my grandfather, but it is only yet a first draft.
my grandparents lived in maroochydore on the sunshine coast where a mcdonalds now stands. They actually had to sell their house in the seventies because mcs wanted their block, and their neighbours'. they moved to toowoomba to be closer to their sons* but their toowoomba house never had the character of maroochydore's waitui.

Waitui was the name of their house, and is a Fijian word meaning ocean or sea. they lived a block from alexandra headland and quite close to cotton tree. in better news, at least one of their previous homes in suva, fiji, is still standing and people still live in it.

my grandfather often greeted us and his sons with Bula Vinaka, which is a hearty hello in fijian. he was a bristol lad who served in the army over there before setting up shop in bulimba. my grandmother was born in suva but was neither fijian fijian or fijian indian. she was a scottish fijian.
*when they moved to toowoomba three of their four sons lived in that very chilly city. none of them do now. sensible lads. two of the sons were born in oz, two in fiji - suva and taveuni. they all have some great stories to tell about growing up in fiji.

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