There are no faster or firmer friendships than those between people who love the same books (Irving Stone)
My cousin Julie is part of my life, part of me.
For many years we have shared the trials, tribulations and joys of our lives, including books, quotations and inspirational verses. I pass on to her any that I enjoy and she does the same for me. Recently we have exchanged the Desiderata , The Rosie Project, Cleo, Tumbledown Manor and the complete book of Great Australian Women. Last month she moved into assisted care and had to clear her unit.
She has passed on to me her most treasured books; prizes awarded when she attended Fintona Girls’ School many years ago. Books by Jane Austin, RD Blackmore and George Eliot. With love I have placed these new additions to my book ‘family’ amongst fellow companions and I will care for them, love them but most of all enjoy them and think of her whenever I do. They are here in my safekeeping. Hers to visit or take home whenever she likes. However, later they will be passed on with love to whoever needs them at that time and I will be guided as to who that is when that time comes
Julie used to teach piano and music is part of her life. When feeling blue, listening to classical CD’s always sooths her soul. Books to me are like her music to her. They are my Bach and Beethoven. Old friends who comfort, exhilarate and transport me into so many different worlds. I don’t sit and read line by line like Julie. I dip in, flick through, but always find what I need at that particular time. My books are not worthy tomes, they are about everyday life and are dog eared, preloved, tatty, often garage sale gleaned and anyone searching for first editions lined up in library neatness will be disappointed. I make no apology. From the crayon scrawled Dr Suesse to the thesis written in longhand on aboriginal children in schools during the last century thrown out by an uncaring family, to precious school awards, they are my treasures.
Often I find scraps of paper buried between the pages, such as ‘Live more in your heart and less in your head’ or ‘There are two dominant energies, love and fear and love conquers all’. Boring to some but often photocopied and sent with love to uplift others. These days I also find many inspirational verses on Facebook and love to see people sharing these treasures.
Through laughter and light
And the dark soul of night.
Deep rooted as a tree.
Our mothers were cousins. They whispered together and walked hand in hand. Every Sunday, side by side, their voices soared in harmony. Handbags hanging, they linked arms and, with heads close together, magpie chattered, oblivious to the world. They laughed, cried, told jokes, criticised their husbands and praised their babies.
Julie was eight when I arrived.
Julie’s parents had elegant Christmas parties. I admired ruby glass from afar and ate jelly cakes and lamingtons, never spilling a crumb. Julie played Beethoven on the grand piano. I saw her wear dresses that with a tuck would be mine.
Julie went to college, studied at the Conservatorium and sang in the Sun Aria. She whispered of love. Her family disapproved but she married her ‘commoner’. I saw her look of defiance and the family’s look of defeat.
We met weekly in the Botanic Gardens where we laughed, cried, told jokes, and tended our babies.
The battered doll is bruised to the core
Convinced no one will love her any more.
Julie grabbed her music, called a taxi and fled to a flat.
Julie lies quietly in the hospital bed. ‘The cancer operation will be a success,’ she says. I lie beside her, our heads touching. We sip Chardonnay in elegant glasses hoping the nurses will leave us alone. We talk for hours until the late bell tolls and I train home filled with courage.
Julie is fighting. She has chemotherapy, loses her hair. We sit in cheery waiting rooms amongst smiling faces beaming love to anyone near. Life seems precious and eggshell fragile as we talk with others of hopes and plans. ‘I will beat this,’ she says. ‘I will be well.’ Seeing her confidence I also believe.
Julie cuts her hair, rents and laughs at her family. “They tell me I must save for my old age,” she says. She travels to Assisi convinced she is cured. Sits six hours on top of her luggage at Calcutta station talking to soldiers. Lives in an Ashram where she silently peels vegetables, takes cold showers, swirls in dervishes. She lives in her tracksuit. “But where is the love,” she cries as she travels to England, Austria, America and Italy. “Where is the peace in the world?”
Julie is happy. She sits in Yoga lotus when we talk on the phone.
Meditates in her special place, mentally cleansing her body and soul. I see her graduate as a Yoga teacher, write a book Love and Light and help others through cancer and HIV Aids.
One night, we light a candle, sit cross-legged on the floor our hearts soaring with symphonies and talk about Chin Maya, Satyananda yoga, her Swami, our angels, our chakras, our energy. “Live now,” she cries. We discuss life, love, miracles and healing and…
Through love and light
Soul mates set free.
Deep rooted as a tree.
‘What does she mean to you’ is asked of me
A lovely tribute to Julie and your relationship Glenice and wonderful you have the shared memories of well-loved books.