Did you see the gypsies on the road to Mlttagong,
or Hordern’s tree on Razorback, when it was growing strong?
Did you go in search of old Bea Miles when exams loomed near,
to sit with her on the Town Hall steps and brush up on Shakespeare?
And did you see old Rosies’ flower stall, as first light was dawning;
a scarf tied around her bright red hair, in Martin Place in the moming?
And did you see the barrowman as he pushed his cart uphill,
from George Street to Elizabeth – I think he’s with us still?
Did you take a stroll down to the Dom, past St Marys, near Hyde Park,
to listen to the Commos till it was damned near dark?
Did you have a pie at Sergeants … or a coffee down at Repens,
a morning tea at David Jones, or an ice cream just for threepence?
Did you have lunch at the Hotel Australia with the cockies, the punters, the Earls,
where you sipped from your Pimms, and ate butter rolled in curls?
Did you go to Farmers to buy that special frock.
and dance the night away at Princes, Romanoes, or the Troc?
And did you go down to the ‘loo, to the pub with the great Jazz band,
or did you walk up to the Cross when Rosalie had command?
And did you see our Gloria coming up from the hole in the stage
as she played the organ from the Regent, delighting young and aged?
Did you climb up the stairs at Palings. to ballet class or lessons,
with elocutionist next door plotting your next grim lesson?
Did you smell the flowers at Searle or, further down the hill,
did you lunch on ‘large without” from De Luca’s King fruit stall?
Did you take the train to the mountains, to view the Sisters three,
and look out over Lover’s leap – better you than me?
And did you decorate your hat with flowers and ribbons and beads
from June Millinery, underneath the footprints on the street?
And did you sit in Wynyard Park, to summon up your courage
to give your blood for a worthy cause – they won’t get me in a hurry?
O yes, I’ve seen the gypsies and the tree on Razorback,
the wonderful tapestry of my world . . . as I was growing up.
(Ed. This was on a scrap of paper in our archives. I’m not sure Helen would win any prizes for her poetry but . . . so many memories came flooding back as I read it. How much to you remember?)