A time before


In 1973, when I was ten years old, I would often ask my mother Cheryl to take me to a house on a particualr street in Launceston, Tasmania. I was drawn to this house and just knew I had lived there before. I knew the rooms and furnishings and even knew who slept where. My mother told me I had never lived in that house and at times, she would get angry with me because I kept asking her to take me there.

I would chat about the woman who lived in the house, I told my mother that was my “old” mum. I explained what she looked like, even what perfume she wore. I told her about the Sunday roasts she wold cook and the apple pie she could never quite master, but we all ate it anyway. 

Inside the front door to the right stood an antique hat stand, on the opposite side stood a small oak table with a white lace doily on top. The hallway was long and wide with board floors. On the right the first room was the sitting room, which my old mother would use as her sewing room. There was a large leather chair in that room, with a small open fire place. 

I went on to explain each and every room and what was in those rooms to my mother. She would sometimes get frustrated and tell me I was making up stories, but I insisted I was telling the truth. 

One day when I was frustrating my mother once again with tales from the house I knew so well, my mother got so angry with me, that she grabbed me by the hand and walked me over to the house, which was 4 blocks from where we lived. She knocked on the doorbell and told me she was going to put an end to all this nonsense talk, once and for all!

An attractive older lady answered the door, straight away I could smell the perfume she wore, the same one I told my mother many times that this lady wore. She looked familiar, there was warmth coming from her, I just wanted to run into her arms and hug her.But I stood still. 

My mother asked if she could have a talk with her, and my “old” mum invited us in. As soon as we walked in the front door, we saw that the hallway was long and wide with boarded floors, on the right stood the antique hat stand, on the opposite side stood the small oak table with the white lace doily, there was a telephone sitting on it. My “old” mother led us into what used to be the sitting room, which by then had been transformed once again to a sitting room and no longer used as a sewing room. The small open fire place stood where I had described and the large leather chair was also there! There was now a T.V and a small couch in the room, my “old” mother put the T.V on for me and went to make me a drink and a piece of apple pie.

She led my mother to the kitchen where they sat down and had a cup of tea and talked in hush tones. Finally when my mum came back to get me, she and my “old” mum led me around the house and into every room. The last room we entered was upstairs. It was a large bedroom with another open fireplace. A free standing white wardrobe stood where I had always described. A large bed with white blankets a picture of a young girl stood on top of the bed drawers. I walked over and picked up the picture and started to cry – this picture was me in a different life. I just knew it, I also knew the girl in the picture was now dead and had been for some time.

Both my mothers had tears in there eyes. As we were leaving my “old” mother hugged me tightly and thanked me. 

A few years later, I heard my mother telling my uncle about the incident, I heard my mother tell him that the little girl who had lived there died at the age of 8, from a rare disease in 1962 – a year before I was born. 

After going into the house and seeing my “old” mother, I didn’t feel compelled to talk about it so much anymore. I felt suprisingly at peace.

Not long after what happened, my family moved to Melbourne and it was only recently on a trip to Tasmania that I went back to the house. I never went in, I just looked from the outside and smiled.



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