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By Steven Herrick

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The Mahony family moved south, after planting a white cross and a patch of daisies that sometimes, when the day was too hot for homework, I’d weed so that our town had something worth remembering. 44 By the River PAGES 7/7/04 2:50 PM Page 45 Rookwood Hill Keith and me work for weeks on the billycart. Pram wheels found at the dump, a fruit box from the grocery, nails and timber from under the house, and a leather strap Dad brought home from the foundry. On Saturday morning Dad gets his oilcan, soaks the axle and wheels, checks the strap is nailed firm.

So I trudged down Keeling Street. And what did she say as she took our eggs? ‘Well. It’s the least you can do. 36 By the River PAGES 7/7/04 2:50 PM Page 37 All that noise you make has stopped my hens from laying. ’ 37 By the River PAGES 7/7/04 2:50 PM Page 38 Romance? ‘Are you dreaming, Linda Mahony? On holiday already? ’ Miss Carter tapped the chalkboard as Linda blushed and all the girls giggled nervously, waiting for another lecture on the evils of romance, and where it leads. ‘Time enough for romance when you’re older, Linda.

36 By the River PAGES 7/7/04 2:50 PM Page 37 All that noise you make has stopped my hens from laying. ’ 37 By the River PAGES 7/7/04 2:50 PM Page 38 Romance? ‘Are you dreaming, Linda Mahony? On holiday already? ’ Miss Carter tapped the chalkboard as Linda blushed and all the girls giggled nervously, waiting for another lecture on the evils of romance, and where it leads. ‘Time enough for romance when you’re older, Linda. ’ Linda blushed again. Scuzz made kissing noises. ’ 38 By the River PAGES 7/7/04 2:50 PM Page 39 Stories Linda and me were friends.

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