I have to tell you of this bloke…particularly now that a very weird thing happened concerning my curiosity about him…You know that piece I put up about Mrs. Hancock and our haircuts….well, it got me thinking about people around there then and I remembered the Jablonskis family who lived across the road from Mrs. Hancock who used to cut all the kids in the district hair…then I remembered those kids never had the “Hancock baseoh” that we all had!…I rang my old mate Jon Potter, up in Darwin to ask what happened to Adam Jablonskis and about those haircuts….well Potter answers the phone , abuses me as usual and says; “Here, guess who this is?”…and gives the phone to some bloke I didn’t have a clue of!…”It’s Adam Jablonskis”…the other bloke finally says….Hey!….Hey!….WTF!!…what’s going on here, I’m thinking…WOW!…I haven’t seen or heard of Adam for at least forty years…and just when I go to ask someone about him, he turns up on the end of the bloody line!!??….Hey?..Hey?..far out man!….now I’ll HAVE to tell you the story.
The Jablonskis family lived in a fibro house over the road-one down from Mrs. Hancock. I suppose they are Polish..I never thought of asking..no-one seems to have..but then there were many weird names in that fringe district..: Leuschel, Skrypek, Aloia, Verstaphen, Hogben…now there’s a moniker..: “Hogben”…what is that?…Anglo-something?.. I sometimes wonder how they got along…I do remember the Jablonskis kids never sported the “Hancock Base-oh” that many others did…perhaps, being neighbours, so to speak…? Of all the people in the Jablonskis family, and there were a few, I only remember three…Adam…his brother Alex and old Mrs…..
Adam’s brother, Alex, had extraordinary balance..or at least it looked that way…he could have equaled John Travolta as “Vinnie” when he did that twist dance in “Pulp Fiction”…he (Adam’s bro’) would walk like he was forever facing into a force ten gale…I don’t know how he stayed upright, he seemed to be sloping backwards at least twenty degrees from the vertical!….some of us kids would try to imitate him on the railway station as we waited for the school train….no way !..Marlene Oxford, when she spotted him walking on the street, from her window, would hold a broom-handle vertical to see how many degrees from it he leant…she reckons if you made the handle at twelve o’clock, Alex sloped backwards at about one-thirty / two!….she was a wit was Marlene…she married Tex, the fisherman…I must tell you about him and Ingo Skrypek one day.
But Adam was a strange one…he gives proof that one can show all the signs of conservative on the outside, but be totally “unusual” on the inside….he would accept most challenges…Once, Potter, Mick Oxford and some others scrapped their pennies together and bet Adam that for two bob he wouldn’t eat a caterpillar…he accepted..but they then stipulated that THEY would choose the caterpillar…ok…they chose the fattest, hairiest one they could find….he ate it…one bite at a time…..every kid there nearly vomited…Adam, non-plussed, nonchalantly remarked after finishing the job, that it wasn’t the yellow goo that he minded so much as the hairy bits getting between his teeth!…..more vomiting!!
Adam worked for the old PMG.(post masters general dept’) till it got broken up into Telstra … He was one of those old time public servant eccentrics, who gave the service it’s reputation as an imaginative innovator…Adam was in electronics…I remember he showed us kids then how he had rewired his old man’s EH. Holden so he had a row of toggle switches on the dashboard that controlled everything from an electric aerial (novel those days!) to radio and lights and many other fascinating things…he was a marvel!…at least we kids thought so..I often wonder what his old man thought of it all?
Another dare he took up was to drive his car in reverse from Brighton Jetty back to Marino Rocks (home) a distance of approx’ ten miles by road…a challenge he attempted..I say attempted, because he had got a fair way toward success when he was pulled over by the cops up near the top of Brighton road, by the war memorial and asked to “please explain”…he had some difficulty!
Old Mrs. Jablonskis was a bent-backed old lady, who always wore black…we kids thought of her as some sort of witch….and would run from her whenever she came onto the railway station..poor old thing, when I think back on it now…she must have had some tragedy in her life to be wearing that black..as is the custom, I believe…kids added to ignorance are cruel things…I think we must have upset her some days with our insensitivities….little shits!