Along a bit from Bob Andersons is the crossroads and many years it took to even know that Kings College was down the end of that road and I remember, God knows when, but I was coming back, as it were, from down the hill and swinging left into Salesyards, that big house on the corner still there with it's thick robust hedge all around and always bursting into the stream, on One of Dads little scooters, a little 50cc gutless plastic wonder without any weight and little feet when, damp one would think, it skidded away under me and no worries, as it slid away free I just picked it up, still chigging, and on again to amble, those things then being an embarrassment I couldn't handle, yet somehow that simple ease was a hint at a rethink.
So that bit, between the railway tracks and up the hill to the crossroads and Otahuhu proper, is one of those places which often isn't as it isn't one and it isn't another, a borderland though not a no man's land. A crossing over place even but even in that there were two almost insignificant landings though spread far apart.
Way back in the skateboard days and it must have been towards the end or maybe even after it I found or refound the guy Chris and he and his mother had a flat down a long drive halfway up that slope... I can't remember much of it, at all, but I know at some stage I got an Australian bush hat, from his Dad maybe and for some reason then easily given away, but it was too big for my head, I have a little one, and so I cut it in half, longways, thonged it back up and, possibly even decorated it somehow... maybe a pre-Crocodile Dundee thing but then, how was this? My sisters friend's father took a liking to it and bought it for a nice sum. I've no idea what might have transpired my sister's friend still too young, 13 - 14 maybe, so maybe that was it. That was the beginning of what ended up as the move to Cook St.
The favourite of that, quite long in and sharing with Gary who ended up being the manager of the City, that bar, of many we'd find empty then have to leave as our happy filled seats, and him I'd quite successfully car dealer'd, as in I'd taken his money and disappeared finding my promises too hard to keep yet still thrilled by my ability to play with others money, was when Bobby came back home from Opononi with bags and bags of good weed and we smoked a joint under the watchful gaze of central... the stall being on that corner and by the doors so easy to sun out and be the breeze. At 15 I'd gone all the way up there on my little 100cc scrambler, a Honda and yellow, and it took hours and hours and hours, through Whangarei hoping it was the right way still far too young and shy to ask any, and near nightfall, all the clothes I had on and the sleeping bag wrapped around me, coming over that brow, the big silver sands across the swells, and into that land of plenty.
His grandmother was way up on the hill and she brewed Ginger beer and we went for treks out in the bush with Bobby trying to scare me with Tapu caves and their bones and wild cows and bulls at any time amongst the trees. Then maybe one of my biggest mistakes and leaving without goodbyes or thank yous, the old Maori lady scarring me a bit, she was stern and I'd maybe felt I wasn't allowed, wasn't to be given, my own purse so scanty.
I'd already 15 to 17 made cash from skating, been able to buy things, and while that useless first job as a furniture apprentice didn't teach me anything except those big cold places were horrid as they dragged the chains of our needs across cold concrete floors, the sounds of a hundred staple guns firing a forever that chilled me, merely cutting a hat through and remembering Grandfathers art, his saddlers start in India and ships in bottles made on the back step while Grandma, the two having flown across the biggest sea, still told my father off as if our escape was a disgrace to be chased... it was to leather, and making bags, of all things, led me to Cook St.
From bags to clothes, heavied canvas and hand dyed, I jumped Cook's ship to other shops and ended up on Queen St. The manager, a she in her forties maybe. loved what I did and paid cash... suited me. Then still drinking hard and always stupid and dipped in risk my brother and I, sneaking off to smoke weed we backdoored that shop, seen though by the cleaners, and I nicked a waist up mannequin then back in the office bar, settled into the settee, she joined us for drinks.
And always for the shows, I'd been taught that early, Barry's cousins up from the country how to tempt the coppers then get off scot free, the gift of the gab to be learned willing alongside spanners and crescents... to fix it then bluff it were the medals to be gleaned.
But again though it was great having the police find us in the Pub and talking our way free, too much a nuisance then to even see, it was the aftermath, another older woman I'd not known that politeness was the real gin.
Always I've thrown myself at life and figured recently maybe that's why all my teeth are broken as in the big bites have cracked them all up when long ago I'd heard broken teeth were not being able to get life, not being able to chew it and understand nourishments... somehow though, maybe that was only half of that story.
Further down that road, and a few more decades worth of greated failures with the biggest one almost wasting me, that first real battle as the Rich threw money at me, and crashing into my subconscious and having no idea, I'd done my sulk and I'd got back up, time this one number three, there was a need to settle. Well into being a cowboy I needed a ranch, a stable, some place to sit into and wonder more freely who was me.
Mum then came to the rescue and I'd convinced her to sell up that dingy flat on the truck rd, though not so dingy really but I'd hoped my hope was a hope she might see, and get a house, with land and I'd look after the house and then have some outside for me. And further down this road and left, parallel to the railways tracks, down this street was a beautiful little oasis carefully tended and well loved but just beyond her means. It was tiny but every inch, every corner bright with a found use, and a garage and a shed and gardens all, though, compacted and somehow a little too severe.
But it totally served me as I knew Mum could see I could make that, all that well living, I could do... for her, so it set our bargain i think.
So that part of the road, that between, lived somehow in that and maybe still does and is just before, comes to, the bridge.