Five Photos – Five Stories – Day One – Jellyfish Boy

Five Photos - Five Stories - Day One - Jellyfish Boy

I have been nominated by Creakingbones to partake of the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge. I’m actually quite stoked, because it gives me five consecutive days of not only talking about myself but also posting pics about myself. :)  Um, let’s just check that…

OK. From what I can gather the rules of the challenge require me to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (it can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge who can do so if they wish. It says nothing about the photos or stories having to be about me, but what the heck… I am such a brilliant topic!!!!!

So let’s get this joyride started. :)


On the right hand side of this photo you can see a boy dressed as a jellyfish. The crepe paper tentacles fall down around his eyes and spotlights half-blind him. Reality beyond the stage has become a mishmash of moments separated by coloured paper and white light. Memories can be similar – moments frozen in time with the intervening minutes/hours/days/months/years fuzzy at best and dark too frequently.

Jellyfish Boy would become me one day, once a fair amount of water had gurgled and murmured under too many bridges.

The years 1973 and 1974 were the years I circumnavigated the world. Actually that sounds a bit pretentious. It wasn’t like I was captaining some tall ship through wild seas and vast oceans. No, I was just some kid with his mother while the latter chased an uncertain future. Here is a picture of mum. She’s the blond on the left, next to the smoking woman. Some would say that in those days it was mum who was smoking. She certainly was attractive.


Now just in case Mum’s writing on the photo’s is insufficient clue, the ship that took us from Australia to England and back again is the Britanis. Launched in 1931 as the SS Monterey, she was originally a luxury liner intended for the Hawaii and Pacific routes. During the Second World War the SS Monterey had a distinguished record as a troop carrier but as times changed she eventually fell into the hands of Chandris Lines who renamed her the Britanis. So there I was, 42 years after she was built, travelling the world in her belly (let me clarify, I was in her belly, not the world).

Anyway, so I’ve mentioned Mum and the Britanis, but what about the hero of this particular tale – ME! As I said, my memory of these times is made up of highlights cobbled together with supposition. Jellyfish Boy remembers mum being distressed when she heard that her 10 year old son wanted to participate in a costume competition. Competitions were all the thing on ocean voyages, but mum had not realised this. I guess they kept passengers from being bored. Thing was, other parents seemed to have come prepared. Scroll up and look at the photo again. See the kid in the Snoopy costume? His parents actually brought that on board in preparation for the comp. Like huh! Who would do that?

Now one thing you have to understand about Patricia Long, she doesn’t give up. Now in cases where she and I disagree that can be an incredibly painful attribute, but in this case it was good. She scampered down to the onboard newsagent (or whatever it was) and purchased the crepe paper and off she went. Cut, cut, cut. Glue, glue, glue. “Get into your swimming costume Greg.” “Yes mum”. Cut some more. Hmmmm. “Stand back there for a moment.” Hmmmmmm. “Yep, that will do.”

When Jellyfish Boy went on stage he was nervous. Firstly because he was only wearing a swimming costume and that embarrassed him because he was not actually swimming. Unfortunately he was a shy lad. Everyone else seemed so… well… covered and dressed. Yes, that memory has managed to travel quite robustly the path from Jellyfish Boy to Present Greg.

There was some waiting as the other children walked around the stage to applause – one by one. I shivered. Cold. Nerves. Maybe both. Then my turn.

Argghhhhh! I don’t actually remember my turn. I just remember nervously waiting for my turn. Perhaps my memory is being kind. Maybe I was traumatised. No. Probably not. I just think that waiting for something is generally worse than the thing itself.

All in all, Jellyfish Boy enjoyed the trip around this planet. The highlight was the Panama Canal, for he saw logs that he fancied were crocodiles. And after that, the cake and cooking display.


Here are a few other photos from that time and place. They are a bit shoddy from the years, but they are what they are. I am shoddy too - now. Hope this, the first of the five stories was insightful :)


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  1. You have to get your novel out greg. The above story you wrote is excellent reading.
    And if your novel is the same, its going to be great.


  2. Thanks to the marvel of Apple’s Time Machine, Jellyfish Boy is back on the screen. You sure spin a great tale Greg. Your mother’s ingeniousness has certainly been passed on to you. How fortunate you were to become a world traveller so early in life. I bet that going through your mementos of those days revived a lot of emotions. The Jellyfish outfit must have stood you in good stead in the surf at Cronulla, made you a stand out on the cruise ship too. And imagine going to the trouble of carting a Snoopy outfit on a cruise. Beyond belief.
    Tell you what though, you could become a travel writer without any effort at all. Great work.
    Tomorrow I’ll make sure that I don’t press the incorrect key.


    1. Thankyou :) :) :) Yes, there is a lot of emotion associated with those days – and I still cannot get over that family and the snoopy costume! I would actually love to be a travel writer if someone would pay me to do it :) Man would I like that!!!! Thanks again for this fun task :)


  3. ” I just think that waiting for something is generally worse than the thing itself.”

    I agree!


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