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I can't remember the first time I saw Mary, I know, I have 
been told, that I was seven at the time.  That means Mary 
was almost five.  My first memory of Mary was of a slight, 
pale little girl with flowing golden hair walking up to the 
door of our house, clutching tightly at the large forefinger of 
her father.
Her father and my father had been friends in their distant 
past.  Before they got older, got married and settled their 
families in opposite ends of the small town they’d lived in 
all their lives.  At that point, for a time, they lost contact.
My father established a large real estate agency, and five 
children.  My sister, Janice, then four years later me, one 
year later my brother Paul, another two years later my twin 
brothers John And Tony.  My mother died soon after the 
twins’ birth.  Janice was only eight at the time, but since then 
she has filled in for my mother.  My younger brothers, me, 
even father called her mom.  In time Mary cane to call her 
mom as well.  We were a happy family, before and after 
My father met his old friend again when he walked into his 
real estate office, looking for a house.  His wife had left him 
and Mary just a few months before, and he'd decided a 
change of scenery was in order.  My father found him a 
house, and volunteered Janice as a baby sitter for young 
I don't know why, the twins were exactly the same age, and 
even Paul was closer in age to her than I, but it was always 
Mary and me.  Maybe it was because Janice was so busy 
with Paul and the twins.  She needed help so I was 
deputized to care for Mary.  Still, soon the age didn't seem 
to matter.  At times as we grew up, together, Mary seemed 
older than even I did.
A huge river flows through the middle of our town.  It's 
about three hundred metres across and the currents wash 
anything unfortunate enough to tall, or jump into it through 
bushland and finally to the sea.  All our lives we were 
taught to fear that river, and though we all knew how to 
swim before we reached school age no one swam there.  The 

Copyright Jackie Bulner 1999    

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A Vision of Mary

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Jackie Bulner
Melbourne, Victoria

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