Hilda Oakley

Australian author and poet

   Apr 12

Jenny and Ivan

From the very minute she was born and placed in the arms of her mother; Jenny was destined to be special.  The midwife who delivered her said, “This is a bonnie wee bairn.  She will go far!”

As she grew, her pretty blonde ringlets framed her beaming face.  At school, she was a hard worker, an eager helper and willing to accept positive advice from her teachers and peers.  She showed real kindness and compassion to others in need.  She was always there, brightening everyone’s day with her gorgeous broad smile and her contagious laughter.

At the age of sixteen Jenny could have been a model.  However, she chose people over fame.  Her mind was highly intellectual.  During the day she attended university.  At 6pm she put on some ragged clothes to fit in with the teenagers, who came for a free meal at the local soup kitchen where she volunteered.  Her love and kindness of heart shone through her connection with people.  She was so kind, polite and forgiving.

Employed as a Social Worker, Jenny soon gained the trust of her clients with her empathy and wisdom beyond her years.  She located in a cul-de-sac where her neighbours would often wander in for a chat.

Then it happened!  Her wonderful next door neighbours, friends of ten years, sold their home.  A grim, surly looking old man moved in.  His eyes were dark and shifty and his face was covered with a scruffy, bushy grey beard.  His untidy, ungroomed appearance was most daunting and unfriendly.

Several times Jenny tried to make contact with him, but he just grumbled and went inside, slamming the door behind him.  The only positive thing she noticed about him was he seemed to love and care for his little dog Hetty.  He would talk to her and take her for a walk in the park every day.

Eventually she found out that his name was Ivan.

Anzac Day arrived.  At the Anzac Day ceremony, she noticed Ivan with all his military medals displayed across his chest.

Jenny made her way over towards him.  She mentioned that her own father was killed in the war and how much these ceremonies meant to her.

Ivan’s face softened.  He said that because of his experiences during the war, he found it very difficult to talk to people.  He found he could get through life easier by living a recluse, rather than connecting with others.

Jenny told him she understood, and if he wanted to talk to someone, she was a good listener.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Jenny and Ivan spoke together as they walked home.

Arriving home, Jenny invited Ivan over for a cup of tea and an Anzac biscuit.  Hesitantly, he agreed.

From that day on, their respect for each other grew, and they were good neighbours to one another in their own unique way.


Hilda Oakley           Copyright © 25.02.2013

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