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In 1956, I and my friend went on a tour of Australia and New Zealand from the U.K. We travelled through the Panama, stopping at different places along the way. We had visited Bilboa, Acapalco with a side trip to Mexico and other places.
Life on board had been entertaining and all that one could wish for. We elected to go to the second sitting for lunch and dinner because this gave us time to enjoy all the activities that were provided on board. We joined in most activities, cricket, quoits and the mile walk around the ship. Of an evening we would dress for dinner and would go dancing if there was any or else go into the taverns where live music could be heard. We would sit talking to other young people who gathered there every night expounding the rights and wrongs of the world. It was a trip of a life-time with many exciting things to do.

Our table companions disembarked at Melbourne, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand. On the return journey to the U.K. we again elected to go to the second sitting for our meals, We were placed at the Ship-Surgeon's table. There were eight of us at the table, the surgeon, a middle-aged couple and their two sons, my friend and I and a Mrs Zonaben. As I am not a good sailor I spent most of the first week on deck. It's a good way to lose weight without trying. So I never met my table companions until the second week out, although my friend had kept me informed about what was going on.

When finally showing my face in the dining room for meals, it took no time at all to become acquainted with everyone. I couldn't make out why everyone was watching me so closely when our dinner arrived. Initially I thought they were worried I would be sea sick, but it wasn't that at all. They were waiting for my reaction to the antics of Mrs Zonaben. Once our meal arrived and the bread rolls were placed on the table Mrs Zonaben's arm shot out in front of me. I obviously reacted as the rest of the table had when they had experienced the same thing for the first time. Looking at the rest of the table without saying anything, I could see they were all trying not to laugh. Once Mrs Zonaben had left the table everyone started to talk at once. Mrs Zonaben, in some respects, was isolated at the table.

Mrs Zonaben never looked a happy person and we named her Mrs Sunshine. Not even rude comments, one or other of us made, would deter Mrs Zonaben from taking the bread rolls first. She was able to take all the barbs that were directed at her without a flicker of distress. It was only later, that by chance, I was walking by Mrs Zonaben's cabin and saw her sitting there. I asked her if she was going ashore when we reached port. She replied that she wasn't getting off the ship until she reached England. I asked why not and she responded that she didn't feel safe. Looking at her I said, "But you have travelled half way around the world." "Yes," she said. "But have not been on any of the tours."

It was then that she began to explain her reasons for not getting off the ship. She had been in Buchenwald concentration camp and had seen her parents and sister shot before her eyes. At the end the war, had seen all the empty suitcases stacked in sheds. At that stage, Mrs Zonaben rolled up her sleeve to show me the stamp which she was given as she arrived at the camp. Mrs Zonaben went on to say that she was aware of everyone making comments about her wanting the bread rolls as soon as they arrived at the table. She said it was something she couldn't stop herself doing. I commented, "Is that why you break your cigarettes in half and place them in the tin you aways carry? "Yes," she said. "The tin is the only thing I have left of my father. It was his tobacco tin."

Mrs Zonaben and I finished up talking for several hours. Then my friend came looking for me and joined in the conversation. When we finally left Mrs Zonaben we both apologised for not understanding her situation. We met up with the others at our table and told them where we had been. We also told them about Mrs Zonaben's circumstances which made us all feel ashamed and embarrassed. From that day on, one or other of us would gladly hand the bread rolls to Mrs Zonaben. There were plenty of them, and if we had gone short we could have asked for more.

I often wondered whether Mrs Zonaben returned to Australia or finally went to live in Israel where she had a cousin, whom she use to live close by in Germany prior to World War Two. Her cousin was the only living relative she had and whom she was meeting in England.

Whilst I have forgotten the name of the ship I have never ever forgotten Mrs Zonaben or the stamp that was imprinted on her left arm with her number on it; or the way she used to break her cigarettes in half, and grab the rolls out of the bread-basket. Perhaps, had I been in Buchenwald and had been deprived of the basic human rights and the necessities of life and virtually starved out of existence, then I may have reacted in a like manner and grabbed the food. For they say it is the survival of the fittest.

Working later than usual, Jane Woods stood outside the Spencer's Real estate Offices; she had enjoyed a good day selling property, even though it was Friday the 13th. It had been a long day, but Jane was well satisfied. While she was writing up the documentation for the sale of the properties she had sold, she had not realized how late it was. It was a bleak windy night and looked as if it were about to rain and from past experience she knew there would be a delay for taxis to come to the office.

Jane decided to cut through an alley-way which would take near the taxi rank. Many office workers used the backstreet instead of walking the long way around to get to the bus station. There would be plenty of light on the main road once she reached the taxi rank.

Halfway down the alley she wondered whether she had done a foolish thing. Not long ago a young woman was attacked while walking in this area. Jane decided it was too late to turn back and go the long one around.

Just then, she heard what she thought was someone walking behind her. They seem to be rattling be on is of the old things that ran along one side of the street. Jane turned, but couldn't see anyone as it had become quite dark. Walking quickly along the side alley; the sound of the rattle began again. Jane did not stop and turn around as she was terrified that whoever it was, would soon catch up to her.

Then she spotted a man and woman standing in a gate further along the alley. Thinking she would be safe, Jane was about to say something to them, when the male turned toward her drunkenly saying "Would you like to make a threesome!"
Jane replied, "No thank you," and hurried along with street.

Up ahead, Jane could see the streetlights but the rattle of the iron railings seem to be coming closer and closer. Jane realize she had no other means to defend itself. Fumbling in a handbag, she found her keys and thought she might be I want to poke the person in the eye, or hurt the person's arm. This was one of the ways her self-defence teacher had suggested if you had no other means of protection. Jane thought of all things she would do if a person caught up with to her. She would kick, scratch, and even bite to person.

The alley in which he was walking cover the whole block of shops as you feel is so becoming tired, due to the fear and stress. Jane could see a taxi up on the main road. She kept repeating to herself, "Please, please don't go, I'm nearly there."

Finally, Jane breathing hard, reached the end of the alley and raced over to the taxi. The driver asked her where she wanted to go and after giving her address, Jane sank back into the seat. Perspiring from all the running and being terrified, Jane turned down the window.

She heard the rattle of the old railings, and then to see new would come at of the alley. At first, she couldn't see anyone, however the rattle continued. It was then she saw him. It was none other than a dog with a stick in its mouth marking out his territory. Laughing with tears in her eyes, Jane thought it was a lucky Friday the 13th for her, but unlucky for others.

In my mind I saw the puppet master
pull his strings upon a stage.
From the dark shadows, came
the children of the streets.

With dull eyes, old and weary faces,
They wander into all sorts of places,
depressed, worn down, by drugs
and other things.
With a gentle tug upon the strings,
two were broken, on the stage.
One was fourteen year old Tim's,
the other Jenny Lyn's.
She was thirteen, poorly dressed,
wore high healed shoes, pasty face
covered in rouge. She walks the streets.

Poor Tim in pain, from drugs he had
taken. Knows his days are ending.
In his dismay, wished he could view,
the side of life that others know.
Late in the night, the puppet master,
heard the last curtain call.
Crying out, "We lost two poor wretched
lives tonight. Tim and Jenny Lyn's."

There's a stillness in the old churchyard.
The old headstones are worn and pitted,
Washed white through the wind and the rain.
The stillness and the weathered look,
create an image of a bygone age.
Should you visit the church at night,
you'll hear the tinkling laughter of the ghost, Celeste,
Who wanders through the church and around the old
gravestones, looking for a ring, she is said to have lost
that belonged to her love of a bygone age.

As autumn rushes in, trees shed their leaves
upon the earth, to spread a carpet of
coloured splendour, for all to see.
There on a tree a leaf or two will cling, watching the tears
of sap, run down it's limbs.
But come the spring and summer, too, a burst of green comes forth.
In all its newness, glory shines.
When autumn comes around again
trees shed their leaves
To spread a coloured carpet once again
To show what splendour they can create,
changing leaves from green, to gold.
It pleases all to see this magic of the trees
that stand so bold.

With hair that's snowy white,
and eyes grown dim.
The lady looks to see if her love
of yesteryear
Is walking down the lane
For scattered showers are
forecast, and he is slightly lame.
He stoops a little as he walks,
And thinks of his love of yesteryear
who sits by the window, waiting.
While slowly he walks home,
he knows his love will meet him
at the door, and greet him
with a smile.
Then hand in hand they'll wander
down the lane.
And think of the laughter, tears, and
the pain.
Of when they were
young again.
And of all that's come and gone,
and passed down memory lane

Listen to the silence as you walk
through the garden of serenity.
Let peace be your companion,
as you rest a while.
See the beauty of the flowers,
their colours bright and gay,
smell their perfume in the air
as you while away the day.
Listen to the gentle breeze
rustling through the leaves,
and think of peace and solitude.
Let silence surround you,
and bring peace and harmony
within your soul, as you stroll
among the flowers.
Let the solitude comfort you
and make you whole,
in the garden of serenity.