Saturday, February 19, 2011

Small Town Gossip

Lord Howe isn’t a resort island populated only by seasonal workers and backpackers – but a small country town in the South Pacific.  The Island was first settled in the 1830s. The first settlers were traders who supplied whaling ships with food, water and provisions.  My family first settled here in 1842 and there are several other families on the Island whose histories are just as long.  My dad, Ed, has lived here for 35 years and people still say seriously “he’s from Sydney”.       

Like all country towns there’s a lot of gossip.  If people don’t know something about you, they happily make it up.  After Luke and I were married we lived in Sydney and my parents were repeatedly congratulated by Islanders on the news of my pregnancy, and on one occasion, the news that I had actually had a baby.  Ed immediately asked the informant: “Was it a boy or a girl?” and got a stunned silence in response. 

It’s easy to believe something if you’ve heard it three or four times from different people.  I’m ashamed to say that I heard something unflattering about a friend recently and believed it without asking her – only to find when I did speak to her that it was completely baseless. 

Even the visitors join in.  One guest said to me recently: “Yesterday I saw you at the café” – and here she lowered her voice to a stage whisper – “drinking a coffee”. 

1 comment:

  1. Hilarious, and how true!! We lived in the Middle East for years, and it was a similar "living in the village" mentality that seemed to linger there amongst the expat communities. The upside of living in that insular community was the closeness of the relationships that were fostered in that small town environment. Here's to finding those hidden gems in your special place!!