This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
27/06/12 12:25 PM
On conscription “I am no saint or would-be martyr and I live as I have to live.Yet I am convinced that life is not worth living if one is not, at least on the important issues, the master of one’s own decisions. If others can make me kill and maim against conscience, I am less a man, a beast to be used and manipulated. Thus I could ﬁght in Vietnam only if I considered it a just cause ...” From a letter written by a conscript, Geoff Mullen, addressed to the Australian Government in 1967 and published in his Sydney Morning Herald article of March 30, 1969 *** On the stolen children “At the age of four, I was taken away from my family and placed in [a] Home – where I was kept as a ward of the state until I was eighteen years old. I was forbidden to see any of my family or know of their whereabouts …” “While I was walking through the bush the police and Welfare were going out to the camp which they had found in the bush. I was so upset that I didn’t walk along the Highway. That way the Welfare would have seen me. The next day I knew that the Welfare had taken my brothers and sisters …” From the Australian Government’s Bringing Them Home Report, The Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families. ***
On forced adoptions “I believe that a good environment will make a better job of bad genes … It is [a bad] environment which pushes the sinfulness into these babies. Adoption brings joy to the adopting parents and the prospect of a better life to the child … The last thing the obstetrician should concern himself with is the law in regard to adoption.”
D.F. Lawson M.B. F.R.C.S., F.R.C.O.G. Medical Society Hall East Melbourne August 19, 1958 in Overview of Adoption In Australia http://www.dianwellfare.com/id22.html
“Upon the adoption order being ﬁnalized … the original Birth certiﬁcate was sealed away forever and was never to be released.The mother and child were forbidden by law to ever know each other’s names …”
Dian Wellfare, Adoption Rights Campaigner (1951–2008) in Overview of Adoption In Australia http://www.dianwellfare.com/id22.html
Between the 1950s and 1970s, approximately 150,000 Australian unwed mothers had their babies taken against their will by churches and adoption agencies. The report by a Senate inquiry investigating the Commonwealth government’s involvement in past forced adoption practices was tabled in the upper house on the 29th February, 2012.
The Daintree, Far North Queensland, September 1971 She had been aiming for a shot of the enormous Ulysses butterﬂy, not daring to breathe for fear of scaring it off. Suddenly, from somewhere up above the rainforest’s canopy, she heard them. Choppers! She ﬂung the Leica into her rucksack and took off in a panic, crashing through the undergrowth and leaping the slippery logs blocking her path. A quick sign of the cross on her chest. No more than a ﬂick of her wrist. From habit. A lapsed Catholic unable to let go a lifetime’s conditioning. She’d told the boys to be careful, called out to them about crocs and the box jellyﬁsh. It was the Coral Sea, not Bondi. But she hadn’t warned them about army surveillance helicopters. Idiot! she screamed at herself as she pushed a spiky palm away from her face and stumbled forward through the tropical denseness. They were three ordinary city kids, one from Sydney, the other two from Brisbane.
Would they even be conscious of threats from overhead? They’d put up with a bitch of a road trip, eaten lots of dust hiding under the hessian bags whenever they’d caught sight of a vehicle coming at them that might spell trouble. But even before she’d brought the Jeep to a halt they’d leapt out and taken off through the bush, headed for the beach. Like ferrets out of a cage, she ﬁgured as she kept running, listening for the chopping sound of the rotor blades. What would happen once she breached the rainforest canopy? It was an endless stretch of white sand beyond. Miles and miles of the damned stuff. A person had nowhere to hide. Anyone running down the beach would be highly visible. And someone running and gesticulating to three conscription-aged youths would be of particular interest to the men up there in those army helicopters. She’d been a fool to let them run off like that. It was her job to deliver them safely to the Blackburns’ camp. She cursed again, remembering her own situation, which was every bit as precarious as theirs. She would be no good to anyone behind bars. She put on more pace, dodging fallen logs and taking the sprawling roots of the ancient ﬁgs at a leap, avoiding being torn to shreds by the treacherous wait-awhile vines hanging down in her path. The choppers were getting closer. About three or four minutes away from the coast, she estimated. Deﬁnitely two of them up there. Iroquois. Following the line of the Bloomﬁeld. The line of the Mekong, she was thinking when her boot caught in a vine, sending her ﬂying face-ﬁrst into a clump of fungi. Brushing red spores off her khakis, she staggered up and took off again. She pulled up just short of breaking through onto the beach and hurtled along its fringe, over tangled roots, stamping bleached corals and shells into the hot sands as she neared the part of the beach where her charges, distant ﬁgures down at the water’s edge, were unaware of the near and present danger. Once she was lined up with them, she called out. But they were too far down the beach and
having too good a time mucking about to hear her or the military helicopters heading in their direction. She picked up a couple of coconuts from among the dozens of fallen ones at her feet and considered hurling them down the beach to gain the kids’ attention but hesitated – even a couple of coconuts would stand out against the whiteness of the sand and were sure to be spotted from the air. There was a tap on her back. Jesus! She spun around, the blades of her hands already up in front of her body, a defensive instinct honed years ago. She dropped them to her side and snapped angrily, ‘Don’t ever do that again, Jimmy! You scared the hell out of me!’ She hadn’t heard him come up behind her but ought to have known he would be in the rear. He would have heard the choppers, too, an old army man like Jimmy. ‘A bloody man wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of you, girly. Where’d you learn that stuff?’ ‘Long story.You wouldn’t want to know.’ ‘Reckon the bastards didn’t see ’em y’know?’The old man took a few steps towards the water, put two ﬁngers to his mouth and gave a piercing whistle, signalling to the swimmers. It worked. He tossed his head back in the direction of the choppers. ‘Headin’ back to Townsville.’ Thankfully, the choppers had turned short of the delta and were ﬂying south. Her attention returned to the three youths running up the beach towards them, fooling about, kicking up sand and ﬂicking their shirts at each other, behaving like the kids they still were. ‘You think they spotted us?’ ‘Any bastard comin’ for us got a shitload of ground to cover,’ said Jimmy Blackburn,World War II veteran, survivor of the Burma Railway, one of a kind and a person she loved without reservation. Seeing him stripped to the waist – which was most of the time because that was how Jimmy dressed – she had often wondered whether his frame had ever been anything but skeletal and leathery.
A few childhood years with ﬂeshy contours maybe, before the army and the Japs pared him down to what he’d become; a wiry, bandy-legged whippet of a man whose conversation was as lean and rock-hard as his torso. The youths had skidded to a halt just short of where she and Jimmy stood. He clipped the three of them around the ears. They responded with a Peace sign and turned back to chasing and wrestling each other in the sand, reminding her of fractious lion cubs. ‘Pull camp, y’reckon?’ said Jimmy, surveying the sky. ‘Thought you said we’re staying here tonight?’The curly-headed youth tussling his mate with a headlock had stopped fooling around long enough to ask the question. ‘Change of plan,’ said the old man. Jimmy, for all his bravado, must be worried about those choppers. But not so her charges; they were off again along the beach, picking up coconuts and smashing them in competition against the trunk of a massive mangrove tree. ‘They still don’t get it,’ she said to her comrade with a shrug. ‘Ratbags.’ ‘They’ll learn soon enough, poor buggers.’ She shook her mop of sweat-damp hair and attempted to tie it up on top of her head but when she moved, so did the topknot. ‘We should hit the highway as soon as it’s dark?’ she said, keeping watch on her charges. There was no reply. The old man had already turned back through the undergrowth. She put her ﬁngers to her lips, curled her tongue and whistled to the youths, but it wasn’t a patch on Jimmy’s shrill command. Her father had taught her how to do it – two ﬁngers stretching the corners of your mouth, curl your tongue like a tunnel and blow. But that was another life. She turned and headed back inside the jungle, not wanting to dwell on the past, not wanting to think about the father who became a stranger to her all those years ago.
The Daintree, Far North Queensland, September 1971 Stretching time, welcoming the warmth of the afternoon sun on their back, the two women – one black, one white – sat together in silence, a calmness born of familiarity. Dozy, comfortable, their long friendship wrapped up in the stillness.Their only activity as they sat there was to make occasional tracings in the sand. She was aware they should be heading back, helping Jimmy and the boys pack up the last of their camp, but this was precious time and she wanted their solitude to last as long as possible. After they shipped out it would be a long time before they would see each other again: Bernie Blackburn; Jimmy’s wife, a Wujal Wujal, woman and her friend, her connection to Cooktown. The three of them, partners in crime these past few years, were an odd trio, she reﬂected; a skinny old digger who hadn’t made it any further south than Cooktown, his wife from the Kuku-Yalanji and herself, Caroline Patrick, known to her friends as Miki, a 36-year-old
woman with a price on her head, in hiding from the Queensland Police. She etched ‘38’ in the sand beside her thigh, noting how the afternoon sun highlighted each grain of sand sticking to the hairs on her leg. Like head lice, she thought, recalling how in fourth class they were marched to the washroom by Sister Redempta to have their heads drenched in a putrid rinse and sent home with a note. They all knew who’d given them nits but it would be eternal damnation for them if they so much as mentioned the scruffy Home’s girl. Not that Sister Redempta or the other sisters’ threats had carried as far as the bus stop. ‘Mik?’ said Bernie. ‘I been watching you a while, girl. There’s pain behind them baby blues.’ Bernie pointed to the numerals in the sand. ‘Wanna talk?’ Miki hurriedly rubbed out the numbers. A tangle of sweaty curls chafed against her back as she sprang up and brushed the seat of her pants and her sandy limbs. She checked her watch. ‘C’mon. Better be getting back.’ ‘Not likely his number’s gonna come out in the draw.’ Bernie was looking up at her. ‘It won’t, y’know.’ ‘No? You know that for sure?’ ‘No. But even if it does … and it’s not gonna … it’s not your fault.’ Bernie tapped her on the back of the leg, a motherly reprimand. ‘It don’t do you no good, all that rubbish you got goin’ on in that head of yours. Time to start beating up on yourself if it happens. Mightn’t even have registered.’ It was a long speech for the normally taciturn woman and having said her piece, Bernie returned to tracing her symbols in the cooling sand. Miki stood watching over Bernie, thinking of other times, seeing Bernie as a younger woman sitting in the dust with Lily, both of them doing their intricate drawings, the patient mother teaching her daughter the old ways. Painting on the smooth Bloomﬁeld River
stones and strips of white bark. ‘He would have registered, Bernie. He’d have been brainwashed from the moment they got their hands on him. First in line when the doors opened last month.’ ‘July,’ Bernie corrected. ‘Yeah, okay. July.’ She tried to blot out a painful scene, one she knew only too well; the twice yearly procession of nineteenand twenty-year-old youths lining up at their local Labour and National Service ofﬁce. Filling in those hateful forms. She had used her ﬁfteen minutes of fame during the previous registration fortnight to torment the government, showing their Birthday Lottery for the joke it was. But had he seen it? And would it have made him question his country’s involvement in the war if he had? Or like everyone else in Australia who didn’t want to upset Uncle Sam, would he have written her type off as the idiot fringe, hippy protestors? More importantly, how would she ever know? She squatted down on her haunches and scooped up a handful of the ﬁne sand, holding it in her palm for a time before she spread her ﬁngers and watched as the grains slipped through and were lost among the myriad others on the beach. ‘All our somewhere children, Bernie? Where do you suppose …?’ ‘Let it go!’ Bernie heaved herself up onto her feet, not as adroitly as Miki had done but it was a graceful enough effort for the large woman she was. She brushed the sand from her backside. ‘You’ve gotta let it go, Mik.You just plain gotta let it go sometimes.’ Bernie was right. Cultivate a mind that clings to nothing. So said the Buddha. Easier said than done. ‘Why should we let it go?’ she said. ‘Because it bloody-well kills you if you don’t.’ Yes, it kills you, alright. She checked the sky before leaving the cover of the mangroves and walking down to the water’s edge.Today was a day of trepidation,
of dark feelings. Resentment. Shame. Regret. Bitterness. Anguish. Longing. Let her at it – she could write the thesaurus on the darker emotions. ‘Think about it,’ Bernie said, coming up to her and placing a hand on her shoulder. ‘We’re making fools of the bastards, Mik. We chip away at things – at their power.We’re like bloody termites. An army of white ants.’ Despite her mood, she cocked an eyebrow at her friend and grinned. ‘White ants?’ Bernie got the joke. ‘Well, yeah, some of us aren’t so bloody white but y’know what I mean.’ Bernie ground the heel of her bare foot into the wet sand, twisting it so that tiny bubbles surfaced around it, betraying a secret universe below. ‘They can’t see us. Don’t mean we’re not there, though.We’re doing the damage, Mik. With our marches ’n’ things. With the kind of stuff we’re doing up here.’ Bernie waved her arm towards their campsite then up to the sky to where the choppers had been earlier in the day. ‘We got them on the run, that’s for sure. Canberra’s gonna have to rethink what they doin’, I reckon. Jus’ can’t keep sending our kids over there.Waves of ’em comin’ back dead or ruined.The country’s over it, fair dinkum. The buggers are gonna wake up one day ’n’ ﬁnd their game’s up. Whitlam’s gonna wipe the ﬂoor with ’em. End the whole bloody mess, I reckon.’ ‘You’d like to think so.’ ‘Honestly, Mik, we’re the secret army. The bloody secret army and they better watch out ’cause we’re coming for ’em!’ Bernie locked ﬁngers with her and they started walking along the water’s edge, dipping their feet in the coolness of the sea. ‘We’re making fools of the buggers, alright,’ said Bernie, breaking the silence. ‘You more than anyone. Oh, yeah, my famous friend.’ ‘Infamous friend.’ ‘Notorious friend.’ Bernie laughed. ‘I can just see ’em, the stupid
buggers! Caper Cops!’ She wiped away tears of laughter with the back of her hand. ‘And now that young man back in there’s off to God knows what kind of life in Asia, Bernie …’ she kicked at a wave as it washed over her feet, ‘… for God knows how long, and I’ve got a price on my head. So who’s the stupid bugger? You tell me. Sure, I made fools of ’em but now that boy and me are on the run. Makes it one-all, I’d say.’ She slowed her pace, dropping back from Bernie and dawdling along the shoreline, thinking back to that night six months ago and the rush of blood to the head that had made her risk young Jamie Richardson’s freedom and her own. The kid had been full of idealism and youthful bravado. But as the adult, she ought to have tempered that, tried cautioning him about making himself a massive target. Instead, she’d jumped at the idea. It might just be a way to let her son ﬁnd her and for that, she was ready to sacriﬁce anything. Emanuel Sachs could loosely be called a colleague. She’d used Manny’s brilliant production skills on her Mauritius doco back in ’67. In more recent times, he’d become the enfant terrible behind the scene at This Day Tonight and, along with the show’s presenter, responsible for getting Aunty ABC offside with the hawks in government. He’d got straight back to her, saying Clarke had jumped at the idea, providing she made it look as if she and the kid had gatecrashed the studio. She had agreed. They’d been let in through the back entrance of the television studio and had waited in the dark behind a Playschool prop. The segment on the plight of farmers in the Riverina was winding up. As the show went to a station break, she’d checked her young charge and seen the eagerness in his face. She’d also seen something else there. James Richardson’s mother had died eight months ago. He’d told Miki that his mother would approve, that she would be on her side, the Save Our Sons side. That was enough.
While her hands sweated and she laboured to stay calm, she’d observed Adrian Clarke doing facial calisthenics and lip-reading from his rolling autocue, ignoring the make-up woman fussing around him. When the woman leant across to tame a stray lock on his forehead he’d nudged her out of his way. ‘Perfect,’ he’d said impatiently, and brought the autocue back into his line of sight. But why the rehearsal? He’d known he was about to be ambushed. Maybe he felt more secure in having the planned segment ready to fall back on if his surprise guests chickened out. But neither she nor James would have reneged – it was something they’d both had to do, no matter how scary the political fall-out. And they’d certainly countered on there being political fall-out, given that TDT was the highest-rating night-time show across the land and was watched by the country’s political decision-makers. Once the station identiﬁcation break had wound down, she’d become aware of Manny up in his glass booth. She’d caught his wink. Then the ﬂoor manager, his ﬁngers held up in front of him, started his countdown. ‘Fifteen to go.’ Clarke had kept his eyes on the man. ‘Three, two –’ ‘Now!’ The make-up woman had whispered, giving her a shove. Grabbing Jamie’s shoulder, she’d pushed him out onto the ﬂoor and they’d seated themselves before the ﬂoor manager or the camera crew knew what was happening. Or at least it had appeared that way. Later, she’d come to believe the whole cast and crew had been in on the act because subsequent replays showed the pair of them emerging from the darkness into the light as they crossed the ﬂoor, evidence that at least one camera must have been ready for them. ‘What the …?’ Clarke said, midway through introducing his next story, as he feigned shock and looked to his producer for guidance. From his glass booth, Manny had ordered the sound boom in.
A ﬁnger motion slicing across his throat would have been all it would have taken to go to another break while they were bustled out of the studio. But that hadn’t happened and the wheels had been set in motion. She’d glanced at Jamie and nodded. The welldressed curly-headed youth in his chinos, blue cambric shirt and thin woollen tie, looking every inch the King’s School boy he’d been up to a couple of years ago, had leant across and shaken Adrian Clarke’s hand with a ﬁrm grip. ‘Good evening, Mr Clarke. I’m James Richardson. I received my call-up notice recently. I would be happy to discuss the reason I’m about to tear it up if you believe your audience would be interested.’ He held the letter from the Department of Labour and National Service up for the camera and proceeded to rip it, once, twice, three times then scrunched it and handed it to Miki. It had been a self-conﬁdent performance, rehearsed but excellent, and couldn’t have been easy for him. ‘And you?’ said Clarke, turning from Jamie to look uncomprehendingly at her as if she were a complete unknown rather than the mischief-maker who had set the whole scene up that morning with his executive producer. ‘You are?’ ‘Caroline Patrick, anti-war activist.’ ‘So obviously, you have coached him for this, right?’ ‘Can I point out, Mr Clarke, just how gratuitous I ﬁnd that remark?’ ‘I am my own man, Mr Clarke,’ Jamie spoke up for himself. Clarke had simply been pressing her buttons, goading her. She shouldn’t have jumped down his throat. She’d understood from the get-go, even if Manny Sachs hadn’t already reinforced it, that the mighty Adrian Clarke wasn’t going to give them a free ride. He had his reputation for macho toughness to uphold. Her indignant denial had been accepted with a cynical raised eyebrow, Clarke’s signature pose.They’d carried on, her proselytising
about the evils of the Vietnam War and the Birthday Lottery constantly interrupted with Clarke’s biting comments. Not a trace of collusion between them. That was okay by her. She’d held her own. And so had the young man sitting alongside her whose good looks and articulate manner would have played to their theme of credibility. He was no long-haired, lay-about dirty hippy draftdodger the rednecks loved to drum up to match their bias. Every mother across the land would have related to this twenty year old with the straight line of white teeth and clear complexion who was respectfully kicking the system in the gut with his concise explanation of why he found being forced by his government to kill so abhorrent and why he needed to protest rather than simply claim an exemption, which, as a university student, would be his right. Not the right of working-class twenty year olds, but his right. She’d prayed her son, wherever he was, was watching the show and being impressed by another youth’s courage and conviction. She’d glanced at her watch and panicked. They’d predicated the stunt on a three-minute interview and then a dash for the door, but Manny had played hardball and she ﬁgured he would have loved it; the phones running hot with viewers wailing about the ABC letting communists run ‘their’ ABC. She’d hoped he had an exit strategy planned for when the police came bursting onto the set, which they could have done at any moment. ‘Thank you,’ she’d said, as she cut off the next question and tapped her young charge on the knee. ‘I think it’s time for us to leave.’ She’d noted that Camera Two was live on Jamie and gave him the signal. ‘Oh, by the way, Mr Clarke?’ Jamie spoke calmly. ‘Yes?’ ‘Perhaps I should explain that my father is Senator Roland Richardson.’
It had been the killer punch. Richardson was one of the most strident Vietnam supporters in Cabinet. The fact that his son’s number had been drawn in the Birthday Lottery would not have gone anywhere near troubling Senator Richardson’s sabre-rattling soul. On the contrary, he would have rejoiced, proud that his son was being given the chance to spill his blood for his country. But seeing James on national television, denying everything that he, himself, stood for and urging other young men to resist their call-up would have received the old boy’s full attention. As they’d stepped over the tangle of leads and around the big cameras, she heard Clarke winding up, pretending to have been gobsmacked by the fact a senator’s son had chosen TDT to strike such a damaging blow to the government’s credibility. They’d been spirited towards the same back entrance they’d come through less than twenty minutes before. She’d looked around for Manny but he wasn’t to be seen. An ABC mini van with its motor running was ready at the door. The van had cleared the ABC grounds and was in the back streets of Artarmon when they’d heard the sirens out on the highway. ‘C’mon, girl. Watch doin’? Catch up.’ Lost in her thoughts, she almost didn’t hear Bernie calling out to her from further along the beach. She picked up her pace. ‘Old slowcoach!’ Bernie gave her a friendly whack on the backside. ‘Daydreaming, was we?’ ‘I was thinking about the TDT business.’ ‘You’re a bloody cult ﬁgure, Mik.’ Bernie chuckled. ‘An enemy of the state, more like it.’ ‘You’re a hero to these kids, y’know that, don’t you?’ ‘Bernie, it was never my intention to have a trail of kids beating a path to our door as they’ve been doing since March.’ ‘One of those journo snoops was always gonna ferret out your connection with the bookshop. Soon as you said your name they’d
bloody know you was the same woman runs that Resistance Bookshop in Brisbane and writes all them picture books.’ ‘I had to give my name. Jamie gave his. But now the shop’s headquarters for every disaffected kid in the country.’ She smiled. ‘Rex is wallowing in it, though. His own little gang of political subversives sitting at his feet.’ She was silent for a moment. ‘It was “some heavy shit”, according to Rex,’ she said eventually. ‘Some “heavy shit”, bringing a Cabinet Minister’s son into my ﬁght with the Draft Board.’ ‘But that Rex bloke don’t know the lot, does he?’ No, Rex didn’t know about her past. Not that it would matter if he did. There was only one person in the world who had a right to judge her. Only one. ‘Where will I be if it’s Dominic who comes looking to have a ﬁreside chat with Caroline Patrick?’ ‘In your bunker, I suppose.’ ‘A criminal on the run.’ ‘A ﬁghter.’ ‘Some mother!’ Bernie shrugged and turned to head back up the beach, climbing in under the mangrove fringe, treading carefully between the low branches of the unwieldy trees as she moved in and out of their spindly shadows, searching among the fallen coconuts for the ripest of the fruit. She picked up a large coconut and weighed it in her hand, rattling it to her ear, snifﬁng it then grinning as she indicated her prize by waving it high above her head. The white sand, the black woman. The shadows cast by the setting sun and that triumphal smile of Bernie’s. The simple pleasures of a life lived well, a life that had learnt to mask the pain by forcing itself to come to terms with history. If only she had brought her camera with her, she thought as she watched Bernie disappear inside the denseness of the rainforest. The water had been lapping her feet for some time before
she noticed and decided to strip and lie down in its shallows. She stayed that way for a while, allowing the gentle waves to wash over her nakedness, staring up at the sky, trying to capture some of her friend’s philosophical approach to life. In her rational mind, she knew that with 181 marbles going into the barrel tomorrow night and only around ﬁfty or so needing to come out, the odds were against number thirty-eight being drawn. But that same rational mind told her that other kids’ numbers come out of the barrel, so why shouldn’t his? As she had tried to explain to Andrew Clarke, conscription was a giant maw. It chewed up the nation’s best, and thousands of kids were robbed of their youth. The colour of the sky was changing.To the east, a purple horizon, ocean and sky blending, and overhead and across to the west, an exuberant spread of orange cumulus. She wished again for her camera but the moment passed. She felt invisible to the universe. How long the strange feeling of detachment could last she didn’t know but it felt liberating while it did. In this timeless landscape, under this exotic canopy of sky, it wasn’t much of a stretch to see one’s self as no more than a grain of sand on the beach, no more or less important than a single speck of this inﬁnite whiteness. And if it were so, then nothing was worth fretting about. Life ended in nothing, anyway. The way life worked out was the way life worked out. Tomorrow night would come and go. His number would be drawn out or it would not be drawn out. He would be called up or he wouldn’t be called up. Answer the call or resist it. Go to Vietnam or not go to Vietnam. There was not a single thing she could do about it. How could she? Who was he? Where was he? He had become a man and might be marching off to war but she – who had carried him inside her, nursed him at her breast, loved, fed and cherished him – did not have the right to know these things. She stood up and reached for her shorts.Yes, just grains of sand, she mused, stepping into her khakis and brushing them down.
No-one gives a damn that life isn’t fair. What’s fair, anyway? She buttoned her shirt, grabbed her socks and boots and headed back up the beach to join the others back at the camp, determined to put on a happy face for her comrades.