The mother was in a sanatorium with TB when Jane was born, which meant that she immediately went to live with her auntie Bev. At the same time the father was laid out in another hospital with his back so Jane’s two brothers, William and James, aged five and six, went to stay with out-of-town relatives for 18 months.
When Jane was a baby, she was nick-named ‘The Worried Accountant’ due to my perpetual frown, perhaps foreseeing the many disasters that would mount up over the coming decades. For as long as Jane could remember, her mother seemed to not care about her. What was the reason? Jane had gone missing overnight when she was two. She was hiding as she was scared of her mother. Her father’s family wondered if “the mother was behind it.”
When they were alone in the house, the mother would scream and threaten to murder Jane who would be left cowering on the kitchen floor by the door. The mother had an ally in William, who would say things like, “Don’t walk so close to me. People might think we are together.”
The mother had been beautiful when young, with dark blue eyes and black hair and William took after the mother looks-wise; and in the treatment of his sister. He would shout at Jane and accuse her of things she had not done. She was scared of the two of them.
At age three, James shot an arrow into her eye and had to go to a hospital a long way from home for a week. When the family came to collect her, Jane did not want to leave. She performed like someone possessed at the hospital and at the tearooms later on.
She did not want to go home; she had been happy in the hospital, away from her family. Jane’s second teeth grew in very cramped as her jaw was too small. The teeth became cracked and yellow. So not only did she not want to look at people, she did not want to smile either.
Jane withdrew more and more as the years went by. She lost touch with school-friends and would spend all weekend sitting on her bed looking out the window, or she might sit on the porch just watching the traffic – for hours.
At eighteen, she met a boy (Ian) she liked at a dance. It was dark there. They would meet every Saturday night and he would take her home in his car. She would only meet him in the dark because of her appearance. When he broke it off because of her crazy notions, Jane could not accept it. She did not realise it then, but she had what came to be known as “separation issues.”
It was because, having had someone for the first time, she was unable to let go and move on. Jane took to following him around town, or riding past his house on her scooter. Often she would wait outside his work, trying to catch him at lunchtime or after work.
One day that actually had lunch in a pub and it made Jane feel wonderful but she tried to hide her eye behind a long fringe and not smile too much because of the dreadful teeth. When they were leaving, Ian said he had to go to the toilet. Jane waited and waited but he never came back. He had sneaked out another door. Some time later Ian said he would talk to her, but she had to give him $5 first, so she did. Now Jane was exhibiting another illness called Love Obsession.
On another occasion she was working on the sweets counter in a picture theatre. Ian came in with a friend of his and said terrible things to her: “You have nothing. I would kill myself if I were you.” She had to keep working even though she wanted to disappear and her head was all woozy. Jane thought she was too blame for receiving all these ghastly remarks because she had been brought up with verbal and mental abuse. She was mentally ill by now and had no ability to counter such cruelty.