Apr 7

I was seven years old when my sister got married. She and her new husband went to live in Mt Gambier, in South Australia, where my sister worked as a primary school teacher. They built a nice brick house, right next to the cemetery.

Not long after they moved in to their new home, mum & dad and I drove down to visit them. Their house seemed very new and exciting to me, and it had all sorts of modern, fancy contraptions that our house lacked. I was particularly intrigued by the little buttons on the backs of all the doorknobs. I had never seen these before and had no idea what they might do. (In our house if you wanted to lock a door you pushed a piece of furniture against it.)

Early one morning I had to go to the toilet. (I should mention here that I slept in the spare room, on a bean bag. This was the ’70s after all.) The toilet was in its own little room, and was spotlessly clean. As I sat there I spied the little button on the doorknob. I pressed it a few times to see what would happen. As I opened the door to leave, an idea hit me. I stepped out of the cubicle, then reached back inside and depressed the button. I tested the outside knob and, sure enough, it wouldn’t turn. Eureka!

Then, without thinking, I shut the door behind me as I left. I tried to open the door. It was locked, from the inside. Uh oh.

Immediately I sensed that I had done something wrong, and so I scampered back to the safety of my bean bag bed. At some point I realised there was a general hubbub in the house so I went out to face the music. At first I feigned innocence, but pretty soon I crumpled under the pressure. Yes, I admitted, I might’ve accidentally pressed the button and somehow the door blew shut, or something.

My sister was very angry. My brother-in-law had to get a screwdriver to unlock the toilet door. Maybe he had to take the doorknob off, I don’t know.

To add insult to injury I was charged with the additional crime of weeing on the toilet floor that same morning, which is absolutely false. I think my dad was most likely responsible for that. Or I was framed.

Portrait of the locksmith as a young man, c. 1977

One Response

  1. Snubian » Blog Archive » Sharp Dressed Man Says:

    [...] on it when we visited the following year. (It was on this same trip that I was falsely accused of weeing on the toilet floor among other felonies.) Posted in Family, Fashion | Leave a [...]