Whatdamodid – Year 1 – The Arrival

On November 29th I posted the precursor to this blog with a promise to commence the blog itself almost immediately. That didn’t happen. I was instead waylaid by committing to another unnecessarily challenging literary deadline in the form of a festive daily blog 


With mince tarts having been replaced by hot cross buns in the supermarkets it’s time now to get to Whatdamodid. 

To refresh yourself with the premise of this blog I suggest you read the introduction


Let’s get cracking …


It’s the afternoon of Saturday December 5th, 1964. Adrian Callinan sits at his secretaire, fountain pen in hand, putting the final touches to the speech he has been asked to deliver at his nieces 21st that evening. His wife Kathleen, 8 months and 28 days pregnant with her 5th child, is pegging washing on the line. A tennis ball hits the peg basket courtesy of her big hitting 3rd child who is taking to her 2nd eldest’s innocuous off spin.

They don’t make it Christine’s 21st in Glenroy. Mum suspects correctly that her 5th child is bored and wants out before the scheduled date so he can join in the backyard run feast. In the early hours of December 6th Adrian takes Kathleen to the Diamond Valley District Hospital. No-one can recall what their other 4 children do whilst this occurs. It’s likely that Annette, the eldest at 14, takes charge. By day break they will have signed a pact to make the 5th child’s life so difficult that their prolifically procreating parents will be dissuaded from any thought of taking their tally to 6.

As the Sunday morning hours pass and there is still no word from the hospital, excitement grows amongst the 4 Callinan children as it seems increasingly likely that they will not have to go to mass.

In the early afternoon Adrian is sitting in the waiting room wishing Kathleen was by his side to help him finish ‘The Age’ Crossword.

‘Mr Callinan!’ the nurse interrupts his thought processes. ‘Would you like to come and meet your baby boy?’

‘Give us a minute.’ He replies distractedly. ‘What’s a 9 letter word for a water storage facility?’ 

And so it was that a 7 pound 8 ounce Damian Andrew Callinan entered the world on December 6th 1964 at 2.05pm in Greensborough, Victoria.

The first to receive the news was eldest child Annette who, in her capacity as temporary carer of her siblings, had gone to the Greensborough Pool with her best friend Anne West.

Despite extensive hypnotherapy, my recollections of my first hours are dim. I faintly recall LBJ ringing from the Whitehouse to congratulate mum and dad but the nurses didn’t hear the phone ringing over the sound of ‘The Supremes’ who were banging out their current number 1 hit ‘Baby Love’ in the nurse’s station. President Segni from Italy was so devastated that dad wouldn’t take his congratulatory call that he immediately resigned.

I’m guessing now but I suspect for the rest of my first day I intermittently fed, slept and possibly had my very first poo.




What is whatdamodid?

In a weeks time on December 6th, 2014 I will be turning 50. To celebrate entering the second quarter of my life span, I’ll be telling a story from each year of my life in 50 weekly blogs. Some will be funny, others sad. Some will be water tight, others leaky. Some will have a fully realised arc, others will just … what’s that over there? Over the 50 posts, dots may join up to create a sense of what formulated the 50 year old Damo or we might all gather around the glow of the communal computer screen, shrug and go back to watching a dog dressed as an eewok on a treadmill.


To avoid rolling out well worn party favourites that have been accessorised over time with mail order embellishments, wherever possible I’ll be interviewing the other players in each story to get a fresh perspective. While I’m fairly confident that Charles Dickens came to my 4th birthday party and gave me ‘Hungry Hungry Hippoes’, my older siblings may have a different version of events.


I’ll be starting from the beginning at ‘Year 1 – December 6th, 1964 to December 5th, 1965.’ Whilst this is logical it means I’ll be kicking off with the years from which I have absolutely no recollections. I considered hypnotherapy to prise open repressed events, but I ruled that out due to fears that memories of previous lives might be invoked thus eroding the quite specific ‘5o stories from 50 years in 5o weeks’ parameters of this blog. However, if this series garners enough interest the ‘past lives’ sequel might be a natural extension. Thankfully as I’m the youngest of 5, I can lean heavily on my siblings recollections of my first years before my first actually memory kicks in around 12 or 13.

I’ll try where possible to provide photographic accompaniment to each story but again this is going to be tricky in the early years as there are no existing photos of the first 2 years of my life. We’ll deal with that in more detail in the ‘Year 3 Blog’ but let’s just say that my parent’s excuse that their studio photographer of choice had passed away never really assuaged the pain of staring at the row of my cherub faced sibling portraits on the mantel piece.


The tiny gent in the woollen dungarees pictured below is the youngest version of myself captured on camera: It’s possible that the technology didn’t exist until 1967 to catch that level of cuteness on film but I’m merely speculating my way through my residual bitterness.


So 50 year old Damo will be back next week with the first story instalment but until then 49 year old Damo has got quite a list to get through in a week. If anyone sees me entering the Bandidos Compound dressed as a fairy, climbing the stairs of the Eureka Tower in a base jumper suit or surfing on the roof of the Restaurant Tram you’ll know I’m just making sure that the very last blog is going to be an absolute cracker.