The shameful truth about my mother and Roy Orbison

Picture: Novikov Aleksey/Shutterstock
Picture: Novikov Aleksey/Shutterstock

I'VE always thought my family - the one I was born into, not the one I have made - was kind of normal.

Every family has its dysfunctions of course, but all-in-all, we were a typical Aussie family experiencing the typical Aussie challenges and triumphs - a cricket trophy here, a trampolining accident there.

It wasn't until I recently discussed with my parents our brushes with fame that I realised something was up.

First cab off the rank was my brother's saunter into TV fame.

Strolling into the riverside backyard of his share house some years ago, he discovered a human bone. As you do.

He looked about him for other skeletal parts and, finding none, wrapped the bone in Glad Wrap and rushed along to the police station.

I was not there, but apparently, a harried police officer at the desk asked him to take a seat, "and take your bone with you".

He made the news and promptly became known within our family as "Bone Boy", a name he is not particularly fond of.

Encounter two involved myself and my daughter.

I received a call one day to tell me the RSPCA had located my cat.

We didn't have a cat. At least we hadn't had one for more than two years when it had run away from our Brisbane house shortly before we relocated to NSW.

The cat was one and the same - a fluffy ginger piece by the name of Sally who had apparently been living rough rather than cross the border with us.

Threatened with Sally's imminent extinction, my daughter and I hopped in the car and drove four hours to Brisbane where we were greeted at the RSPCA by an enthusiastic camera crew.

I made my appearance on a TV story about a Doomsday cult (it's a long story and I'm not going there) and there have been various other appearances concerning koalas, or my sister's dog scratching himself in the background of some other TV yarn.

But taking the cake is a story my father hates to hear told.

My mother, at a young age, won some sort of competition to attend an event with Roy Orbison.

She was extremely excited and attended with a friend where they found themselves eating cake and standing behind The Big O himself.

"Shove a bit of cake down his back," the friend said. And my mother did. Mr Orbison took it in his stride - or strides if it made it down that far.

The resurfacing of this shameful tale has made me rethink our family's public history. Can we continue as a tribe of bone-finding, cat-rediscovering, cake-shovelling citizens?

I'm thinking maybe we are not at our best in the limelight.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in Gunnedah, New South Wales.

This story The shameful truth about my mother and Roy Orbison first appeared on The Canberra Times.