In the early Fifties, Australia re-instituted involuntary military service; in the USA it was called “The Draft”; in Oz it was called National Service or in Aussie slang, “Nasho(e)s”. Being an independent sort and not wanting to mix with the hoi polloi, I had no desire to be ‘called up’ to serve. I had been told, or read, that to preserve one’s American citizenship, you could not serve in a ‘foreign’ army.
Back in Gunnedah with my head in the clouds, I walked the hot, dusty sidewalk and imagined I was in America. Maybe Texas, or even California. (I didn’t dream of living in Arizona where we now reside.) Living in the Imperial Hotel in Gunnedah, I drank with traveling salesmen and college graduates who knew something of the world outside. They advised me to leave Gunnedah and go to Sydney to seek a new adventure. Why not leave Australia and return to the USA? Yep, why not?
In Vancouver, I said goodbye to all of my new friends except the sisters. But, as fate would have it, a young Sydney honey, already in love with the USA and American boys in general, boarded en route home to Oz via San Francisco. I forgot my Armenian friends and quickly became entangled with this new Sydneysider.
The morning I arrived in America was foggy but passing the Farralone Islands, the sky cleared and the Bronze Bridge was dead ahead. Packed and ready, I went to the pointy end and, just as in the movie “Titanic” many years later, I stood on the fore-peak and was first to pass under the Golden Gate.