June 1985
Biographer: Serena Lee
A quirky story about mis-interpreting Aussie slang
Coming to Australia in the mid-80s from Africa and listening to everyday talk was quite different to what it is today. One day as I was walking down the street, I saw a piece of carpet that looked pretty new and usable. I thought to myself, they could be throwing that out. So I knock on the door, enquiring with the lady if I could take it.

She replied, "Go for your life!"
I was wondering if she meant to start running for my life. So I hesitated.
Then she smiled, "You can take it!"
When I told my wife what had happened later, we both had a good laugh.

I also had to get used to the everyday slang that I was not familiar with when I started my first job at a factory in Broadmeadows. The blokes used to say, "Look at that Sheila!"
They would relate to every girl on the floor as a Sheila and I was wondering why all the girls had the same name.

There are other slang words as well like dunny, fair dinkum, spiffy, cop shop, biccies, what a ripper! And so forth...
But now things are so different, I can relate to all of these stories to my children who now obviously have their own forms of slang in this day and age.