Sunday in the Car Wash
A short story by Melbourne writer Gary Gray.
His simply written stories of life during war and survival
have received much acclaim.
This short anecdotal piece is an illustration of how important it is
for authors to visit schools
and connect with young readers.
By Gary Gray
I felt a bit lazy that lovely Sunday morning when I looked at my dirty Subaru.
I really didn’t feel like washing it.
It’s not a big deal if you have it washed this time, you don’t do it that often, I said to myself.
Where do I go? Carlisle Street, BP is the nearest. Off I went.
Waited in a queue - paid my $8.70 less $2 discount via South East Water.
“Are you Gary Gray?”, the young attendant asked me while preparing my car for the automatic car wash.
Aha, it must be one of my old clients. It happens so often when they say “You remember, I bought my first Valiant from you in the ‘60s”.
But it can’t be. He is only 20 or maybe even less.
It must be one of those who would say “I went with my grandfather when he bought his new Sigma from you in the ‘70s”.
I was wrong.
“Yes, I am Gary Gray”, I answered with a questioning tone.
I was right then. A smile appeared on his face.
“I remember you from my Sholem Aleichem school days in ’91.
I remember you reading some stories from your teenager war experiences.
I remember the one with the cookies.” (He meant ‘Box of Biscuits’)
“Your stories”, he continued, “helped me a bit more to understand the Holocaust.
They were really interesting, coming directly from you, a survivor”, he said, pushing down the mobile phone aerial.
“You are ready to go now. Just wind the windows up.”
Going slowly through the funny process of huge brushes rolling over my car, I had time to think and digest that episode.
How nice it is to know that my annual visits to Sholem Aleichem College, when I read my stories to those lovely children, are not wasted.
It is nice that this young man, after ten years, remembers your name and your story, I said to myself,
looking at the green light indicating that my car wash was completed.
You made my day, young man!