Poppies for Poppy

By Indigo Maylea, Year 6 - Eltham East Primary School

There are red poppies in my room when I wake up. They’re on the foot of my bed, the window sill, on top of the bookshelf and in my pot plant. I kick off my heavy doona and slip my cold feet into my green slippers. There’s been an immaculate red petal placed on top of the slippers. 

I know there’s something up.

I remove the petals and place them on my bedside table. I know what today is. My mum and I commemorate this day every year. It’s a big day for me and my mum because my grandpa (Mum’s dad) died in the war along with a distant aunt and even though I never met either of them, I still remember them today.

I clomp down the stairs still in my pyjamas and pour myself a bowl of cereal. I notice that yesterday wasn’t ticked off on the fridge calendar so Mum mustn’t be awake yet. As I sip the milk in my cereal, I think about all the stories Mum has told me about Grandpa and my aunt. She said Grandpa had a rough voice, but sang beautifully. I was born while the war was still going, but I remember how sad Mum was when we got the news about him and how we moved the rocking chair up into the attic. I have to strain my memory to remember what mum said about Aunt Nora. Her family was living near the battle and a shell landed on her house. Only her dad survived, who told us what had happened.

I’m just finishing my breakfast when I hear a creak from the stairs. It’s my mum. She’s sipping a cup of coffee and has her special dressing gown on. “Hi, honey,” she said, giving me a tired wave. I wave back mimicking her sleepy movements even though I’m fully awake by now. 

She laughs, grabs a piece of toast and sits down at the table. She struck a match against our old fashioned lighter and carefully lit the candle on the table. Soon the whole house smells of smoke and nectar.

“What are we doing today?” I ask, taking a gulp of orange juice. We always participate in the ANZAC Day activities. My mum tucks a rebellious strand of hair from her face. “Well, you still have to go to school, but after the minute of silence I’ll pick you up,” she answered. 

I nod my head in agreement. “Then where will we go?” I question as I pick up my empty bowl and deliver it to the dishwasher while my mum explains. 

“We’ll do all the marches. Then our community is doing a speech and we’re a part of it. I’ll be talking about Grandad and your Aunt Nora.”

I nod again. My mum has finished her toast now and she blows the candle out. She reaches over the table and gives my shoulder a squeeze. “Go get ready hon.”

Once back in my bedroom, I get dressed in my school uniform. It’s a turquoise colour with the school logo stitched in brown on the front – Eucalyptus Primary School. Afterwards, I brush my dark hair and buckle my school shoes into place. I pin a red poppy to my chest and smile. I am grateful for my ancestors and proud of the story of my past. 

After a while I hear my mum call for me. “Poppy! Time for school!”

“Coming!” I shout back. I grab my school bag and swing it onto my back. The thought of my name making me smile. My mum named me Poppy, to commemorate this occasion. Lest we Forget.