Cats on a train

by - May 27, 2019

There are two main things I remember about The Phamly's move from Melbourne to Brisbane. The first is I had to give up my upright piano because it made more financial sense to sell it to pay to help move the rest of the household than to pay even more to move the heavy item. Adult me now sees why my parents decided to sell it, but at the time teen me was very emotional and upset, and swore to never play piano again. What a little shit I was, I've since forgotten most of my piano training.

The other thing I remember because we repeated the story so often because it's hilarious. We caught the train from Melbourne to Brisbane because back then air travel was way more expensive compared to land travel. On the ride, Mum Pham sat next to Big Brother Pham and I was seated next to Little Sissy Pham. At a train stop in rural NSW she got up to go to the toilet. Being the responsible, caring sister that I am, I flopped over into her seat and promptly fell asleep.

Next thing I know, I wake up because the train has stopped and there's a fuss up ahead where policemen have come onboard our carriage. They start walking down the aisle and everyone is confused wondering what the hell is going on. When the cops stop at Mum Pham, the expression on her face is priceless. I've never seen someone look so shocked yet guilty. Unbeknownst to everyone else there are cats on the train. Our cats.

We smuggled Cuddles and Tigger Pham onto the train in our carry-on because no way was my immigrant mother paying to fly these furballs to Brisbane and no way was this attached teen letting her give our cats away. We cut off the top of a rectangle laundry basket and placed it inside a black bag, and our petrified kitties huddled in there quietly for most of the ride. At one point Cuddles, the braver of the two crawled out while we were both sleeping and was walking about. Little Sissy caught her before anyone else noticed.

Had someone in fact seen? Had they reported us to the authorities? How much trouble were we in if the police was involved? All this was racing through Mum Pham's head when she was looking up at the cops who had asked for her by name.

To her great relief, they didn't know about the cats. They were on the train to return her youngest daughter who had sleep walked off the train in regional NSW with no home address or forwarding phone number because we had left our old house, and nobody thought to give us kids the new address or contact details for Brisbane because we didn't plan on anyone getting lost off the train.

Mum Pham aged a couple of years that night and Little Sissy Pham was so traumatised she never sleep walked again after that night. Tune in next time for the saga that was returning Little Sissy Pham to the train. That's another entertaining story for some regional file, not so much for Little Sissy Pham.


If you want to start from the beginning of Phamly history, read:
Part 1 - O Captain! My Captain! Dad Pham's navy days during the Vietnam War.
Part 2 - P.O.W. Viet Cong Re-education Camp Dad Pham's time as a prisoner of war.
Part 3 - Living with Viet Cong Mum Pham's experience with communism.
Part 4 - Boat People Dad Pham seeks refuge after the war.
Part 5 - Finding Faith Dad finds peace.
Part 6 - When Herr met Frau - Dad Pham meets Mum Pham.
Part 7 - Life in Germany: the early years - Dad Pham sets up life in Germany.
Part 8 - Life in Germany: the later years - Dad gets sick, Mum steps up.
Part 9 - Getting ready for Australia - Mum Pham is on a mission.
Part 10 - Coming to Australia - My first memories of Australia.
Part 11 - Live in Brisbane the first time - The story of why we left Brisbane.
Part 12 - Moving to Melbourne - First impressions.
Part 13 - Life in Melbourne - Dad Pham - The good old days.
Part 14 - The Other Phams - Our neighbours in Melbourne were Phams too.
Part 15 - Life in Melbourne - Mum Pham - Our Sunday Phamly traditions began in Melbourne.
Part 16 - Cats On A Train - Moving to Brisbane
Part 17 - Sleepwalking Scare - Moving to Brisbane continued
Part 18 - A House in Brisbane - Moving to Brisbane continued some more

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