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Back in the late 1980's, I was a Real Estate Agent. I specialised in properties in my home area and it was an easy sell. All I had to do was walk my buyers down the pathway to my local beach and show them the beach that they could call their own, should they decide to purchase a home in our magnificent little enclave of untouched paradise. It was a gentle ramble through shady melaleuca and, upon arriving a mere 100 or 200 metres later, they would be greeted by a wide and expansive open vista of the ocean that stretched in unspoiled infinity to the far reaches of such places as Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and New Zealand.

At that time, I owned a house across the road from my Mum, Redhead and her husband, my father, who used to write here as Raymond F Peters.

Redhead and Raymond used to perform an afternoon " round up " when my daughters came home from school. Redhead would assign jobs to the kids - to bring in the washing, do the ironing and then supervise their homework. My Dad would be busy in the kitchen preparing our evening dinner and I would be at work earning the money to keep the family afloat.


One evening, a neighbour from across the road and a few doors up set fire to his next door neighbour's house. It transpired that the man who set the fire had accused the elderly European man of sexually assaulting his daughters, and, in retaliation, had decided to burn his house to the ground.

The elderly man pronounced his innocence. The neighbourhood pounced on him and I was one of those who did. His lovely wife, who used to bake cinnamon biscuits and cakes for our neighbourhood, left her beloved kitchen and disappeared to places unknown - somewhere back down south. I never saw her again.


I was assigned the onerous task of selling this tainted home. It was purchased by a lady I will call Mary.

Mary bought this home as an investment property and the old European man hanged himself before facing trial. I later found out that he was innocent and it was the father who had abused his daughters.

Well, Mary put tenants into that house and year after year, tenant after tenant, the occupiers left saying that the house was haunted.


My late father was known to be a very spiritual man. I was also considered a gifted recipient of my father's insight. 

Mary asked us to come to the house and see if we could find out what was going on. 

We agreed. 

Redhead, ever the pragmatist, decided to watch and follow as we approached this house and tried to make contact with those that had passed and the spirit that languished and frightened tenants away.

My Dad and I walked in. We couldn't feel a thing. Not a vibe, not a whisper of spiritual activity. Mary and Redhead followed. We got to the kitchen. Suddenly, calmly and with great resolve, Redhead said " Can you please leave? I need to speak privately. "


Well, when Redhead speaks, you listen. And you do as you are told. We left that kitchen so fast that our feet hardly touched the ground.

About half an hour later, Redhead came out and went back to her home and came back with some cinnamon. She walked into the kitchen and stayed for a while longer.

She told us that the wife of the old man who had killed himself had never left her kitchen and she missed it.... her kitchen. And she wanted some cinnamon. 

Since then, a stick of cinnamon has been given to every tenant upon their arrival.  No one has ever had a problem since.


Mary is still will us, as is Redhead. Raymond F Peters has passed into the next world; life has moved on and we now occupy a world that is foreign and alien. All we want is the smell of comfort and the reassurance that all is good with the world.

Like the ghost that lived and lives in Mary's house, all we want is the comfort of familiar things; the reassurance that we are loved and valued and that the things we cherish will not be banished, exorcised and told to " be gone. " because someone has decided that it should be so.

All we want is to be able to " remember when... " and not relegated to the ghost realm of a world where no one cares about the past and the fond memories that the past holds. 

That wonderful smell of cinnamon. 

That smell of Easter hot cross buns, Christmas cakes and family. 

That aroma of a past is disappearing. We are hoping and praying for a resurrection of the love and values we hold dear and not a final death. 

Let's all smell cinnamon again. 


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