Linda Brotherton is the Koorie Educator at Preston North East Primary School. One of her roles there is to assist Koorie students engage and benefit from class room activities.

Linda was in the classroom when students participated in the writing passport program run by Heather Blakey and has generously provided these pieces to demonstrate that the writing tasks can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

My Shell For Real

by Linda Brotherton

I loved walking along the beach listening to the sounds of the ocean, the birds, feeling the wind blow through my hair, the feel of the soft sand squeezing through my toes. To me it felt like holding a piece of silk and rubbing it between your fingers it sort of has a soothing effect and you just want to lay back on the sand and go to sleep. One of my favourite passions was collecting shells on the beach. They had the most magnificent colours and I loved listening to the sounds of the ocean when I held the shell to my ear. It has such a peaceful sound and I would lay there for what seemed like hours.

The weather forecast said it was going to be eighteen degrees today with few clouds. Just right for going to the beach to look for shells and laying back to soak up the sun. This type of weather was perfect and the sun filtered through the clouds just enough to put some heat into the sand. The breeze was slightly cool but once you found a spot in the sand to nuzzle into you felt all fuzzy and warm all over. Overnight there was a storm and I could hear the waves crashing on to the beach from my bedroom window. It sounded like it was pretty rough. All the better I thought because after a stormy night lots of things get dragged from the depths of the ocean onto the beach. I couldn't wait to get down there to see what treasures had been washed up.

I ran all the way, as fast as I could. I felt so excited when I got there. I just knew I was going to find something wonderful. I quickly scanned the beach to the left of me and to the right, hoping that something might have washed up on the shore, but I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. I went for a walk along the beach to the right until I couldn't go any further because of the cliffs. I turned around and went the other way. I decided to walk to the mouth of the river that flowed into the sea. Along the way I found the usual shells, all very pretty. I was so sure I would find something but didn't. Oh well! Maybe next time I would find something. But, as I got closer to the river mouth something caught my eye. It was in the distance and I couldn't quite make out what it was as the sun shone on it and I had to cover my eyes because of the glare. It was when a cloud passed over that I could tell that it was a rather big shell.

I started to run towards the shell feeling very excited at finding something. My heart started beating faster and faster. I could see just how beautiful the shell was the closer I got. I was standing there just looking at the shell in amazement. I reached down to pick it up and my first thought was how magnificent the colours were. I was so engrossed in them that I didn't realize what had happened. I was still looking a the colours in the shell but I was actually inside the shell. It was like a lake and it is as crystal clear as glass. As I looked at the inside of the shell more carefully it looked like there were houses built into the sides of the shell and staircases going everywhere. I wondered what sort of people lived here. I decided to find out. When I looked around I found that I was on top of a very shiny ball and there was a spiral staircase going around and around to the bottom of the ball so I went down them to the bottom.

When I reached the bottom there was flat stepping stones which went across to the bank of the lake. I stepped on the first one. On the next I stopped to have a better look at the water. I couldn't believe how crystal clear it was and yet it seemed to have a blue colour to it as well. My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to taste it. When I put my hand in the water it was warm to touch and when I drank the water it was cold, like it was chilled on ice. It was the loveliest water I had ever tasted. It not only tasted nice but it made you feel nice. I walked along the bank of the lake around the shell until I got closer to where the houses were built into the side of the shell. There were quite a few of them and they were all different in one way or another. It looked as though they were delicately carved out of shell. The colours of the inside of the shell were brilliant as if all the colours on the earth had been swirled together and mixed into a pearly white colour which made it so soft to touch.

I thought to myself that if this is what Paradise is then I am staying. Everything seemed at first to be a long distance away from you and small but as you got closer everything was normal. Very strange indeed! I was so wrapped up in this odd happening that I wasn't aware of anyone about and how quiet it was. I wasn't game enough to knock on one of the doors so I went back to the waters edge. It looked like there was a footpath going all the way around the lake so I followed the path for awhile, I soon came to a beautiful coral garden sitting half out of the water near the banks of the lake which stretched beyond what the eye could see. It just took your breath away.

A bit further along I came across a whole lot of fish, big and small and all sorts of varieties. It looked like they were playing games. Little fish were riding on the backs of seahorses and dolphins playing some sort of game with a shiny ball by tossing it to each other. There were lots of things happening. Then low and behold the strangest thing of all happened. I saw a group of rather odd looking fish. They had beards and they were smoking a pipe and sitting around in groups either playing cards or just chatting, joking and laughing. At least that is what it looked like they were doing.

I kept myself hidden behind the coral garden because I thought I might scare everyone and I crept closer and closer trying to strain my ears if they were actually doing anything. Logic told me that this was not real but just being there made me feel that it was natural and that everything was okay. I felt safe and secure in this shell and all that was in there was real. It was just an amazing feeling.

All of a sudden I felt a tap on my shoulder and a small voice asked me who I was and where I came from. At first it didn't know what to say. I was in a bit of shock to see this little creature talking to me. I couldn't help but smile. It had the cutest smile and was very pretty. She told me her name was Pearl. I told here what had happened and she just looked at me with a funny look on her face and then she took me back to where everybody was. Nobody seemed to be surprised at the sight of me which I thought was odd.

Eventually a very old fish came over with a dolphin who was just as old and told me to stay as long as I wanted and that their home was my home and to help myself to anything I wanted. Well I didn't really know what to say to that. Pearl led me over to all the others that were playing and eventually got me to join in the games. We played find the rock by tossing a pebble into the water and diving in after it. With the younger dolphins we played a game of keeping's off that was fun. It was awesome! I didn't realize at first but I felt hungry. I just kept having a drink of water when I felt like it. When the games were finished the old fish said it was time to go to bed and they all started to get out of the water and as they did they changed into little people and children and they walked to their homes. I thought how astonishing! The old fish must have been reading my mind because he came up to me and told me that at certain times of the day, when the daylight hits the water that's when its time for all the little sea creatures to change into humans and go home to bed.

I stretched and stretched like I was going to touch the moon and gave out a big yawn. Boy, am I hungry I thought and gee, I need to go to the toilet. I rolled over to get out of bed. Daylight was poking through the window and the rays of sunlight lit up my room. My eyes looked over the top of the dresser and I smiled with pride at the most beautiful shell I had ever found.