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Embracing My GiftThe Autobiography of a Psychic Medium
By FRANCES CAMILLERI
Balboa PressCopyright © 2012 Laura Frances Dawson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA New Adventure
Living in Malta
My memories of early childhood living in Gozo, Malta were very happy. Two doors from my house was my favourite park which I loved to play in, laying down in the long grass and running free, feeling wind on my face until I exhausted myself. I would lie down in the tall grass and it would envelope me in a protective way and I would listen to the spirits communicating with me. I was always eager to get back to the park and as soon as I walked in, I always had a sense and feeling of safety and belonging. Rain, hail or shine I always went there to spend time looking up through the tall grass and smelling the strong scents of my favourite flowers like Jasmine and Daffodils. I never wanted anybody else around me when I was experiencing my special time and space.
The park would close at 6pm and then three bells would sound to warn everyone to leave before the gates were locked up for the night. I would just ignore the bells and stay by myself with my spirit friends in the park. They would tell me when it was time to leave and go home. Dinner was served at our house around that time. Of course, I would always be the last one in to our house for dinner. One day my mother caught me squeezing myself through the metal bars of the fence. Mum was not impressed and I was punished for it but of course it didn't stop me from doing it again.
In Malta, I enjoyed lots of friends. I was treated like an older, wiser person by my same age friends. We use to ride our bikes everywhere, get into lots of mischief but not too naughty. My best friend was Antoinette who was born in America and of course my mother and her mother both named Maria were old childhood friends themselves. When Antoinette was very young her parents separated and her mother and Antoinette come back to Malta to live. We did everything together especially summer vacation.
My Aunty owned a small holiday shack at Marsalforn on the beach, not far away from our family home. Everybody referred to it as the "Summer House". This was where we spent most of our idyllic, long and very hot summer vacations. Most of the inhabitants of the island would go there for summer fun. All the children enjoyed playing together. Activities were competitive fun races, swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling. Diving to collect Sea Urchins & Oysters was a favourite pastime as they were considered a real delicacy in Malta. Adults supervised the children at all times whilst collecting them. The only other holidays we had off school and work were Easter, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. People born in Malta were classed as British Subjects English was our first language I have a lot of happy memories of my very early childhood spent in Malta, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I loved racing up to greet my dad in the street when he came home from work. He worked at the Hospital X-Ray Department, after finishing from the hospital dad would come home for dinner with us spend a little time playing with us kids then he would ride his motorbike to his second job as a barber in the next town. He was a quiet man he was disciplined with us children a very good listener and very easy to talk to, all of his customers at the barber's loved him. He would work quite late until midnight some nights and then get up early again the next day to go to work at the Hospital. Mum would always wake up with dad in the morning give him his breakfast before he left for work.
Catholic Malta schooling was very different to Catholic Australian schooling. We went to mass before we went to school we had a two hour lunch break where we were allowed to go home for lunch. We then returned to school at 2pm for full time study for the rest of the day until 5pm.
Twice a week my Mum had us girls enrolled in after school activities, either dressmaking or fancy lace making, I chose lace making, which I liked. My tutor used to put a lot of pins in her mouth whilst doing the lace; I copied what she was doing. Unfortunately, I swallowed a pin; the tutor quickly took me home.
My Mum took me to the hospital for an X-ray, which showed up with the pinhead facing down. They explained that I would be okay and that I would just pass the pin. My Mum asked me to pick another activity like knitting.
In Malta I had a favourite nun, Sister Jemma who was a beautiful soul, an all loving person who had a very loving energy. She was also a "healer". She did this by touching people and also just by looking at people who visited her. My Father and Brother would donate money whenever they could to the Convent. She became bedridden very early on in her life with ill health. Sister Jemma healed my Dad's complications with his Thrombosis many times. One of my Sisters later visited Sister Jemma in Malta and was advised by her that she would have a child and she said "I won't be here when the child is born." My sister went on to have a baby girl and Sister Jemma had passed over at that time. Sister Jemma was such a special person to me she was someone that I alwayslookedup to. Her energywas so beautiful although at that age I did not know what I was feeling.
A New Adventure—Australia
I will never forget the afternoon my father came home from work and announced that we were going to Australia. He had got the news whilst working at the hospital. I was eight at the time and we were so excited, what a new adventure. My father was so happy that he was going to give us a new "lease in life".
To my father, his family were everything. Two of my eldest brothers had already immigrated to Australia and my father certainly wasn't going to have any more of his family split up. Keeping eleven of us together wasn't going to be an easy task. Although we were happy about immigrating to Australia, there were mixed emotions about the people and places we were leaving behind especially my favourite park. I was concerned about leaving the park and my special friends in spirit that nobody else could see.
The final day arrived for us to say our final goodbyes in Malta; it was a hectic day with family and neighbours coming to the family home to offer a helping hand. Saying our good byes was very hard to all those people who we had shared so much with, happy and sad times. The hardest goodbyes was to my eldest sister and my brother-in law, their three children, tow boys and one girl, I couldn't imagine my life without them. They would all follow us to Australia much later. Mum and dad assured all of us that they will soon follow once the baby is a little older.
Although I was so young I could see the sadness in my mothers face, we were so young to understand what was going through her mind. Leaving our beautiful family home and both grandmothers and all her close friends. Going to an unknown country, she had never visited before would have been very daunting.
The logistics of moving eleven children for my parents was very difficult. Travelling by ship was mum, my brother Frank who at eighteen years old was helping my mum with the rest of us kids. With two younger boys and three girls the ages ranged from eighteen years and the youngest was four. It was a hard journey by ship, for the entire thirty day long journey my mother was suffering from sea sickness every day. The doctor would give mum an injection with little effect, mum was deteriorating each day she couldn't tolerate food but could manage some fluids.
Frank stepped in as a pseudo parent looking after us, feeding, clothing and getting us to bed, he looked after us very well. He had a lot to cope with, in the morning he would get us up in the morning we would shower and dress and get ready to go up to the dinning room for breakfast. He would also take mum upon deck for some fresh air in the morning which would always help her. She would feel a bit better and was able to interact with other people which she loved to do. After breakfast the five of us would take ourselves to the activities centre, we all loved it. There was lots to do their and I loved my sports, we all did different activities.
It was winter and the seas were very rough we had been travelling for well over three weeks and the doctor that was looking after mum was getting very concerned as the weather was getting worse from Melbourne to Sydney and mum had deteriorated so much he said she definitely wasn't up to travelling any further by sea as the weather forecasts was predicting rougher seas than we already experienced. We had to get off the ship in Melbourne, we were lucky to have relatives in Melbourne who were there to pick us up and fortunately for us we had somewhere to stay at their place. In the meanwhile Frank got in touch with my brother Joe, who was already in Australia, he jumped in his FJ Holden and drove from Sydney to Melbourne and picked us all up. It was an extremely tight fit, with eight of us in and our luggage squashing into the Holden. In those days we didn't have to wear seatbelts, my mum prayed the whole way from Melbourne to Sydney.
My Father and two older girls of the family actually left Malta three weeks after us on the plane. The plane took only three days travel whereas on the ship it took close to a month to get to Australia. Dad and the two girls arrived about one week before the rest of us.
I arrived in Australia from Malta at the age of eight I was number nine child out of eleven. We were staying with my other brother George he was also married with three children. He accommodated us all upstairs in three rooms whilst his family lived downstairs.
We started school the following week at the local Public School at Darlinghurst. Mum ventured out by herself and got lost a lot but strangers would always help her find her way back. My Mum befriended some other people from Malta and they showed her around, shopping and buses to catch.
These lovely, caring, helpful people were much needed by my mother as her daughter-in-law wasn't very nice to my mum. She didn't help us and it was very hard. The duration of three months sharing a house with her was difficult and emotionally draining due to all the crying done by my mother.
Frank resorted to driving a Tip Top bread van to bring in some money and made a good living from it to help the family. Dad's first job, to quickly earn some money was at a glass factory. With the earnings, he saved enough for a deposit to buy a house at Surry Hills in Sydney. Mum loved that house.
At the same time, Frank had just had his appendix nearly burst and could have died. He went to hospital and was operated on and had them removed. He came out of hospital and the very next day helped us move out, as he could not stand us staying in that negative environment one more day.
We were all relived to leave and move into our home at Surry Hills. Frank went out that same day and bought us all a television for entertainment as we were restricted from watching TV at my brother's house. We were all very happy in our new house and living in Australia, mum and dad settled in very quickly as did all the children, there was no looking back.
Older sister arrived in Australia 12 months later
We were all excited and happy to greet Lina, Andy and their three children. They came and stayed with us for a couple of months until they bought their own house five minutes away. In the meantime, the rest of the younger children in the family went to the local Catholic School and Lina and Andy's children followed later.
Chapter TwoMy School Years
Catholic School Sydney in Australia
I loved school and I got on with some of the lovely nuns but some of the nuns I clashed and their disciplinary action which quiet often ended with me at the end of the cane. I got caned on the hand for not sitting still or for not sitting up straight, this really hurt. When this occurred, I would snatch the cane off the teacher and snap it over my legs. They didn't know what to do with me. I was very good at sport and it was my saving grace, sport was very good to divert anger.
If I saw someone in the school yard being picked on I would get upset, school bullies didn't worry as I would stand up to them. I would help protect others as well as myself; my older sister would be picked on so I would chase them away to protect her.
The Nun's Story
One day I had to urgently go to the toilet during class, I put up my hand to be excused to go to the toilet and the nun replied "You should have gone to the toilet at lunchtime" and refused to let me go. I replied "I couldn't because you had me practising during lunch for the big basketball game that's coming up next Saturday". I then ignored her and I ran out of class, as I urgently had to go to the toilet. After I had gone the Nun (who would have been about thirty) was waiting for me outside the cubicle with the hose. She wet me down then caned my legs whilst wet. I erupted with intense outrage and jumped on her waist with my legs wrapped around her. I shook and shook her. The feeling of being pushed to the limits of extreme behaviour engulfed me.
After that, I ran straight home to my mum, when I got home it was Frank who answered the door. He was now a policeman and was on afternoon shift that day He said to me "what happened, why are you all wet and why are you crying"? I then explained to him what had happened. He told me to go and get wet uniform off and have a bath.
Within no time after the incident, the Priest was knocking on our door and was ready to have me admitted to a girl's home. The Nun only told the Priest her side of the story being what I had done and not what she had done to me first.
Frank was very calm with the Priest, inviting him inside to sit down and called for me also. Frank said "tell the Priest what happened and then show him your legs" I relayed exactly what happened and showed the Priest the bright red welts on my legs from the cane. The Priest was shocked and then apologised on behalf of the school as he then realised he hadn't been told the full story by the Nun. Frank discussed his concern for me being wet during a cold winter's day as I suffered severe bronchitis.
Frank said "I am on afternoon shift and I want to call in the Police and have them come down and see what my sister endured at your school and have the Nun charged with abuse!" The Priest begged Frank not to report the incident and Frank replied "I'll have to think about it".
After this episode, my parents agreed to let me go to the Public School which I loved. Unfortunately, I only went to the Public School for two weeks. The Priest had the hide to demand that I go back to the Catholic School due to our family being Catholic. He told my parents that they were committing "a sin" by allowing me to attend the Public School. My dad said to the Priest "I will send her back to the Catholic School but if any Nuns lay one finger or cane on her they will have me and the authorities to deal with!"
I then went back to the Catholic School grudgingly and absolutely hated it. This is the reason why I left school so young and didn't continue my education because I didn't like the way I was treated, this abuse has had a lifelong impact on me.
I am so glad the Catholic School system today is so much better and they are unable to use the cane.
As a child I would have visions of spirit activity, it was just normal for me. I was always guided by my Spirit Guides throughout my school years. Friends at school would say "there is something different about you." I never understood what they meant by this as I thought that everyone experienced what I saw, felt, sensed and heard as the same as me. I was very careful about sharing feelings with others and had an elaborate fantasy world, daydreaming a lot.
From a young age, I loved doing all sorts of sports, running, basketball, swimming etc. I kept active to strengthen my lungs like an athlete. The Nun's at school would always pick me as I was a very competent competitor, active and determined. No one could ever talk me out of anything.
As I child I didn't worry about apparitions, hearing things or smelling things as I had the knowledge that Guardian Angels and Spirit Guides always protected you. My paternal Grandfather Laurence (my namesake, Frances) who had already passed over before I was born was my mother's dad. He left behind his wife and nine children.
My father never knew his dad because of this he was determined to be the best father for his own children, which he was. I had both grandmothers alive when I was born and they were a part of my life until age eight when I left Malta and migrated to Australia, I was then reunited with all my siblings here. It was a positive move to Australia for the whole family, better career opportunities.
I have lots of wonderful memories of coming home after school and smelling that beautiful aroma of freshly baked homemade cakes or cookies. For a child, this was a very nurturing way of life. My parents were the epitome of how parents should love and care for their children.
Excerpted from Embracing My Gift by FRANCES CAMILLERI Copyright © 2012 by Laura Frances Dawson. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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