Ruth Goldsmith was a good rower, the best in the school. As Jane walked with Ruth across the school to the second class of her first day at Lushers, she felt that she might have found a kindred spirit. There was however, one glaring difference; at the state rowing titles the year before Ruth had become the junior single sculls champion, whereas Jane Thomas had never competed in any sporting event, let alone win one. In fact, she couldn’t run, throw or catch, but rowing now that could be different, Jane thought to herself as they entered the science block.
On sunny days, the senior girls at Lushers College spent the morning break in small groups, lolling on the lawn in front of the old school building. Jane and Ruth found a spot some distance from the brat pack girls. Jane listened with much amusement to Ruth’s colourful, if not exactly reliable, history of each of the girls in their class. Finally, Ruth turned her attention to the six girls sitting and waiting next to the driveway.
“Honest it comes from the brat pack in Hollywood. You know, the ones who were always getting into fights or thrown out of restaurants,” Ruth said. “Not very original I must admit, but what can you expect from a bunch of Lushers girls.”
Jane soon learned that Ruth was an only child. Her parents came to Australia as children with the flood of refugees fleeing Europe after the Second World War. Ruth’s father, Abraham Goldsmith, was brought up in Melbourne. His childhood was not a happy one, largely the result of the time his parents had spent in concentration camps during the war and the lesser, ongoing and niggling discrimination they experienced in the years after their arrival in Australia.
Abraham Goldsmith moved to Sydney in the 1970s and started working for a scrap metal merchant. His life quickly improved; the work was good and within a few years he was married to a wonderful woman. They decided to put off starting a family and worked together as a team for ten years establishing their own business.
The day of Ruth’s birth was still her father’s most treasured memory. Of her mother, Ruth has no direct memory, only memories of what she has heard over the years. Her mother had died while Ruth was still a very young girl, following what, at the time, seemed like a very minor fall in the street on her way home from the shops. Ruth’s father was devastated, and devoted himself to doing the best he could for their daughter. He never re-married, but through years of honest hard toil, Abraham Goldsmith had built up a successful recycling business and considerable wealth.
“So that’s why they call you scrap and trash then?” Jane asked tentatively.
Ruth laughed. “The Queen of scrap and trash, if you don’t mind. I take it as a compliment; my Dad’s more blue overalls than dark suits, and so am I.”
At that moment, the yellow Rolls Royce belonging to the Purvis family entered though gates, attracting the attention of the brat pack and Ruth Goldsmith.
“Ah at last. It’s all a question of timing Jane.” Ruth said as the Rolls Royce glided slowly down the drive.
“Now here is a truly remarkable member of the brat pack. A girl who failed to get her School Certificate a couple of years ago and was made to repeat, and yet is still able to achieve the unlikely status of having more brains than taste”.
The Rolls Royce stopped with regal grace near the brat pack girls. The back door swung open and girls cheered as Annabelle Purvis emerged. Annabelle, a year older than the other girls in her class, was the self-appointed leader of the brat pack. Ruth described the scene for Jane in a sarcastic voice as though commentating on a Royal visit.
“The leader of the pack, Annabelle Purvis, steps out of the limousine to the wild cheers of her adoring fans and subjects. As she walks over to mingle with the crowd we can see that she is wearing a stunning outfit of blue and gold. Wait a minute, oh my goodness Jane, are not some of the other ladies wearing the same colour?”
“Yes I think you might be right there Ruth,” Jane said, dropping instantly into the role of co-commentator. “And what’s more, if I’m not mistaken maybe one or two of the outfits are from the same designer: A most embarrassing situation.”
“Quite so,” Ruth replied with sombre sincerity. “It reminds me of her last show-jumping win on Tinker; the perfect partnership, horse and rider working as one. It was hard to pick the brains of the team, but after the press conference, the nod definitely went to Tinker.”
In the next episode, “Ralph Fly”, anchovies disrupt Ralph’s evening as he prepares to massage the shopping centre project figures for Ray Purvis.