Vale, my first true love…

The first flush of young love consumes you, body and soul.


August 1986, I was young, tall, skinny, handsome, down with the cool clothes, bands, records of the rock and roll scene, also shy, introverted and lonely.


Then I met Wendy. From sepia to technicolour in the blink of a kiss. She was beautiful, cool, gorgeous, fantastic dresser, smart, sensitive. We fell in love. I gave her a letter in the Leb diner corner of Elizabeth and Cleveland stating my feelings and…


We were inseparable. We were fucking beautiful. We were at Town Hall station in mid ’87, on our way to see The Cult at Selinas, black and white silk, fur, lace, a gang of blokes yelled at us, calling me a poofter… I was hand in hand with a beautiful woman and they weren’t.


We set up house in Bennett St, Surry Hills in October ’87, wonderful, loving and caring for each other. Two years later, a sense of stagnation, Wendy called time.


We were heading in different directions. Wendy went home to Adelaide. I stayed home in Sydney.


Wendy got a BA in design at Adelaide Uni, carved a career in glass-blown artworks, exhibited worldwide. She got together with Michael around ’95 and they lasted.


When the cancer stole her last breath on 18 December, her friends and family were around her.


We last spoke in November ’11 after Greg, my best friend, died. Of cancer. I wanted to connect with a time of innocence and rang Wendy. Mostly, I stayed out of the way.


It took a few days, I was working a lot and Perky Girl and I hadn’t had a chance to talk about it, then she looked at the old photos and Wendy’s artwork online, we talked, I cried, she held me.


I’ve done my grieving, so I think, but I ain’t done with insomnia. Ten thousand memories, hundred thousand thoughts. I wrote Michael to thank him for loving and caring for her.



If you wanna soundtrack it:

Blow you a kiss in the wind – Redd Kross
Give her a great big kiss – Johnny Thunders
The Who Who song – Jackie Wilson
Harmony in my head – Buzzcocks
Teenage Riot – Sonic Youth
Late Night – Syd Barrett


About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Moving account Earl. It takes courage to express such moving thoughts in tragic circumstances. Well said! Cancer sucks!

  2. murray walding says

    Nicely written Earl…they are memories to cherish.

  3. Those we touch and those who touch us. Precious.
    “I buried her a thousand times, given up my place in line
    But I don’t give a damn about that now
    There’s one thing that’s real clear to me
    No one dies with dignity
    We just try to ignore the elephant somehow”

  4. Losing an ex would be bad enough (so far I’m lucky). I can’t imagine losing a life-partner like many have.

    I once ran into a bunch of 30ish women who called themselves The First Wives Club. They were all widows whose husbands had died somewhere on the tragedy spectrum. They’d all met in group therapy and were having a girls’ weekend. Somehow our paths crossed.

    The damage ran deep, and for at least one of them there wasn’t much surface to cover it. I hope they all worked through that and came out good the other side.

  5. Earl O'Neill says

    Edit, should have included:
    Late night – Syd Barrett

  6. Love your writings, Earl

  7. Thanks for sharing these memories, Earl

  8. Condolences Earl. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Yvette Wroby says

    Thoughts are with you Earl. Thank you for sharing

  10. Earl O'Neill says

    Photo taken by Linda around 8am after a long and intense night.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Earl. Thanks.

  12. This is so sad.

    You are absolutely spot on about first love.

    You write so sensitively – and there is a very good reason for that.

    Thank you for giving us these words.

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Wonderful words Earl.
    Condolences to you and everyone who knew Wendy.

  14. Moving words.

    Well done

  15. Earl thank your for sharing ! All the best mate

  16. Very intense. Striking story Earl. Sad but full of life too.

  17. Beautiful Earl as always. I remember when you and Wendy were young, fast and gorgeous. She had the soul of an artist and getting together with her did you the world of good too. First Love is very special. I am glad Wendy found happiness with Michael and fulfilled her artist’s dreams – sad she died of the curse of cancer.
    You were a brother to Greg, and still are to me.
    Colleen (Greg’s very own Perky Girl.)

  18. Earl O'Neill says

    Many thanks for the comments, folks. Glad I’ve got the Almanac community, couldn’t have publoshed this anywhere else.

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