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One:   Waiting at a traffic light

"There is no wealth but life." -John Ruskin

The shops had closed at noon but I continued my stroll along the Corse towards the blue ocean beyond.   It was an old habit that drew me on - -   the "Corso Crawl" was a tribal ritual each Saturday in the Manly of my youth.

        Shy teenagers, we had eyed each other as we sauntered along the crowded footpath, while our elders shopped and gossiped.   That had been twenty years before.   Now friends and relations were gone and nobody lingered on the footpath.   The warm summer sun beat down on an almost deserted street.   Many of the familiar old shops were missing:  Littles Menswear, where I had been outfitted with my first pair of long trousers; Coopers General Store, where I had argued with my mother about curtains for my bedroom;  Campbells and Sellars Hardware stores, once full of mysterious tools and gadgets.   Even the milk bars had vanished.

        Several of the old buildings were derelict, their grimy glass faces showing a vain wait for new tenants.   They were shabby reminders of what had once been a thriving village between harbour and ocean.

        Alone, I turned back from the end of the Corso


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