My first years of life were peaceful, providing an eye before the storm that would be my later life. Simpler times back then in the old weatherboard home at Horonda Street, Greensborough with my miniature Tonka Jeep that I could drive around in, a loving family and just being a little snotty nosed toddler.
Like everyone, I was gifted a signature soft toy that became my first best friend. My Baba gave me a green dog and an orange bear from Pumpkin Patch, who’d become known as Happy and Happy’s Baby respectively. My grandparents in New Zealand have Happy’s Baby, but I still have Happy who’s falling apart at the seams! My first best friend was Memphis Hennessy, the son of my Mum’s best friend Patricia (Trish) Hennessy who had also come from New Zealand. He’s only a couple of weeks older than me.
My favourite shows as a toddler were the Simpsons, Hi-5 and Winnie the Pooh. I had an absolute collection of Winnie the Pooh clothing and memorabilia, my first concert was Hi-5 with my mother and I would get up at 8am every morning to binge watch the Simpson’s with a bag of white bread as my snack. My mother was far from impressed when our week’s bread supply was gone in the one sitting!
My 2nd birthday rolled around, and it was held at the McDonalds in Mill Park. Everyone remembers this party for my mum and dad’s work colleague Nik entering the premises on the wrong side of the road! He blamed the roads on our side of town for this. This would’ve also been around the age my Dedo started getting me to read the atlas and study every nation of the world’s capital city and their flag. The first one I remember learning was Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. By the time I hit 3, I knew every single city and flag. Mind boggling!
Eventually, the time came for me to start kindergarten. My parents still worked grueling shifts day and night at the Melbourne Casino, and this is when my Baba and Dedo became an even bigger part of my life. My mother of course still did everything she could to make sure she was there. Myself, my Mum and my Baba would wait at 6am outside the front of the daycare every week morning, waiting for the doors to open. I believe that was my first lesson in life to being the brutally tough individual I am today.
I forgot the name of my kindergarten now, as it’s changed name that many times. It was in Greensborough, next to St Thomas Primary School and opposite the Serbian Orthodox Church. All the teachers were very nice, and the one I remember most was Angie. She was a very nice lady, but also very strict. Whenever I played up at home, Mum would threaten to call her.
I was quite the popular boy in kindergarten and the other children would run to me when I arrived, calling my name. Toby, Ben, Josh Plummer and Melissa were my first friends in here. I soaked it up whilst I could, because my popularity would dwindle for many years to come.
It was here I had my first accident you could call it. I was on the See Saw with Melissa and I flipped straight off. I cut my lip open and my Baba rushed me over to the medical clinic across the road. Dr Horiat stitched my lips shut and said it had to stay like that for at least a couple of days. We had barely gotten home and the stitches fell out. My Baba drove back to the clinic, gave the butcher doctor a piece of her mind as you’d imagine any old Macedonian woman would, and took me to the hospital instead.
Before I knew it, it was almost the end of my early childhood chapters and the start of my schooling ones. My parents decided to send me to school one year early as they felt I was academically ready. It was also around this time my parents discovered the Twist Gene. When I would get excited, I would cross my fingers excitedly, and touch either my face or back with them. Some would argue this is a form of Tourette’s Syndrome as I wasn’t able to control it, but my parents never bothered to listen to that crap. They said the Twist Gene was authentically Jordan, and that was my first lesson that it’s more than okay to be myself!