‘I walk through Grace Bros to get through to George Street to catch my bus and I find myself going straight to the counter that sells my mother’s favourite perfume. I spray it in the air and it’s as if the scent’s a genie and it triggers everything off inside me and I can’t get over what comes up with that one spray. Memories and photos and sayings and advice and music and lectures and shouting and security and love and nagging and hope and despair … despair … why has despair come up? I don’t remember despair in her life, but it is evoked with this magical spray. But more than anything, I remember passion.’
Grace Bros was bought and re-branded as Myer years ago but I had a vague memory of seeing this building near my sister’s house in Glebe. Sure enough, though the building still bears the Grace Bros name, it’s now home to the Broadway Shopping Centre. I wish I could have seen it in its prime but the building still has a classic beauty and it’s not hard to imagine Francesca wandering through this building on her way to her Nonna’s house.
You can see more Paint the Town Read posts on my Instagram account with the hashtag #caapaintthetownread.