“WHAT CAN I REMEMBER”
I can remember when we walked a mile to school; hurry… don’t be late, the golden rule; the magpies swooping and pecking at us, but we had no pennies for the bus.
I can remember the things most of us can; the “swaggies” and the clothes prop man; the “Milko’s” clatter at dead of night and the night cart man, what an awful sight. I can remember those hot summers, the bushfires; the neighbours running with wet sacks, yelling “over here”. No city water in those days, only the tanks. I remember the relief when the wind changed and turned the fires back to the creek. I remember the hard times, but the good happy times too when neighbours helped one another, shook hands and made do.
I can remember me, just ten years old, in Dad’s cornfield, all green and gold, I had to sit still, forbidden to talk, I remember a dead mouse, tied to a cornstalk; for Madam Dufrance found me fetching; she paid me a shilling to sit for her sketching.
I can remember when my Dad and my brothers and several other men walked to “Baulko” to listen to the cricket coming on short wave from England. We were Poms and I can remember getting pushed around for barracking for the Poms. I remember the Masonic School children marching to church on Sunday morning, their band was wonderful and the locals along Seven Hills Road came out to wave. With my two girlfriends Dot and Peggy I marched along behind. I remember the Saturday dance at the old School of Arts and a chap named Charlie who insisted on singing every week, the same old song “Rockin’ My Babies To Sleep”. I remember the young fellow who wanted to “learn” me to dance; he smelled awful of golden syrup and Brylcreme.
I remember how we would all go the seven miles to Parramatta for the day, leaving the front and back doors wide open to keep the house aired. I remember Mr. Rose and his general store. He used to come every week to collect Mum’s grocery order and deliver it the next day, and always there was a little white paper bag of boiled lollies for us kids. I remember the ice man who always seemed to have three lovely pieces of spare ice for us; and the baker in his horse and cart and the smell of the bread loves in his wicker basket with it’s canvas cover. Mum always bought a long bread roll which we cut up in wafer thin slices, one each was out of the question.
I remember our first car, a 1935 Essex, no light, no brakes except a hand brake, tyres patched with inner soles. Going for a drive was fraught with danger; I was always terrified and wanted to get out and walk down any hill we came to. Strangely we never had an accident. I remember so well my parents struggle to survive, how we lost our home, how I lost my beautiful Mother aged 57 and my Dad aged 66 but their story is already told and is in the time capsule in Baulkham Hills Council. Sad is what is lost in the old days but at 92 I can remember when... By Girlie Brown, now Mary Smith Old Toongabbie