“WHAT CAN I RE­MEM­BER”

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Memories -

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

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