Regular readers of this column would know that I own or administer quite a few Facebook groups devoted to “Memories” or nostalgia of various regions or areas. From time to time I ask the members who have joined the groups a question or two to help generate input and conversation or discussion. Recently I posed the question of “Did you have a pet or pets as a child?” This prompted quite a few responses from the members.
Times have changed for all of us from the time of our childhood - where dogs would roam free following the kids as they went about exploring around the neighbourhood; chasing the billy carts down a hill; chasing and catching the ball when playing street cricket; often riding in the back of the family ute without being tied or chained in. Or perhaps the dog would swing on a rope tied to a clothes line or a tree; chewing up shoes, the garden hose or what have you. There is no doubt that pets whether dogs , cats, guinea pigs, rabbits or even gold fish have provided fun, companionship for many over the years.
In response to the question posed in one of my “Memories” groups one wit responded along the lines that he “had lice, nits, fleas, cockroaches etc” then went on to explain that he thought the question was “Did you have pests as a child?”
My wife tells me of the time her father arrived home on his motor bike with a duck’s head sticking out of his greatcoat quacking loudly. The duck was deposited on the kitchen floor and she (3 years old) spent some time chasing the duck around the kitchen table until eventually slipping over in the resulting duck poo. “Donald” was housed in the back yard and kept down the garden snails, and other insects, eventually producing an egg and hastily being renamed “Daisy”.
A member of another of my “Memories” groups, who incidently is also a reader of this column in her local newspaper “The Monthly Chronicle” has kindly agreed to me using her comments in this publication,( her name I have witheld).
“This is me in the early-50s with my first pet. My slightly older cousin lived with us and used to ride his bike with his mates from Darcy Ave (Lidcombe) to the Abattoirs (as boys did). One day, he saw a calf that was separated from its mother and was going to be put down. He convinced the workers to let him bring it home as a family pet. He then convinced our Grandparents (who we lived with) that it would be a good pet for me as I wasn’t allowed a dog or cat. We kept it for some time till someone managed to ‘spirit’ it out of the backyard. I now suspect we ate it, but would never have had thoughts like that as a child. As a teenager, my cousin brought a horse home another time and proceeded to build a stable along the back fence, then a second horse, and so it went. His life, since that time and even now, has been spent surrounded by his beloved horses far away from suburbia in the Riverina area. And I’m still lving in suburbia and very frightened of horses, cows, etc. - go figure
My Grandfather had to get rid of the chooks and ducks as the stable extended. Not that I minded as it meant no more headless, dripping chooks or ducks hanging on the paling fence after he’d chopped their heads off ... am amazed that I’m not vegan! Every time the horse/s were led from the stable (through the backyard and around the side of the house) I would take off inside the house. And horses certainly liked bread, but nothing could entice me to hand-feed them, just way too much bigger than me! Although I did feel sorry for them when they had to get new shoes as it seemed such a cruel process. We did have the horses for a l.o.n.g. time till he got married and moved out. “
Yet another member (Dale Kentwell) related this story
“We lived just next to the bridge on Showground Rd... Everyone chucked their unwanted cats and dogs over the bridge in hessian sacks or whatever... so we had lots but the best find was a beautiful dog I found being beaten up in the creek... I took him home... put him in the chook shed and fed him vegetarian sausages. I called him Snuffy and spent my early life with him... Turned out he was a black/silver Scottish sheep dog... and had escaped from the Showground... It was the first time these dogs had come to Australia... about 1977...my lovely snuffy I will never forget the day I had to put him down ... My travelling buddy”.
Other members of the various “Memories” groups went on to tell of the various types of pets that they once owned and the names that they had given them and in some cases a few other comments
NOW WHAT ABOUT YOUR MEMORIES OR YOUR STORY
If you have some great memories, or perhaps you belong to a local community organisation and would like to share your organisation’s history or story with us then feel free to share your memories or experiences by writing to PO Box 1278, Baulkham Hills, NSW 1755 or email to [email protected] optusnet.com.au. You can also share memories on any of my Facebook memories groups including Hills District Memories which you will find here https://www.facebook.com/groups/Hills.memories/
You can write about childhood memories of where you may have grown up. Tell us about your school days. Where you worked, played or went on holidays; your first car; that first date or maybe the history of your group or organisation in the district. This page is about memories so tell us yours.
Sorry the quality of the reproduction of the photos are not that great.