HIS­TORY or Her Story

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Memories With Ivor Jones & Friends -

Many years ago, when this pub­li­ca­tion was named “Hills TV Mag­a­zine”, I of­ten wrote of the “Dragon Lady”. The “Dragon Lady” was my late mother-in-law who took this good heart­edly. This proved that she was not re­ally a “Dragon Lady” but she did have a speech de­fect - she would have to stop talk­ing to take a breath ev­ery now and then. Be­ing a talker, she was well versed in story telling and over the next few is­sues of this mag­a­zine I will re­late some of her tales that she wrote in the 1990s. My mother-in-law wrote about her mother’s ex­pe­ri­ences in life and that of her­self. Here is part of what she wrote :

“Mum and her sis­ter both worked as house­maids in Parkes as they grew up. Eve­lyn worked for a Bank Man­ager and his fam­ily, Mr & Mrs Stu­art. Mum worked for Mr McIn­tosh, who was a Solicitor, and his wife. They were very kind to Mum and would not let their chil­dren be cheeky or im­pose on Mum, but she also spoke of their fru­gal life­style. She said they were so­cialites in town, but she would put patch upon patch on their sheets. They used a shabby cracked china set on news­pa­per for a cloth and when they en­ter­tained, out came the sil­ver­ware and fine china and glass­ware set on fine linen. As a child I found it in­cred­i­ble that any­one would eat off news­pa­per, but around 1955 a friend who cleaned the Bank of NSW in Auburn, asked me to help out for sev­eral weeks so she could have a hol­i­day. I used to go to the res­i­dence at­tached to the Bank for the key. One morn­ing it was rain­ing heav­ily and the Man­ager in­vited me in and said that he would let me through an in­te­rior door. To my hor­ror the fam­ily were hav­ing break­fast at a ta­ble cov­ered in news­pa­per. I’ve never for­got­ten it, we’ve all heard of “putting on a front”.

The house Mum lived in at Balderogery was called a “straw and daub”. Daub is a mix­ture of mud and clay mixed with straw and smeared on lathes for form walls. These walls were then white­washed and the floor was com­pacted dirt which be­came so hard it was shiny.

Mum spoke of the lovely sil­ver and china which had come out from Eng­land as wed­ding gifts and of the way Tot (my grand aunt who reared Mum and her three sib­lings af­ter they were or­phaned), Eve­lyn and her­self had to reg­u­larly wash and pol­ish it. She also said they used to change from work clothes to starched and ironed stiff peti­coats and frocks for evening and Sun­day lunch meals, and the men into starched shirts, col­lars and ties.”

To be con­tin­ued next is­sue.

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