HIS­TORY or Her Story

Maisie Al­lan’s story of grow­ing up

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Community News -

Don’t for­get to con­trib­ute your mem­o­ries and also any old pho­to­graphs that you would like to see pub­lished in this mag­a­zine’s “AS WE WERE” sec­tion.

Aclothes-props man came round oc­ca­sion­ally, the prop was used to hoist the clothes­line and was made from a sapling with a forked top. Clothes­lines, in those days, were a pole at each end with bars across to carry two lengths of wire stretched be­tween them. Af­ter the clothes were hung, the prop hoisted them high to catch the breeze. There was the baker with his bas­ket, he would load up the cart and walk from house to house and the old horse would am­ble along, know­ing where to stop next.

The Milko would come through the night, fill­ing the jugs and bil­lies left out overnight. Milk bot­tles only ap­peared around the 50s, to be later re­placed by wax car­tons.

Our favourite was the Gro­cer, Mr McGuchin. He worked for Yuiles Gro­cery and once a week rode his cy­cle around the cus­tomers for or­ders. He’d come in and sit on a chair with his or­der list and re­cite, tea, su­gar, co­coa, flour, bak­ing pow­der, rice etc and Mum would tell him what she needed. When the or­der was de­liv­ered the next day, there was al­ways a few boiled lol­lies for we kids, a square of news­pa­per was rolled into a fun­nel shape and the lol­lies tucked into it. There was al­ways a scram­ble to see whose turn it was to have the hum­bug – a black striped pep­per­mint flavoured boiled lolly.

An Easter treat was the Fisho who came on Good Fri­day and the Baker call­ing “Hot Cross Buns, one a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns”. The Post­man came twice a day and ev­ery let­ter dropped into the box was fol­lowed by a whis­tle. He was al­ways on foot and had a cheery work for ev­ery­one.

Mum didn’t know a lot about sew­ing but was able to al­ways keep us neat and tidy and she used to re­make handed down clothes. We never had over­large or too long clothes, she al­ways made them fit. Flour was pur­chased in 75lb bags and the bags were made of un­bleached cal­ico. When empty the bags were washed and left soaking in kerosene for days to soften the paint used in the print­ing on the bag, then boiled down to lighten the re­main­ing colour. Mum made them into undies and slips and they were of­ten get­ting quite thin be­fore the colour faded right off. The flour millers name and em­blem were printed on the bags, one had a huge Union Jack, and the other, Rosa Brand (the trade name of McIl­wraths, a large gro­cery firm) dis­played a large red rose and were the favourites of the girls, we had fun at school show­ing each other what writ­ing or em­blem was on the bloomers we were wear­ing that day. Bloomers were large loose pants, with elas­tic at the waist and in the hem of the knee-length legs and were handy to keep our han­kies in as well as our rub­ber erasers to the horrible lit­tle boys would not take them.

The area where we grew up was full of clay and we didn’t have to dig too dig to find clay. We wet and rolled the clay un­til if soft­ened to a pli­able mix, then we moulded it into dolls. We used sticks for arms and legs and then made clothes to fit them while they were left to dry on the top of Dad’s shed in the sun. I remember one Christ­mas, all I wanted was real doll. All Santa could af­ford was a very small story book. I guess I was a lucky lit­tle girl as many chil­dren would have missed out as there was very lit­tle money around at that time.

Mum made rag dolls and painted or em­broi­dered faces on them, gol­ly­wogs were made out of black woollen socks and stock­ings. No­body ex­pected more as most of the chil­dren had the same toys hand­made by their par­ents. Dads made toys out of wooden tea chests and but­ter boxes and, as they got older, the boys made bil­ly­carts out of fruit boxes and old wheels.

I still have the box Dad made called a “nappy box”. Dad had screwed hinges to the lid of a but­ter box and the nap­pies were kept in it. It was a good height for Mum to sit and feed her ba­bies, of­ten push­ing a toy with her foot to amuse her toddler hap­pily playing on the floor.

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