HIS­TORY or Her Story

(PART 9)

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Memories -

Iremember the night our sis­ter Mae was born, it was 28 April 1929. I was ten years old, hav­ing had my birthday on the 21st. There had been much ac­tiv­ity most of the af­ter­noon. Mrs McDon­ald had stayed in the bed­room with Mum and the door was closed. Dad had made sure we were bathed and fed early, he told the boys to stay with Nola, Rae and I, and he went away, re­turn­ing some time later with a lady. We were put to bed, but for an in­quis­i­tive ten year old, there was too much go­ing on for me to sleep. Then I heard Mae’s first cry and called to Dad. He asked me to be quiet and not dis­turb the younger girls be­cause Mummy had just had an­other lit­tle sis­ter for us, and if I was a good girl, I could see the baby in the morn­ing. Next morn­ing I was al­lowed to nurse her and told I could choose the names. I called her Ma­bel Doreen and be­lieved they were Mum and Grandma’s sec­ond names. As Mae got older, like me, she dis­liked her name and short­ened it to Mae. She got even with me when she was around ten. While spend­ing a few days on a small farm with friends, Daisy the cow had a calf, you’ve guessed it al­ready, she called in Maisie.

One day I can re­mem­ber go­ing to an old house at Liver­pool. I feel sure Mum was car­ry­ing a baby which would have been Mae. In the house was a lit­tle old lady Mum called Gran. It would have to have been Granny Dunk, her ma­ter­nal grand­mother. Granny Dunk lived with Mum and Dad when I was born, ap­par­ently she was com­plain­ing about the food Mum cooked and Mum sug­gested she may like to cook some­thing for her­self. She agreed and went off to the shop, Mum later found her try­ing to make a stew with devon sausage. An­other time, af­ter I had been fed, Mum handed me to Granny who started to rock me on her knee and up came my food. Mum asked her not to rock me so soon af­ter my meal. Next time Mum handed me to her, as Mum walked away she heard her Gran say, “No Granny must not do that, your Mummy thinks I’ll ad­dle your brains”. My brains didn’t have a great chance to de­velop nor­mally. When I was around two years old I tod­dled un­der a tree the boys were chop­ping down with a tom­a­hawk, I bear the scar to this day.

The day we moved from our old home to the house that Dad built, my friend was very up­set. Her name was Pansy Bald­win. I re­ally loved her name and wished I had been called Pansy. We went through our early days to­gether. I also re­mem­ber go­ing over to say good­bye to Mrs Wil­liamson who lived nearby. She was re­ar­rang­ing her flower vases and I picked out the live ones she had thrown out and car­ried them all the way to our new home. I’d have been around seven at the time so I have al­ways loved flow­ers.

In win­ter­time, the fuel stove was kept go­ing most of the time, it heated the whole house. Very of­ten a pot of soup was sim­mer­ing away on the hub ready for a quick cup. When we were out at night, Mum left co­coa made up for us in the oven, our boyfriends would walk us home, usu­ally a mile or so from theatre or a dance, drink the co­coa and then, in Jim’s case, walk nearly two miles home. In later years, he rode a push bike and of­ten dou­bled me. Later still, he had a mo­tor bike. One night Jim sneaked home from camp at In­gle­burn. He wasn’t go­ing to come in, but re­mem­bered the co­coa. He quickly downed it and we got to the front door we heard his bike be­ing kick-started. By we time we got out the bike was dis­ap­pear­ing up the hill. The po­lice found it the next day. My soldier did not get back to camp on time that night.

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