HIS­TORY or Her Story (PART 11)

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Community News -

Af­ter fam­ily get to­geth­ers, we would of­ten find our­selves a spot on the front ve­ran­dah and talk, tell yarns, have a sing-a-long and then a cuppa! John was the yarn teller, he would puff away on his pipe and tell yarn af­ter yarn. Reg came a close sec­ond, his yarns were usu­ally the long drawn out type. Those madly in love were usu­ally nes­tled up close, kid sis­ter Mae and her dog mak­ing a nui­sance of them­selves, then Dad would de­cide to drop the clanger and an­nounce to the boys it was time to go home and for his daugh­ters to be in bed. So an­other week­end was over and we all ea­gerly awaited an­other evening as this had been, usu­ally in two weeks’ time.

Iwas only 14 when I was taken from school. Aunty Myrt was into the last two months of her preg­nancy with her sec­ond son, Clive. Un­cle needed to have some­one to call him if needed, also to take out the morn­ing and af­ter­noon teas as the men of­ten worked on the out­skirts of the farm at Grif­fith NSW. Work was hard to get in Syd­ney at the time and Un­cle thought it would help Mum and Dad if they had one less mouth to feed. It was New Years Eve 1933, hav­ing never been far from home alone, when Dad put me on the train. He asked a lady who was also trav­el­ling to Beel­ban­gra to look af­ter me. If ever a lady de­served a place in heaven it had to be her. I have of­ten thought of her over the years. I was in tears by the time the train slid out of Cen­tral Sta­tion. We were in a box car­riage, these were un­der 2 me­tres wide, five seats along one side, four on the other. At the end of the short seat a door led to a small toi­let and a small walk­way be­tween the row of seats. Can you pic­ture a cry­ing kid with a weak blad­der and seven or eight peo­ple try­ing to get to sleep in a sit­ting po­si­tion, with the kid clam­ber­ing over their legs ev­ery hour or so. Mum had bought me a lovely crino­line hat to go with the best dress I was wear­ing and the kind lady had hung it on a hook be­side us. Dur­ing the morn­ing, with an­other four hours’ jour­ney ahead – (we’d al­ready been 13 hours on the train) a puff of wind sent my lovely hat fly­ing out the win­dow. She pressed

the emer­gency but­ton and stopped the train, the guard came to see why and he kindly got the driver to back the train and he re­trieved the hat, with a warn­ing to the lady never to do it again. When we got to Beel­ban­gra, Un­cle knew the lady and she told him the story, I never lived it down.

I can re­mem­ber our ar­rival at the farm. I was so tired and, be­ing sum­mer, the beds were in a sleep­out, a part of a long ve­ran­dah, en­closed with fly mesh. Aunty sug­gested I lie down for a while and when I woke it was pitch black and foxes were wail­ing not far from the house, it was so eerie.

Un­cle Ge­orge was a ter­ri­ble tor­ment and sug­gested I should chop wood to im­prove my bust­line. I was out at that wood­heap twice a day. I guess the ex­er­cise helped me but it took two kids to do what the wood­chop­ping didn’t. Cousin Ray was about eight at the time and wasn’t too im­pressed with a new baby brother and a girl cousin around. Af­ter all, he’d had Aunty and Un­cle to him­self un­til then. He would do all he could to get me into trou­ble but was crafty enough not to seem in­volved. One day I was go­ing to visit Barbara, my friend on the next farm. Ray was told to clean the sulky for me, the job was com­pleted and I drove off. Imag­ine my dis­may when I ar­rived cov­ered in chook poo. He hadn’t cleaned the sulky prop­erly, nor had he dried it off. That was one time he couldn’t pass the blame on me. I quite en­joyed farm life and to this day I love trav­el­ling through the coun­try ar­eas.

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