What or where is home?

This topic is a recurring theme in my thoughts recently. I wonder if it is because COVID restrictions mean I cannot visit my extended family and the place where I grew up (about 3500km away)? I don’t know.

I lived in Western Australia for 38 years and only lived in my home state of Victoria for 28 years. Even though WA is enormous, I have lived in many regions and many towns whereas my knowledge of Victoria is limited to Melbourne and the country area of my youth. However, I could go back ‘home’ tomorrow and see people in the street who would say ‘hello’ like I have never been away (it IS a small town).

So is ‘home’ more of a state of mind? For now I think I will count my blessings for my current situation and think about it another day!

Click HERE to visit my childhood home or click HERE for where I live today!

So what are your thoughts?

Brothers …

I am the youngest of five children with two sisters and two brothers. This story goes back to when we were kids.Somehow my brothers had me twisted around their little fingers.

For example they would con me into polishing their shoes. I would spend ages doing it and waiting for their approval which was very hard to get.

I remember we had an old cupboard in our yard (no longer useful in the house) and I used to love playing “house” (as a good 1950’s girl would do) and the cupboard was the central prop. My brothers got some ferrets (which I didn’t like at all) and they convinced me that they needed the cupboard to keep the ferrets in. I think they may have given me one shilling (ten cents) in exchange. I think they got the better deal!

My brothers had a lot of friends that used to hang out at our place. As long as I remained inconspicuous they didn’t mind me tagging along. That was fun and had a sense of danger!

Another time they had some friends around – I was a bit older, about 12 I think – and they dared me to smoke a cigarette. They were all smoking and promised to give me 10 shillings if I could smoke a cigarette and do the draw-back. I was a willing student and to their surprise they had to hand over 10 shillings. It went a long way in the 1960’s. That was my first ever cigarette (it was a roll your own one at that), and unfortunately I later took up the habit. I have been off them from a long time now.

The other memory I have is of my stubbornness when it came to swearing. I absolutely refused. They tried many times to bribe me without success. The first time I was known to swear effectively was when I was in my late 30’s in an argument with a politician!

Both brothers joined the armed forces around the time of the Vietnam War – one in the Royal Australian Army and one in the Royal Australian Navy. I didn’t see a lot of them at that time.

I think I am lucky to have had two brothers and two sisters. I believe it has helped me in being able to relate to men and women plus lots of interesting memories from growing up.

The five of us – taken about 15 years ago.

Creativity can involve hard work!

Some time ago I found some letters my mother wrote to me in the early 1980’s. We didn’t have phone access as we were living in a remote community in North West Australia so we tended to write to each other regularly instead.

Over time I have collated the letters, numbered the pages of the 38 letters and then scanned them last week with a photo scanning app. It took me ages but now I have captured them electronically it feels great.

My plan is to include these letters on another blog I have started (Stories from Letters) but it is not public yet and may not be for quite a while. The purpose is to capture some family memories in a space other family members can visit. It will help with my overall idea of some sort of memoir. I am open to however it may develop.

Below is a sample – just the first page, of one of the letters. My Mum passed away in 2005 but as I read the letters I can see her so clearly!

to be continued …

Day 1 – Creativity Challenge

Click HERE if you would like to join me in the Creativity Challenge!

Today my challenge will be to write a short post about the following topic:

“What is the best lesson you have learned?”

When I was in my early 30’s my marriage broke up and I found myself in a situation where I had few possessions (including money) and three young children to take care of. I was also living in a remote Aboriginal Community in Northern Australia.

The lesson I learned is that I am stronger than I think I am. Sometimes I just pretended that I was strong and often that was enough. I also learnt that I was the only person I could rely on to get through the difficult time.

When I rang my Mum to tell her what happened she said that I shouldn’t even think about coming home. I was quite shocked at the time but now I realise that the path I did choose turned out to have a lot more going for it than if I had returned to my home town in Victoria.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That was about forty years ago. My sons grew up with me in Western Australia. We did miss (still do) having extended family close by but it forced me to go out and meet people and in many ways enabled me to rebuild my life without the constraints and limitations I would have faced if I had returned ‘home’.

As I get older I see many people on their own – having lost their partners and perhaps their extended families. I do feel passionately that we need to be aware that some people suffer from loneliness and isolation. This is even more so with Christmas approaching. I find Christmas a bit challenging however I try to make the most of it and put in a little effort! I don’t think I am alone in this!

Kahuna or Cohuna – my home town?

Today I went to Bunnings to get a few garden things and at the entrance there was a colourful display of plants called The Big Kahuna. Now, you may have heard of the movie:

The Big Kahuna is a 1999 American business comedy-drama film directed by John Swanbeck, and produced by Kevin Spacey, who also starred in the lead role. The film is adapted from the play Hospitality Suite, written by Roger Rueff, who also wrote the screenplay. John Swanbeck makes few attempts to lessen this film’s resemblance to a stage performance: the majority of the film takes place in a single hotel room, and nearly every single line of dialogue is spoken by one of the three actors.

Wikipedia

I grew up in a small country town in Northern Victoria called Cohuna – about 3,500km away from where I currently live.

Surrounded by dairy farms, and situated on the banks of Gunbower Creek, (an anabranch of the Murray River), the town is a popular holiday spot as well as a regional sports centre with a wide range of facilities. Cohuna is the main access point to the attractions of the vast red gum and box forest covered Gunbower Island, which lies between Gunbower Creek and the Murray, and is home to diverse native birdlife, kangaroos and emus.

Wikipedia
Cohuna from above (Murray River)

So, the reason I am telling you all is this is because I just had to buy the flowers with that name! And here they are …

We have given the garden a bit of a makeover this week so it was good to add a splash of colour with the Big Kahuna name tag!