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.
A week ago we arrived home from a short holiday to see family in the Top End or Darwin, Northern Territory. It is about 4,800km N/NE of where we live. We visited the Aviation Museum as you will gather from the photos above. I was really taken with the size of the B52 Bomber. It was a central feature and the other planes were placed around it. I actually bumped my head on it (trying to get underneath) and wouldn’t recommend it!
We also went for a drive of around 100km to Mary River on the Arnhem Highway. I lived in Arnhem Land for a stint in the 1980’s so enjoyed seeing the landscape once again. The ocean shots are taken from the The Esplanade park area in the City of Darwin (population around 150,000). To me the water looked a bit sinister with the knowledge it is crocodile territory.
The weather was wonderful. I was a bit amused about the newspaper article about the cool weather. It was much warmer than we were getting at home.
I am doing some journal writing most days lately. It is a really insightful activity. I set myself the goal of writing around 500 words a day. Most days I don’t really feel like writing but do it anyway.
It brings me new awareness about my life. Just recently I have thought and written about how important friends are. Not just now, but in the future. My husband and I live a long way from my siblings and both parents have passed away thus making a network of friends even more important.
Also, I want my sons to enjoy their lives and families and not have to be concerned about me as I get older. I want to be part of their lives but also want my independence. Once again, hopefully friends will play an important role in my life.
I think Epicurus was on to something with this quote:
I used to be frightened of lions and elephants when I was a child. That may have been reasonable if I lived somewhere near the jungle or even a zoo – I didn’t. Some of the children’s stories I grew up with were very scary – Hansel and Gretal, Red Riding Hood – even Cinderella with those ugly step-sisters.
My two brothers really enjoyed scaring the daylights out of me. They would pretend to be prowlers outside my bedroom window – that’s the joy of being the youngest of five children – a real sucker for some fun and teasing.
I needed to overcome fear lots of times throughout my life. If you do it often enough you end up being quite courageous. There is a lot of wisdom in the popular book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. Over time those courage muscles get to grow if you use them often enough.
I must be feeling nostalgic. I was looking for an old photo today – one of me on my brother’s shoulders – I was terrified at the time. I couldn’t find it but, as happens with photos, I got caught up in looking at photos at my parents’ home when my children were little. It was always such a busy place with people coming and going – the kettle was always on!
My parents had fifteen grandchildren and most of them lived close by. I left home when I was seventeen and wasn’t able to visit as often as I would have liked. My Mum was an amazing grandma (considering she worked full time as a nurse as well) and really loved each and every one of her grandchildren and later, great grandchildren. Here are a few photos that give a bit of a feel to what it was like at “Nan and Pops” place …
I have tomatoes, silver beet, two varieties of parsley, potatoes and a watermelon plant growing in my above ground garden bed. I also have some plants in pots that belong to my son, Joel. I am only looking after them short-term. I gave up trying to have a nice water feature and decided to plant some petunias instead :-). There is a range of herbs growing in the stand. I don’t use them as much as I could as I grew up only knowing how to use mint and parsley. I experiment from time to time 🙂
I was thinking about my grandparents this morning and some of the things they told me when I was little – and I believed them!
Consider the following:
Don’t pull faces because, if the wind changes, it will stay like that forever.
Grandpa always insisted on walking closest to the curb. He said that a gentleman should be willing to take the splashes from the puddles in the road.
Grandma said she couldn’t go to the swimming pool because it would overflow if she jumped in.
They both said they couldn’t go to church because the roof would fall it (an old excuse :-))
Grandpa always insisted it was very rude to wear a hat in the house, unless of course you were a lady.
Grandma treated my gifts of jewellery from the lolly shop as though they really were very valuable.
I am sure there are many more gems of wisdom they imparted over the years.
Grandpa (1884 – 1969) married Grandma (1889 – 1983) in 1911 in Kerang, Victoria and went on to have eight children – one of whom was my father. We lived next door to them for many years and I spent a lot of time with them and have fond memories.
I can’t help but wonder what they would make of our world today.
Turning sixty was reasonably painless after all! We had some of the family stay on Friday and Saturday night and then met the other family members (who could make the distance) join us for lunch on Sunday at Flutes Restaurant.
Flutes is my favourite restaurant in the South West/Margaret River region. The food is really good and the views are tranquil and beautiful. The company was great too.
Today I am in recovery mode from too much good living! But then someone gave me a big box of chocolates today. It looks like I might have to postpone the return to healthy eating for a while longer.
So I guess turning sixty isn’t such a big deal and I can enjoy each day as it comes. Soon I will start planning for Christmas 🙂
P.S. I have it on good authority that I can now do as I want, having reached this age – so I didn’t ask Andrew and Joel’s permission to include them in my blog :-). I won’t make a habit of it though! Tom didn’t mind.
The photos below are from 1985 and 2011. I scanned them and saved them on my computer. I thought it would be great to see them in a gallery and WordPress came to mind. They may not be of much interest outside the family so I hope other readers will allow me to indulge in these photos of my three sons. Thanks to my lads for their permission to post them 🙂