The 1960s were my teenage years. I was a homebody, the eldest of six. I worked in a newsagency, a place where I overcame my shyness because I had to talk and serve people, so when it came to joining my church youth group I found it easy to slot in and make friends. My family had moved to a new area but lucky for me a few friends from my old area joined me as well at the club.
What began were happy years of friendship, outings planned at regular meetings, usually involving a busy weekend of dances and bus trips to the beach. It was a big club a good mixture of girls and boys. Some paired off and eventually married. Some of the marriages went on to have lasting relationships, while others sadly ended. I had a couple of short-term relationships, one lasted as long as the summer did. I went on to marry the brother of a girl with whom I worked.
The best times were when we were all just good friends, enjoying dances between other clubs on a Saturday night. One year we put on a musical in the church hall, another year we had a debutante ball. My dress was made by my friend’s mother, the girls loved dressing up, it was a highlight. The boys in the club graciously were our partners.
Sundays in summer were mostly spent at one of the northern beaches in Sydney, hiring a semi-trailer type bus for the day. These buses had to navigate around steep bends in some areas. After a great day we came home tired and burnt. These were the days where we lathered ourselves in coconut oil to attract the sun so we could get a great suntan. A bad mistake for me as I fainted with sunstroke after one hot day.
Another favourite outing was on the train and a trek into our local national park where we hired boats for a couple of hours. One Sunday we drove in cars to the Bathurst car races. Some of the boys had cars by this time. I remember fondly those days.
I became the secretary for a short while, we all contributed to the club at some stage. I had a ‘Come As You Are’ party at my home. Members were surprised at different times of the day before the party and came dressed in whatever they had on at the time of being caught out, be it pyjamas or hair in curlers etc.
All good things come to an end and we were entering our 20s. There were members of our youth club planning engagements or wanting more one-on-one time.
Those years bought me some of my most enjoyable memories. Good friendships, some of the friends I made then, I still see today. I don’t remember any alcohol at outings, maybe a few sneaky beers the guys had outside the church hall, it was just good clean fun and plenty of laughs to carry us into serious adulthood.