‘Genuine antiques: How my mother encouraged our imaginations as children’

Jun 28, 2020
Fairies in the vegetable garden? Really, Mother!? Source: Getty Images

I am a genuine antique traveller, born in an antique land. Yes, fellow Boomers aged 60-plus, I was born in the 1950s. This was an old-fashioned world, when we spent our childhood growing up before television.

For hi-tech advanced early childhood learning then, we had a seemingly giant rosewood radiogram dominating our lounge room. My sister and I knew no other world than the ABC Kindergarten of the Air. We would prance around, pretending to be trains that stopped when the music stopped. Someone hidden in the radiogram was playing the piano, or so we believed. Well, we only little rugrats! We learned some songs and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Following this hyperactivity, my mother would take our hands and walk us on a trip to the vegetable patch in the back yard.

“Close your eyes. Now open them. There are fairies in our garden, and only special good girls can see them,” she would say.

Yeah, well. According to our mum, fairies were supposed to be flying around amidst the beans, silver beet, pumpkins and rhubarb. They were floating on gossamer wings, in scintillating, sparkling frocks, glistening in the morning sunshine. Fairies sipped on dew in acorn cups, and only ate pollen from the centre of flowers. Then fairies curled up on the soft petals and slept all night, like good little fairies.

Really, Mother! Who had a good imagination? All I can say is that the leafy greens in that old vegetable patch had a lot to answer for! But after this energetic activity, we had some healthy home cooked lunch. It was time for us to play our daily favourite 78 rpm record, ‘Peter Ponsil lost his tonsil’. I discovered this old song on the internet the other day, I can still sing all the words. Burned into my brain.

This was regarded as avant-garde modern parenting in the antique world of the ’50s. Mother was preparing us all for elective surgery on little children. My older sister did, indeed, lose her tonsils and I had an operation on my hand.

Yes, our mother packed us a little bag each, with dressing gown, brush and comb, then the next day, collected us and drove us home. We gained a new colouring book each for being there.

I guess no one can write songs quite like that anymore, unfortunately. So I can muse here for a while, an antique traveller, from a genuine antique land of before television.

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Sue's sassy!

She became a member of Starts at 60 and got access to amazing travel deals, free masterclasses, exclusive news and features and hot member discounts!

And she entered to win a $10K trip for four people to Norfolk Island in 2021. Join now, it’s free to become a member. Members get more.

How were your young imaginations stimulated? If you have young children in your life now, what do you do to get them imagining?

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