Revisiting childhood memories from your hometown

Mar 28, 2023
Source: Getty

This is my old hometown, a suburb where I was born and grew up. Now it is middle suburbia, spread with units and cluster dwellings. It is very convenient, a patch of garden settings, the first world. 

I can wander along memory lane when I attend the library which I first visited over sixty years ago. The library relocated around the corner, and my siblings and I still persevere with our reading hobby. 

In this hometown, now I am ageing, I consult a foot doctor. Her premises are situated in the old timber cottage where my father was born in 1918. The plane tree was old before I was born. I had a pleasant surprise on my first consultation there. My grandmother’s original open fireplace and wood fire stove are still there too.

My late mother too, in a now demolished home around the corner, had a similar wood-burning stove. Mum had an electric stove installed. She was the modern generation then. My grandma never had either an electric stove or an electric radiator.

I think those once-modern women had Kooka wood fire stoves. They needed constant feeding with kindling and wood. They made the kitchen toasty and cosy in winter. Way back then, no gas heating or any kind of appliance appeared in this suburb. 

But in this nostalgic reflection, I am wondering if any other Boomers can reminisce on the wonderful food these late motherly figures cooked. In colder months, boiling and steaming away would be all our favourite winter puddings. There appeared chocolate pudding with chocolate custard, golden syrup puddings, plum duff, or Christmas plum pudding. 

All lovely, the sponge in those puddings was light, a bit bland, but made with the basic recipes. From the oven in those long-gone days, came passionfruit sponges, or passionfruit pavlovas. Real Aussie sweet treats. Lamingtons were eagerly devoured, such fluffy sponges. 

It must have been something in the temperature of the wood-burning oven. Maybe it is romantic nostalgia for our childhood’s better part of memory lane. Personally, I still have a recipe for golden syrup pudding, but it has never quite that appeal of mother’s or grandma’s version. But it all gets eaten, barring a few crumbs left.

The old hometown has its faster, pacier side. There are freeways, a toll road, and six lanes of traffic not far away. The centre of town has a giant, popular shopping centre, with cinemas and attractions, very convenient.

But here, in the little corner of my old hometown, it is quiet, slow, and not much happening. The oldies, the Boomers, potter around in our gardens, read books, say hello, keeping to ourselves. We catch up with our good family and friends, what is left of them. 

At the end of each day, lots of us at sixty plus have fond memories of our old hometowns, now we are ageing. We are there! We are not the modern generation anymore.

All I can think is, “Those babes, our maternal figures, could really cook!”

So today, it was a slow old day, a trip to the library, and nothing bad happened. We would not have this hometown any other way.


Keen to share your thoughts with other 60-pluses? You can sign up as a contributor and submit your stories to Starts at 60. While you’re at it, why not join the Starts at 60 Bloggers Club to talk to other writers in the Starts at 60 community and learn more about how to write for Starts at 60.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up