This story is part two of Lyndell’s childhood snapshots. To read part one, click here
The Rocky River ran past the town I grew up in. It usually had water running all year; me, my sister and a couple of our friends could usually talk one of the mums into taking us to the water hole, about six miles away, in summer. We would spend a great afternoon swimming and sun baking on a big log that had been wedged between the banks of the river during a winter flood – we had so much fun.
During the 60s we had two live-in boarders, and a few of the teachers and bank tellers in the town came for tea – a little pin money for Mum – so often, during the week nights, we fed fourteen people. Mondays were fish and chip night, my sister and I used to peel 14 pound of potatoes. By the time Mum and the two of us were able to eat, we usually got half a dozen chips each, if we were lucky. We had to do the washing up, can you imagine how much there was to do? I detest it to this day. We used to hide the roasting pans in the stove, that didn’t work so well either. After Tea most nights we would have a no holds barred, cricket or basket ball game in the back yard, I think the end count was four broken windows!
Nearing Christmas the women of the family gathered, on a Saturday afternoon, to get the poultry ready, orders were in and tallied – usually geese, ducks, chooks and pigeons. Grandma’s job was to chop heads off, chooks running around the back yard with no heads, a sight to behold. Then into the copper full of boiling water, this made it easy to pull feathers. I can still recognise the odour of burning feathers, no matter when or where, it is something you never forget. We were scared of Grandma’s geese, in fact we hated them, there was a drop pit dunny down the end of the yard, and we would go in a group for safety. They would let us go but on the way back, they came out from behind the tank…it was every one for themselves. I still giggle when I remember six of us trying to get through the gate together, all screaming for Grandma to come and save us from the geese.
Christmas day, we usually had lunch at Grandma’s, the kitchen table was huge – from memory we all sat down at the same time. Grandma had her Whoopi cushion, she would put it under one of the men’s cushion, we were all expecting it but never knew who would sit on it, we kids would laugh, but it was Grandma who laughed the longest. She would wash up and the girls would wipe, every year she would keep her chipped dishes. She would give one of us a stack of chipped dishes, and then drop them, just before we had time to take them from her. Every year she got one of us, she would laugh, she had a wicked sense of humour. She is still sadly missed by us.
Mushrooming season was our favourite time of the year, Mum knew all the best places but most of them were in the cow paddocks. One afternoon we were just about to turn back to the car, all buckets were full. Mum realised the cows were coming into the same area we were in, so everyone headed for the fence. I have always had a height problem I would throw myself on the ground and roll under the fence. So, we were all on the other side except Dad, he was just ambling along, the cows were getting closer and closer, my sister screamed “Hurry, Dad!” and her plate with one tooth flew over the fence and landed on a big cow poop. Well that started something. Mum boiled her plate and she gagged; washed it in baby sterilising liquid, she gagged; no go, in the end we went up to the hospital and had them sterilised. We do remind her of this, quite often. Poppa, Mum’s dad, had his photo in the local paper in the late 40s or 50s with a mushroom he had found that was exactly the same size and shape as a tractor seat. I saw a photo, it was big.
We had a fantastic upbringing and have many, many great memories to share.
What are your favourite childhood memories? Did you visit a lot of different places? Have you visited again since? Tell us below!