I grew up in the era of Sunday baths. There were five kids in our family and there is no way each of us had a clean bath full of hot water so it must have been rather murky for the “last man in”. The baths were on Sunday so we were fresh for the new week. I don’t remember any smelly kids at school so presume we all smelt as bad as each other! After playtimes forty active kids had to create quite an odour, especially in summer.
Having a bath on Sundays didn’t mean we became grotty gradually, we were always playing outside and often in the dirt. One school morning I was all dressed ready for school when Mum noticed my dirty legs, they must have been beyond cleaning with a face washer because Mum made me stand in the washing machine. I have no idea why there would have been soapy water in it at that time of the day but there was.
The washing machine was a big, cylindrical tub on castors with a wringer attached. The wringer had two rollers which you could swing over the centre of the tub or back to the edge. There was a metal plate on the end that you hit to separate the rollers.
Mum never ever had what you would call, “lightness of touch” and even if she did have, dirty knees need a bit of scrubbing to clean, I suppose. As I stood in the soapy water her enthusiastic scrubbing caused me to overbalance and I dropped down into the soapy water. I was soaked and needed a complete change of clothes before I could leave for school but I guess my legs were clean!
To me Christmas Time is Family Time, I know that isn’t the same for everyone but I’ve been lucky and almost always had family close by. I still remember the first Christmas I spent away from my immediate family. For years every Christmas holidays I’d been going to stay with Aunty Mavis in Port Pirie but I always left home after Christmas Day. Aunty Mavis owned and worked in, “Pirie Art Florist” and when she was old enough my cousin, Barbara, also worked there. I think I would have been about 14 the year I stayed at Barbara’s house so I could help look after her little boys and that year I was already there before Christmas.
On Christmas morning everyone was in the lounge room, I heard the excitement but I stayed in bed. I felt totally out of place. Christmas morning was all tied up with Mum, Dad, my brothers and sisters. I had no idea what to do. Eventually someone came into the room and said, “Aren’t you ever getting up?” I was embarrassed but I did get up and go into the Lounge Room. I was given a present and when I opened it I was shocked and delighted, it was a manicure set in a pale blue leather case. I’d never seen anything like it and it was such a “grown up” present. I felt proud that they thought it was right for me.
You didn’t know that about Nana did you?
The weird thing about the photos is that I can’t find my leather case just now so I’ve used an image from the web and the scissors are missing. The one part of my set that I’ve always used are the scissors so although they’re looking rather old at least I can to take a photo of them.