Times Past: Trees

This month for our reminisces Irene Waters has suggested the topic of “Trees”

I’m a Baby Boomer who grew up in the city.

Our first home was at Henley Beach and Norfolk Island Pines lined many of the streets in the area. They were tough, helped lessen erosion and provided wind breaks. When we moved a couple of kilometers east our road had only a few of the Pines but outside our house was a big one. When our ex-neighbours came to visit, climbing that tree was a challenge. The first part was relatively simple because the lowest branch was within reach and there were no big distances between the levels. The higher we went though the more the tree swayed and certainly the more scared I became so I was nowhere near the highest climber. The person who seemed fearless was Jenny, an ex-neighbour who probably was about 10, she continued higher and higher even when her body swayed from side to side as she clung onto the trunk. She definitely was the bravest.

Norfolk Island Pine in the background.

As kids we were all given a  tree. I think mine was a Navel Orange. I know my younger sister had the Mandarin Tree and I was jealous of that, all kids love Mandarins. There were also Figs, Almonds, Golden Queen Peach, Apricot, Grapefruit, Lemon and Plum trees.

One day Dad burnt off some dry grass underneath a very big, old Gum Tree then that night flames shot out of the top like a Roman Candle. Dad climbed up the ladder and sawed the top off the tree.  My oldest brother’s tree was supposed to be a replacement for the old dead Gum but that was still standing when the new one planted beside it had died and rotted away. Years later Galahs started nesting in the hollow each season.

The old Gum Tree with top sawn off.

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8 thoughts on “Times Past: Trees

  1. The tree I remember growing up was the big peppercorn tree in the chook pen. We used to climb its big solid branches and even though its a weed tree now I love the smell. During a storm it dramatically split apart making it easier to climb. Now there are a row of norfolk island pines growing across the road. kids sometimes climb them. I sit in bed with my morning coffee and watch the birds fighting over the top spot. But they are not native to this area and are terrifying during cyclones as they are not stable trees They look out of place on our beach. southerners plant them when they move to Qld because they miss them. guess thats life.

    • Weed or not I’ve planted a Pepper Tree. When I was a kid I didn’t like them, I think because they didn’t give nice shade but now I like their resilience and I can’t see them spreading around here, the Olives wouldn’t give them any room! The Norfolk Island Pines don’t give shade either but we did have fun making swords and scabbards from the “leaves”.

  2. Thank you for joining in again. I can see how big that Norfolk pine was and I’d be with you – terrified. How wonderful though that you were all given your own tree. The gum as a roman candle would have looked spectacular and funny it survived to be a nesting tree whilst your brother’s tree perished. When you said you made swords and scabbards you have reminded me that when we went to the seaside my father used to take some pine type needle and somehow cut with his fingernail around the top of it allowing the white stick inside to be removed from the green outer bit. We then used them as swords putting them back in their outer casing when we were not fighting but ready to pull them out at the slightest provocation. Is that what you did? Haven’t thought of that for years.

    • Irene, I look forward to your suggestions for the month. You’re right, that’s exactly how we made the swords and scabbards. Now I get nagged by my grandson to make one when we go to the beach. I didn’t realize before that you have to find just the right one, not too soft and green but not too dry and brittle either.

      • I’m glad you do. I’m so glad you reminded me of the swords. My Dad was a whizz at making them. You are right – they have to be exactly right. Not something I am good at picking. I’m glad that your grandson will carry on the memory and hopefully pass it to his children and them to theirs. Nice to think it will survive us.

      • I’m amazed at the silly little things people do in places so far apart. Do the ideas spread somehow or do they spontaneously occur to people not connected in any way?

  3. Pingback: Trees: Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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