Graduations

Thanks Irene for another suggestion. I’m a Baby Boomer and grew up in an Australian capital city.

Graduating or marking a significant milestone has become commonplace now. Last year I attended a grandchild’s Kindy Graduation evening but I don’t think anything was done to mark early progressions to higher grades when I was a child. At the end of Primary School we were awarded the, “Progress Certificate” if we passed. My report cards show marks so I suppose we must have been tested.

When I was attending Secondary School  the final Assembly for the year was a marathon event with the best reader in the class reading out the best essay and the person deemed the best at reciting her chosen poem performed that too. Every class at every year level was represented.

The third, fourth and fifth years of Secondary School were called, “Intermediate, Leaving and Leaving Honours”.  At the end of each year a dance was held for each of these year levels and as far as I remember that was the only “celebration” of another year being completed.  Being shy I didn’t enjoy the occasions at all.

The first actual Graduation  Ceremony of my own was when I received my Diploma of Teaching. All the girls had to wear white dresses and I guess the boys wore suits.  The ceremony was held at Bonython Hall on North Terrace, Adelaide. My parents would have attended but I don’t have any photos.

 

My next two awards I had posted to me and I didn’t attend the presentations but when I graduated again I wanted to inspire my children so I decided to attend the ceremony. They came to the Festival Theatre to watch, I think what they actually felt was that graduating ceremonies involve lots of speeches and hours of standing around!

 

 

 

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New Meets Old

These days it’s proved impossible for me to resist the tidal wave of the mobile phone. A big issue for me has been the “always available” aspect but currently the most annoying feature relates to fashion. Yes, the fashion of bigger and bigger screen sizes but also the fashion for false pockets or sagging pockets in clothes. It’s summer now and hot so wearing nice loose clothes keeps me comfortable, I don’t often wear dresses but those I do wear don’t have functioning pockets. The lovely, loose, soft pants which are currently fashionable have equally soft, loose pockets which means that every time I sit down the phone silently slips out and often disappears into the side of the seat cushions. If I keep the phone in a bag when I go out I become all thumbs when I try to retrieve it to answer a call. Frustrating.

I’ve discovered a solution at least to the soft pants, a press stud midway on the pocket edge and that’s where new meets old. The mobile phone and soft, loose pants are the new while the press studs I found were definitely old. The one I used today was the last on a card I found in my grandmother’s sewing basket. She died in 1959!

Times Past: The Show

Theme for this month’s “Times Past”

Royal Adelaide Show

When we were kids I think this rated just below Christmas for excitement. We always went to The Show which was held in the September school holidays. I remember being there when it was hot but it was only Spring. Mum always arranged for my older brothers to meet up with us at the Penfolds wine bottle. The bottle was enormous and the “wine” flowed continuously.

Mum liked to check out the flower displays which we found boring. I don’t remember Dad being with us, but we did always check out the animals and I can’t imagine Mum ever choosing to do that.

We were allowed to get a Showbag and the 4Square ones kept us happy for days afterwards as we played shops with the little boxes of Rice Bubbles etc. They always had a comic in them and apart from any we managed to get at the church fair those were the only comics we ever had.

No plastic showbags back then

Our family was never one for sideshows, we went on the big Merry-Go-Round but I was a teenager before I tried out the Dodgem Cars, Mad Mouse and Ghost Train. Each year there was some kind of gimmick toy and I loved the slide whistles that meant you could imitate a “Wolf Whistle”. One year fluffy, brightly coloured chickens were on sale and going home on the tram I saw kids with them and was jealous. Now I cringe at the thought that most of the poor things probably died.

Slide Whistle

The log chopping and tree felling was always good to watch. I remember going to the Show by myself when I was about 13 and spent all day sitting in a grandstand watching the ring events. My favourite was the Tent Pegging. One at a time a team of horse riders had to gallop towards a series of small wooden targets which they tried to collect on their lance and carry to the finish line. The team with the most “carries” won the event.

Log Chopping 1950s

The only time we saw Fairy Floss was at the Show and it was a treat, that and Toffee Apples.

I’m not sure when fireworks became a feature of The Show certainly I don’t remember them as a child, they  were only available for Guy Fawkes night, 5th of November. Even if they were on I’m sure by night time Mum would have been worn to a frazzle so we would have been back home and probably in bed!

Toffee Apples

Times Past: Birthday Parties

Birthday Parties are the theme for this month’s recollections, suggested by Irene A Waters.

(Baby Boomer growing up in an Australian capital city.)

When I was young we had birthday parties though nothing like the extravagant theme parties many kids have now. Most of our birthdays would have been celebrated within the immediate family but during my Primary School years I remember parties I attended at other girls’ homes. Boys were never invited and I don’t remember any boys having parties, even my brothers.

In my class at school there were cousins who lived next door to each other and I looked forward to their parties because they always had delicious cream puffs. I also remember seeing my first ice-cream cake at another party. During those years the party pies and pasties were all home made, nothing was available from a supermarket freezer then.

We played games like:

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Musical Chairs

Pass the Parcel   (only the last person got a prize)

Scavenger Hunts

We had fun with balloons and whistles which had extending paper ends with feathers on them.

Everyone was given a piece of cake to take home wrapped in a serviette.

My brother Michael’s 4th birthday celebration.

My birthday, guests include neighbours, a cousin and friends from school. A brother of one girl is hiding in the background, probably embarrassed to be there.

There are always balloons at birthdays!

 

Times Past: Haircuts

In response to Irene A Waters at Reflections and Nightmares this post is about haircuts.

I’m a Baby Boomer who grew up in an Australian capital city.

I have a strong memory of my hair when I was little because I had to suffer Mum’s brushing of it. Clonk, drag, clonk, drag, she never demonstrated much finesse when it came to fine motor skills. My hair was always in two plaits with ribbons on the end. A vision has just popped into my head of Mum reaching out to get a rubber band from a door knob so she could fasten the end of my plait. I don’t think I had my hair cut much before I was about 10. I remember the awful disappointment as I left the hairdressers then with what I considered a “boys’ cut”. Maybe Mum was fed up with me complaining about her rough hair styling and sent me off to be shorn.

When I was in secondary school I grew my hair long and when it was in the intermediate stage I permed it myself. No nice styling before or after the perm and I was horrified when I saw the initial result but by setting it in quite large rollers it looked presentable when I left the house.

My brothers had their hair cut by Dad until secondary school. “The Oracle” remembers going to a barber for the first time when he came through the city on his way home from school. There were never any fancy cuts for them, just a short back and sides but at least Dad had enough skill to avoid the “Basin Cut”.

 

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Times Past: Remembered Plants

Irene Waters has taken up another blogger’s suggestion, plants and gardens, for this month’s memoirs.

I’m an Australian, city raised, Baby Boomer.

As I look around my garden now I see things I’ve planted because they bring back happy memories of time spent with my grandparents. I planted a Mulberry Tree because they always remind me of climbing high up the massive one they had in their backyard. I have “Lamb’s Ears” in a pot, I discovered the velvety texture of their leaves where they were growing around the border of Nana’s fish pond. I have a lush fern garden which I always associate with Nana. The path meandered around their backyard with shrubs and trees creating lots of secluded little places.

At home we had a very long lawn along the side of the house, it had been used for playing Bowls and we made good use of it, running through sprinklers in the summer, upending bikes to fix tyres, playing on the swing and rocker as well as doing gymnastics.

Mum worked on the flower beds out the front and along the side while Dad took on all the vegies and fruit trees out the back.

The house was old and for a long time there was a Wisteria covered arch out the front, in September it was wonderful walking under the perfumed, blue flower sprays. Plants I remember Mum growing were Geraniums, Pelargoniums, Coleus, Cinerarias and Dahlias. She always fussed about with Dahlias she cut, singeing the ends before putting them in water. Lilies, including black ones, appeared each year and a Japonica bush with it’s bright flowers on almost bare stems. I loved it when the Guelder Rose bush flowered with its big, white pompom blooms. We kids had fun with the fruit from an old wild peach tree, lining the peaches across the road then waiting for a car to come and squash them.

When we first moved to the house in 1953 the back yard was full of fig trees, all but one were bulldozed and a variety of fruit trees took their places. We ate apricots, almonds, peaches, nectarines, oranges and mandarins, whatever was in season. There seemed to be lemons at any time of year. Grape vines grew along a wire trellis and I loathed coming home at night when spiders would be hanging from the vines and I’d invariably walk face first into a sticky web. Dad also grew tomatoes, sweetcorn and different melons. I lived overseas for seven years and received a letter from Dad once a year, I guess seeing the almond tree in bloom reminded him I wasn’t there because each time his letter told me the tree was in blossom.

In my garden I have Grape Vines, a Lemon Tree, two Fig Trees and a Hibiscus all grown from cuttings taken from the old house. The Snowflakes and Grape Hyacinths which are shooting up now also came from there. I didn’t realize just how many memories were linked to my plants and garden.

 

 

 

 

 

Times Past: In the School Playground

Another post following Irene Waters suggestion, this time it’s about school playgrounds.

I’m a Baby Boomer brought up in an Australian capital city.

I attended the local public school and our “playground” was asphalt but there was also a grassed oval and another area where older girls played softball. The school was near the beach and the bases were simply depressions in the sand. Only the older boys went onto the Oval  during school time.

On the asphalt area we played:

Fairies and Witches, Hopscotch, Chasey, What’s the Time Mr Wolf?, Red Rover All Over etc

Skipping – long ropes for group skipping and short ropes for individuals. A group skipping game I remember went with the chant, “Old Mother Wishy Washy fell down the well. How far did she fall?” The pace was normal to start with but at the end of the chant it became “pepper” ie very fast. However many skips you managed at the fast pace was how far the washerwoman fell.

Marbles -this was really a boys’ game but I loved playing, I probably only played after school

Knuckle Bones – not plastic ones but actual sheep knuckle bones saved from the Sunday roast.

Monkey Bars – I can’t recall where these were so maybe they were actually in community playgrounds but I remember the blisters on my hands

YoYos – Mine wasn’t very fancy but some kids had genuine Coca Cola ones. Yoyos were something that became a fad for a while then disappeared again.

The “Playground” ie asphalt was also where we had to line up in our class groups at the end of lunch before marching into our rooms to the music from the Fife and Drum Band.

Once a week we also lined up in classes for the “Oath of Allegience” or whatever it was … “I am an Australian, I love my country, I honour her queen, I salute her flag, I promise to obey her laws”… and the singing of the National Anthem.

Before I was old enough to go to school, doing a lap around the asphalt for the “Best Decorated Bike” contest at the School Fair.