Childhood Role Models Pt. 1
When I was a little girl, I had role models and influences of all the families I knew both family and people I knew. I had my parents, two sets of Grandparents, my Great Uncle, two sets of uncles and aunties, Mum's friend and her family, families of ladies from school, other district families, and my uncle and uncle & aunt and family who lived a little further away. After awhile I had my high school friends families and my step-mum. Share farmers.
So basically I am going up to about age 14.
I can honestly say, that even though our world was only about 8 miles wide except for some visits to the city and some visits each week to town and the role models were contained in those 8 miles. My childhood I think was isolated to some extent. We did have cars and we did use them, but there were a lot more kids, and each little district was small and very distinct, each with a little school.
Each family, though we lived in a farming community was very different from each other and I haven't thought of anything they did the same as each other. I would think that this is not so usual in a farming district but I wouldn't know for sure.
Who do I start with and what points to touch on? From a simplicity and retro point of view. The house and garden my Mother started off with was a remnant garden and orchard of my great-Grandma & great-Grandpas. I grew up listening to stories of their broom crop and their potato paddock and stories about their dog. I heard about their first tractor, the first there altogether, their walnut crop. Sending produce on the train. Some of the stories I learnt later when doing the family tree or wanting to know about it. They also lived in a rented farmhouse themselves at one point, probably more than once, and they also lived in another house that burnt down. Our property also had in it another house site again. All these sites were on the property. They all spoke to me of the life that the people there must have led.
I will give you an example. When I was little the same week every year was the week my Dad ploughed the tobacco paddock. When it was finished it was very fine and soft. I loved to walk in it in bare feet. One day I saw eight snakes because I walked along the creek in the next paddock. I had been down to the house site as lots of fruit trees grew there, including oranges and her signature pears I think. There was a coolgardie safe hanging in a peppercorn tree, who knows who put that there, that was closer to the tobacco paddock. The tractor that pumped water later on in the summer had a crank to start it.
Another one I visited when the cows where rounded up by horses after we got a horse into a very crude stockyard that included old bedposts around an old dairy. There were fox skins on the walls? Fox skins were sometimes nailed to trees, walls etc. The house itself had a garden with bulbs and morning glory falling down the bank to the creek. There was a remnant car axle in the creek. The buildings fell down one at a time, not all of them, but each building had a special memory of what went on before. The fence had that great orange creeper growing over it. The kitchen was more on the verandah than inside the house.
One other one that I had forgotten about had a small remnant orchard with a quince tree on it. I just love milkwood's video with the remnant fig tree. That is special.
Anyway, Mum's garden was good by the time I came along. It still had Great-Grandma's grape vines, and her gooseberries and walnut trees, and also I think her various kinds of plums and heirloom apples. I think I know which trees were added, but don't quote me. We had all sorts of fruit trees.
Mum had cape gooseberries and parsley in old concrete laundry tubs. She had her house renovated before moving in I think, and had a built in cupboard made for her preserves. We had a kero fridge, brickettes, then oil heater, plus and open fire in the kitchen plus the wood stove. She did use a copper to start with and then a twin tub. She did vegies, we got the abbatoir to kill our beef, she raised the odd pig, we did our own chickens and I very definitely didn't stay around and watch, though I was a regular visitor to our butcher shop every night when they were killing the sheep, I put the weight tags on the hooks.
My Great uncle used tinned jam and lived on worcestershire sauce. That is basically all he used, he had his bread delivered into his cream can at the front step, and I collected our from there as well. Sometimes I ate a little crater out of the top of the high tin loaf. They were very large and wrapped in tissue. What we didn't eat the ducks got. My Grandma kept hers in a cream can inside the house under the table. She made G-Uncles tea and wrapped it in newspaper and Grandpa took it to him, with pudding, wrapped too I think. Grandma and Grandpa used a cane shopping basket and the girls, my cousins were sent to the shop with a list.
I spent a lot of time at my Mum's friends house. They got their milk from the vat in the morning in a white plastic jug. At home, Dad either milked the cow, or Mum milked the goat.
Both my Mum and her friend sewed. The friend bought her bread and kept it in a cupboard with a tin lining, which I have one myself now as it fitted the exact space of my wall and no one could put junk around it. I am hoping I have the memory right, I know the catches were the same.
This family had six children. They put two houses together in the end. Originally in the old part of the house they made toast with a long fork I think on the stove or open fire. The older girls washed my friend's very long hair. They entertained us when the adults were talking by playing games or opening up their great dressup box. When we were older they entertained us with their music playing on various instruments during holidays. The windows had open out catches. Their Mum made me dolls clothes.
My Nana had her own preserving cupboard. She had to go into town for her health food supplies. Town for us was 30 miles. They killed their own sheep and chickens, and Nana kept her eggs in a colander under the sink. Her salt was loose in the cupboard I now have. It was in a crock or something. She wanted a new built in cupboard and had flour drawers made because she was always baking.
My Grandma baked, but very large fruit cakes and cream puffs. Lots and lots of food. She came from a large family. My Nana came from a family of five and I have heard since she liked invited people for tea.
My husband and I were thrilled once to come into possession of a very large cake tin.