I had an idea about us putting our thoughts down about our early lives. I didn’t feel like I had much of a family when I was growing up so it would be nice to share our memories now that we are more in touch with each other. Any stories we have from our parents would be interesting too.
So here goes….
One of my earliest memories is at Nanna’s house. I was probably about 4 yrs old. I can remember going inside the house to have a drink. My brother Paul is with me. I can see down the hall to the kitchen. My Mum and Nanna are sitting at the kitchen table. My brother is telling me I can’t go down there and I’m getting upset because I want to go to the kitchen but he is holding onto my arm. Nanna looks up and asks what’s wrong. My brother is telling me they are aliens and will make me drink glass. I’m feeling really upset and not really understanding why he is saying these things. Mum and Nanna are coming up the hallway now so my brother lets go of me and runs screaming into the backyard. It is the first time that Paul had one of his “Episodes”.
My early years were spent living “Up North” in the dusty red earth of Western Australia. We had a pretty carefree life playing in the heat and dust. We spent a lot of time at the pool. My brother Paul was pretty good in the pool. It was about the only thing he was better at than my brother Peter. Peter was always very competitive, about everything, but Paul could beat everyone hands down at swimming. Another early memory is taking Paul to his swimming coach. It was early in the morning and I’m pretty sure we were in Perth because we used to play at the windmill in South Perth. He could have gone to the olympics but once again his schizophrenia prevented him from going.
I have fond memories of living up north. The only thing I hated were the cockroaches! I can still hear the sound of them scuttling into dark corners when you turned the light on. For many years I had a fear of them, and to be honest I still do to some extent.
In the years before I went to school I spent a lot of time with an aboriginal guy called Robert. He would give me rides around the backyard in the wheel barrow. His job was to get rid of the big rocks that littered our yard. Mum and Dad were never much into the gardening so it surprises me that they even bothered! I guess they wanted somewhere for the kids to play. I remember him telling me stories about the ants and such but can’t remember what they were as I was only little. Mum use to like telling the story about when I first saw an aboriginal, apparently it terrified me and I screamed my head off.
I have some great slides of us living up north and hope to get them put onto a disc. We also have photos of every road between Port Hedland to Wyndham, they seem to be Dad’s favourite shot :). One of Dad’s jobs was the Ord River Dam. He was the Mechanical Supervisor for the PWD, (Public Works Department), which is now defunct. We have some great photos of the dam before and after it was opened. The boys got to swim across it when it was filled with water. I think Dad was quite proud of his involvement and was presented with a piece of Tiger Rock from the bottom of the dam as a memento.
Mum used to work in the local grocery store in Wyndham. Every week the old Aboriginals would come in to get their supplies. They were issued with vouchers which they could use in exchange for food. Mum reckoned they didn’t get enough so she would slip a few more items into their bags. They couldn’t speak any English but I think they developed a good understanding anyway. There was a crocodile farm up there, I think it is still there, and one day a big croc got free. It managed to make it’s way into town. Unfortunately for Mum it went into her shop. All she could do was climb up onto the counter and scream for help! She would laugh about that story years later but I don’t think it was funny at the time.
I have some great photos of us wearing clothes that Mum made, and of Melissa when she was living with us. If I can work out how to put photos in this blog I will put them in.