Friday, July 24, 2015

Motherly Advice...What do kids really remember when they grow up?

 
Here's me at 12.
 
I remember this day distinctly.
 
Mum was having my portrait done in order to capture the last days of my childhood. Soon I'd be a young lady (or so she hoped...lol!), and those days would be behind us. I think she timed it well.
 
I didn't particularly like this dress. It was chocolate brown, with red and yellow flowers, and rather plain. I wanted to wear my Sunday best, which was cream and had lace sleeves. The photographer wisely advised this one to give the photo some depth.
 
I am the eldest and was happy in my role as head babysitter and only child in our family of seven to have a bedroom all to themselves. Oh, the sheer luxury of decorating a whole room with your own stuff was indescribable. Having a real bedside table and a lamp by which to read was a special thing for a bookworm too.
 
I remember that room fondly. Our home was a big airy Colonial, with fretwork above the doors, brass doorknobs throughout, and linoleum on the floors. I loved my room because it was in the front corner of the house, had coloured panels in the casement windows, and lovely polished floorboards. It was very much like this....
 
 
There was a poster of a fabulous fairy in blue tones on the wall, and a white rayon quilted bedspread with yellow roses embroidered on it, and the curtains almost matched. The flowers on the curtains were pink though, and try as she might, Mum was unable to source the matching fabric with yellow roses embroidered on it. For some reason that was important to me and it caused me angst. I've always had an odd sense of order, and it offended my eye to not have yellow roses on my curtains. I eventually graduated to a chenille bedspread, and finally to a purple faux fur one. I never said my taste improved as I grew older...lol!
 
That first bedspread was a bit like this....
 
 
The strangest thing is that I dream of this house regularly when we really only lived there for a few short years. It was a rented house, and Mum bought elsewhere, not too far away. Clearly it was a happy time for us there. It was a lovely leafy neighbourhood, we had a macadamia tree to climb, a lemon tree, orange tree, mulberry tree, mango tree and passionfruit vine to raid, and a sloping back yard where we'd roll over and over down the hill to the bottom fence on hot Summers afternoons just to amuse ourselves. We'd also swing on the Hills Hoist rotary clothesline, like the one pictured below, and that would cause a ruckus for sure, because we weren't supposed to. But the slope of the yard meant that there was this heavenly moment as you pushed off to swing, when your feet seemed suspended in mid air forever.
 
There was no 'landscaping' by the way. Just grass and trees. Balls and hula hoops.
 
 
We didn't have a lot of money, but we never really wanted for anything. A chunk of chilled watermelon and iceblocks in plastic tubes in Summer, steaming mugs of Ovaltine and piles of hot buttered toast in Winter, and lots of love and hugs. That's why friends gathered at our home. Everyone was accepted and valued, fed and watered, soothed and counselled. Mum was clever like that.
 
At least half a dozen times a year, I dream of this  house. Its long, cool, dark hallway, with bedrooms branching off to each side. The coloured leadlight windows displaying patterns on the floor in the setting sun. The long bank of open windows along the back of the house, where the kitchen and dining room were, and where Mum would lean out and call 'Dinners ready', because we'd still be in the back yard, cracking nuts with a brick in a groove in the concrete, or playing Tiggy or What's the Time Mr Wolf.
 
We'd all pound up the long back staircase, and wash our hands, say Grace (usually Thankyou for the world so sweet, thankyou for the food we eat, thankyou for the birds that sing, thankyou Lord for everything...Ahhhh-men), and eat our meal nicely, using our best manners and always asking 'may I please leave the table' when done. Heck, who even does that any more? There's an interesting article about why you should say Grace even if you're not religious here.
 
Strangely, to this day, when I'm roused from these dreams, I always wake with a strange sense of contentment and yes, a teensy bit of longing.
 
I've tried hard to replicate that home, because it was a 'home' in the true sense of the word. But it was a moment in time, comprised of a place, a way of life, and a very different 'normal' to the one we live now.
 
But 'contentment' I can strive for. Contentment, tranquillity, a feeling of being somewhere that's a safe place to land, where no matter what happens, someone still loves you.
 
That I can do. That's pretty much what my older sons remember about 'home'. It's what I remember about 'home'. I think I can manage that.
 
Here's my final thoughts, a few key words, a few randomly expressed memories, on that home of my childhood.
 
Safe, warm, welcoming, content, simple, enveloping, love, fun, friends, baking, pets, peace, quiet, cool, airy, casual, laughing, cubby house, go-kart, mulberry pie, lemons and sugar, bonfires, pressed flowers, inflatable wading pool, Reef tanning oil, Camay soap, Avon Crème Conditioner, jam donuts, fresh hot bread, tinsel Christmas tree, Easter Egg hunt, marshmallows with toasted coconut, toffees with sprinkles or coconut on top, knitting baby bootees, crocheting afghan squares, sewing sundresses, making barefoot sandals and raffia dolls, Mum .
 
That's what I remember.
 
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22 comments:

  1. That brought back memories of simpler days, Mimi. We didn't have much either as I was born just after WW2 when people were just getting back on their feet. I can't remember any of my friends complaining or being unhappy though. We never had to be entertained and made our own fun.

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    1. Nanna Chel, so true my lovely, so true. Nobody complained about not having 'stuff'. I remember when all I wanted for my birthday was several strands of coloured leather to wear tied around my neck as was the fashion at the time, and some neon Love, Peace, and God is Love sticky stamps. I was sooo happy when I got them! No iPads, or gadgets back then! Mimi xxx

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  2. Dear Mimi, what a wonderful wonderful post, that almost brought tears to my eyes. " There is no place like home for true comfort" is one of my favourite quotes.
    regards Julie D Pilbara WA

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    1. Dear Julie...it brought tears to my eyes to read your comment. Thankyou. So much. Love, Mimi xxx

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  3. That was just so beautiful, Mimi. Brings back memories of younger days for me too x But we do have a Hills Hoist in our backyard now, and my son used to swing on it....you know how you weren't supposed to because it would break? Well, mine no longer winds up :( But I won't be pulling out to replace it with a modern one. It still holds my clothes off the ground so it stays. And he still climbs on it, although his feet almost touch the ground :) xx Fiona

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    1. Fiona, I'm so glad you're held on to your old Hills hoist, winding or no winding. They're a special memory, aren't they...Mimi xxx

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  4. Mimi, I smile at the bit about the Hill's hoist, mine had to be replaced because DD#1 and her friend used to swing on it, both at the same time, and in the same area lol. I know have one of those that fold down against the fence and I don't think it dries clothes as efficiently as the Hill's hoist.
    I still dream of my childhood home and the happy times we had as a family even though money was extremely tight. My oldest sister and I often talk about our childhood and what a great time it was, it was only a few years ago that we woke up to the fact that we were supposedly poor.

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    1. You're right Maggie. The mere fact that the breeze turned the clothes on the hoist for you, made them dry more quickly I think. Very efficient! Your final comment was interesting too. We never felt 'poor' either. In fact we were the envy of our friends. Go figure! Mimi xxx

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  5. Ah those were the days. Your childhood sounds pretty much the same as mine Mimi. We even said the same grace and had to ask to leave the table when we were finished too.

    I still use an old hills hoist today, it is one of the best clothes lines. I remember the ones my dad used to build with a string of wire between two posts with a fork stick used in the middle to prop it up. That's what we had on our farm, I can picture it now with the sheets flapping in the breeze.

    Thank you for a stroll down memory lane, I really enjoyed reading this post.

    xTania

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    1. Now Tania, in my early days of living on a farm, that was our clothesline too! Except we had a T-bar at each end with a line coming from each side of the top of the T. You'd prop it up to stop the sheets dragging on the ground...lol! Thanks for the lovely memory! Mimi xxx

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  6. Morning Mimi,
    What a lovely post and so great that you have so many dreams and wonderful memories from your childhood..............times were so much simpler then for sure,
    I have always like the simpler things of life myself. They are to be treasured.
    I pray that my children have those type of memories as well, and I think they do.

    Hope this finds you doing well hon,
    Love and Blessings, Nellie

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    1. Hello Nellie. Yes simple times. The think is that we can still have simple times and simple memories. We just have to carve those out for ourselves, don't you think? Love, Mimi xxx

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  7. Goodness, what a great recap of your childhood home! My parents still live in my childhood home, which makes it nice to still see it a couple times a week. They've lived in that home a long time now! My husbands parents are deceased, but their house went up for sale recently and he was able to see photos of the inside on a realtor site and it was so different inside he barely recognized the rooms.

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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    1. Carrie how lovely to still be able to visit your childhood home! Isn't it weird when you see something you've grown up with and loved, change in some way. That must have been a very odd feeling for your husband. Thanks for stopping by. I love your blog. Mimi xxx

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  8. Mimi, such fun to read about your childhood memories! It's funny what we remember. As a mom, of course, I wonder what my son will remember!

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    1. Amy, as a Mum to three adult sons, I can tell you it's never what you think! Mine don't remember living on the beachfront when beachfront living was inexpensive. They remember eating scrambled eggs for dinner! Lol! Mimi xxx

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  9. Brings back so many happy memories. We may not have had much but strangely enough we were happy with what we did have.

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  10. I think you just descri5my exact childhood memory. Growing up in the burbs of Brisbane in the 70s. It didn't get any better. Try as I might to recreate that for my children it's a daily struggle. Hopefully they'll have just as nice memories as I have. Lovely post xx

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    1. Yes, it was a golden moment in time Anne, wasn't it? Mimi xxx

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  11. What wonderful memories! My childhood had many similar memories. We never had much money but love and family with plenty to eat abounded! I love your list at the end of the post! We lived on a small farm with lots fresh air and sunshine. Takes me back this morning! Thank you. I must write down my "words" of childhood! Happy day to you my friend!

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    1. I'm glad you like that list Lynn. It was just what came to me at the time. So powerful I think. Happy day to you too dear lady...xxx

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx