Thursday, June 12, 2008

Now here's a fashion statement!
I just came across these photos again and had to post. It was the last year of high school 1970. I was talking to a sister recently and commented that I hadn't changed my hair style since I was about 13 - and the comment was hahah "I didn't think you had a style as such" fell about laughing at this one. I am pretty bemused by how short we were allowed to have out box pleat tunics (top photo) and I recall how we used to hike them up over out belts to make them as short as possible and show no undies - and this as I can see from the clothes was in winter. Winter in Scone (Australia) was ccchilly and I remember having to prize my hands off the school port handle after walking to the bus stop.

Then you look closer and remember how many of these kids you know have already died - one kid died the next Christmas in a motor bike crash, another who I was dead keen on died in his late twenties - never found out about that for some years...he was my first real kiss and I had the biggest crush on him... that rocked me for a while, because you imagine that they are all alive somewhere having their lives.

The school was a new high school in a country town and I had the best time there, and the most fun possible. I had run away from a boarding school and refused to go back to it (Lochinvar - or Locked in bars as we called it) and when I arrived at Scone High School I was at first shocked at the lack of rules, although the rules they did have would seem excessive by today's standards - We were still pretty much easy to control and knew our parents would always back the teachers so no whiny stuff to them would cut water -unless it was off the planet. I arrived on the first day there, mid term with a tunic below my knees - much to the class' amusement - by the time I got on the bus that afternoon, I too had the requisite length of legs showing that no self respecting girl from that era would be seen dead without.
We were a pretty unsophisticated lot... many of the kids being from farms, and the rest of us from the small towns surrounding Scone. We thought the ones who lived in town were lucky because they got to see their friends after school or on weekends.

Parents did not/ I repeat did not drive you to friends' places ever! Nor were there sleepovers. It was not expected and we wouldn't have dreamt of it.

It was lucky that I ran away when I did, because in the bottom photo it is 1969, and by the time the top photo was taken in 1970, my lovely Dad had been killed and I would have missed out on those last few months with him.

Just when you think you are making your own decisions life seems to have a remarkably complete set of plans already worked out for you - in hindsight!

In the top photo I am in the second row fourth from the right. In the bottom one I am second last - in that one year I lost a lot of weight - not that it worried me too much , i was always a happy little Vegemite -but it was a terrible time after Dad died - and poor mum was left with all of us kids, and no place to work in because of the size of the town - apart from the abattoirs and I am so glad she didn't work there. I think it would have destroyed her.

Luckily we owned our own home, and when Dad was killed although there were no savings - impossible for a labourer with five kids and a wife, but also to mum and dad's credit there were also no debts - none at all. I left home the next year, still 16 and worked in Newcastle for the princely sum of $27 a week at Woolies fruit and vege... but I was getting two dollars a week less than mum got on the widow's pension and with little kids (the youngest was 4) she got $29. She managed to feed them, and clothe them and somehow kept her head above water and held the family together... which was tough as the little town (Aberdeen) we lived in was at that time a really scummy town and some real bad bastards descended on mum and practically stripped her of all Dad's tools, guns, mower etc etc - nothing like that good ol country feeling - she was just too lost emotionally to see what was happening when they "borrowed" from her. I know now where her head must have been, but the gratitude I have for mum and dad is that the childhood they allowed me equipped me for the life I was to live. Without their allowing me the freedom of thought and of being loved safely in a good family - the things I have been able to do and the family Don and I raised would have been much different.

I left home in 1971 (January) and met Don the next year... the rest is history - We were not children for long, although childhood as such seemed to still exist at 16 - although unsophisticated, we were all as we should be "curious" so as soon as we gained independence some of us got off to a very early start with relationships and kids. Didn't do us any harm - some of us are still alive.

Its starting to feel like a long time ago...where not that long back it felt like yesterday. I guess when your kids are in their thirties you have to admit that its only in your head that you still might be sixteen - which is a good thing - nothing worse that mutton dressed up as lamb... although its an interesting look - my niece says that they call those women "Hoochie Mummas"

But then I could never bother being a hoochie mumma, I'd have to make an effort and actually have to change my hairstyle - it keeps my neck warm in winter/ and summer??

I'm not nostalgic about the past - like most of us, miss my mum and dad a lot still, but don't really miss the times - people could be as nice or as cruel then as they are today, I miss the girls being little, but am so pleased to have the privilege of seeing the women they have become and thats what its all about (ha now for some bloody grand kids girls), I miss being with my husband and how it was but also I am so grateful he will never suffer any more pain ever again and no one can ever hurt him and that means something - there was too much cruelty. I hate cruelty more than anything on this planet.

So you can never go back. Change is the nature of the universe and thats as it should be, but of course if you had a happy childhood and a lot of fun, in a time when you didn't have to be responsible, its wonderful to remember.

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5 comments: said...

Thanks for the photos, they made me smile. The netball team looks like a glamour shot for some magazine.

You are right, it does no good to dwell on the past. I was thinking that as I was beading tonight and thought of the saying "its always greener on the otherside, until you get to the other side". I have to remind myself of that as we swelter in 100f heat (like today) and yearn for the UK. It was only a while back (8 yrs) I was yearning to be away from Scotland because it was so dank and drab! Some people (me) are never happy!

Cazzie!!! said...

I so love the way you write here and you strike the right chord when you say there are bad times yet with them comes good...and times when we did not really have to be respinsible...ahh those were sure the times! I love the images too :)

Citymouse said...

these are wonderful. I love getting to know you more and more

Caroline said...

Yes, what a lovely post MC.

Middle Child said...

Jacqui - a glamour shot - nah just a schol photo.

Cazzie - thanks

Citymouse the feeling is mutual

Caroline - it came from me pore old heart