Thursday, June 25, 2009


I snuck in the last What If? as it occurred when I was only about 6 years of age and this one is when I was aged 12.
For a number of years I had been "not entirely well" with pains in my side etc., and had even been put on a non-red meat diet for a year or so as it was thought I may be suffering from kidney problems. You must remember this was in the 1940s and the tests available today certainly were not available then.
In January, 1944 I stayed for a week with a friend in Waroona and when I returned home my health really deteriorated quite rapidly. Really chronic stomach pain, temperature, vomiting etc. etc. A very good GP (Dr Guilfoyle) came to see me a few times but couldn't fathom out what was wrong. Finally, in the last week of January the pain stopped but I was obviously extremely ill. The doctor called an ambulance and arranged for a prominent specialist to operate that night. I was taken to St John of God Hospital in Subiaco and incidentally shared the ambulance with a lad from up the road who had rheumatic fever!!! It was war time and there was a shortage of ambulances in those days as there was with so many other things.
Mr Gill, the specialist, told my parents he would operate but did not know what he would find. He stated though that if he didn't operate before midnight then I may not live to see the following day as I was in a rather bad state.
My folks sat for an hour or more waiting and finally Mr Gill came and told them that I had suffered a ruptured appendix which would lead to peretonitis and a lengthy stay in hospital. The reason that no doctor had been able to diagnose appendix problems was because mine was situated up near my right kidney and Mr Gill said had it been much closer it would not have been possible to remove it without damaging the kidney. Mr Gill called in to see me the following morning after which he left on his annual holiday.
I continue to think: What if my GP hadn't been so on the ball. What if Mr Gill had already left on his holidays? What if the appendix had burst while I was still on holiday in Waroona? I spent four weeks in hospital and it wasn't for a week or more that the doctors were able to say I was actually out of the woods. It was not a pleasant experience with quite some pain involved but one thing I will say is that the nuns (all the nursing staff were nuns in those days) were so wonderful.
This is just a further example of What Ifs? in my life that remain with me to this day. Some results, as in this case, turned out to be very positive....others didn't, as you will see in further stories in this series.
I hope you enjoy them but I think it does me good to relive them. Sometimes refreshing memories can be very good for us....sometimes not so good.....but although I try and always live for the future all these experiences are what make us what we are today so why not go back from time to time and relive them?


To continue with my series of What If's, I think about how my adoptive parents were farmers at Narrikup (near Albany) at the time of my adoption. They were doing reasonably well regardless of the depression etc. When I was 4 years of age my mum had a major operation followed by complications (thrombosis etc) and was extremely ill. The doctor said she should no longer continue to work on the farm as she had previously so mum and dad decided they should head for Perth, walking off the farm with their personal possessions and a few pounds in their pockets.
Eventually dad got a good job with Rawleighs and bad times turned into good but my What If? in this case is this:
What if mum hadn't become ill, the farm had continued to prosper following the depression and we had never moved to Perth when I was nearly 6 years old? I would have gone to the local school and then possibly high school in Albany. I may have married a local farmer and stayed for ever in the Narrikup area.
It is certainly a big WHAT IF? I think I would have loved to remain in the south-west and make my life there but there was no choice so instead I became a city girl and have remained so for over 70 years but I think my heart really still is in the country. I love those big wide open spaces and always will.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I hadn't realised just how long it had been since my last post. Haven't been in the humour for writing. We both had nasty head colds that lingered longer than we hoped they would and there have been a few medical appointments that take up time (one of the privileges of being to get to go out but mainly appointments with doctors, physios, podiatrists, eye specialists etc. name it we do it).
I have lately been thinking a lot about various events in my life and decided to try a series of WHAT IF's???
To begin with WHAT IF my birth mother had been able to keep me even if she didn't marry my father??? He abandoned her (denied I was DNA testing back then unfortunately) and her father told her "to have the baby, forget it had happened, get back home and get on with her life!" Now her father was a detective in the police force and I am sure would have had knowledge of backyard abortionists he could have sent him daughter to visit. I believe he was quite a religious Church of England gentleman so would probably have considered abortion to be a sin but WHAT IF he didn't feel that way? Yours truly would have been no more. I am not religious but must be thankful he was if that perhaps is the reason I am still around.
Again if my mother had kept me with her I would have immediately had 2 aunts and 3 uncles and a set of grandparents....and later there would have been a large number of cousins as well .... quite a large family. My adoptive parents only had one other child (my father was widowed when his son was only 4) and my half-brother was 20 when they adopted me. No other siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins or grandparents in Australia so what you might call a very small family. My half-brother eventually married so I had a sister-in-law and two nieces. I think I would have been quite a different person had I been brought up in a large family but would it have made a huge difference? We are born with a certain type of personality but I do think family, environment etc., do have a big influence on what a person is like as an adult.
Of course my adoptive parents had emigrated to Australia in 1920 but WHAT IF
they had decided to go to Canada or similar instead of coming to W.A? I would have had other parents who may not have been so loving and caring as mine were.
It makes me realise just how fortunate I am. I may not have much in the way of money or worldly goods but I've had so many things go my way in my life that I can only be thankful most of it happened the way it did.
Next time the story of me not being too well at about the age of 12 and WHAT IF?


I hear and read so much these days about young people (in particular)binge drinking and can't help wondering why? What for? I am sure older people do it as well but it seems to be the young ones we hear most about.
In my teen years in particular I don't think any of my female friends actually were drinkers of alcohol. Maybe if we were heading down to the Embassy Ballroom to attend a ball we would pop into the Palace Hotel for a Pims or similar and that would be it. I can't even remember us drinking alcohol at the ball and our tables usually had large jugs of lemonade squash for all and sundry.
We used to dance a lot....usually twice a week at different tennis clubs and as mentioned above the occasional ball when we dressed up in long dresses with quite often a flower in our hair or on our gown. We also played tennis, walked a lot, went yachting and simply were so busy being busy I feel alcohol wasn't required to keep us happy and contented. We had far less money than most young people today; if they could afford to do so some of the young fellows would perhaps have a beer or two at the local on a Friday night. Remember also that the drinking age back then was 21 although those that looked older than they really were would still sneak in. I think the publicans were more inclined to ask for proof of age and there were no photos on driving licences so am not sure how people would prove how old they were. I think you even had to be 21 to be in an hotel in those days. I remember a friend being asked her age and she was only drinking lemon squash. I was actually under age on that occasion (also drinking lemon squash) but I wasn't asked my age as I always did look older than I was. Can't remember how Mary proved she was 21 .. did we vouch for her and he believe us. (she really was 21 and I was 18).
Very few young people owned cars back then so if we went out on special occasions the boyfriends would borrow their father's cars and then wouldn't dare to drink and drive for fear of what would happen if something went wrong and dad found out.
I am not saying we were goody-goodies...we weren't ... but our lives were so full of wonderful things to do that we didn't need the stimulation of alcohol.
One confession I must make though......a lot of us smoked but remember we had never been told it was bad for us. I don't think many of my girlfriends smoked but I think nearly all the fellows I knew certainly did. I asked my dad when I was 17 if he minded if I smoked and he said "It's your money" and that was that. Back in the 1960s my husband used to get bad bronchitis and was quite a heavy smoker. I had the opportunity to stop smoking when I developed a rare migraine headache so I decided to stop in the hope he would stop as well. It worked and he hasn't smoked since 1970. I relapsed for a year or two but I haven't smoked now for over 30 years. No problem giving just STOP!!! It's not all that easy but you just need to do so and you will succeed.
Not sure any of the above makes sense but I still find it difficult to understand why all this binge drinking is happening. Can somebody out there please explain it to me? I am really interested to know what makes them do it.