Having just celebrated my 82nd birthday a few days ago I began thinking back over of all those years and of significant happenings that had affected me during that time. Just for fun (and to keep a record for my family who sometimes do view my blog) I thought I'd do a rundown of the years that brought changes in my life. I hope others too may travel back in time with me and share what has been a reasonably uneventful life but a satisfactory one from my point of view with the odd ups and downs along the journey.
1932 A baby girl was born at Hillcrest Hospital in North Fremantle to a 21 year old single mother whose boyfriend refused to accept any responsibility for the baby. In fact he married another woman before the baby was born. His mother apparently had a hand in this although I've no idea why. That baby was me and I think my birth mother would have liked to keep me as she did apply for maintenance but none was forthcoming. She had been told by her father (my grandfather) to "have the baby, forget it happened and get on with your life." Finally she signed an agreement to have me adopted and she did fortunately name the man who was my father. Because of that information I have found many details about not only my maternal family but also my paternal one as well.
1933 I was officially adopted and have a second birth certificate showing my new name. In fact when I check the BDM website here in Perth I find I have been born twice! Once in 1932 when I was Peggy Anderson and again in 1933 when I became Peggy Ruston. I was so fortunate that the English couple that adopted me were well educated and respectable people. Although my birth parents were both 21 at the time of my birth my adoptive folks were much older......mum would have been 34 and dad 46 at the time of my adoption. They had a farm down south near Albany and I lived there very happily with them. I don't have many recollections about farm life although I vaguely remember the layout out of the farm, the big pine trees and once helping mum and dad put out a bushfire that threatened our property. I think much of what I remember about that period of my life was told to me by my mum and dad. This is the only photo I have of the farm called "The Pines" (I think you can work out where the name came from):
These are my adoptive parents probably taken prior to my arrival on the scene. There is no date on the back of the photo. As you can tell it is quite an old black and white photo, possible from ca 1930:
With my new mum on the farm at Narrikup. I was told that at birth I weighed about 10 lb. Looking at this photo I can quite believe that is true:
1937 My mum had had major surgery and was very ill afterwards with thrombosis and other complications and I fear suffered some type of breakdown. The doctor said if she didn't leave the farm he wouldn't guarantee she would live much longer. After 17 years of farming the decision was made to go to live in Perth. With all the medical costs etc., my folks had little left so they virtually walked off the farm with our clothes and a few pounds in their pockets. (Note: They had emigrated from England, arriving in Albany in 1920. With them was dad's son Len, child of his first wife who had died when very young). Dad's son at this time was a driver for Yellow Cabs in Perth and he received permission to drive to Narrikup (a trip of 485 km one way) and bring us up to the city. In those days cab drivers wore a suit with leggings and a cap and looked very smart indeed.
1937 I had had correspondence lessons on the farm and although I was still only 5 years old mum wanted me to attend school. They enrolled me at a state school near where we were living (in a boarding house where we had a room and shared facilities) but it didn't work out as I was being taught 'stuff' I already knew and although I don't remember this apparently it did my head in and I became ill. That sounds so dramatic but a doctor we saw realised that was the problem. This was told to me by mum in later years as I really don't recall any of it.
1937 Not far from where we lived there was a Catholic college and my folks were told it was an excellent school. Mum had been bought up as a Baptist and dad had been C/E but to this school I went and I loved it. As I had started when I was 5 it worked out that through all my years at Mercedes College I was always the youngest in my class. I have no idea how mum and dad afforded to send me to this school as dad hadn't yet established himself in full-time employment but somehow they managed it. I fear they went without for some time before dad became a very successful Rawleigh's dealer and things really began to look up. I do know I loved the 4 nuns who had taught me through my 6 years at the convent.
1938 We moved to another big house where we had two rooms and shared conveniences and it was directly opposite my school so never any problem with being late for school. During the next 14 years we moved several times until eventually mum and dad build themselves a house in 1952.
This is a picture of mum (she was probably about 42 then) and me (aged 7) in the back garden of the house at 196 Goderich Street. Incidentally, mum didn't curl my hair but just brushed it and wound it around her finger to make ringlets.
With friends and school friends at my 7th birthday party in 1939:
1939 Sees the beginning of hostilities resulting in World War 2. My half-brother Len had enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1938 and I must admit I thought he looked so handsome in his uniform. I was 7 at that time and, he being nearly 21 years older than me, in many ways he was more like an uncle but I remember he was always wonderful to me. I was always so proud of my big brother. It was during 1939 that Len met up with a young woman who, with her mother and 3 sisters, had come to live in Perth after the father of the family had died. They had been farming at Brookton for many years. Len and Jean became engaged and planned to marry in 1940. This photo was taken at a family day at Pearce Aerodrome. I don't know why Len is pulling a face like that. Next to him is his future wife Jean and then my mum and dad. My, how folk used to dress up in those days. Len here was in the RAAF summer uniform and not his lovely dark blue one.
Well that was the 1930s. I am not sure that any of this is very interesting to anyone other than my family. Should I continue? I would appreciate it if you would say yay or nay to that question, please.
Several of you kindly said you were interested about my life story. Now you've read the first episode in this saga of mine, is it worth continuing? I did warn you it was and is a very ordinary life. Should I continue including any photos I happen to find? Your comments will guide me for future episodes.
Thank you for your interest and your patience.