Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY (Part 15a) 1953-1954

I did publish this a week ago but my daughter says she can't find the post so I am re-publishing it for her and also in case there is anyone else who missed it and is interested enough to want to read this episode.  I know Delores, EC, Button and Yamini have seen the post and did comment on it at the time.   It was rather a long post so I am splitting it into two parts.

I am now a married woman and have settled down to life with my husband, a life which brings with it so many changes.

Prior to our wedding we had looked for a place to live so when we returned from our honeymoon in Yanchep we could move straight in.  We had little money so there was no thought of building a house and we had actually sold the block we had been paying off.  We needed the money and it was in an area that hadn't yet been developed and was still only bush.  We found a house at 15 Blake Street in North Perth and there were two rooms to rent sharing conveniences.  The house was owned by a Polish gentleman who had recently lost his wife, Brocha, to cancer and towards the end of her life he had built an upstairs room at the back of their home where she had sweeping views of the surrounding suburbs as well as the city of Perth itself.  We had the downstairs room as our kitchen/eating area and upstairs as a bedroom/sitting room.  We of course shared the bathroom and also the outdoor wash-house (they call them laundries these days) but there was no washing machine,  just a copper with two troughs and a large wringer in between.  Ah, they were the good old days.

David Wolozny was a really great bloke. He owned a fish and chip shop a few doors further down Blake Street as well as being involved in other ventures.  I remember one day heading for the bathroom and finding him doing his ironing.  I stopped to chat to him and noticed he had an unusual way of damping down his clothes ready to iron.  He would take a mouthful of water and spray it on the article of clothing through his teeth.  I remarked on it and he said that was how it done in the 'old country'.  I always think it is wonderful the things we can learn about people from other places.

I did check on Google Earth and found 15 Blake Street is still there and the house doesn't look much different now but the old Knutsford Hotel a few doors down has been demolished and that was a big landmark in that part of North Perth and one frequented by many of Aub's family from time to time.  I regret not being able to show a photo of the house but was unable to 'steal' it from Google Earth.

We had not been living there very long when David told us he was planning to be married and we would have to find somewhere else to live.  I forget the name of his future wife but remember she was a lovely Australian lady and I believe they would have been very happy together but am sad to say David died in 1971 when he was only 58, but at least they would have had 18 years together.

It was while living in Blake Street that I received the saddest news of my young life.  My mum and dad were going to separate.  It was dad that came and told me one day and it was like a bombshell although I think I had been aware, while still living at home, that things were not perfect and with mum devoting so much of her time to her work with the Women's Service Guilds I think dad felt somewhat neglected.  If mum should be helping me when I was dressmaking etc. dad would come in with one if shirts saying it needed a button replacing.  It may only be an old shirt he wore in the garden and, although he never raised his voice, he must have been feeling rather 'left out'.  They had not gone out together for many years but dad still played lawn bowls regularly several days a week.

It was obviously mum's idea that they should separate and I think she had convinced herself that my dad was seeing another lady.  I don't think this was accurate, or at least not in the true sense of him having an affair, but mum I think needed a reason for the separation and this was going to be it.  I know dad would tell the neighbours that mum was seldom home and of course that was true because of her commitment to the Guilds.  Mum had been a good and faithful 'housewife' since their marriage when she was 20 and I feel that the twelve and a half years difference in their ages may have also had something to do with this latest development.  I won't go into any more about this event here but perhaps later in my story I may devote more time to this sad story and just how this separation affected not only my life but that of my mum and dad in particular.

While this was all going on of course Aub had returned to work.  He had done an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker and I must give him full credit, he was a very fine craftsman and knew his trade very well.  When we moved into Blake Street we had enough funds to buy ourselves a broom, dustman and brush and a few provisions until Aub's first payday.  I was fortunate that Val and Wilma had given me a kitchen tea and also a friend, Margaret Dean, had held a pantry tea for me a week prior to our wedding and we therefore had plenty of tea, sugar, etc. to last for several weeks. 

Prior to my marriage I had never done much in the way of cooking but I think I managed quite well and of course had to find out what Aub preferred to eat.  He wasn't an easy person to cook for as he had lots of likes and dislikes but we got there eventually without too many mishaps.  I think eventually I was able to dish up reasonable meals without too many complaints.

Another minor incident occurred shortly after our marriage which was somewhat of an eye opener.  My friend Wilma Longwood, who had been my bridesmaid,  was to marry and I had an invitation to her kitchen tea.  When I told Aub about the invite he asked when it was we would be going.  I told him it was was a 'girl's only' do and he said he didn't think I should be going anywhere without him and why would I want to.  I truly found this a bit hard to believe but jealousy was once again rearing its head.  I went to the kitchen tea and had a great time and decided there and then that, although I was now married, I still needed a life of my own as well that would not always involve Aub.  We of course both went to Wilma and Jim's wedding in a Nedlands church and I have photos of which I will share one with you. It was a lovely wedding and Wilma made a beautiful and very happy bride.  I realise you don't know these people but they were so much part of my life for many years and I have much enjoyment in remembering them.

We eventually found 2 rooms (plus share) in a very nice house in Queen's Crescent (to the west of Beaufort Street) in Mount Lawley.  The house was owned by Mrs Jo Herbert where she lived with her son Barry.  Mr Herbert had a farm in the country and he preferred to live there while Jo preferred life in the suburbs.  I think there was quite a large age difference between them which could have been part of the reason for them living apart.  Mr Herbert would come down from the farm occasionally and I think Barry would perhaps go stay with his dad during school holidays.  Barry suffered quite badly from epilepsy as he was kicked in the head by a horse when quite young and had a steel plate in his head.  I saw him some years later and medication had ended the seizures and he was leading a normal life and able to drive a car etc., which was great to know as he was a really nice young man.

I digress.  The share arrangement at this new home of ours also involved the bathroom and an outside laundry but this time was there was an electric washing machine.  It was a very large machine with an electric ringer that you used to wring the clothes into one of the troughs where you rinsed the clothes and then swung the wringer around to wring them into the laundry basket ready to hang them on the clothes line.  There were no clothes driers in those days but it was certainly good to have a washing machine to use.  This gives an idea of what the machine was like:

For the life of me I can't remember the number of that house in Queen's Crescent. I've searched Google Eareth and gone up and down the street in the right area but there are so many trees and lots of changes so that it's impossible to find a house that even reminds me of the one we lived in.

It was while living in Mount Lawley that we bought our first car.  It was a green 1928 Willys Utility.  It went very well but I can't remember ever driving it.  I had been driving since I was about 17 but had never bothered getting my driving licence as I didn't drive a lot.  More about that later.  This car of ours had these two huge headlights which were held in place with clothes wire and they had been fitted with lights that could be dipped or on high beam.  Unfortunately someone had put one light in upside down so when one was dipped the other was on high beam.  Aub was pulled over by a policeman one night who told him about this but fortunately only warned him to get it fixed and didn't fine him.  This is exactly like our old ute altough the wrong colour of course.  Don't you just love the running board and the spoked wheels.  No windows of course but just 'side curtains' you put on or took off as required.

I remember driving homeward one night up Beaufort Street when there was a awful noise and the car slowed somewhat.  When Aub got out to check what was wrong he found that the tail shaft had fallen off.  We somehow must have got it fixed as we managed to get home without further mishap.  Another time we had taken mum for a drive up to Toodyay (60 miles north-east of Perth) and we travelled on the old Red Hill Road which then was only gravel and quite rough and had an extreme drop on one side.  We had a great day out and got mum and ourselves back home safely.  The next morning when Aub was checking the car over he found that the wheel nuts on two of the wheels had worn very loose, probably caused by the rough road we'd been on.  Fortunately they didn't choose to come off while we were travelling, especially on that road with the big drop on the side.

I think I will leave it there for now and continue with part (b) probably later today.   I next get myself a job and life continues on with its usual ups and downs.


  1. I missed the first time you put this up, I don't always go on the blogs everyday but I'm enjoying your early life so I hope I catch the second half.

    1. Four people saw the original before it disappeared so it had to be done again at my daughter's request. Glad you caught it this time OK. Am hoping no more gremlins in future.

  2. I was going to ask about this part, but then forgot. The title showed up on my screen, but no text. So I'm glad to read it now. Wilma does look a lovely, happy, bride.
    I remember share places from early in my first marriage, although not truly share, they were very large older style homes divided into flats, the only share part was the laundry usually downstairs in Brisbane or a shed out the back in SA. Usually in those places we had one very large room subdivided into kitchen, bedroom and living room with a shower/toilet built onto a section of the porch.
    Your "minor incident eye opener" is very similar to my first marriage too, although he never saw anything wrong with himself going out with his friends. Anyway, it is all in the past now.
    I'd say you and your mum had a very lucky escape with those wheel nuts coming loose but not falling off.

    1. I'm now glad "Kakka" asked me to repeat it as she couldn't view it either. I did pop in a link which strangely enough I could open if I clicked on the appropriate place but perhaps that only worked 'cos it is my blog. I am too computer ignorant to understand why these things happen.
      Wilma was a lovely lass, always smiling even in the later stages of the illness which took her off far too soon.
      Same story here....he off fishing, hunting etc etc Me? at home.
      Yes, I well remember him showing me how loose those wheel nuts were. You can be lucky at times.

  3. Thanks for popping this up again Mum, it is nice to read the whole story without missing parts (and who knows what happened with the lost ones, circling somewhere in cyberspace no doubt). xxxx

    1. I did it especially for you and now I find others missed the original as well so glad you asked me to do it.
      Had to skip Wednesday Wanderings this week as it takes a while to type all this but no worries about that.
      Yes, I hope those gremlins stay away for a while. xxx