Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY (Part 19a) 1958-1962

In Parts 18a and 18b I told of the birth of our son Steven, of Karen's walkabout and pictures of both kiddies.  I also told how I had taken the two children and we were living with my mother and it was while we were still living there that Steven began to talk quite well and actually took his first steps....at eighteen months.  For quite a while he had seemed as though he would do so but continued to cling on to fences etc as you can see here...on mum's front verandah and also on the fence in her front garden.  These would have been taken in February and March, 1958 when the weather was still very hot:

and here I think he'd just given up the idea and decided to sit down.

Although Steven's hair had been quite dark and straight when he was born by the time he was 18 months it had gone fair and was very curly.  So, it was talking, walking and a new hair style all at the same time.

These 3 pictures of Karen and Steven were taken during 1958/59 while we were still staying with my mother.  I had to include them as I think all three are worth sharing.  Not sure why one is black and white and the other more sepia tone as all taken with the same camera.

I eventually gave in to Aub's pleading for us to go back to him, but not before I gave him a list of things that needed doing to the house before we returned.  The most important item was to have gates at the bottom and top of the stairs so I didn't have the constant worry of one of the kiddies climbing up or falling down.  This he did straight away plus a couple of other small things I felt were needed to make the house a better place for all of us to live.

We returned to Walcott Street about mid-1959 but unfortunately a few items on my list never did get done.  Perhaps I should have insisted on everything being done before we went back but then I am far from perfect, nor have I ever been perfect, so not my place to criticise too harshly.

These two snaps show Karen at 4 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months (still with that teddy bear who now seems to have his/her own clothes:

I guess everything returned to something like normal but looking back I doubt it was ever the same as during the first few years.  Aub was often away weekends fishing or shooting and he had begun to drink more than before.  I often joked that I'd perhaps driven him to drink but those that knew us both very well denied that was the case, even recently, but I guess he'd just begun to enjoy drinking with his mates and that was all there was to it.  Perhaps he didn't like being tied to a wife and kids all the time......who knows what gets into a person's head.  I do remember him saying on one occasion "If it wasn't for you and the kids, a bloke could get on."  Not the kindest of remarks by any means.  I think it was that type of remark he often made than rather deflated any confidence I'd originally had in myself.

At about this time there were several changes in Perth as well.  We had had trams since 1899, mainly to the northern suburbs but also east and west and one line that ran to the Perth Zoo, south of the river.  From 1949 the tram service began to be wound down with the final tram (#66 on route 18) travelling from Inglewood to Perth on 19 July, 1958.   From then on we had trolley buses running past our home in Walcott Street and, very conveniently, the bus stop on the homeward journey was right at our front gate.

We were still having money problems even though Aub had a full-time job and made furniture for people in the big workshop he had set up in the shed in our back garden.  I've said before and I'll say it again, he was a first class cabinet maker and some of his work was quite beautiful.  I always laughed as he would always test anything he'd made to make sure it was strong enough by jumping on it after carefully putting a cloth on it in order not to spoil the surface. He was very proud of his work and once asked a customer if he could bring me to see a built-in bedroom suite he had built for her and her husband.  I must admit it was a stylish piece of work, even down to a drawer that was fully lined with formica so she could keep her stockings in there without fear of them being snagged.

Unfortunately money mismanagement came to the fore.  With his full-time job and his work on the side we should have been doing really well but I couldn't get him to see reason when it came to handling money. When he was given a job to do he would request a deposit for the cost of the materials that would be needed but instead of collecting the timber and paying for it he would bring it home and when the account arrived he would have spent the money on something he wanted. Thus, when the job was done he had to use the money to pay the account for the timber and fittings.  We just never got ahead and when one day he suggested he give up his paid job and work on his own if I would keep the books for him, I refused point blank as I could see us getting into all sorts of strife, possibly worse than we'd been in before.  Maybe this was a bad decision on my part but I just couldn't take the risk with two children starting school in the near future.  I am sure he resented me refusing to go along with his plan.

I think television began in Perth in about 1958 and of course it wasn't on all day or through the night as it is now.  If I remember rightly Channel 7 was the first to appear (then channels 2 and 9 and later 10) and I remember them having a children's show each evening which my two used to enjoy watching.  (I won't talk about when my two went to channel 7 as Karen may show it in her family funnies segment).  As time went on more programmes appeared but I tried to have my two kiddies in bed at a reasonable hour on week nights.  One night in 1961 I remember Karen asking if she could stay up to see a later show and I said no as she had school the next day.  She stomped off down the shed saying "my dad will let me see it".  They both came up from the shed and Aub said she could watch the show.  Now, I don't blame Karen for trying it on as children will but I was cross as she knew already, at the age of 6, that it was quite likely if I said one thing her dad would say the other.  I did try on several occasions to persuade Aub that parents should should put on a united front when dealing with problems but he just couldn't see it. 

Karen began at North Perth State School in 1961.  They had no uniforms in those days but I always made sure she wore nice dresses and long sock with usually black shoes.  In later years she has told me she always liked the clothes I made for her and had felt well dressed and that made it all worthwhile.  Karen had quite a few friends at school and each year I would give her a birthday party which everyone seemed to enjoy.  She did very well at school and was popular with the teachers as well as the other children.

This was Karen in the summer of 1962 having changed into her shorts and top after being for a swim.  At that time she would have been six and half:

My mum at that time was Director of the Citizen's Advice Bureau in Perth (she had actually started the CAB in a small office in Boans department store) and she would go into Perth and return at night by taxi as she had never driven a car.   Karen (and Del's daughter Diane) would both walk around to my mum's place and she would drop them off at the school by taxi each morning.  They were very capable girls and would walk home quite safely in the afternoons.  I do have a photo of the two little girls waiting outside mum's home but just can't find it.  It's obviously in that wonderful place called 'somewhere'.

Unfortunately Aub was very hard on Karen and almost from the time Steven could crawl she would be held responsible by Aub for anything Steven did wrong.  I tried to explain that a child of 3 shouldn't be held responsible for a younger sibling but I couldn't seem to make him understand.  I think it was then that Karen began to feel resentment that her dad treated her that way.  When she was older he was, I thought, almost mentally cruel to her.  If she did something wrong (in his eyes) instead of punishing her there and then, perhaps with a smack on the bottom, he would say he would see her in the bathroom at 5 o'clock.  I tried my best to prevent him from doing this but he had this idea that if she had to wait for punishment it would teach her to behave.  It just built up more resentment against her father which has, unfortunately, stayed with her to this very day.

I have never really believed in smacking children unnecessarily although I must admit I can remember two occasions when I did give Karen a good smacking as she had been very naughty.  She could be defiant and if I threatened to smack her she would say "All right.  Smack me then!"  That was a difficult one to get around.  Fortunately it didn't happen too often and I found that time out....sitting in her chair in the corner....usually worked well.   Steven didn't like to be smacked at all and if he knew I was cross he would say "Don't smack me mummy.  I'll be good."  That of course was when he was still quite little.  Both of them changed as they got older of course.

It was strange to have Steven home alone with me after having the two kiddies to care for but he and I got on very well but we still had the problem of him being so terribly shy.  I remember one day walking around to see Del.  Steven was with me and all was fine until suddenly a lady he didn't know (it was actually Del's mother-in-law) was coming out of the their front door.  He literally screamed and it took me quite a while to settle him down.  Had it been Del at the front door it would have been fine but a stranger.....no.  I had been very shy but was never that bad and it was a problem we had to somehow eventually overcome.  His shyness became quite a problem as he grew older.

I think Aub did his best for the kids but I don't think he was ever one of those people that thought his children should have better advantages than he'd had.   His dad had died when he was only 8 and left him and his mother not very well off.  Fortunately, she being an excellent dressmaker, was able to work at home and still be able to care for him and and his big sister (who at that time was 18).  He'd gone to a state (government) school and could see no reason why they shouldn't do so as well.  Fortunately North Perth school was as very good one with great teacher so I was quite happy for them to attend that school, at least for the time being.

This picture was taken of the kids with their dad somewhere at the beach in the winter of 1960.  There seems to be a young dog in the photo and I have no recall of it.  The only dog I remember is Jenny, the labrador we were given when she was fully grown.

Life sort of went on (not a good way to describe it) but it did go on for better or worse (I think I remember saying those very words in 1953) but I can't say it was a happy one for everyone.  Karen enjoyed school and Steven was no trouble at home but I had to begin to prepare him for him beginning school in 1963 and I was concerned how well he would cope.

Once again, I hope I've not written too much.  It's all rather boring really and it's difficult to make a good story out of it.  I may do the same thing on Wednesday that I did last week and share some more family photos.  Apart from those when Karen was a baby I don't think there are many photos that include me over the years.  I guess in most cases it was always me behind the camera and not in front of it, which perhaps is just as well.  : )


  1. Hari Om
    I read this one with great interest Mimsie as there is much in it that is familiar...insofar as there are echoes from my own childhood. The television stuff particularly! I enjoy how you give context with reference to how Perth was at the time too. YAM xx

    1. Hi Yam and thanks again for paying us a visit. I think many people would find similar experiences in their own lives, both good and bad.
      I keep trying to remember what Perth was like then but it's not always easy to put changes in chronological order. xx

  2. The pictures are so wonderful! Such beautiful children. I think many of us had issues with one parent or another. It is so interesting to read about your life in Perth. I can't wait until the next installment!

    1. Thanks once again Susan for your very kind comments.
      I was so fortunate that my adopted parents treated me fairly with never an argument between them while I lived at home for 21 years. Maybe I was more fortunate than some.
      I am not sure how much I should divulge over the next few years and yet I need to tell it as it was so need to find the best way to write about those years.

    2. Having lived through the next few years with you, I can only say I don't have an issue with you sharing what ever you are comfortable in sharing. The best way to tell it is honestly and from your view point, which up to this point I believe you have done and I have no doubt you will continue to do so. Love you K xxxx

    3. Thanks, I appreciate that. I won't labour the point too much but yes, will tell it the way it happened the way I saw it.
      Love you too. xxxx

  3. Loved the pictures of the children, they are sweet and adorable! Always a wonderful and interesting read Mimsie, thank you for sharing your life with us.

    1. Denise, as usual your comments are very generous and thank you for them.
      I hope sharing so many photos isn't being too self-indulgent but through doing this life story I've got them all out again and am so enjoying reliving those years. : )

  4. Your children's photos are beautiful they are always smiling. I can see you went through some rough times, men have changed from those times or maybe not changed so much, just that the goal posts have shifted. Thankfully there is more education now and woman are now more respected.

    1. Thanks for your comments Rae and while the photos are simple and very much 'homely' ones, I love them. I think those two kiddies were happy as a lot of the time there was just the 3 of us so no discord. Their father was a 'what's in it for me' type person so I don't think his treatment of other was all that crash hot at times.