Tuesday, August 5, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY (Part 26....still in the 70s)

I posted this this morning, or at least I thought I did but it is not showing on my blog list so I have retyped it.  If you see it twice you will understand why.   Things have been going somewhat awry of late and this is another glitch that has occurred today.  I only hope this post will show properly now.

As you may know my mind has been elsewhere for the past two plus weeks. 

The 1970s were quite eventful for us.  I have told about mum's horrific accident in ca 1970 and losing dad in 1971.  There will be more about mum in later posts as from 1970 she continued working to help the community and eventually wrote her memoirs which were published in 1983.

Today I tell of Steven finding himself an apprenticeship and of us acquiring our own home.  I'll try to get my act together and do better in Part 27.  I sort of threw this one together rather haphazardly.  My apologies.

I have told that our daughter Karen was married and of the birth of her child, our first grandchild....a beautiful granddaughter.  Karen's hubby worked for Telecom and his job took him to the country a great deal so he and Karen moved to rental accommodation in Bunbury.  Phil and I drove down several times to visit, one special occasion being Christie's first birthday.  (Bunbury by the way is 120 miles south of Perth...I have no idea how far that is in kilometres).  Eventually they moved back to Perth, first renting a duplex in Whitegum Valley, only a couple of kms from where we were living, and later buying a home in Trigg.

Our son Steven had decided he did not want to continue at high school to study and sit for his Leaving Certificate so, after he obtained his.....it used to be called Junior Certificate but was later changed to Achievement Certificate....third year high school certificate, we agreed to allow him to take up an apprenticeship and learn a trade.  His first choice was to train as a technician with Telecom and the interview went exceedingly well until it came time for him to name various coloured wires.   He was unable to name several and it was realised he was colour blind.  I am positive we were not aware of this, which may seem strange but maybe nothing had occurred to make it obvious to any of us.  The interviewers were, I think, as disappointed as Steven, as they told him he was the type of young man they were looking to employ, but sorry when dealing with electricity etc. colour blindness definitely rules you out.

Steven's other option was to become a mechanical fitter and he had no problem obtaining an apprenticeship at the Midland Railway Workshops (in Midland of course).   The size of the workshops is illustrated in this photograph taken from Greenmount Hill:

Midland was quite a distance from where we were living but the train line from Fremantle to Midland was only a short distance from our home which made it easy for Steven to get to work and home again.  If he should be running late Phil would take him in the car a few stations further along the line to catch the train.  Steven did very well and after finishing his apprenticeship obtained several excellent jobs, and did further study which helped him to find even better positions during the years.

I've often been worried about the large amounts of asbestos at the workshops in Midland and back in the 1960s little was thought about its danger.  To date Steven seems to have suffered no side effects from contact with asbestos and one can only hope he will stay safe.  The workshops closed in 1993 and this is hos they looked in 2005, all tidied up:

Referring back to Steven's colour blindness, I remember one day driving through Cottesloe and Steven was with me.  I remarked on the beauty of a large red flowering gum tree on the side of the road as it was covered in bright red blossom.

It was then I realised just how severe his red/green colour blindness was as he said he honestly couldn't see the blossoms as it looked 'all sort of brownish' to him.  When he began to drive I asked him how he could tell when the traffic lights had changed from green to red etc., and he said by the position of the lights as they glowed when on.  I've never heard of anyone going for their driving licence being asked if they are colour blind so it obviously isn't something that is deemed important..

In 1974 we learned that W.A. Rope and Twine, which had been taken over by Kinnears, was likely to close so we decided to try and find a house we could buy, although we were quite short of cash.  We found a very good agent who showed us several houses not really to our liking until one day he telephoned and asked us if we could meet him at 8a.m. the following morning to view a house that had just come on the market at what he considered a very reasonable price.  We met him next morning at the house in Hamilton Hill and, although the house was empty and there was no garden to speak of, we thought we could make it a very comfortable home and signed the Offer and Acceptance there and then.  It was now up to us to obtain a mortgage and we were very much aware there was little money being made available by any financial institutions at this particular time.

 We tried several banks to no avail and when we had just about given up the thought of obtaining a mortgage we approached the Home Building Society near where I worked in Cottesloe.  The manager was very helpful and I had a feeling she was on our side and she fought very hard to obtain the loan we needed.  Within a few days I received a call from her to tell me she has managed to get approval for our mortgage and in fact it was the last loan granted on that day and there would be no more money available for several months.  She had attended the board meeting where the money was allocated and pleaded (or should that be pled) our case and ever since we have been so grateful to her for the tremendous job she did on our behalf.

I mentioned above we were a little short of cash but mum had already promised to help us out and she wrote us a cheque for $1,400 which was the required deposit.  The house itself cost *$14,000 and, although today they would call it a cottage, it had four bedrooms, a small front verandah and sat on a block of just over 820 square metres which we thought ideal in which Christie, and future grandchildren, could play. 

We moved in here on 7th May, 1974 and then began lots of work including new carpet in the living room and vinyl in the kitchen, wallpapering to be done and removing the old venetian blinds and replacing them with roller blinds and curtains.  I got busy planting shrubs and trees which within a few years quite transformed the place.

This photo was taken four months after we moved in.  That's Phil walking up the driveway holding Christie's hand and you can see our 1967 XT Ford Falcon parked outside the garage further down.

Over the years we have added a carport, a ranch fence at the front, a solar hot water system, a patio and pergola at the back and had insulation put in the roof and, more recently, a ducted reverse cycle airconditioner installed.  We of course now have underground power which has also made a big difference as we no longer have to worry about our trees touching any wires.

*On today's market our house would probably be advertised for sale with a price tag of about $AUS500,000 plus.  This seems to me so ridiculous as it is now about 65 years ago and a very simple dwelling.   The price of land (if any were available) in our area would of course help dictate the sale price.   Our council is now allowing multiple dwellings on reasonable size blocks so money can be made out of buying an old house, renting it out for a year or two and then demolishing it and building multiple dwellings on the block.


  1. I do admire (and am awed by) your memory.
    And have often wondered about colour blindness and road safety. I suppose most people do what Steven did, but I wonder how that works when the sun is directly on the lights.
    Isn't it frightening the way the cost of houses has sky-rocketted? We wouldn't be able to buy a garage with the money we paid for our first home.

    1. Thanks EC although I think my memory is perhaps not the type I would prefer to have at times, i.e. Phil can remember things he has read or been told right back to when he was quite young. He amazes me the amount of knowledge he has stored away. He, on the other hand, is not good with dates or where he left his keys so I guess we are all different.
      I too find it hard to believe the way house prices have soared but then so have wages which is not helping our country either.
      Another person who was colour blind told me the same story about traffic lights but I too have wondered about the effect the sun may have on them.
      Incidentally, how is your driveway faring? Not hear anything about it of late and hoping your weather has not interfered with its completion.

  2. Colour blindness isn't exactly a disability but I do feel sorry for those who miss out on the glory of colour.

    1. As do I Delores, they are missing so much when one thinks of the delightful colours of flowers, birds and the like.
      Glad you dropped by and hope you enjoyed yet another chapter in our saga.

  3. Hari Om
    Colour blindness has variations itself of course; but the individual affected surely adjusts to different shades nonetheless - in the way we might when looking at a sepia photo for example... so I often wonder that the different colours of wiring in electrics could still be distinguished with practice. Ah well. AS to the madness of real estate? (she sighs again...) YAM xx

    1. Hi Yam and thanks for popping by.
      I realise there are variants of colour blindness and of course it comes down the maternal side so it's my fault I guess.
      I think way back when Steven was interviewed they weren't going to take any risks so he missed out on the job he wanted.
      Yes, real estate, and wages, are out of control (more sighs). xx

  4. Oh Mimsie I so enjoy your memory stories of your life what an incredible memory you have. My brother was also colour blind and I never understood it till you told of brown leaves, that is something I am sure I would miss the colours of things. That is a very cute little house and WOW that surely is a jump in value:) Good for you two. Hug B

    1. Thanks for your comments Buttons and for paying me a visit. Steve never spoke a lot about his colour blindness as it never seemed to bother him very much.
      That cute little house needs a few jobs done but is still standing quite solidly thank goodness.

  5. Isn't it astounding how homes are priced nowadays? We've been in the same home since 1971, and I sure as heck wouldn't pay as much money for it as the assessors seems to think it's worth.

    My hubby is color blind, too, but he's also a retired Bell Labs electronical engineer. Evidently, his blindness isn't as severe as your son's, but whenever he had trouble discerning the color of a wire, he tested it with a multimeter.

    1. Inflation is of course the cause of higher wages and prices and I feel it is all a vicious circle and one wonders where it will stop. I feel it is much to blame for the financial crises in the world today.
      Way back in 1972 colour blindness was obviously regarded as somewhat dangerous when actually handling live wires.

  6. I despair at the prices of homes these days too and the market isn't being helped at all by developers who buy up a big old place and replace it with a small conclave of two story homes each costing more than the original. Then there are overseas buyers, cashed up and buying high priced homes that we Aussies have no hope of affording and many real estate agents know this and price accordingly to attract that niche market.
    I like your little cottage very much.

    1. Hi River...I'm glad you like our simple, little home. We do too and hope to stay here for several years if at all possible.
      We are currently fighting to stay in the Cockburn Council boundaries instead of being 'given' to Fremantle Council when we think we will not be as well looked after as we are by Cockburn Council. Fremantle has no services available for the aged which is rather frightening for us.