Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY Part 29...1974 and beyond)

I wasn't sure if there was much left to tell after the stories of our daughter and son but as time went on more events did take place so I will continue with memories of those that changed our lives or perhaps gave us cause for pleasure.  No pictures this time but could be more to come in future 'episodes'.

In 1974 we had moved into our 'cute' little house which was very basic with practically no lawn nor garden to speak of.  Over the years, to the house, we added a car port, patio and pergola at the back, extended the concrete slab beyond the front verandah and added a pergola.  Steve built both those pergolas for us without us actually asking him to do so and I still think of him when I look at them and realise what a great job he did.  More about our home later on.

Also in 1974 Phil and I both began new jobs.  As Rope and Twine were closing Phil applied to the State Government for a clerical position and after an interview he was appointed to the State Housing Commission that had it's head office in Adelaide Terrace, Perth, with a beautiful view of our Swan River.  Phil used to come home and tell me how he had watched the pelicans soaring high above the river on the thermals.  Pelicans happen to be one of Phil's favourite birds. He first of all worked in the library but then had several different positions over the years working in Kwinana, Coolbellup and finally in Fremantle office.  I can't say he enjoyed his time there all that much or perhaps it was the lackadaisical work ethics of some of his work colleagues that upset him.  He had come from working in private enterprise and I think it came as somewhat of a shock at the attitude of some government employees to their work.  Don't get me wrong.  Most of his workmates did a good job but there were the few that left much to be desired but we will not mention names.

Some of the positions he held though were very interesting and quite challenging and he stayed with Homeswest (abbreviated name for SHC) until he took early retirement when he was just passed 60.  I truly feel it was the best choice as I know working there was getting him down somewhat.  It meant we weren't all that well off but I felt his health was always more important than money.  It must have been the right decision as he is now approaching 85 and still in reasonably good health.  After his retirement he played golf and attended to his vegetable garden which he'd not had time for previously. 

Phil had continued on with his part time studies at university and finally graduated with a B.A. with a double major in psychology.  Unfortunately, because of his age by then, he was unable to obtain a job in any government department where his degree would have stood him in good stead but at least he did receive a small increase in his salary as a result of his having a uni degree.  After this he had decided to continue on with his studies for an M.A. but in the late 70s I became unwell resulting in me having major surgery.  This set Phil back on his heels somewhat and there and then decided to end his studies.  I was disappointed he made this decision until he explained he had thought it through and come to realise we'd not had a lot of quality time together because of his studies over the previous  years.  He said he was glad I'd suggested that he should perhaps do some study to make up for his education in England being rather halted because of the second world war.  He'd accepted the challenge and now had his B.A. and that would suffice.  Thinking back I feel it was perhaps for the best as we had in some ways drifted apart and there had been several minor problems that had arisen during that time all of which eventually resolved themselves satisfactorily.

Still in 1974 and after 7 years I had decided I wanted to move on from Thomas and Co and I found myself a very good job as a stenographer with Development Underwriting Limited in Peppermint Grove.  Although I enjoyed the work I wasn't too keen on the management so thought it best to move on if I could find a suitable position where I would be happier in my surroundings.  I saw a job advertised with the Forests Department and decided to apply for it.  I am interested in trees and nature in general and felt it could be an interesting job as it was with their research section situated in Como in the very pleasant surroundings of a pine plantation.  I drafted out an application and redid it several times until I was satisfied.  Of course with government jobs it takes a while until you receive a reply but eventually one arrived and I had an interview.  I was thrilled and hoped beyond hope I would do well and they would like me and my work.  It was quite an extensive interview and I had to type out a screed that contained quite a few botanical names.  I felt I had done rather well, went home and another wait before I'd get a final answer.  Happily I was accepted for the position of clerk/typist and although I dropped about $10/week in salary I was glad to be away from DUL.

As it was research branch I worked for a lot of professional people and found the work extremely interesting and feel I learned quite a lot about our forests and all the plants etc contained in them.  Whilst there a new head office was built almost next to the research branch and after some juggling I moved over to the new building to work in the Extension Branch.  I truly loved my work at the Forests Department until unfortunately, following a truck rear ending my little Ford Escort on my way to work one morning, I had to leave my job as I could no longer sit and work at a desk.  I'd not actually received a whip lash but damage to the soft tissue on the side of my neck and face and also some to my right shoulder which I guess was the way my little car  had been swung around.   I had physio on my neck for nearly six months and it was finally decided I should be retired.  I have always been sad that I could not say goodbye in the usual way when someone retires but we can't always have things happen the way we'd like them to.  Fortunately I've met up with nearly all the people I worked with since then which has somewhat compensated me for having to leave so suddenly.  I had actually begun to job share (week on week off) about a year previously and had intended to continue working for another few years.  Well laid plans and all that.......

Karen of course had left home when she married and Steve continued living at home although he became quite independent and would often cook his own meals and do his own laundry as it suited him to do so.  It was easier to allow him to do his own thing than have arguments about it and it actually worked out quite well all round.

Steve had numerous friends and he was often out with them or they would be at our house and I was pleased he was so popular.   We had given him a room at the back of the house so he virtually had his own private entrance (the back door which opened on to an enclosed verandah) so he and his friends could come and go freely.  It's funny how sometimes you think you are doing the right thing but it can go against you.  Steve actually asked me why we had 'stuck him out in the back of the house?"  When I explained our motive and said he could then play his music (and we ours) without disturbing each other etc etc he of course realised we had been trying to make it better for him.  Steve didn't want a 21st birthday party although we offered to give him one the same as Karen had but he decided he'd do what a few of his friends had done when they turned 21.   They would drive down somewhere near Collie with a keg of beer and spend the night 'in the bush' where they didn't disturb anyone and drive home the following afternoon.  It was quite common practice in those days and a lot better than having these parties as they do these days where gate crashers disrupt the party and the neighbourhood often resulting in the police being called and people being hurt and property damaged.  I am glad our boys had more sense and just enjoyed themselves without being a nuisance to anyone.

I've now covered our working lives up until we both retired (me in 1986 and Phil in 1990) and I expect I shall continue on with my story about holidays we took and other events up to the present day.  Maybe more about how we made our house more comfortable for us to live in.  Not really sure but stay with me for at least a while longer if you can, even though the 'exciting' times had long passed.


  1. I also had to retire because of ill health, and it took me a long time to come to terms with it. It was the right thing - for my employer and for me, but this realisation didn't come over night.
    I am thoroughly enjoying your memories, and will happily read them for as long as you are prepared to share them.
    Thank you.

    1. Thanks EC. I feel the more 'exciting' parts of my life are over and nor so many people are interested as before. Never mind I will push on until all is told.
      I would not have 'retired' when I did but I had no choice as I just could not sit at a desk for months nor turn my head and driving a car was very difficult. I'd have given anything to keep going but it was not meant to be. At least it gave my daughter a permanent job and now she's been there 30 years.

  2. It's a wise person who realises the job they do is what is making them unwell or unhappy. I gave up working for Coles for those very reasons.
    I remember working so much harder and faster in the shoe factory, but I loved my job there and if it hadn't closed, I would still be there now.
    But I wouldn't have had the computer, nor discovered the world of blogging, so perhaps it was for the best after all?
    I think it was very lovely of Steve to build those pergolas for you, the extra shade and living space would have been so welcome.

    1. I've never regretted Phil retiring when he did but it left us so much poorer than had he worked another 5 years. I still think his health was more important though.
      On the other hand, I've always regretted having to 'retire' when I did as I so loved my job with the Forests Department.
      Steve did many good things and I must admit I do miss him very much, nor just for himself but how he was often there when needed which is great in a son

  3. Hari Om
    I too love your 'bio' posts Mimsie - excitement not required! YAM xx

    1. Thank Yam. Life did indeed become 'unexciting' over the years but we still enjoyed it as much as was possible. xx

  4. Kids are a caution aren't they? You think you're doing good and then you find out they thought you were being mean.

    1. Very true Delores, but it's good when they finally realise your intentions were the right ones after all.