Monday, April 16, 2012


I finished with childhood memories part 8 but am not recalling days when I was a little older and consider them as part of my youth more than my childhood.

Last time I blogged about this I was still living in Coronation Street, North Perth with mum and dad and our cat Molly.  Dad was a very successful Rawleighs dealer but I feel that perhaps the business had been waning a little and one day he came home to tell us we were moving to Swanbourne and would be running a corner shop.  This would have been in about 1945.  Mum was just a tad surprised at this change in our lifestyle but went along with it as she really didn't have a choice.  Was she happy about this decision?  I have never been sure about that but somehow think perhaps she wasn't.

We moved to 2 Servetus Street, Swanbourne into what was a nice shop which sold general merchandise as well as some fruit and vegies.  It had quite good accommodation at the back of the shop and a very nice and quite large back garden.  Mum mainly ran the shop while dad would deliver grocery orders and early on Monday, Wednesday and Friday would drive in to the West Perth markets to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.  Dad grew vegies and also kept chooks (hens) from which we got eggs and the occasional roast dinner.

You must remember this was still during WW2 so rationing was in full force and one needed coupons to buy butter, tea and sugar as well, of course, petrol and clothing or material to make clothes.  By this time I was 13 and it was my job to collect all the coupons we had received from the customers and stick them on large sheets which we in turn had to send to the rationing people in order to buy new stocks of butter, tea and sugar.  Cigarettes were also in very short supply so they had to be carefully rationed out to the customers although no coupons were required.

Icecream was almost non-existent then so mum obtained a large icecream churn in which she made the most delicious icecream which our customers thought excellent.  She had to more or less ration it out as she could only make so much at a time and of course find room to keep it in the shop freezer, but it was very popular with everyone.

I was still attending Perth College way over in Mount Lawley so this necessitated me catching a train at the Swanbourne station (quite early too) and then in Perth catching an 18 tram up Beaufort Street to the school.  I had begun to have piano lessons while living in Auckland Street which was still quite close to Coronation Street but now it meant an awful lot of travelling.  Train and tram to school in the morning and on 2 afternoons each week I had to catch an 18 tram to Bulwer Street and then a 22 tram to the corner of Charles Street and Scarborough Beach Road and then walk a mile or so the the home of the music teacher (Miss McLennan who incidentally died in 2002 at the age of 92).  After my lesson I then had to catch a bus in London Street into Perth and then a train back to Swanbourne.  I must have got home after dark during winter but there was no problems with safety being out after dark in those days so no worries about it at all.

I forgot to mention that while living in Coronation Street I had begun to learn to play the violin from a teacher at Perth College.  I mentioned I used to ride my bike to and from school so dad suggested I stay at school and practise instead of trying to bring the violin home.  Mum always said it was more because dad didn't like the sound of me practising the violin.  I think I only learned for a short while and decided it just wasn't me.  I perhaps got to play Danny Boy on the violin but that's about all I remember.

It was while at Swanbourne that I managed to persuade my folks to let me leave Perth College and go to a commercial school instead.  They finally agreed and I was enrolled at City Commercial College at 713 Hay Street in the city.  I really enjoyed shorthand and typing although not so keen on bookkeeping and accounting and decided there and then I never wanted to be a clerk.

We thoroughly enjoyed living within a couple of miles of the coast with the sea breeze cooling us down more than it ever had in North Perth or other Perth suburbs.  I think mum worked a bit harder than dad did in many ways but that was how it often was back then.  Don't get me wrong, Dad was a terrific bloke but he was born during the Victorian era and household tasks were very much defined in regard to the sex of a particular person.  Dad would do his job but mum had to do her job in the shop and also look after use and the house.  We did have a dear old lady that did our washing and ironing but otherwise it was mostly up to mum and I must admit I may not have been much help.

I began going out with my first boyfriend while living in Swanbourne (mum's idea more than mine) and he lived way over in Mount Lawley and as we now had a telephone in the shop that was how he and I kept in touch and we just went to the pictures in town occasionally.  Back in the mid-1940s young people didn't have their own cars so public transport was the only way to get around.  Gary was an apprentice at his father's sheet metal factory so was on very low wages and although a couple of years my senior I doubt he earned much more than I did as a stenographer.

I had my 15th birthday while still in Swanbourne and then in May we left the shop and moved to a rented home back in a different part of North Perth.  I really have no idea why there was another change of lifestyle but perhaps mum had had enough of shopkeeping or dad felt it was time he retired; at that time he was 62 and mum was 50.  Whatever the reason, move we did to 518 Fitzerald Street.  That, as they say, is yet another story.


  1. I'm loving these posts Mimsie, can't wait for the next chapter.

  2. Thanks a lot PPMJ...not sure how much further I can go as I may have already written about my life from first marriage at 21. Will have to check back. Next chapter may be in 2 parts 'cos quite a lot happened between age 15 and 21.