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Aussietrekker's memoirs (in many instalments)
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flyingscotsman danny
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:08 am    Post subject: POST. Reply with quote

Hello Aussietrekker, you seem to have a lot of information on all of us, why is that? I would be very intersted in your answer. Cheers; Cool Embarassed Embarassed
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aussietrekker aussietrekker has been starred
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing to be spooked at Danny- I just have an amazing memory - I just have brain cells like a hard drive, and can pull out info from 50 years ago like it was 5 minutes ago. Not everything, but most things. I suppose there are other people about like me, but I don't meet them very often. My sister Colette is the same, but my brother couldn't tell you what he had for brekky this morning. There's the odd thing I can recall Mum telling me as well about people,, during and after the hostel...but mostly it's just my own childhood recollections.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The news that we were travelling by plane instead of ship came with mixed blessings. We would get to Australia quicker, in just a few days, but Mum didn't like the idea of flying in a plane. Us kids were thrilled-it was the next best thing to being on a Spaceship. Cool

Suddenly there was a lot of stuff to be done. There was a house to sell. In Bangor, a house was announced for sale by a pole with a little metal flag on top, with the name of the real estate agent, rather than the giant billboard we use over here. I looked forward to seeing that pole, announcing to all the neighbourhood bullies and families who didn't like us, that we were going as far away from them as we could go on this planet. I liked the idea of being able to walk to school in a place where you wouldn't be bailed up by kids on a daily basis, asked your religion and then stoned or beaten, or called derogatory names. But the pole was not to be- my parents wanted anonymity up to the very last minute.

People started coming to our house to inspect it. We looked like selling quickly to a family whose little girl was in Colette's class at school, but they were unable to get the bank loan. Then an old lady named Mrs. Crozier and her son made several visits, but they turned out to be time wasters. Eventually two young people named Beth and Laurance took a serious interest. Laurance worked at carving gravestones. They were very nice and were getting married soon. They came round quite a bit with their Mums and Dads and bought the house with all the furniture, which was a happy outcome for all concerned.

We also had to sell the car, a 1962 blue Ford Popular which Dad had bought when our first application was knocked back- so we hadn't had it very long.I don't remember anything about selling the car, except for Mum saying that she felt sad as she watched it being driven away. And that we had to catch buses for the few remaining days before our departure.


Last edited by aussietrekker on Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was another neighbourhood family moving to Australia at the same time. Their name was Hanslik, and they lived in the street behind us. They had two kids, Kenny and Angela. Kenny and I were born the same time at the hospital in Belfast, so our Mums knew each other, and later on, Mr. Hanslik worked at the same factory as my Dad. They would pass the time of day in the street etc., but our families were not close at all. I used to play with Kenny a lot as a pre-schooler, he was a nice little boy, but I never really saw him once we'd started different schools, and boys didn't play with girls anymore. I didn't know where in Australia they were going.

Dad bought two big trunks, and Mum and Dad started packing stuff into it. They looked big at the time but in hindsight, we didn't bring a lot of possessions at all. Mum gave a lot of stuff away to her sisters and to my granny. Unfortunately we had to give most of our toys away as well, and had to make a gruelling decision about what to keep. Nearly all our toys were kept in one floor-level cupboard in the kitchen ever since we could remember, with a few things in our bedrooms. The year before, Dad had gone on a carpentry spree for our birthdays- he'd made Martin a beautiful fort with battlements and a drawbridge, and I got the most magnificent dolls' house with a removable roof and wallpaper in every room, even the toilet. Sadly both these items were casualties of our baggage allowance. Our cousins in Belfast were pleased to be beneficiaries of our lifetime accumulation. The thing I was most reluctant to part with was my collection of TV Comics, from 1962 to 1964. I missed them for years and years, I'm sure there could have been room found for them in those two trunks. I never saw those comics again, until I was grown up and someone invented Ebay- but by that time, they cost more than 4d.
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stormfour stormfour has been starred
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow it is strange how your story feels very familiar,I suppose you have put into words what we all went through a bit,and especially the packing,I remember we packed all the stuff we brought with us in tea chests ,and as you say we didnt bring a lot of stuff,so sad really ,but I suppose they were limited to what space they had per family in the holds of the ships.
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oceania
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gee a lot of things come back also on this subject. The Logans baggage on the ship was 2 tea chests of plywood and a big metal ammo box from my Grandad who was in the army, it still had all the regiments he was in on the side. Unfortunatley it was damaged in the hold when some other cargo punched a hole in the top and salt water got in and when it was opened in the hostel nearly all our pictures as kids where damaged.

Also when Mum took all the rolls of film from our boat adventure half way round the world into Willy to get developed, the chemist opened them by mistake and ruined the whole lot. So somehow we where not ment to have them eh!

Andy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy, you wouldn't wish that on your worst enemy.


The house was sold, we had almost no toys left, and we had no car.
My remaining possessions were a little plastic monkey that Mum had bought in the Bangor market the previous year for sixpence; a miniature china teaset that Grandad had given me at Christmas, since he had a chinaware stall at the market at the time; a little statue and prayer book that Mrs. Finnegan next door had given me on my confirmation; and a silver medal that I'd won at school for speaking Gaelic. I still have all these items except for the medal, which I managed to lose at school in Williamstown soon after our arrival.
We received an unexpected invitation to tea with Dad's Uncle Willy and Aunt Aggie. Apparently Uncle Willy was Grandad's brother. He lived in Bangor, but I'd never met him...but I knew vaguely of his existence because sometimes when we were in town, a big black shiny car would drive by, driven by a chauffeur in a uniform and cap. Mum would say "there's your Da's Uncle Willy". So there we were one night at this nice house, being fussed over by these new relatives. Aunt Aggie made a magnificent orange cake which made an impression on us all, and when we were leaving, gave us kids more sweets and chocolate to take home than we'd ever had in our possession all at once- and I wondered where she had been all my life...
It was a bit disconcerting, receiving all that chocolate at once, because it was Lent and we'd "given it up". But with the air of juvenile martyrs, we cheerfully decided that there was no reason why we couldn't bring the haul with us to Australia and pig out on Easter Sunday. And so we did.


Last edited by aussietrekker on Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The time had come to do the rounds and say goodbye, so on Saturday afternoon Mum told me to put on my best coat and hat and announced that I would be going with her on the bus to Belfast- just the two of us. I had never been on a long-distance bus to Belfast so it was a bit novel, and it took all of half an hour. Soon as we got on the bus, sure enough there were a pair of old gossiping biddies who made a point of saying somewhat sarcastically "Oh Mrs. Houston, it's not very often we see you on the bus!" But Mum didn't enlighten them, and by now the whole neighbourhood probably knew anyway, and were glad to see the back of us. And it was mutual.
I felt very important as we went from house to house until it was dark. It is a custom in Belfast to give children some money when leaving a house...even Mum meeting acquaintances in the street was profitable throughout my childhood...and I came home on the bus that night with an assortment of everything from sixpences to half-crowns. It was great seeing so many aunts, uncles and cousins all at once, and my Granny and Grandad. Uncle Alfie who we didn't see very often greeted us warmly from up a ladder where he was characteristically painting the house. He came down the ladder and shook my Ma's hand, and it was covered in paint. He had a naughty sense of humour. We never saw him again. He died four years later of emphysema, aged 49. Mum blamed the trumpet which he'd played in a band for years.
We also made a final visit to my favourite church, Holy Cross in Ardoyne, to say good bye to the missionary priest who had baptised my Dad eleven years before. We were often taken there on a Saturday afternoon and while Mum and Dad spoke to Father Honorious, I would stop and say a prayer at each side altar like a dog at a lamp-post. Father H gave me the biggest hug as we took our leave and I never saw him again either. We worried about that church and its occupants when the Troubles came and Ardoyne became a war-zone but I went back there last October for the first time in 45 years and it's still there, and so are my "wee altars."


Last edited by aussietrekker on Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hated school. I'd recently been accelerated to the class above months before my time, from the safety of my favourite teacher Mrs. Caughey, to the lair of the dragon and bash-merchant Sister Brendan. Sister Brendan was the Principal. Her cane was in constant use, and I believed that smoke came out of it when she struck... but it was probably just chalk dust from the blackboard ledge. Many of the nuns at our school had come from Belfast schools and had taught my Mum, causing her to hate school as well, then they would be eventually posted down to Bangor to traumatise the next generation. Our school was divided- boys on one end, taught mostly by male teachers, and girls on the other, taught mostly by nuns and old maids. There was a line painted across the playground, which you dared not cross, not even to speak to your brother. Mum had only ever set foot in the school three times- to enrol each of her three children- until the day when she came to inform Sister Brendan that we were leaving to go to Australia.
"Oh, Glory be to God!!!" exclaims old Smoky Cane, grovelling to Mother in a display of fake piety. There was nothing either glorious or Christ-like about her each Friday morning, when she'd line us up against the wall like a firing squad, and whack everyone who didn't respond instantly to her mental arithmetic questions directed at warp-speed.
I should have been looking forward to my last day, but was dreading it. I was told to return all my textbooks- but one was missing, and was nowhere to be found. The last few days were stressful, trying to find an explanation for the lost book, a Bible History as it happened. Her wrath would be way worse than making an arithmetic mistake when she went through the Inventory- especially being a religious book. When the dreaded moment arrived, she just told me to put them all on the back desk. It was like a reprieve from an execution. Then she gave me a prayer book to take to Australia, and had inscribed it with the date. I still have that as well- not out of any fondness for Sister B, but because I was born a hoarder.
I said goodbye to my mates, who were marvelling that I would be getting an Australian Easter egg the following week. Everyone wanted me to write to them. And so I went through the gates for the last time with a burst of euphoria, knowing that I was finally free of oppression and daily canes- and an uncharacteristic devious satisfaction that the old dragon would get a nasty shock when she counted the books on Monday morning!
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stormfour stormfour has been starred
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you should so write a book
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aussietrekker aussietrekker has been starred
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like it's going to grow into one...
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GinaKate
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm now back in time re-living my own school days. I foresee another series of therapy sessions on the horizon.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool
Gina Kate- the best therapy/ self-deprogramming I've discovered is called 'TWO FINGERS!" Laughing
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

idunno idunno idunno idunno idunno idunno idunno
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GinaKate
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll give that a go, it's the cheaper option.
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