23 May 2010

Oh it's been cold here today. sunny but cold. 
A two fire day, one in the kitchen and one in the front of the house.

Went for a walk with Kate this afternoon around our suburb,over behind the big supermarket. 
The red brick houses built just after WWII with their small mean looking windows, houses sitting on small blocks, perhaps it was housing for the returned servicemen, I'm not sure. 
Houses built with the restrictions of all the building material shortages after the war.

I know by the mid to late 1950s glass for house windows was once again in good supply and houses began to be built with big picture windows.
There were one or two of these amongst the small window houses and one or two tarted up houses, the original windows replaced by aluminium framed windows though still small.

I can't help but wonder about the people who lived in these houses.
Were they happy houses filled with the optimism for that post war time?
Were they houses filled with the night time bad dreams of men who had seen so many horrors?
Were they houses where young children were born to parents who had lived through the Depression and the war and wanted nothing but happiness and safety for their children?
If these people are still there they must be in their 80s by now, what were these houses like to live in and  what were their lives like.

My suburb is mainly a product of the 1940s through to the 1960s.
There are small pockets of older homes, such as our street and a few modern homes.
It is a suburb that is a testament to early suburban life, to the beginnings of home ownership and all that goes with it. 
It's a suburb now with large modern supermarkets and lots of fast food restaurants. 
It's a suburb filled beyond capacity with cars travelling to the new suburban lands further out.

For the most part the homes we walked past today looked largely unchanged, most did not have the ubiquitous wooden deck that seems to have spread throughout the suburbs, most had neat but uninspired gardens, a few had fruit trees and vegetable gardens.

Who keeps the history of an ordinary suburb?
The local high school was built in 1960, the first supermarkets in town were built here when I was a child, I even went to opening of Roelf Vos' supermarket when I was just a tot and was scared to death by the man dressed up as a bear handing out balloons.

I don't know if there is much written about the life and history of a mid century  suburb but I would love to read it if there is.

6 Responses to “ ”

  1. Hi Jenny. I do love your part of the country, and your suburb sounds like an interesting one. I too contemplate such things! Where did you source those lovely illustrations? What charming and cosy images.

  2. Things certainly change over time. I love the quiet, rural life and clearly feel stressed when I go to the city. Too much...noise, traffic, people, choices...
    I grew up in a small town at the end of WW II and it was a great place to be a child. I walked to school. I played in the street at dusk. I knew all the neighbors.
    Now there are ply dates and stranger danger and locked up houses.

  3. I love the deeper recesses of your mind Jenny and the onion layers you "peel" for us to read. I will tell you that one of those servicemen met his wife at a dance as they mostly did in those days. They had three children, two boy and a girl and their returned serviceman's house was just the right size. Well by those days standards it was, not like today where people think they need huge houses. They had a wonderful size back yard for vegies and fruit trees and even some greyhounds as a hobby. He would go to the bush wood cutting for the fire to heat the family home. He was a keen cricket player when the children were small but later in life he became a fisherman and a talented fly maker. He would catch up with his army buddies occasionally for bus trips in retirement but he rarely spoke of the war. He had an everlasting craving for salt having suffered starvation for many years. He was in no less than four prisoner of war camps and yes sometimes, even right up until he died a few years ago, he still had nightmares. He was a good father, husband and a brave man. He was an extraordinary man living as an ordinary bloke in an ordinary suburb. Will we ever know his type of generation again?

  4. Hi Tanya, thanks so much for sharing that lovely story.

  5. Jan, so true. Not everything changes for the better does it.

  6. Hi Tracy. The illustrations are from a vintage Ladybird book printed in 1961 called Helping at Home.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.