23 Sep 2010

me with my head down being teased by my cousin , my little sister is sitting on the grass, 1963
Me, my cousin and my little sister and yes I am being teased! 1963

What is your earliest memory?

Which year was that?

I remember in a vague way, more of a feeling really , being told by my auntie that Mummy would be back soon  with my new brother or sister and a vision of the car racing out the driveway as Dad took Mum to the Queen Victoria Hospital to have her third and last child, my little sister.
That was the end of November 1962.

My first real memory that plays through my head like a home movie was some time early in 1963.
It must have been a school day because my cousin Chris was home and he was year older than me, still to young to go to school  but my older brother and my other cousin were not around.

My Mum had given my baby sister a bath in the pink plastic baby bath in front of the fire in the dining room. My cousin and I were doing a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table.
Mum had left the room to feed my sister and put her to bed for a nap.
The baby bath was still there beside the fire and for some reason my insane cousin, who really was a rotten child, always teasing me, tipped the puzzle into the bath.

the whole gang in the pool including Tip the dog 1964
All the gang, me and my siblings, my two cousins and the boy from next door and Tip the dog. 1966

I was so angry with him that I chased after him yelling, I knew I shouldn't because I had been told to be quiet to help Mum get the baby to sleep.

But I didn't care , I chased him out the front door and just as I was about to slam the door he stuck his head back in to pull a stupid face and I slammed the door on his head which made him scream and run off home (next door).

Mum came out from her bedroom where she had just got the now screaming baby to sleep and shouted at me and burst into tears.
My dear mother, who never shouted, who was endlessly patient and kind , told me what a naughty girl I was and I was mortified, too shocked to cry.
I ran to my bedroom.

Crikey, how is that for a dramatic first memory. 
Remembered I think because it was such unusual behaviour from both me and my mother.

the back yard 1963
My brother, Mum with my sister and me. 1963

I remember too, watching Andy Pandy or the Flowerpot men or some such,
sitting on the loungeroom floor and being interrupted by my mother and aunt, crying, because someone had been shot,
President Kennedy,
loved by my mother because he was handsome and he had a pretty wife and sweet children
and Jackie was about Mum's age 
and it all seemed to me, 
sitting on the floor and looking up,
that something very terrible must have happened.

I am trying to find out what I can about this year, the year of my first real memories.

I will have to watch season three of  Mad Men again to see the clothes.

I also want to find out about the Menzies Era about which I feel I know nothing.
Robert Menzies was re-elected in 1963 I think for his final term as Prime Minister.
Interestingly his first term as an elected Prime Minister he was faced with a hung parliament and forced to make deals with independent members of parliament and his government only lasted a year.
He was , eventually our longest serving Prime Minister.  

He also said this:

"I do not believe that the real life of this nation is to be found either in great luxury hotels and the petty gossip of so-called fashionable suburbs, or in the officialdom of the organised masses. It is to be found in the homes of people who are nameless and unadvertised, and who, whatever their individual religious conviction or dogma, see in their children their greatest contribution to the immortality of their race. The home is the foundation of sanity and sobriety; it is the indispensable condition of continuity; its health determines the health of society as a whole".

which seems quite a good thing to say.  

Honestly, I shamefully know almost nothing about 20th century Australian history. 
I have order  a few books from the library about mid century Australia to help correct the situation.

me and my little sister 1964
My sister and me. 1965

8 Responses to “1963”

  1. I know something about Robert Menzies....he was a friend of my grandmother's, and when I was little, probably under a year old, he had the 'honour' of getting to hold me, and I peed on him...a great tale to bring out on family occassions to thoroughly mortify me! I don't remember him at all, but googled to see when he became PM, and it wasn.t until December 1949,(I was born Jan 1949) so I can't say I got to pee on the PM :)

  2. Great stuff Jenny! My first memory is sitting at the dining room table eating lunch: a cheese and jam sandwich -- apparently I would only eat the cheese if it had jam on it. I was three and I have no idea why I remember this as it would have been an ordinary event but it is a clear first memory. That would have been 1958 about which i know nothing.

    I have a hazy earlier memory of being in a cot and looking out and seeing a tall man who was not Dad. I have always thought it was our then family doctor. Mum thinks it may have been when I had measles at 18 months.

    I well remember when President Kennedy was shot. It was a Saturday monring, I was eight years old. I had been inside with Mum but Dad pulled in in the Hillman after dropping my brother at tennis. I remember running out to tell him -- back then there were no radios in cars so he wouldn't have known.

  3. My earliest memory (I think) is sitting in the bike seat behind my mother while we went very fast down a hill and the wind was blowing quickly into my face and I can feel her strength as she peddled faster and faster down the hill to hear my giggle. I think I was about 3 years old.

  4. Jenny, your childhood pictures and memories touch me in such a familiar way. I was in the first grade and remember my teacher, Miss Streater, (a very pretty and young woman) with her head on the desk crying. President Kennedy had died.

    My first memories are a bit vague, but probably around 1961...I recall playing in our back yard. A fence, a swingset, and a sandbox.


  5. I remember my mum chopping off my long blonde plaits (which I still have in an old stocking box) because I complained too much that she was pulling as she put them in. That was 1962. Prior to that in 1957 when I was 3, I remember a family friend playing a clarinet to me to try to get me to sleep.

  6. I've heard it said that the decade before our birth is usually the one we know least about.

  7. My first real memory was of coming home from school in October 1977 and finding my mum sitting in her purple dressing gown in the lounge with my baby sister in her arms. I was 6 so it seems like a long time to go without a tangible memory.

    All three of us girls, as well as my own parents, were born at the Queen Vic!

  8. I love the quote by your Prime Minister! I wish more people felt this way again.


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.