Monday, April 6, 2015

When I was Young

Thank you Alona from lonetester HQ for prompting a geneameme to record memories from our youth.

1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby?

Mum kept my Infant Welfare book.
I was born 6 weeks premature and weighed 6 pound 2 ounces.  It seems that I must have been a healthy baby and allowed out of hospital as my first weigh in at the Infant Welfare Centre was a fortnight after I was born.

2.  Do you know if you were named after anyone?

"Sharon" was the name of a character on a popular radio series at the time.  Mum and Dad liked the name but cannot remember the name of the program now.  According to the Australian National Film and Sound Archive, there was a series called The Beauty Makers with a character named "Sharon" so maybe this is it?

3.  And do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?


4.  What is your earliest memory?

I seem to remember sitting on a blanket playing.  There is a footpath not far away.  Mum yells at me and hits something out of my hand.

I told Mum about this memory years ago and she could not believe that it was true.  When I was about two years old, she found me sitting and playing with a can, which had a redback spider in it. She panicked, yelled and hit the can out of my hand!

Mum was always so calm and patient and didn't yell at us kids so maybe I remember this as I was scared because it was the first time that I heard her yell?

5.  Did you parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you?  Do you remember any of these?

We grew up reading and I remember going to the library to get books as I had read every book in the Primary School by Grade 4!  We had Golden Books from a young age too.  I am sure that Mum would have read to us but unfortunately I do not remember it.
My Grandmother sent me this in 1977.
At each click of the button it shows a
different scene of Italy in the viewfinder.

6.  When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?

From a young age (when I was in primary school), I wanted to travel around the world, which was inspired by my grandmother, who sent me postcards and gifts from her travels around the world. You can read about some of them here.

7.  Did you have a favourite teacher at school?

I can remember vividly the teachers that I didn't like!

8.  How did you get to school?

We went to a number of different schools so it depended where we lived.   We walked to Primary School but High School was the school bus for the majority of the time.  I would always read on the bus.

9.  What games did playtime involve?

  • Hopscotch
  • Elastics
  • Ropes - there were ropes strung up in the pine trees that you would balance and swing on (they would be considered totally unsafe today)
  • Climbing Tree - I remember having to write lines on the blackboard all recess "I will not climb trees".  After school, I had to climb the tree again to get my school jumper (which was a flag at the top of the pine tree) so I would not be in trouble when I got home!
  • Basketball
  • Poisonball - I often won as was small and quick and seemed to be able to easily avoid the ball, which was thrown at full force by those at either side of the court.
10.  Did you have a cubby house?

Not really.  We made our own "cubby houses" in a variety of locations.  In the bush down the road, we rested sticks against a big tree and covered with branches and leaves.  Under the house (yes, with the spiders) we dug out an area and brought in toys and things to be a "cubby house".   In the "haunted" shack next door to the beach house, that we weren't supposed to go in! We also played under the local bridge near the river.

11.  What was something you remember from an early family holiday?

Most of our school holidays were at the Beach House.  I could write a book about them!  I only remember one holiday that was not at the Beach House or camping.  We stayed in units at Cooma with family friends (so the dads could go fishing at Adaminaby).  Us kids were playing at a nearby park when a man approached us and wanted us to go back to his cabin at the caravan park.  As the eldest child, I was aware of "stranger danger" and gathered all the kids together and told them that we needed to go back to where we were staying.   I immediately told mum, who reported it to the police. I described the man (I can still remember that he was wearing a football jumper).  It matched the description of a criminal, who had escaped from a local jail!  

12.  What is a memory from one of your childhood birthday's or Christmas?

I would have been 5 years old and remember being woken up by a noise and bells (which I was certain was Santa's sleigh on the roof).  I heard my bedroom door open but kept my eyes tightly closed as I did not want Santa to know that I was awake or he may not leave a present!  I got a bike with a bell on it from Santa that year!

I always wondered why we received less toys from Santa than the other kids at school, especially when I had been so good all year!

We always received one toy, an item of clothing, a book and stocking of lollies.  However all the other kids seemed to get more than one toy!

Christmas 1975 -  Wearing our new Christmas Clothing with our Christmas Toys.
I am on the right with "Chrissy Doll".  When a button on her back was turned, her pony tail would be
retracted and go short.  A button on her belly button was pushed to make the pony tail grow long again.

13.  What childhood injuries do you remember?

Thankfully, I have had no notable injuries (I am lucky enough to have never broken a bone).  However,  I had epilepsy as a child and often had grand mal seizures, which could result in bruises and such when I fell.  However I soon realised the warning signs so could make sure that I warned mum and was seated in a safe location when a seizure occurred.

14.  What was your first pet?

I remember Rex very well.  I followed him everywhere..............even through a hole in the fence and out into the street and down by the river!

I started to copy him and cock my leg.  The doctor told mum that I needed a sister or brother!

Left:  1967 - Mum and I with puppy Rex.  I am already staring at him
Right: 1968 - Rex and I at Quambatook.  I hope that I am not eating his food!

15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of "when I was young..?"

Mum & Dad often told us stories.  When I started high school,  I started to develop an interest in family history and would ask questions and write down the answers.

16. What was entertainment when I was young?

We made our own fun.  We could be out all day as long as we were home before it got dark!   I am surprised I am still here with some of the things that we did!

If it was raining and we had to stay indoors then we would play board games and cards.

17.  Do you remember what it was like when your family got a new fangled invention?

In 1976 dad came home with a colour television to watch the Olympics.  We thought it was wonderful but you could not compare it to today.  It was primarily tones of pink, orange and green!

18.  Did your family have a TV?  Was it b&w or colour?  And how many channels did you get?

As above.  I don't remember how many channels that it had.  I do remember the baby sitter watching number 96 and we had to go to bed!

I also remember watching The Sullivans and getting really upset when John died.  Mum tried to tell me that he wasn't really dead and it was acting but I didn't understand as I had seen him killed!  How naive we were to the kids of today!

19.  Did your family move house when you were young?  Do you remember it?

Yes.  I have written about the many homes that I have lived here.

20.  Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (ie fire, flood, cyclone, earthquake etc)?

Thankfully not. However I have a still have a phobia about fire due to experiencing many fires when I was a child;
  • I do not remember but evidently woke mum and dad up and told them that the beach house lounge room was full of steam (but it was smoke) as there was a fire under the house due to embers from the fireplace.
  • We were woken in the middle of the night when the hardware shop across the road in Stratford caught fire and all the paint tins were exploding.
  • A house down the road from the beach house was on fire and there was panic that the kids were still inside (they weren't and had evacuated when they accidentally caused the fire).
  • Dad was driving us to Dargo and there was fire on either side of the road and fire engines everywhere.
21.  Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory?

We grew up with dad playing Slim Dusty, which I hated as a child but now enjoy.  

I also remember taping the Top 40 hits on the old tape recorder.  Then playing over and over again to write down the words.  I will never forget the words to The Time Warp!

22.  What is something that an older family member taught you to do?

Cooking scones with Nanna.  Gran taught me the names of many flowers in her garden.

23.  What are brands that you remember when you were a kid?

You are kidding aren't you!!!!!  Mum made most of our clothes and bought our jeans from Coles!  At High School,  I hated that we had daggy knitted school jumpers rather than bought jumpers.  On casual days I still wore uniform rather than my ill fitting Coles jeans!  How ungrateful I was!

24.  Did you used to collect anything?  

I think that I have always collected things.  My collection badge was the first badge that I remember receiving in Brownies. The collection was matchboxes, which I still have!  I also still have the tattoos from chewing gum!
I was very annoyed with Mum for throwing out my Agate collection.  (she thought it was an ice cream container of rocks!)

25.  Share your favourite childhood memory.

I have written about my favourite childhood memories of my Nanna here and here


  1. Some wonderful and not so wonderful memories there Sharon. That criminal guy story was scary, thank goodness you were a sensible kid!

  2. Wow -- these are the best questions I've read for writing personal memories.

  3. Hmmm...I sympathise with your Mum about the ice cream bucket full of rocks. We have a few of those around this house. My husband loves rocks. I'd better leave them alone! Loed the baby record book at the beginning.

  4. Sharon ... thanks for taking on a journey of your memories. As Kerryn said, that criminal guy would have been really scary, but at least you knew what to do, and everyone was safe. And how could I forget taping the Top 40 on the radio, though usually then it was to copy the "good" songs, off on to my own mixed tape. And you are so lucky you got to write down family memories from an early age ... something so many don't. A perfect way to begin your family history.