Today’s Daily Prompt was “What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.”
I have no memory of the absolute first home I lived in, the family left when I was only one and moved into a brand new home in a quite new suburb. I lived in that house for almost eleven years.
My parents could probably have been described as a young, upwardly mobile couple with a couple of kids. That could apply to several of the couples with new homes close to us. Nobody knew the term “yuppy” and Australia was full of young couples riding the post war success of the country. This was the time that Prime Minister John Howard used as his yardstick of the “lucky country”.
When I returned to the house after an absence of many years the first thing that struck me was how short the street was. In my memory it extended a long way with a huge hill for billy carts. In reality the hill was only a hundred metres long or so, the whole street less than five hundred.
I remember some things vividly. The Mondrian inspired double width garage door. My Dad had small amounts of various coloured paint left over from the rest of the house so he “borrowed” a couple of small tins of vivid colours from work and painted the garage doors in fairly random large blocks of colour and created Mondrian’s black lines with electrical tape.
The house itself had flat weatherboard sheet sides and a flat, slightly tilted steel roof. Dad worked for John Lysaght who made steel roofing so he got that cheap. Mum and Dad at first ran a tight budget – I remember Mum putting small amounts of money into glass jars in the cupboard so that utility bills were covered at the end of the quarter. Not that I ever seemed to want; there were clothes on my back, shoes on my feet, food on the table and it seemed all the books and toys I might want. Of course back then my Superman costume and soldier outfit were sewn by a family friend (who probably got a dollar or two for the work).
Parts of the garden stick in my memory. There was a willow to one side of the house, it was split in half close to the ground and grew slowly until it’s roots broke into the old septic tank and it found some great fertilizer at which point it shot up till it was taller than the two stories of the house.
Close by was a mulberry tree, I can’t remember exactly where, just the leaves to feed to silkworms and those berries The local kids and I loved the purple fruit and would make ourselves almost sick on them. Our Mums hated the stains from the juice, almost impossible to get out.
Back near the compost heap was a lemon tree and a nectarine tree. Of course my father and the odd family friend would, after a beer or two, make sure that the citrus tree was properly “treated”.
Right at the front of the house at one end of a garden bed
As I sit and write this so many memories of that house and that area flood back, it is impossible for me to get them down fast enough.
It was a different time, looking back it seems sunlit, full of friends, time for playing, exploring and getting into “trouble” among the bush and building sites.