My friend, Nadene, has been writing a daily post on Facebook about things people may not know about her. She’s had a group of us glued to her posts for her humour and her willingness to go places other will not.
There have been many outstanding posts so it is difficult to pick a favourite. I chose this one to share with you because it touched many people on Facebook and it may touch you too. What’s notable, aside from the vividness with which she recreates her childhood, is that as she writes she gets more and more present to her gratitude to her parents and to life in general.
If you want to read more of her posts, there’s a link to her Facebook page at the end of this post.
Here she is, Ms Nadene Marsh, aged 46 and a quarter …
“THE *30 THINGS ABOUT ME* EXPERIMENT
Day 21 of 30……….
I AM 46 and a quarter years old.
I was a kid in the 70’s & early 80’s.
I danced to Abba.
I climbed trees.
Played handstands and marbles.
Built cubbies in the nearby bushland and rode my bike for miles. Sometime with friends and sometimes – God forbid; ON MY OWN.
We played cricket in the front yard with the neighbourhood kids and sometimes even the parents.
We went knick knocking at night time while our parents had parties.
We sunbaked on the hot footpath in front of our houses after hours of swimming in somebody’s above ground pool, dried off and ran to do it all again.
I walked to school with my big sister and we’d meet kids along the way. Sometimes we’d stop and play marbles or jump in frosty puddles. Then we’d cut across a paddock with an electrified fence, crawl under another fence and jump across a creek to save walking all the way round.
We made it there and back without a hitch. Though sometimes someone got an electric shock!
I bought cigarettes for my parents until I got old enough to refuse to support their habit.
We rode in the Holden station wagon with hot, sticky vinyl seats, parents smoking in the front, seat belts hanging limply in their place – unused. And we’d drive like that all the way to far off places for family holidays and country music festivals with Dad & us kids all in matching cowboy hats. Dad’s was white with a black band, ours were black with a white band. Sometimes when there were loads of us we rode in the boot space pulling faces at the other cars.
We bought singles from Brashs for $1.50 and LP’s or tapes for $7 and listened carefully, stopping and restarting the music, writing out all the lyrics so we could sing them off by heart. Summer Lovin’ from Grease was the first track I remember doing this to. My sister was in charge because she was 9.
We ate Fish Fingers, Mince Casserole and Apricot Chicken for dinner and got excited when mum learnt a new thing called Lasagne.
We could go to the local milk bar and buy 10c of mixed lollies.
I’d watch excitedly through the glass cabinet placing my order: 1 cobber, 2 sherbets, 2 teeth, 1 bubblegum no make it 1 teeth, 1 sherbet and 3 bubblegums….no bullets please!
We ate Razz’s & Sunnyboys, icey triangles of frozen sugar-water heaven and would steal the neighbours empty bottles to get the 5c refund to be immediately exchanged for another Razz, Sunnyboy or a bag of mixed lollies.
We made crank calls on the phone and thought we were rebels. Until Dad put a lock on it to stop unapproved calls. And then he installed a phone jar where you had to pay the 10 or 20c toll have the lock removed and make your approved phone call.
Sometimes the phone jar funded a few lolly runs even though the lid was sneakily supa glued on.
We slept outside on banana lounges when it was too hot to sleep inside because there was no air conditioning and we froze wet flannels in the freezer to cool us down until they were melted & warm, then back into the freezer they’d go.
We had only white bread or brown bread and when I was less than 6 years old, the milkman delivered our milk to our letterbox. We would leave the empty bottles in the special milk-bottle-carry-crate with the money for the milkman – a small stack of coins wrapped in brown paper in a twisted fashion, allowing it to sit snugly in the opening of an ’empty’ for the milkman to collect.
It never went missing.
We drank Loys and Crystal soft drink that came home delivered once a week; a dozen mixed flavours, packed to order.
Ginger Ale was ALWAYS the last bottle left.
We had different wallpaper in every room of the house. My bedroom. Which I shared with my sister, had big orange flowers and a gingham covered pinboard where we’d pin all the TV Week centrefold pinups of our favourite pop stars and bands. We also had pink candle wick bedspreads & striped flannelette sheets.
We’d cover our books at the beginning of the school year with brown paper & as I got older, with those TV Week posters or pretty wrapping paper.
Rick Springfield was on my Music book and I knew all the words to Jessie’s Girl. When I had a crush on a boy I would change the lyrics to ‘I wish that I was what’s-his-name’s girl.’
We’d record music off the radio, 3XY was the coolest, making mixed tapes of the top 40 with Casey Kasem, trying hard to make sure we pressed STOP at the end of a song BEFORE he started to speak.
We made up plays in our school lunch breaks to perform in front of the other kids. We did a masterpiece in Grade 4 called the NEWS show and I was the kooky weather lady Ms Boobs – which is hilarious for 9 year olds especially because yes you guessed it she had giant boobs. That same year some of the boys put on a Kiss Concert.
We had handwriting contests. I always won and to this day I have beautiful penmanship – which I am very proud of.
We played elastics and skipping at lunch times and shared our lunches. No one had nut allergies. I was the Double Dutch skipping champion for a while. I sucked at elastics.
We played in the storm water drains where we found bats lived and got all muddy.
The kid down the street would hold a little stall in front of his house selling apples from their tree for 5c or little electric shocks on some mad professor invention he’d made for the bargain price of 2c.
We borrowed encyclopaedia Botannica’s from the Carey’s at No. 10 and for a long time, years later, we still had their F Edition. I don’t think we ever gave it back.
We knew all our neighbours.
And we were always outside.
I LOOK BACK FONDLY.
Even though my brother and sister and I were bullied quite badly when we came to Australia, it’s a teeny blip on the radar of growing up with all that freedom, adventure and creativity.
Being a kid were some of the best years of my life.
I wonder if kids of today will have equally delightful memories of their childhood. (Now I sound like an old fart!)
CREDITS: to my parents Jerry & Ellie, THANK YOU! 👍🏾💖”
For more of Nadene’s adventures: Nadene Marsh on Facebook