Early childhood and Easter

A-Z challenge – My memories of life on the farm in the nineteen fifties and sixties
I''m the youngest, second from the right, the fence behind us was a rusty red

Early childhood

In our backyard at the old farm house, Dad had erected an old wagon wheel on a pole, it was our hurdy-gurdy. We had a lot of fun spinning each other around. There was no such thing as a comfortable seat, just sit on a spoke or the metal ring, grab hold and make sure one's legs were not touching the ground. We also had a home-made swing under the pepper trees. It was a straight, hard piece of wood attached by chains to an upper tree branch.

 As I was the youngest of seven children most of my memories involve trailing around with others and playing whatever games were on the go. Once all my siblings were at school, I had the solitary pleasure of sitting in front of the large cabinet radio and listening to Kindergarten of the Air.  This 25-minute program aimed at children from 3-6 years of age was broadcast Monday to Saturday at 9 am. This was before television and was my experience of the world beyond the farm gate.

When siblings returned home from school I was always ready to pester them to play “school” with me. By the time I started school at five and a half years old, I was familiar with the playground and classrooms having been there with my mother on the days of Mothers’ Meetings which were held about once a month. In 1956, the school at Tarlee had two classrooms. Miss Dora Thomas was in one room with grades one, two and three and Mr Payne in the other room with grades four to seven. I was a quick learner having had the advantage of learning from elder siblings and my mother.

One school activity clearly remembered was making cushions from the hessian sugar bags. We counted six rows up, took a stitch then six rows down and across for the next stitch in brightly coloured wool so causing a zig-zag pattern to be made. After two or three rows a new colour was added. After four colours had been added the pattern was repeated. When the piece was completed after a term’s sewing, these masterpieces went home for the mothers of the district to make them into cushions. I recall our lounge room having at least three of these creations at one time. It is probably just as well that no photo survives!

Easter

Easter was a most solemn time of year. In the weeks of Lent, we were encouraged to “make a sacrifice” this usually involved giving up lollies and sweets for six weeks. We really looked forward to breaking that fast on Easter morning. No chocolate eggs or treats before then.
On Easter weekend we went to church three times. On Thursday evening there was the solemn Mass, Good Friday afternoon “The Stations of the Cross” service then Easter Sunday morning the celebratory Mass.

Our roast dinner was in the middle of the day but by then, as young children, we had consumed our Easter egg, usually one not many. The Easter eggs that lasted the longest were the hard as a rock sugar ones. I’m sure these probably caused more damage to our teeth than the enjoyment warranted.

Next F - Feathered foes and furry friends


26 comments:

  1. I love the wagon wheel seat with all the children. You should make a poster of this. I have similar memories of Easter, of dressing up for church in my new clothes and hat. We were on a tight budget back then, but Mom always made sure we had something special to wear.

    "Female Scientists Before Our Time"
    Shells–Tales–Sails

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, best clothes to be changed as soon as one returned home. I imagine this photo was probably taken on a Sunday. I guess we all wore hats to church but I have no memories of them.

      Delete
  2. A lovely happy photo of you and your siblings. Did you hunt for your Easter eggs?

    Visiting from A to Z and Australian Family History Bloggers



    E is for Eden Park, home of Wentworth Cavenagh

    ----------

    Anne Young

    Anne's family history

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think our Easter eggs were laid out on the dining room table with our names, or in the usual place where each person sat. No hunting for them outside as either farm animals or vermin would have got them first!

      Delete
  3. The craft in small schools was very limited. We seemed to weave interminable baskets for six years. Your cushions sound more creative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had forgotten about the basket weaving. Mum made some through the local CWA.

      Delete
  4. What a great photo on the hurdy gurdy! Looks like it would have been a lot of fun. Enjoyed reading your memories of Easter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

      Delete
  5. That hurdy gurdy is fabulous! My grandmother used to sell those wheels at her antique shop on our farm in the 1950s. If only she had thought to ask my grandfather to build one of these!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think in so many cases 'necessity was the mother of invention' Her antique shop on a farm was probably an excellent idea.

      Delete
  6. My mum would hide our eggs all over the house. Same spots every year though. We got really good at finding them once we caught on. Great post. Love the photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was just testing your memories!

      Delete
    2. Another contrast for this only child - how I envy you those siblings .... and to be the spoilt baby...

      Jill - Blogging the #AtoZChallenge at ballau.blogspot.com

      Delete
  7. We brought a wagon wheel back from Uncle Mac's farm and Dad made us one of those in the backyard ( I grew up in suburban Beaumaris, Melbourne).
    And I remember learning stitching skills on a piece of hessian. In fact, you reminded me that when we were about to start learning, the teacher sent a note home asking if anyone had any sugar sacks they could send along for us to use in craft. My friend Erin's mum sent along an empty paper CSR White sugar bag. Erin was SO embarrassed.
    Wendy of the Rock is OFF the Rock
    E = Eyeball entrepreneur

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, we were so sensitive to our teacher's opinion. Sugar bag, sugar sack a simple misinterpretation.

      Delete
  8. We learnt cross stitch when I was in the infant class at primary school - my father still has the bookmarks I and my twin sister made for him :).
    Thanks for bringing your early childhood to life :)
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I can't imagine trying to teach 5 year olds cross stitch. You must have had a very patient teacher.

      Delete
  9. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS at FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

    http://thatmomentintime-crissouli.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/friday-fossicking-7th-april-2017.html

    Thank you, Chris

    So many great memories revived, especially Kindergarten of the Air... how I loved that.. I went to the School of Arts along with other children of the small town to listen to that. I especially loved the craft sessions that followed. You have inspired me to write about those times also...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd forgotten about the craft that followed, thanks for the reminder and the inclusion in your list.

      Delete
  10. What a great photo. I've wondered what a hurdy-gurdy might look like. My dad was very good at putting up swings in our yard. We had three different ones.

    E is for Experiment: Turning the USS Eldridge Invisible

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swings = hours of fun for children. Thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  11. Thanks so much for popping by my blog so I could find yours. It's great to come across a fellow Aussie and have some concept of the places mentioned. My grandfather was a Haebich from Hahndorf. I've also been through some of the remoter parts of South Australia driving or catching the Indian Pacific (Train running between Sydney and Perth).
    I really loved the hurdy-gurdy made out of the wagon wheel and the ingenuity that went into it. Country people are so resourceful- my husband is amazing like that after going up on a farm and having to make do.
    xx Rowena

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to meet you too Rowena. I'm enjoying your digital trip through Tassie.

      Delete
  12. Well I just want to say what everyone else said really...your Dad was so clever to make a hurdy-gurdy out of a wagon wheel. I've never seen that before and I reckon hurdy-gurdys were my favourite thing only to this date I didn't know what they were called. I always wanted a swing growing up. It was on the top of my Xmas list every year - and an Etch-a-Sketch was another long held ambition. I LOVED Kindergarten of the Air and used to skip around our unit in Bondi when I was little and then the house in Campbell when we moved to Canberra. Your cushion cover sounds really interesting. We did weaving and I still remember the frames I assume our fathers had to make for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just remembered another of those school crafts, covering wooden coathangers with thin plastic piping which was wound around many times with contrast colours woven in the mix to form a pattern back and front.
      Found some here Plastic covered patterned coathangers definitely not 70s as I was married by then.

      Delete

Thanks for visiting, I appreciate your comments.