Journals

5. Fish ‘n Chips – Journal Entry 13th Jun 1969

Ah now, today has been very good.

Johnny bought me two pairs of jeans and a donkey jacket. And we wandered round the shops and shopped. We talked to people and looked at lino. We asked for plain brown lino which the army buildings and orphanages get rigged out in but no, nothing like it. It will have to be ordered from Brisbane at $5 a yard which is a helluva lot for us to spend on a rented house.

And we had fish ‘n chips. I can eat fish ‘n chips anytime of the day or night.

14th June 1969

Saturday was great.

Went to Byfield looking for picnic spots.

Found one particularly good one with a shallow creek, stony and fairly fast moving. Lots of trees and rocks and quite isolated. The water was very cold though. Should be good in the summer.

Saw a small bird. He was curious about us and kept flying off the wire he sat on, came towards us then went back. This he did for some time until we moved away.

Blog Updates:

  •    Click here for the Emu Park Family Tree on the home page footer
  •    Shorter journal entries have now been combined into one post
  •    How to read my blog infographic added to top of home page
  •    This journal entry is part of the My Mother’s Voice – Journal Series

4. Pig’s Cheek – Journal Entry 12th Jun 1969

Shopping day. Each day seems to be so good.

Mrs O’D and I shopped together for a while. She is a person who has lived. That sounds corny but how else could I put it? She has worked hard all her life, brought forth nine children, lost two, and has one with a bad heart.

“Look Gita, she spends so much money on her glory box. She’ll never get married, we don’t even know how long she will live. She thinks she will find a man to love her for herself and that they can adopt a child. She is not grown up. She is twenty-one but acts like she is fifteen. She has no idea of things and I had to mollycoddle her till she got her tonsils out because of her heart, but after her tonsils came out I haven’t mollycoddled her. Look, she didn’t menstruate till she was eighteen. You will be lucky if you see it once in twelve months, the doctor told us, and she’s been as regular as any other woman. She’s a bit cranky at that time but then I say, ‘What are you doing here?’ and she goes back to bed.”

So we had coffee and studied the papers for the special sales, found none except the usual lousy mince and sausages at so much for two pounds.

I bought a pig’s cheek for 25c. I was going to try all sorts with it but when I had to hack the thing I felt all squirmy and it smelled a bit too, even though it was pickled. I suspect the little piggy hadn’t been cleaning his teeth or alternatively not chewing his apple before bedtime. Ugh. So even though the pig cheek was so cheap (and I can’t resist such bargains) I won’t be buying one in a hurry.

Did the week’s shopping. Then went off with L for lunch with B. The house was unusual for central Queensland, arched windows, thick brick walls, big rooms, verandahs and so on. ‘Twas built by a German brickmaker, later taken over by a nunnery in which two nuns committed suicide. It’s a lovely house and B seems to have worked hard on it. Lunch was hilarious and L and I returned to town cheerfully intoxicated.

At least I was disgustingly cheerful.

 

Notes:

  • This journal entry is part of the My Mother’s Voice – Journal Series

3. Sickle and Scythe – Journal Entry 10th Jun 1969

Winter days here seem beautiful days. I don’t know what makes the days so unbearably sweet. Today especially was glorious.

I hacked at the long thick grass. It looked so easy but really wasn’t and besides I don’t know how to handle a sickle. I own a sickle and Johnny owns a scythe, like real country-folk.

Of course after an hour’s work, Gareth and I lay on the newly turned earth.

It was happiness.

Note:

  • This journal entry is part of the My Mother’s Voice – Journal Series

2. Sunday Lunch – Journal Entry 8th Jun 1969

John and Virginia came with their brand new truck carrying a rotary hoe. What a relief to watch the grass disappearing into the earth when the ripper passed over it. In no time the front yard was neatly ploughed and we planned where the trees would go and where the onions and garlic beds were to be.

Emu Park First House 1969
Gareth, Karen, Gita, Marcello | Emu Park first house 1969

The day was lovely with Fritz, Jan, Virginia, the kids and I watching John happily driving the ripper around. There were many little birds after the refugee insects that were disturbed out of their homes. We found a baby snake under a packing case but it ran away.

I baked bread and there was salad, cold meat and salami for lunch. We were all waiting for  lunch to be ready. Then you know what happened? The three men go to the back yard and try to burn the long dry grass.

Just beat it out when you’ve burned a reasonable area,” one of them said…

The fire looked very pretty and we called the kids to watch. Everybody was quite happy. Then, of course, the fire spread quite rapidly and raced up the steep slope of our back yard. Everybody pitched in to help. I tell you it was frightening. Such a wide ring of fire and every minute increasing and increasing. We worked, my goodness how we worked. Two of our neighbours ran to help. We had to beat at the fire with branches off the gum tree. Johnny and I used cloth.

I panicked and phoned the police station. The policeman and another man pitched up just when the fire was put out and gave us a sermon.

“You’ve got to have a permit to light a fire. You could be put into court for this, and be fined $30 to $40 so that you don’t go out and light another fire. You didn’t know about this of course.”

One of our friends interrupted to say he was the one who suggested it, and that it wasn’t our fault, but the policeman continued,

“I don’t care who told who to light the fire, you get prosecuted all the same. Anyway, see it doesn’t happen again!” And he stomped down the hill to his interrupted Sunday lunch.

Oh dear, we were a sad group. I had to prepare the salad. I could hardly stand, let alone hold a knife. We were dirty and covered with prickles from the long grass. The others collapsed onto the verandah and recovered over a glass of beer. Was lunch good? And did we eat enormously?

Of course we did. It was very good.

BushFirePoem
Poem by Gita 8th June 1969

Note:

  • This journal entry is part of the My Mother’s Voice – Journal Series

1. Preamble – My Mother’s Voice – Journal Series

If you haven’t already, please read the Home page for the background to this intimate journal series.

Blog posts will contain my mother’s journal entries in chronological order from June 8th, 1969 (when our family settled in Australia from India) until just prior to my mother’s death in 1985. Some of her poetry and letters will be included.

I have used ‘Gita’ to refer to my mother throughout this journal series as it was the pen name she used for her short stories and articles.

Gita, late 1960s

If you are new to this blog you can read  previous journal entries in date order via Archived on the Home page. Then Follow to receive each new post as it is published.

Sadly, Johnny (the love of my mother’s life), passed away ten years after her death. He was a devoted father to our very large family and I dedicate this journal series to both of them.

Johnny, late 1960s

Let us begin…

Notes and Links

  • This journal entry is part of the My Mother’s Voice – Journal Series
  • The Home page contains a gallery of photos, click here.