A Story Untold is a Life Not Lived
I find it challenging to write about myself. I much prefer to delve into my ancestors’ lives. But here I will give an insight into my past and perhaps you will get to know me.
When I was born my family lived with my maternal grandparents. three uncles, my brother and my parents in a two-bedroom terrace house at Botany. Yes, that’s nine people living in a two-bedroom terrace. My grandparents were in the main bedroom at the front of the house, and our little family was in the second bedroom. The front verandah, in front of my grandparent’s bedroom, was covered in, and two of my uncles slept there. The loungeroom was partitioned off with a curtain, where my other uncles’ bed was. We lived here for a couple of years until we then moved into my paternal aunt’s house at Mascot. My first memories as a child take me back to this house.
Sometime later my parents found an old house just down the road from my paternal grandparents’ house. We lived there for a few years until we moved to Matraville. The house my parents purchased was across the road from my father’s workplace. He was a truck driver and worked for a man named Clarrie Dunn.
A few years later our family grew with the addition of twin sisters. I remember those years. Mum use to wait for me to get home from school so I could feed one of the twins their afternoon beverage.
Tragedy hit our household just after Christmas the same year the twins were born! One of the twins passed away. Not long after, Mum and Dad separated and Dad eventually moved away with his work. Mum had to go to work and our baby sister was cared for by our grandparents.
My father was a very strict parent. I learned from a very early age that when he said “No” he meant it. But, when Mum said ‘No” she could be swayed to retract the negative. So, with Dad no longer at home, my brother and I became a little troublesome. Neither of us liked high school and with mum, at work, it made it easy for us to have a day or two away from school.
We both left school before we turned 15 years old. My brother worked for the local council and I was in and out of jobs like a blowfly. Mainly factory processing work.
My maternal grandfather bought me a portable typewriter (just like the one above) and I went to night school to learn to type. I eventually got a job as a telephonist in the days of the Sylvester switchboard (see below). From there each job I applied for moved me up the ladder until I was recognised as a Bookkeepper.
In 1981 my maternal grandmother passed away and I began to ask questions about conversations we had together about the family. Unfortunately, not many of them could be answered by those who were left behind. This was the beginning of my family history research. It was often pushed under the bed to collect dust from time to time. When I moved from the city to a regional town on the coast I joined a family history society. At the first A G M I attended I found myself on the committee. I began to come out of my shell as I held many other committee positions over the next decade. This chapter of my life has been the most rewarding, socially.
My family history research delves into those who have passed, respecting relatives who are still living and honouring those who have left us. I have found uncles and aunts who never married or had children, so I feel I must also preserve their lives as they were once loved family members of our direct ancestors.
I retired some years ago and I have travelled some and it has allowed me to attend repositories to further my research. During the Covid lockdown, it was a joy to see many groups take up Zoom meetings. Online virtual meetings are such a wonderful resource for reaching those who are unable to attend in person.
So, life gets better every day and I am truly grateful for what I have.
I am now entering another phase of history. Oral history seems like a nice pastime in preserving the past.