Category Archives: Family History

Musical Memories

Its been a while since I did one of my little trips down memory lane – and since I was supposed to be doing one a month I have a few to catch up on!

I was sorting thru one of my cupboards recently and found all my Music Albums. I know they are very uncool now but when I first started work buying music on vinyl was one of those luxuries you bought yourself… and you would save up to buy the expensive ones or double albums…. Some of them still have a price sticker on and they seem to range from about $3 to about $7 with double albums being about $10. So not much these days but remembering my first pay packet was about $45 for two weeks work they seemed expensive then…

And Albums are often such works of art…. something that is lost buying modern digital music. The Album covers were often very beautiful and detailed…designed as an eye catching promotion to make you buy the music. Many of them opened up and inside there was often more pictures, maybe a word from the artist about the album – or even all the words of the songs! Some even had a little book inside which was an added bonus. You would sit in your beanbag with the headphones on reading the album cover as you listened to the music….

I remember being in boarding school and one of the girls got a portable record player for her birthday. She was the absolute envy of everyone…even tho very few of us had a record we could play on it. She was in my dorm so we got to listen to it more than most of the girls…Thinking back now I bet the sound on them was pretty atrocious but I don’t remember that we minded. Being on a portable record player you had to sit on your bed and not walk across the room or it made the needle jump and possibly scratch the record which was heartbreaking!

I think my first couple of singles were ‘Nights in White Satin” and “House of the Rising Sun’… we played and played them all the time. Such appropriate songs for hormonal teenage girls! Also Bridge over Troubled waters and Wuthering Heights….. goodness quite a range there…

My first Album was ‘Hot August Night’ by my favourite artist Neil Diamond. My love affair began when I was in 3rd Year High (Year 10 these days)… I have almost all his albums and have been to most of his Australian Concerts. Back then I can’t remember if it was cool to like Neil Diamond or not… I guess many of us have special memories of the music or artists we enjoyed as teenagers…look how many baby boomers pay to see old rockers nowadays…

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Back in the seventies Neil Diamond was pretty big in Australia. I remember he did a tour in 1974. I had booked tickets for the Perth venue which was later in his tour. Myself and a friend were travelling across Australia and happened to be in Melbourne the night he was performing at the Myer Music Bowl. We didn’t have tickets but went to the venue and sat outside the venue up on a hill – where the stage was miles away (back in the days before the giant screens you have these days).

Needing to find a loo I was wandering around behind the venue trying to find the facilities. Near the back entrance (above it actually as there was a driveway going underneath to the stage door) there were a few girls standing around. I don’t know what made me think that they might be waiting for Neil’s arrival but I was standing right there and in drove Neil!! He got out of the car just below us and waved up at the now hysterical group of girls…Hi girls – he said. We all screamed again and waved back. Some of the other girls passed down things to sign but I had nothing – not even my camera to take a picture!! He signed the albums and waved again and went inside the venue…. My heart was pounding and I was exploding with excitement. I found the loo and then hurried back to my friend…. Not being able to contain my excitement for another moment I yelled at them from about 20 yards away (I do these embarrassing things all the time…) – Guess what I just did??!!! – well about hundred people turned to hear what I had just done… I just spoke to Neil Diamond – I said breathlessly!!! So that was my close brush with my hero and I can still see that encounter whenever I think of it……. So after all that excitement we stayed to see the concert – I stood on my rucksack to be able to see over everyone else… and altho you could hardly see him you could certainly hear him…

So big was Neil in those days I remember they broadcast his Sydney concert live across Australia… I remember the Prime Minister was in the front row (what a waste of a good seat) and I sat at home in front of the TV watching it. Years later (many years later) they released that concert on a DVD and I watch it and it takes me back to those days so many years ago.

When Neil finally came to Perth he played at the WACA. We got there early and put our rugs on the lawn. The West Australian had a couple of pictures in the paper next day and you could order a copy. Of course I did – and I still have them. I look at Neil and his long hair and it reminds me of the time all guys had long hair – not like today. And of course Neil doesn’t have such luxuriant locks any more either… but he still has a cute bum!

Jenny Buckingham126

Jenny Buckingham125

I jokingly tell my hubby that if Neil Diamond ever rocks up to my front door and proposes then he is to instantly divorce me so I can elope with Neil. Strangely my hubby has agreed – I don’t think he thinks it will ever happen….

So Thank You Neil for forty years of wonderful musical memories… hopefully there will be many more….

So after you have flicked thru the 20 or so Neil Diamond Albums  (I wont inflict photos of them all on you here) what else is there?… My albums reflect the seventies and eighties and the music that was around in those times – more recent music is on CD’s – and more recent still – on my iPod….

Rod Stewart was another great love of mine… I can remember going to a couple of his concerts. One I remember in the Entertainment Centre he came out for about the fifth encore with the house lights on and everyone still standing on their chairs and dancing….

Alice Cooper was pretty outrageous for those times…. there was some talk of him (pretending) to rip the head off a chicken and having a snake on stage….. I didn’t go to any concert of his…

Wings was the first concert I remember queuing up all day to buy a ticket for…. I remember lining up around the Entertainment Centre for an entire day to get tickets for myself and my friends – those were the days where there was only one ticket office and you couldn’t ring to buy tickets – you had to line up…

I saw Elton John perform a couple of times and Fleetwood Mac. Dr Hook were insane – I’m not sure they knew what planet they were on that night – but they were very entertaining! Leo Sayer was great – as was ABBA. ABBA were huge in those days. I used to love watching Countdown on Sunday nights. I remember when ABBA’s Fernando was the number one hit for weeks and weeks – and it finished off Countdown for so many weeks… They were the sort of group that everyone said they hated but still sold so many Albums – so an awful lot of people that said they hated them must have been buying their music!

I didn’t see ELO or Bryan Ferry…which is a shame… I love Bryan Ferry’s music and he is a pretty sexy guy! Interestingly I havent been back to see any of these artists in more recent concerts – except for Neil…. I think Rod Stewart is great as a gravel voiced crooner (have several of his recent albums) but somehow I think I prefer to live with the memories I have of them when we were all younger! I also cant bear to see tribute singers or bands – I’d rather be home listening to the real thing…

Then I have an eclectic collection of other music from those days.. love dancing to Status Quo, saw Suzie Q at the Beatty Park Aquatic Centre – she lifted off the roof, saw Stevie Wonder…and John Denver a couple of times- all country folk and apple pie.

My friends went to Uni and they often had music sessions there… I remember seeing Mike McClelland there and maybe Ross Ryan… I have several of their albums…

And all those sad melancholy albums about love lost and life. Janis Ian was a great favourite of mine – but many of them were very sad songs. Demis Roussos was also into love songs…I remember playing him a lot when my boyfriend (now hubby) was travelling around Europe without me. And Lobo….. I still hear his songs on the radio and they bring back those years of teenage angst. My Lobo Album has a scratch on it and many of my favourite songs have a skip in them – so I had to find his music online to be able to get the songs without that added extra. Also Cat Stevens…loved his simple music and the messages within them…. Boney M was exotic melodies – probably introduced to me by Countdown. Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young, along with Bob Dillon were probably an influence from my (more sophisticated) Uni friends.

I also have about four America Albums…. and a Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and The Eagles…. I think I was influenced by a couple of my Uni friends to get into those bands – they were really into them whereas my tastes were different and I doubt I would have developed a taste for them otherwise..

I also have a lot of Rick Wakeman music. Don’t hear that on the radio much these days…I will have to go back and listen to them again…

I have a few Australian Bands as well. I remember travelling down from the country and staying at the White Sands hotel with my girlfriends and going to see Ol 55 who were performing at that pub that night. These were clearly influenced by Countdown…

The rest of my collection – some Beatles music – I was just too late to be a Beatles fan – but I do have their various incarnations since – John Lennon, Wings … I also have a few compilation albums popular in those days – all showing a popular and unsophisticated range of music tastes…

Also a lot of ‘rock’ musicals – remember the first versions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell….. who didn’t cry in The Rose, or Love Story or Sunshine??? Does anyone else remember Tommy with The Who?? Grease is still my favourite musical (along with Mary Poppins – but that’s another story) – and have seen many versions – but Olivia and John are still the best!

The oldest record I have is a Connie Francis one that I pinched from my older brother. I loved that album – still do….. Lipstick on your collar, Tenesee waltz….. just beautiful…

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They always say that a certain song will always provoke a memory…. That memory and music are closely related….. and that is true. I remember a song called ‘Toast and Marmalade for Tea’ was a big hit when I was studying for my Leaving…. hardly ever hear it on the radio now tho so must have been a very tiny hit!! I just looked it up – was an Australian song…as Molly would say – Do yourself a favour and listen to it.. Toast & Marmalade for Tea – Tin Tin

Whenever I hear a Meatloaf song I am reminded of driving up and down to my country home, sometimes three times a week, when my Mum was dying. I used to turn it up full blast as I drove and sing loudly – it kept me awake on those long drives and perhaps screaming out the songs helped with my grief and sadness at the time. However I also remember that listening to Meatloaf tended to make you speed!!

Happy Birthday Helen is a song I always associate with my daughter as it is a song we always play on her birthday….

So my trip down memory lane has finished… hope it reminded you of the music that means something to you….. it certainly bought back those years of the 70’s and 80’s to me…. and my 200 vinyl albums will stay in my cupboard so that sometimes I can listen to them and remember my younger days….

Games I Remember

The topic I set myself (and my family) for this month was Games I Remember playing.

Games I remember playing

I can think of so many games we used to play – mainly outdoors and mainly at school. I guess the one thing we can be sure of is that computer games will not be part of my memories!

I can remember lots of games we used to play at primary school. And there used to be fads of certain games – everyone would play something for a few weeks, then it would be something else… and these few games used to then reappear about once or twice a year.

A popular thing was what we called “elastics”. Our Mums sewing drawers used to get raided for the quarter inch elastic and you used to make a circle of elastic that would stretch to about 2 yards. It was a hopping or skipping game that got harder and higher as you progressed. It started with two kids about 2 yards apart with the elastic around their ankles. The ‘hopper’ used to have to jump inside the elastics and then do various skills with the elastics like jumping onto them, turning around and landing on them again etc. If you managed that the elastic went up to the knee level, then hip level and finally the waist level.  I was pretty hopeless at it as I am pretty unco so I used to end up holding the elastic a lot while other more athletic kids played the game. Still – you were involved – so that was good.

And of course then there were all the skipping and hopping games. There was the individual skipping games where you held the rope as well as skipped but there was also the group skipping games. The school used to have long pieces of rope that we could use for the group skipping games. And there was a couple of songs you sung while you skipped. I can remember two:

Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, turn around,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, touch the ground,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, tie your shoe,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, read the news,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, climb upstairs,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, say your prayers,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, turn out the light,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, say goodnight!

and…

Dickie Birds (four players—one at each end of the rope, two jumping)

Two little dickie birds sittin’ on the wall, (the two players jump in)
One named Peter, one named Paul, (each player waves at their name)
Fly away, Peter, fly away, Paul, (the player exits the rope as name is called)
Don’t come back ‘till your birthday’s called—January, February…
December, (the player returns when their month is called)
Now fly away, fly away, fly away all. (both players exit the rope)

There was prestige attached to being a good skipper but it was also important to have two good people turning the ropes at an even pace. I went to school at a country Junior high and I can remember massive skipping games with the older boys turning long ropes with about 30 people hopping at the same time. And if you stopped the rope you were out of the game!! Needless to say I often stopped the rope and was out of those big games quite early. I doubt that the high school kids would turn a rope for the younger kids in this day and age….

Another hopping game was hopscotch. The games would be drawn in the sand around the school – and sometimes with chalk on the quadrangle or tennis courts. It was always important to have a really good throwing stone and you often had a favourite stone that you kept just for the hopscotch!

I can remember playing knucklebones with all my friends. I feel as though we didn’t buy the knucklebones (they were sheep knucklebones) so not sure if Dad got them for us around the farm or if we did buy them. That was another skill game where you threw the knucklebone in the air while picking up or moving the knucklebones left on the ground. The perfect knucklebone was just the right weight and size and you all had your “favourite” bone you used for tricks! There was pick up twos and threes, clicks and no clicks and horse in the stable tricks.

And of course there was “doogs” or marbles. They were huge crazes as the boys used to play as well – in fact I can remember it being bought up at assemblies as parents sometimes complained because the boys would lose all their marbles to the other boys and Mums would be getting asked to buy more all the time!! It was real sheep station stuff!! You used to have your little (or big) bag of marbles and people used to have their favourite ones.. The big ones were Tom-bowlers or ‘Toms” and there were ‘cats eyes’, ‘taws’, ‘ducks’ and there were lots of different games and strategies that you could play.

elastics

hopscotch

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I remember games of Dodge on the tennis courts. We used to use the painted lines on the tennis courts as the boundaries. That was another game that would start off with most of the school participating.

Then of course there was always ‘Hidey’ and ‘Chasey’ that you played with your friends around the school and school buildings. And I remember there was a couple of areas of bush that we used to build cubby houses and have great imaginary games in them.

I don’t remember playing many games at home. I think by the time we got home from school there didn’t seem to be much time. My brother and I used to play draughts and games like Monopoly and Squatter but not very often. They were more holiday games I think. Dad taught me how to play Chess and I used to play him occasionally but I was never very good.

Certainly the games we used to play then are probably very different than they play these days. They were games that cost very little to do and could involve different ages and altho I am sure there were older kids at the school that didn’t join in, it seemed to me as a primary school kid that a lot of the older kids were around.

Toys I remember

I think the two main ones I can remember are a lovely big teddy bear and a bride doll.

I can always remember the teddy bear. It is one of those old fashioned teddies with yellow fur, moveable arms and legs, and growled when you leaned it forward. I think it was originally one of my older siblings bear but I inherited it. By the time I got it some of the fur had been rubbed off, my Mum had restitched a couple of the seams and the growl no longer worked. I have photos of me with it from when I was quite small. I named him Winnie the Pooh as that was my favourite book that Mum read to me at night. I still have this bear. My kids had it when they were young but neither of them were as attached to him as I was.

brown jenny089     brown jenny093

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I also had a lovely bride doll with beautiful golden hair. I can remember getting her for Christmas when I was quite small. I found her on the end of my bed (where our gifts were always left by Father Christmas). She had long golden yellow hair and my mum had made her clothes. Over the years Mum made more clothes for her. I still have this dolly as well.

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Other toys I can remember are electric train set, meccano, Building blocks and dinky toys.

The Meccano, building blocks and dinky toys I think belonged to my brother but we played with them a lot. We built lots of great buildings with the Building clocks. They were like the precursors of Lego and came in Red and white “bricks”. With half bricks so you could build a strong overlapping walls. My brother used to build great machines with the Meccano and used to have huge networks of roads and buildings for the dinky toys. I know we had a grader so that was used to build lots of roads.. We would have whole cities set up all over the road in front of the house in the sand.

The electric trains belonged to my older brothers. The trains were beautiful and very solid – and I think they were quite expensive. Sometimes the tracks were set up in a room or on a table for quite a long time and I used to love playing with them! We weren’t supposed to play with them as they were so valuable! I can quite understand why there are grown men that still play with trains….

bricks       Meccano

matchbox    dinky

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I wanted to find some pictures of some of these old toys – and had a wonderful couple of hours reading all sorts of information about these old toys. I wonder where our old electric trains are? I know I still have some of my sons old trucks and cars. And where that Meccano and those building blocks ended up?

 

Personal Stories

I set myself a goal to write a personal story at least every month with the idea that by the end of the year I would have created a small book about who I am and what I have done.

Instead of it just being a boring recounting of my life and events I hope this will be a more interesting way to write my story – and hopefully more interesting for people to read in the future.

The first topic was ‘My Favourite Toys’. I enjoyed writing it so much it really inspired me – and so I set the same challenge for my family and friends.

And now I would like to set this same challenge for my readers…. so at the end of the year you too will have a record of your thoughts and memories for future generations…..

I will set the topic each month and will publish mine for you to read. I do reserve the right not to publish anything that is too personal! If you would like me to place your story on this site I will be happy to do so. I think it will make interesting reading for us all!

So join with me on this challenge – and I hope to see your stories online…

This months topic is – My Favourite Toys

And to start you thinking the next topic will be – The games we used to play.