Spaces & Places
Maggie is our host this week for Throwback Thursday and the questions are about where we grew up. I was born in England and lived there until I was eight years old, the rest of my childhood and teenage years were lived in Australia where we lived in two different suburbs of Adelaide.
Did you grow up in an urban or a rural environment? How would you describe the geographic area where you lived? Was it mostly buildings or mostly trees? Four seasons, or always warm or cold?
Until we moved to Tasmania I always lived in suburban areas. Romford, where we lived in England is on the outskirts of London and although there are parks and gardens there my main memory is of streets and buildings. Then we came to Australia and we lived in the outer suburb of Elizabeth, about 25kms from Adelaide. Elizabeth was a new city. In 1966 when we arrived it had only been in existence for eleven years so there were lots of new houses on big blocks. It was all nicely laid out; the shopping centres were landscaped with trees and flower beds. Up the road from where we lived was a plantation of Radiata Pines. I am not sure if they were meant to be urban greenspace or if they served some other purpose but I enjoyed walking amongst them. It was much warmer in Australia than I was used to but the heat didn’t bother me as much then as it does now. If it got to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we kids thought that was pretty exciting. Also, they let us go home from school early, no air-conditioning in the classrooms.
What about the place in which you resided? Was it a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a boat, or something else? Did you like it and do you miss it now?
In Romford we lived in a council flat and then a council house which was part of a row. When we came to Elizabeth, we lived with relatives at first and then moved to a semi-detached rental house. Later, when mum remarried, we moved to a house in another suburb. I liked the places, except for living with relatives, too many people in too few rooms made things very tense at times. I can’t say that I miss any of them though.
What about the bedroom you had in the home? Did you share it with someone or did you have it all to yourself? If you shared, with whom? How was the space decorated?
In the flat in Romford, I had my own room, the “box room”. It was tiny but then so was I. At the next house Naomi and I shared a room. When we got our own house in Elizabeth, I had my own bedroom again. I don’t recall much about the decor. It was a rented place so we didn’t change it much. My next room, the one I had a teenager I had posters on my walls. I remember having the posters from The Beatles White Album on the walls.
When you did family activities at home, in what room did you spend your time? What did you do together? TV? Cards? Board Games? Reading?
We have always been kitchen people. Sitting around the kitchen table drinking tea and talking. We did play board games. At the Elizabeth house the kitchen table was the best for that but in the next house we had a dining room table as well so we did those sorts of things there. I did spend a lot of time in my own room though, reading or playing records.
Did your friends’ living situation seem similar to your own? Did you prefer to be at your friend’s home or did you prefer your own? Did your friends like to hang out at your house?
I didn’t hang out at friend’s houses all that much. I do remember my best friends’ homes. They lived in houses their parents had bought, not a rental like ours but I didn’t give that a lot of thought. I just preferred being at home.
What kind of school did you attend? Large or small? Religious or secular? Public or private?
We went to government schools; it was the boomer years so there were a lot of kids. Every class had about forty children in it.
Did you attend church, synagogue, temple, or some other religious facility? If so, was it large and ornate, or small and homey? Did you feel comfortable there?
No, we didn’t. The only exception was when we lived with our relations. Their house was next door to a church that was being built and when it opened the adults made us kids go. I think we only went the one time. I didn’t feel comfortable at all because I had no idea what I was supposed to do. It wasn’t a large church, a plain brick building in a simple style. It was a New Apostolic church and I had never even heard of that sect before. We were all Church of England. My only other memory of church visits was my youngest cousin’s christening and family weddings.
Did you have a hang out spot? Skating rink? Mall? Burger joint? Bowling alley? Friend’s house?
No, my hangout was home.
Where did you typically go on dates (if you dated)? Movies? Out to a restaurant? At home watching tv? Library? Gym? Dances? Clubs? Mall?
I didn’t date until I was nearly 18.
What kind of place did you live in when you first moved away from home? Was it a big adjustment or were you ready to strike out on your own? Describe your first place.
When I first moved away from home, I was twenty and that was when David and I got married. We were lucky to get a Housing Trust flat where we lived for a year until we bought our first home. Neither of us had lived away from home before so it was an adjustment but I really liked looking after our place and doing my own grocery shopping and cooking our meals.
The flat was in a complex of about 90 flats built in the late 1950s and we were on the second of three floors. I’m unsure if they are still there. They were a few years ago. We had two bedrooms and a balcony which I thought was cool. There was no laundry, I had to use a communal laundry room. That was uncomfortable for me. I was unfamiliar with the washing machines and one of the neighbours complained to the building supervisor that I left water in it one time. I don’t know why she could not have just talked to me.
I don’t think that the supervisor liked young people much. He gave us a big lecture about being quiet and not messing the place up when we came although you could not have found two quieter young people than we were. Another time we had a faulty light switch in our bathroom and called maintenance. The supervisor all but accused us of having somehow broken it even though the electrician who fixed it said it was just a fault. I liked the flat but I was happy to leave because of him.
It is always so interesting to see how other people grew up. I cannot imagine moving to a different continent! I have always had such curiosity about Australia I would probably have loved it, except for the heat.
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I think maybe that childhood experience made it easier for me to move to Tasmania years later when neither of us knew anyone here.
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