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Sunday, January 21, 2018


My last post was about an old school uniform that I wore in my Grade 11 and 12 high school years. Well it just so happens that years ago I also found a diary that I wrote throughout 1968. I actually thought that I had thrown it out years ago. I toyed with writing about my life then by taking excerpts from the diary but then couldn't find it. Must have thrown it out after all, I said to myself and thought no more about it. 

But late last year I just happened to come across this tricky little artifact in a drawer and thought that 2018 might be a perfect time to write about what life was like for me 50 years ago.
When I reread some of the pages recently I wasn't particularly impressed with my 16/17 year old self. I seemed to be quite 'preoccupied with boys' and I reckon I was quite boring. Lol. But reading pages in the last week, it was interesting to note background happenings to my life. It was certainly a 'different time'; so different to the world my girls grew up in in the 1980s/90s!

So what sort of things did I get up to in January 1968?
It was still school holidays here of course as those long summer holidays here are December/January.
January 4 that year was the first anniversary of my father's death, but it only rated a single sentence in my diary entry...interesting?
I wrote about the weather being hot and that on January 1 I sunbathed for the first time in a 'two piece', and got sunburned down one side of my body. I remember these togs being 'hand me downs' from an older friend and they were yellow...and I thought I was just sooooo cool wearing them! Lol 😎.
On another day, a friend of my mother and her 3 children took mum and I for a day trip to the beach...Redcliffe. I wrote in my diary how we discovered we were swimming near a sewerage outlet with all sorts of 'things' floating by...eewww! 😕😕😕. I went on to write that we washed ourselves off and went to Shorncliffe beach where we got stung by sea lice. At least nowadays  those beaches on the peninsula  no longer have sewerage outlet pipes going out into the sea. Just as well!

In those days, town ( Brisbane central business district) was a shortish tram ride from my suburb. Suburban picture theatres had gradually been closing up through the sixties, so we tended to go to 'the  pictures' in the city. On January 4 that year I had an outing to the city...first an organ recital at the City Hall and then in the afternoon, I went to the movies. I don't mention who with but I wouldn't think that I  was on my own. The movie was 'Georgy Girl' starring Lynne Redgrave.

I'd forgotten all that until I read it in that diary! Lol. Reading on in that entry I saw that there was a tram strike for a few hours that day and that I was late home waiting for the tram staff to come back to work. Looking back, I think I know the reason for that short strike. It would have been announced that trams would be scrapped completely in 1969 and replaced by buses. There would be no conductors on the buses so the union was fighting for all the men ( and a few women) who would be left without jobs when the trams were taken off.
Here's an old photo of the main road through my suburb in the 1960s and there's a tram in the middle of the photo. Trust me when I say, that other than newer models of cars on that road, this road and the building on either side were still the same in 1968!
Source Brisbane Images BCC-B54-15239

Facing the other! You could park your car at the side of the main road then! 😮
Source Brisbane Images BCC-B54-15236

Source Brisbane Images BCC-B54-15237

Other entries in the diary talked about my love of sewing. I would often make a dress especially for a Saturday night...often beginning the process of cutting out on Thursday or Friday night and sewing up on Saturday! But the styles were usually simple shift dresses with just some bust darts for shaping. I used my mum's old 1945 model Singer with its knee control and just straight stitch. But that machine and I made many outfits, from nighties to ball gowns, from shifts to jackets!

An entry in early January 1968, I describe how I was making a shoestring dress, but sad to say, I have no recollection of what it was like
On Saturday, January 6 1968, it seems I had a busy day. Firstly in the morning, I went into the Valley (Fortitude Valley, once considered a must go to for shopping!), specifically to go to the free disco called TC's which was in the department store, TC Beirnes. That morning  Tony Worsley ( Aussie pop star of the 60s) was performing and apparently a pop group known as the National Reps. I do remember loving these performances and being so close to pop stars. :-)

In the afternoon, according to my diary, along with a number of other students from my high school, I stood outside the Enoggera Catholic church to catch a glimpse of my geography teacher Miss Mudge at her wedding to the maths teacher, Mr Mahony...oh lordy, such memories! I still see this couple occasionally at the local shops or school reunions!

In another entry I wrote about visiting a friend's home and being entertained there by her dad playing the rolls on their pianola. We would gather around the pianola and sing all the old songs with great gusto. I thought my friend and her parents were so lucky to have a pianola and I vowed to buy one 'when I grew up and got rich enough to buy one! lol. A few years ago I realised that I could afford one, but I decided I didn't want one after all. How fickle am I lol!!!
I think that throughout this year, I will tell you more about the year I turned 17.
(Do you know, according to my diary, I ironed for people to earn pocket seems I had about 6 clientele ( mum's friends, neighbours, married daughters of neighbours who worked fulltime and wanted husband's long-sleeved shirts ironed; seemed to be quite a nice little earner.)


Dorothy said...

I loved this blog post Maria ... so very interesting. I've been writing about my past (aimed at the grandkids) with a U3A group since early last year and have been enjoying not only my own stories but those of the other group members as well. Maybe you have inspired me to share some of my stories on my blog ... hmmm might think about that.

Kate said...

Those were the days, Maria! I really enjoyed this post.

Lin said...

This is so interesting Maria - thank you for sharing. xx

mamasmercantile said...

How wonderful to still have your diary and be able to reflect on earlier years. Loved seeing the old singer, that must bring back some wonderful memories of all your outfits over the years.

Cynthia said...

I just love this! You are brave to look back at those years. I'm not so brave as I remember being very silly at that age. I also learned to sew on my mom's sewing machine (in rural Wisconsin, USA) which was the exact same as yours. Isn't that amazing? I will be looking forward to your monthly installments.

angela said...

What a treasure.
January 3rd 1968 I turned one year old!
Love the old pics of Brisbane. It just looks like a big country town
Look forward to hearing more from your diary

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

Just love it 😍 I hope 🤞

Michelle Ridgway said...

What a treasure to read about your younger self! Loved your post Maria...especially relate to the whipping up the "Saturday night frock" lol! Oh and TCs....thanks for the memory jog xx

Vireya said...

So glad you found it! Firstly it is wonderful that you even kept up writing the diary, and doubly wonderful that you kept it all these years. I know I have torn up and thrown out things I wrote when I was younger as I was just too embarrassed by them when I ready them a few years later. Now I wish I could go back and read the stuff I destroyed.

It is fascinating reflecting on how times have changed. I was in grade 6 that year, and my big achievement was being allowed to go to Box Hill (the next suburb over, which had lots of shops) by bus with a friend. It must have been during the school holidays. I felt so grown up being able to do something without parents!

Sue (this n that) said...

How good that you kept up with your diary... and that it wasn't thrown out after all.

Isn't it funny how our priorities change as we go through the years. I had a chuckle where you wrote where you weren't particularly impressed with your 16/17 yo self... same here, but we were so very young weren't we!

You did a lot of sewing even back then! I remember the shifts, they were so easy to make weren't they... I did a few and felt quite proud :D)

It was really nice reading your post, thanks so much for sharing it.