Saturday, 9 June 2012

Dial a Sailor

I am sitting here going through a book that I have called The Mothers Book. Its a book that was given to me one Christmas by a friend. You fill it out and give it to your daughter or son. It was put out by a woman whose mother was dying and all the things she wanted to know about her mum before she passed. So mothers answer the questions in it, so your children really get to know you. One of the questions in it had me remembering this time in my life and giving me a giggle.

Actually it is two moments in my life. Both were 1982, the year I turned 20.

I can't remember which one came first, but we will start with the heavy metal band. A friend from school Tracey Latter was working for a skin specialist on Wickham Terrace. She rang me up and asked what I was doing that night. Being a Friday night I was only going to hang out at the Strand Hotel, so told her nothing much. She told me that one of the guys from Iron Maiden had been in to see the doctor and asked her to come out and bring a friend. 'Did I want to go?'

Hell Yeah!!! We met up after work, got ourselves dolled up, ready for a fantastic time on the town. How great was this going to be!! Tracey had arranged that we would meet the guys in the reception of the Park Royal Motel, where they were staying. They were waiting and said they had the night planned.

Oh what a night. Now your thinking, drinking, partying, wild times..... I know we were. What did we do? First we went to the movies to see Monty Python. Then it was off to Jo Jo's in Queen Street for drinks and for a friend of theirs to meet us. This guy sat down chatting. Turns out he was a tennis player. I asked him who he played for and he said 'here'. I was 'Here where?' Him, 'Here Australia'. 'Oh, sorry I don't know you'. His name - Pat Cash.

Anyway, after a few quiet drinks, the night wrapped up. It was funny as no one believed us when we said we had a really quiet night with them. Their reputation was not the reality.

The second thing I did that year was Dial a Sailor. Yes there was such a thing. The Commonwealth Games were being held in Brisbane and ships had come in from Canada. A radio station (I think it might of been 4IP) was running this thing where girls would ring up and put their name down to take out a sailor while they were in town. I rang and put my name down. It sounded like fun.

I had used work's phone number as my contact. If my mother even had a whiff of what I was doing, my life wouldn't have been worth living. I had been on holidays and got back to find that no one had rung yet. I rang the number that I used to register and they transferred me to a ship. While I was talking to them, someone from another ship rang - the Saskatchewan.

I arranged to meet the first guys with a friend at the docks and we would go to New York nightclub. The ones from the Saskatchewan I would meet on Saturday night. I roped in another friend from school, Ann-Veronica (who only recently said she didn't know how I talked her into it lol ).

So Friday night comes and we drive to pick up these first two guys. I guess Canadians aren't very patient as they had gone ahead instead of waiting for us. So as you do, I rang the guys from the second night and offered for them to come. They jumped at the chance and this saw us going to the nightclub with the ship's doctor and head chef.

We had a ball. We also met up with the other two guys there and it turned into a good night. At the end of the night, the guys invited me to a party on board the following night. Ann-Veronica couldn't come, so I said I would let them know, depending on if I could find someone to come with me - I might have been stupid, but I wasn't stupid enough to go alone. They gave me the ships number to ring the following afternoon to work out what was happening.

A friend from work, Judy, said she would come. So I rang the ship and ended up talking to the Captain. We were having a great conversation, and after warning me to wear jeans that night (due to the upward wind when you climb down into the ship), he said I was to say hello to him when I was there.

Now being the 80's and the height of fashion, I wore pink jeans. Anyone from that era will remember the canvas type fabric that coloured jeans came in haha. To get to the ship, we had to board another one, then they had a gang plank thingy over to the Saskatchewan. We then had to go down some stairs - yes with an upward draft - and into the dining room, where the party was to be held.

Again it was another good night, even when a sailor came over to me "Are you Kerrie?" a tentative "Yes". "Come with me". We went down this alleyway and it had doorways just like on the movies that you had to jump over the bottom of. He stopped in front of a door and opened it for me to go in. It was the Captains private party. I had a drink with them all and some conversation but left as soon as I could. The 'ladies' that were there to entertain them, were giving me dirty looks. haha. At the end of this night, we arranged to take the guys to the Gold Coast the following day.

I have to say that this was a great day. Driving down, we were having digs at each other as to who drives on the wrong side of the road. There was a lot of laughter. One of the places we went to was the 'Chew and Spew' (not its real name, but a cafe in Coolangatta). While sitting eating lunch there were some birds outside on the footpath. They asked me what they were. Not wanting to admit I didn't know, I told them they were finches. 'Oh in Canada we call them Sparrows' was the reply to that. "Really!!, What a weird name" I told them haha. I can just imagine these poor guys going back to Canada and telling everyone that in Australia we call sparrows, finches haha.

That afternoon Judy and I dropped the boys back. It really was a weekend to remember and one that always brings a smile to my face. It was a good year, as it was the one when I left home and moved to the Sunshine Coast to live.

Childhood Memories

Don't you think that kids today have a rough deal? Yes they have better technology than we did and the world is a much easier place for travel, but they really miss out compared to how it was for us.

Back when I was a kid (sounds like I am 100 haha), nearly every family had their own veggie patch and chickens. You would always be woken by a rooster crowing somewhere and the eggs had an almost orange yoke, not the pale yellow of today's store eggs. The flavour of the food was so much more intense. One of the main things I miss, is the tartness of Granny Smith apples. Its one of the reasons I now don't eat apples. I loved the way that first bite would send that little shiver in your mouth and the sour juice would run down your chin. Tomatoes actually had a scent and flavour. Yes they made sandwiches go soggy if they were packed for lunch, but when was the last time you had a tomato that would actually do that?

Because we had a cow, I got to drink fresh warm milk and didn't die because it hadn't been pasteurised or homogenized. We would skim the cream off the top and it would be used to make butter in our butter churn. We made our own mayonnaise - 1 tin condensed milk, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. The only takeaway stores were fish and chip shops - wrapped in newspaper and Jimmy Wah's the local Chinese shop that had the best cat I mean hamburgers. I never got to try pizza until I was in my teens and tuckshop was only on Fridays at school.

Not all food has left happy memories. For the life of me I cannot eat pea and ham soup or tomato soup. We had this constantly. Peter for the same reason cannot eat chicken soup. Because we would butcher our own animals, dad and Lenny Maroske would make sausage and black pudding... one word YUK. But the ducks that dad and I would shoot on our weekends away were lovely, even if you did have to spit out pellets while eating it.

Kids use to be more social within their neighbourhoods. It didn't matter what school that your mates went to, everyone hung out. After doing your homework, you could go and play until dark. Any small creeks meant fishing for yabbies that you would take home for mum to cook up. I was sad to see that a lot of these small creeks from my childhood are now no longer there. And you certainly wouldn't let your children wander the neighbourhood now.

Saturday mornings once we reached high school, were spent going into town to meet friends. Going to Coles to sit either in their booths or the stools at the cafe counter and having a lime spider to drink. Or getting a creamy smooth malted milk in a glass sundae type cup.

How about school holidays and being lucky enough to be home when the baker came around. It meant that we would get a cream bun. Mr Whippy and his nut sundaes - ice cream, chocolate topping, crushed nuts and wafers. Have your kids every seen a Mr Whippy? The home ice cream van just doesn't cut it.

We never had time to say we were bored. There was always something to do. I spent my childhood riding my brothers push bike, fishing, dissecting frogs, playing with the neighbourhood kids, riding my horse and dad's motorbike. We built cubby's in the bush, used ropes to play high jump, skipping and so much more.

Recently I was showing a young person where I use to live and the route I walked to and from school. They were amazed and really when you stop and think about it, not many kids do walk to and from school these days. Oh and I am not talking about a block or two. I use to walk a couple of kms.

Its sad that kids today don't get to experience the fun we had on Guy Fawkes night, or being able to pick the grapes straight from the vine of yours or your neighbours place and stamp on them in a bucket to try to make wine. Even at school they don't seem to do the art class using your Easter egg wrappers to make pictures or the string art on nail and black velvet that we did. Think about how at school we seemed to do all the basic crafts such as knitting and darning. Now its your buy and throw away society.

Today they seem to grow up too fast in some ways and they are very naive in others.  Whether its because the world has gotten smaller through the media or because the world has gotten worse, we now don't allow our kids the freedom to play how we did without worrying.

Sometimes I just wish we could go back to a more simple place to live in, or maybe I just wish I could go back to a time when I could be a kid.