It's all about me

Box Brownie Photos: A little me

BELOW: This photo was recently given to me by my Auntie Joan. I don’t know how old I am – I will ask mum when I see her, soon. It was taken with a Kodak Box Brownie camera by my aunt at my grandfather’s place. Grandpa trained trotters. That’s why there is a sulky in the background.

Christine, young


FEATURED: This other image is possibly one of us with mum. I think it is me. Auntie Joan was not sure if it was our family. Again, mum will know.

Thanks for looking. Have a good day. 🙂

Bite Size Memoir

Bite Size Memoir: Bad Hair Day

Posted for Lisa’s Bite Size Memoir: Bad Hair Day using the 10 ‘I remember’ statements instead of 150 words.

“Velvet”, 5 blocks of yellow soap in single bar, wrapped in red & blue printed paper… From the Powerhouse Museum Collection, NSW, under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial

I remember when my hair was washed once a week, on Sundays. Mum used yellow Velvet soap as there wasn’t shampoo those days. Velvet (now made by Pental) was sold in Northern Australia as Sunlight soap.  Do you remember how hard soap was, once? Nowadays, I remove the packaging right away, to let it dry  out.

Velvet soap, a later style

I remember my sister usually kept her hair short. One day she told me how she had always felt disgusted, standing behind me on the school bus, looking at the dandruff on the shoulders of my high school blazer.


1969, pigtails

I remember wearing my hair in plaits, a ponytail, or pigtails – kept under control with rubber bands, ribbons, scrunchies, hairclips, or headbands. My aunt fixed it in a bun a few times, and I pestered mum to do it every morning before school until the novelty wore off.

1971, single pigtail

I remember the first time I had my hair styled. It was for my first wedding in 1973. It was lovely and boofy for days.

April Fools Day, 1973

April Fools Day, 1973

I remember how your scalp itches like mad as soon as anyone mentions nits or lice. I don’t recall having them at school, myself, but the pesky little critters swept through my children’s primary school. We took preventative action.

I remember cutting my fringe and trimming my hair for years. I thought I did a pretty good job, too. Nowadays, I still just hack at my fringe when I feel like it. Who takes notice of someone nearly sixty! I intend having a trim for my sixtieth.



I remember putting colour rinses  and permanent colours in my hair, usually chestnut or cherry – never ever blonde. The closest I ever got to blonde was tips in the late 80s. My sister peroxided hers, but the idea just never appealed to me.


1989, with blonde tips

I remember the first time I had a perm, an afro of course, about 1980. The hairdresser commented on how uneven my hair ends were. Not surprising. I began using conditioner for the first time after my perm. I still have my afro comb.

1980, with my Japanese penpal. The afro is half grown out by now.

1980, with my Japanese penpal. The afro is half grown out by now.

In 1990, I remember seeing a barmaid with a glorious head of hair of all shades of brown and grey, and I thought to myself, if I go grey like that, I will be happy. Now, in full sunlight, my hair gleams silver.

2011, with my self inflicted style

2011, with my self inflicted style

I remember my sister’s memorial service, one of my nephews saying: “Oh yes, Christine, of course I recognize you. Still got the mullet, I see.”  I had it cut shortly after that.

2011 - shortest haircut - ever

2011 – a few days later with my shortest haircut – ever

Bite Size Memoir

Bite Size Memoir: Crazy!

BITE SIZE MEMOIRBelatedly, this is for Lisa’s Bite Size Memoir: Crazy! (in 150 words). I thought of some really crazy stuff, but decided to play crazy-happy – instead of crazy-stupid or simply crazy-crazy!


As the Footloose Bus approached Queenstown, New Zealand, I rashly declared my intention to Bungee Jump. Only a few weeks before, at home, I’d scoffed, said I wasn’t that crazy.  Apparently I was.


Lined up on the platform to the right … try again, shall we? 5 – 4- 3 – 2 – 1 … …

The waiting was the worst, queuing seemed hours of being deaf and denture-less.

Eventually I moved into place; my ankles wrapped in towels. I didn’t like the way the little frayed hat-elastic ends swirled in the breeze on the sides of the elastic they bound around my ankles.  When I spoke, the attendant laughed and said he would be expecting a huge Australian scream from me. He counted backwards, twice, before I found courage to launch myself into space.

Jumping off

Jumping off


Heading straight down

Heading straight down

Jumping off that bridge, 143 feet above the river, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I heard my scream echoing off the sides of the ravine.


coming back up, still screaming


flicking back up under the bridge, second freefall


Getting lowered down to the inflatable, to be deposited on the bank for the climb back up – to a point a bit lower than the bridge level.


I still can barely believe I did it!

1989 - aka The Ouzo Lady - New Zealand.

1989 – aka The Ouzo Lady – New Zealand.

Bite Size Memoir

Lisa’s Bite Sized Memoir: Gardens

Bite-size No Brainer

When Lisa came back from her break, snowed under with things to do, she gave us a list of words – six of them – and instructions to roll dice to choose the topic. Well, I didn’t like number one, watermelon, so I chose gardens. (Check out Lisa’s watermelon themed post.)  I’ll use the 10 x statements for this memoir, instead of  150 words.  Please ignore the fact the two-week deadline was over a week ago! How did time fly by so fast.

These photos were taken on the 25th October, 1970 with the Box Brownie camera

Welcome to the HAMILTON BOTANICAL GARDENS, Victoria.


The entrance opposite the Police Station.(not the main one)

1. I remember my friend Mavis – shownby the Wishing Well (above) and sitting on the cannon (below)g-cannon

2.I remember the days, before 1970, when there used to be monkeys, housed in a huge iron-barred cage; monkeys with red-painted bottoms and flea picking fingers: we kids adored them and threw peanuts, still in the shell, into the cage.

3. Gray St Primary School, where I was in grade 5, was just over the road, and I remember sneaking off during lunch hour – I was a town kid, so I could have been going home for lunch. Eventually I got caught and banned, so I had to confine my visits until after school, before I walked home.

4. I remember standing for ages in front of each cage, watching every budgie, canary, cockatiel and finch, guinea pig, rabbit, and other animals and birds I can no longer recall: prolonging the enjoyment and wonder.g-rabbits

5. I remember studying the fountain on every visit, as if I had never seen its lions and elaborate carvings before, thrilled if  water cascaded down. I admired the goldfish and waterlilies, too.g-fountain

4. I remember taking a pocket full of stale bread to feed the ducks on the big pond, amazed by the varieties and loving it even more at duckling time.



5. I remember bravely standing my ground if the emus came close to the fence, pretending I wasn’t scared by the booming noise they made in their throats.

g-kangaroos6. I remember  hardly giving the wallabies and kangaroos so much as a glance. I’d seen plenty of those during the long car-trips visiting  grandma.

7. The peacocks! How I loved to see them and admire their sparkling plumage, not knowing that, one day in the future, I would have a pair of my own – breeding and screaming blue murder from the roof, and dancing outside my back door.

8. I remember the swathes of glorious flowers, the names of which I had no knowledge. I would eagerly await the new annual plantings. I would peer into the little greenhouse with half the windows whited over.

9. I remember reading all the exotic names of the trees from all over the world, and marvelling how they had started from just a small seed from another country, so many years ago. I loved autumn.g-peacock

10.But my most remembered memory is of the time, when wagging, I intended having my lunch seated under the huge draping branches of the biggest tree in the gardens, hidden from sight. You cannot imagine the horror that confronted me – there must have been at least a dozen black-and-white robed nuns, taking up all the seats. I backed out of there quick smart. The sight of nuns on the street always frightened me.


It's all about me


No, not the stand-up type, comic books. As you might have noticed in my post a few days back, I’m starting a new course at Coursera this week: Comic Books and Graphic Novels (among others). I was only going to look, but boy, I’ve been hooked big-time. The head lecturer, William Kuskin, is so bloody enthusiastic. He is actually a professor of Medieval Literature and he loves comics because they have the same concept: telling a story with words and pictures.


In just under two months, I’ll need to produce a comic – four pages and a cover. How good is that! Well, it doesn’t have to be good. William assured us that most people aren’t good at drawing – stick figures will be fine.  Just have a go. OK, I’m in, hook, line and sinker.donald duck

Now, this post was prompted by a discussion thread asking people about their favourite comic. I can’t remember now what popped into my head first, but today all sorts of comic characters came to mind. And a lot didn’t, not until I browsed eBay to see if one of the graphic novels recommended was there. It was, but then the comics surfaced. Memories!

wendy witchWas my daughter named after  Wendy the Good Witch? Remember her! – the one in the cute little red jumpsuit.phantom And then, The Phantom, mum’s favourite character, with his dog Devil. Casper the Friendly Ghost, Jughead, Archie, Veronica, Hot Stuff – that naughty little devil with the pointy tail.  Superman, Batman, Spooky, the naughty ghost, Dennis the Menace. Beagle Boys, Donald Duck, Daisy and old Scrooge and the rest of that  Walt Disney gang. supermanMickey Mouse didn’t appeal all that much.spooky
hotstuffbeagle boysAnd how could I ever forget Dagwood Bumstead and Blondie! Mighty Mouse?dagwood

It’s no good – I couldn’t possibly come up with a favourite! Not in a million years.

Unless it is Teena – she was a comic strip in the newspaper and I so wanted to be her, from the time I was eight years old. Mum even agreed that when I became a teenager, I could be called Teena instead of the family nickname of Teen. It didn’t happen, dad refused! As if adding an ‘a’ to my nickname would make be boy-mad and spend all day on the telephone. We never even had a phone, not that I can recall. I borrowed this from Mike Lynch Cartoons Blog.  Climbing trees was great fun. And I actually did go on a debating team in fourth form at high school – and it won!


Do you remember how excited you were, when you got your hands on a new comic to read?  What was your favourite?

Bite Size Memoir

Bite Size Memoir #6: My first Job

I’m still playing catch-up with Lisa’s Bite Size Memoir challenges from the past. Lisa is back from her short break now, so the prompts have begun again. This time, instead of the 150 words, I am using the option of 10 x ‘I remember’ statements.  I was 17 when I began my twelve month State Enrolled Nurse training at the Mount Gambier Hospital, my birthplace, in South Australia. So, here we go… shame I cannot lay my hands on my certificate and badge, and I haven’t a proper photo of me in uniform.

I remember My First Job.

I remember wearing a bright lime green midi-dress, with a gold chain belt, and white boots to my interview with Matron Odgen.

I remember the embarrassment of being examined by kindly Dr Joske, at Casterton, for the health assessment and chest xray.

I remember that first day going into my own room, on the fourth floor: room 407, and getting in trouble at one regular room inspection, months later, for not using Marveer to polish the wooden fitted furniture.

me nurses home

I remember the amazement I felt, that first time, going to the staff cafeteria – the yummy smells, all that food.

I remember I promptly put on weight because it was the first time in my life I’d ever had access to as much food as I could eat – three courses! every day!me blue lake

I think I remember that my uniforms were laundered (the property of the hospital), but I had to iron them, using Fabulon ironing spray: I shrunk my pink woollen mini dress (you can tell) in the wash and also managed to shrink a yellow woollen jumper (which took me months to knit) in the clothes dryer.

me lift




I remember collecting my first pay from the bank and buying a secondhand lounge suite for my mum: I still have a payslip to show you one day.

I remember being scared in my first lift experience: I still am nervous in them. (That’s a classmate in the photo.)

me nursing

The watch my parents gave me when I left home: it was impractical for reading while counting pulses, so I had to get another.

I remember the first body I prepared for the morgue, but I cannot remember her name: I treated her with respect and I cried.

me hotpants

I remember the first time I had to give an injection – the glass plunger fell out TWICE – and, after signing out the drug for the third time, the Sister came and watched, but she still made me do it to the poor woman patient: Over the border, in Victoria, nursing aides didn’t do injections.


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