Those were the Days my Love


You thought it would never end, but while it might still be some years away; end it will.

I remember those first memories as if it was yesterday. That of holding my mother’s hand, except it wasn’t mum but a strange lady in the soup kitchen of Rotterdam 1944.  In the confusion of many mums and many children with metal buckets waiting to be filled, I had taken a mum’s hand which wasn’t my mother’s. This was my first moment of total panic and of freaking out.  It was resolved within seconds but the forgetting of this, never. How odd, that links to mothers are so important that the comfort of holding a hand can leave such lasting impressions. I mean, I was holding someone’s hand and it was only when looking upwards I became aware of the hand not being my mother’s. So what was the big deal? Perhaps during those war years with cold winters and gnawing hunger, filling buckets with soup was the primary concern by mothers with skinny children. I am sure my mother hadn’t deliberately let go of her skinny son’s hand. The metal bucket that my mother carried was green as was the little kerosene cooking stove that she used to prime by pumping. It was my right hand that my mother had let go off.

The years rushed by and then we married, we had our first, our second, our third child…. Vasectomy…. Enough now of pro-creation. Dr.Barbara Simcock of the Australian Family Planning Association performed the operation. ‘Make sure you keep using condoms for at least the next 6 weeks,” was her sage advice.  Here take some, they are multi coloured and they glow in the dark, she added before tending to the next man who I had briefly met in the waiting room. He had a beard and looked a bit anxious and pale, but he also had four children. Then after six weeks I had to take a sample to the ‘semen expert’ who would try and detect if any life ones survived since the operation and the use of those coloured condoms (glowing under the bed sheets). The butcher who had watched a channel 9 TV segment on my vasectomy said triumphantly;” I saw you on the Telly yesterday, you had it cut off”, ha-ha ha…” Your usual two kilo of sausages?”

Those were the days, forever and for more. Those were also the days of the tribal rock musical ‘Hair’ with its’ Age of Aquarius’ with long hair and tentative first bong trials and errors. We rolled the bong and felt real ‘with it’ especially after having, for the first time ‘ever’ in public, seen the lineup of nudes at the Hair musical at Kings Cross theatre. The first display of pubic hair IN PUBLIC!  It had trouble getting through the sensors. One condition of allowing the nudity was that the actors were to stand frozen. Nothing would be allowed to move or dangle. Police on horse-back with batons drawn were outside the theatre.  Any body part moving and hell would break out. The actors were also not allowed to undress on the stage. The problem was resolved by the actors getting undressed under a huge canvas sheet. When the moment arrived that the whole audience had waited for, (with baited breath) you could hear a pin drop. The canvas sheet would be hoisted up, et voila, real live nudes. Standing, in situ, like a set from Madame Tussauds Wax museum. Eroticism came in modest form during those times.

The show was hugely popular and went on even longer than ‘The Sound of Music,’ which was not quite as erotic.

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8 Responses to “Those were the Days my Love”

  1. Vectis Lad Says:

    I didn’t get to Rotterdam until the 1950s. They were rebuilding it then. Cranes everywhere; modern by London Standards.

    Imagine if you had gay parents?? I wonder who would have held your little hand?

    Good little story gasectomy.


  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    You must be at least my age to remember the cranes etc rebuilding bombed out Rotterdam. I suppose if my parents had been gay I would have held the hand of either one of them just as happily and they would have held my hand lovingly as well!.


    • Vectis Lad Says:

      No. It must have been the second wave.

      Don’t forget The Germans bombed it into obliteration.

      The building went on for years–then they decided it was all wrong–so they rebuilt areas. Round the 80s, I think.

      I have been there about 5 times, however the memories are dim.

      As I have mentioned before, my family had wonderful, close frinds there. We met them on the voyage out to Indonesia. Well I got friendly with the son and daughter, Herbert and Annelise, then my Mum became friendly with Francis, the children’s mother.

      We travelled on The Willum Ruys and I have some B & W photos somewhere.

      It was later on that I went back and stayed in Den Haag, with the family.


  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    I was born in Rotterdam just a few months after it was bombed and remember the dreadful ruins and the rebuilding of it after the war as a young child wandering around the harbour.


    • Vectis Lad Says:

      Parts of it were very modern, to me, anyway. I remember smoking a Peter Stuyvesant, in one of the modern toilets in a very long street, near the water/river/harbour, or something .

      I was trying to feel grown up. My Mum didn’t know, she was window shopping.


  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    I did not join the Peter Stuyvesant generation till we came here and even then I bought Graven A in packets of 10. ( once a week a bottle of ‘Fanta’.)


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