My first view of naked Woman.


Retrospection is the reward and pay off for getting old when past events outweigh future, at least in quantity if not quality as well. How did we fare is not an unreasonable question that might arise out of those people faced with the possibility of soon not even able to wonder anything anymore, let alone those questions pertaining to life’s achievements.

How do the scales weigh? Here is what happened during some earlier years; 1956 in fact. This could be seen as giving at least some background or grounding for the unfurling of some sort of life into the future.

After having been wined and dined on our boat (Johan Van OldenBarnevelt) for over 5 weeks or so, the bus trip from Sydney’s Circular Quay to our camp at Scheyville, interrupted by the driver’s ‘pub-stop’ at Home-bush’s Locomotive for a couple of schooners, having calmly left a busload of anxious and nervous European migrants in the sweltering February heat, our arrival at the camp’s Nissen Huts was somewhat of a difficult transition.

After all; the mellow sounds of the violin, piano, with twanging base and the brass instrument (was it a saxophone?) still reverberating from the luxury liner evening soirees ringing in our ears needed more time than just the 3 hour bus trip to our camp…The lingering and haunting tune of Dean Martin; ‘Was it on the Isle of Capri where I met you,’ clashed violently with the lurid car sales yards signage and yawning bonnets of Parramatta Rd, Sydney. Can you imagine?

My mum thought those Nissen huts were for the push-bikes. Yes, but why are there mattresses inside, my dad queried with his Dutch pragmatism coming strongly to the fore? Having to flick maggots of the mutton chops did it for my poor dad. He went on one of those mattresses for two weeks, utterly depressed. He finally got up and put on his polished fine shoes, laced them up and decided to at least move… We moved away from the camp and shared an old half demolished house in the middle of old Mr.Pyne’s timber yard on Woodville Rd, at Guildford, with another Dutch family.  The yard contained stacks of building timbers, baths, bricks and an old 1946 Chevy Ute on three wheels, a Sheppard dog on three legs and a generous abundance of very fast rats outrunning the dog.

They were old friends from the period of war torn bombed out Rotterdam and had migrated to Australia in 1951. No doubt they had experienced the Nissan Hut and maggot delights far more heroically than us, or actually my dad. My mum was made of sterner stuff.

I made the best of it. It was in the camp’s flimsily built shower partitions that I viewed for the very first time a woman’s pubic bush, having peeked through a slight gap between the partitions separating males from females. I was fifteen. I had already seen naked breast in a ‘native African’ news reel in The Hague, a year or so before migration and had lived of that ever since. Considering the daily inspection of food possibly laden with maggots, the very first view of something I was so curious about was a bonus. I leaped with joy. My teen years’ patience was rewarded and had come to full fruition. Well, not fully, that came later, all in good time though, I was still young.

That view of my first female pubic bush in Scheyville migrant camp made up a hell of a lot, considering all the misery that my parents experienced. The woman was a Polish mother of three children. I used to pass her briefly on the way to our huts to eat our meals, hopefully without any extras. I looked her in the eye deciding I would be honest with my little secret, at least by not avoiding her gaze. Was she suspecting something?

I am still gasping over my parents’ bravery. How did they do it with six children?

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13 Responses to “My first view of naked Woman.”

  1. frangipani Says:

    My maternal grandparents emigrated to Canada in the late 20s. My grandmother had grown up in a country manor house in the UK (her father was the tenant, not the owner, of the house and the large farm surrounding it). She married my grandfather, who was the scion of a well-to-do merchant family, and off they went on a boat across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal, and up to Vancouver Island. Three kids in tow. They travelled in comfort, though – it was a freighter that carried a few passengers, and not one of the immigrant boats of the era.

    Then my middle class English grandmother had to cope with living in a coastal village 50 km out of the only town, with the most primitive of living conditions and not much money coming in (granddad was a terrible businessman). She rode a motorcycle on a dirt road 60 miles up the island once – very hard to imagine for my enormously proper grandma. .The children grew up learning to fish, boat, and hunt, from the moment they arrived (hunting wasn’t a sport back then, it was a way of feeding the family). Grandma, with her proper English ways, had trouble coping with the much rougher and readier Canadians. She and granddad both got along well with the local Indians, though.

    And then it all went bad, they moved into the town, and left the little village forever. There’s still a plaque there to the youngest of the three kids, though, killed in the war. And my mother, now 95, still thinks of Sooke as her home, damn near 80 years after they left it.



    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That’s some story frangipani.
      At the time when my parents decided to migrate to Australia many Dutch also migrated to Canada and my best school-friend and his parents did just that. He wrote me a letter saying how everyone seemed to have guns for hunting .
      When I arrived in Australia I bought a BSA 22 rifle after a couple of years and went rabbit shooting with my brother and fulfilled a dream that I nurtured in Holland before coming out here.
      I think your grandparents were, like so many, very brave in doing things for a better future.
      Ps. I have my Sony E-reader but find it hard to load books. I’ll persevere for another couple of days.
      Thanks for your bit of history.


      • frangipani Says:

        @Gerard – I load the books to the computer, then sync to the e-reader. You need (for reasons I don’t understand) to have Adobe Digital Editions on your computer. I haven’t had a problem at all. The on-line instructions explain the process pretty well, I think.

        As it happens, two of my best friends in school back in the late fifties were Dutch – their folks migrated after the war. As you say, lots of Dutch in Canada – I think the fact that Canadians were involved in the liberation of the Netherlands, and that the Queen spent the war in Canada, created a link. Did you know, Ottawa still has a tulip festival linked to the Royal family in exile there?


    • berlioz1935 Says:

      What a great story, frangipani. In those days every day was tough. People today have no idea.


  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thanks for the E-book instructions. I’ll have another go to morrow. I have the link to Adobe Digital and have a book waiting in the wings, but…In the meantime I am reading Jules Verne’s 80 days etc which came with the E-reader.
    Yes, I knew about the link of the Royal Faily and Canada. I even remember the Canadians being greeted by the Dutch in Rotterdam after the liberation of Holland, cheering in the street and Dad given cigarettes. We had real coffee for the first time in years instead of chicory essence. Those were the times.


    • frangipani Says:

      Persevere with the e-reader, because there are a lot of books out there worth re-reading (I’m a bit of a Dickens fan, so that was my first stop on the free book merry-go-round, along with some classic history texts).

      My uncle would have been one of those troops – he was a captain in the South Saskatchewan Rifles (not that he ever in his life lived in Saskatchewan) and used to talk about the liberation.


  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    Sync to the E-reader did the trick. Next I’ll try a ‘free’ book.
    Trust a Canadian to come to the rescue.!


    • frangipani Says:

      Ah well, we Canucks may not be noted for passion but we are noted for logic. The Quebecois are noted for both.


  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Stories like this are the reward we get by simply growing old How in the world did she doit>


  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    You are most kind from the land of the sweet. You have a nice day. It’s Mother’s day here, so…euphoria to all the mothers.


  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    A memorable story Gerard. Yes, we do have so much more to remember don’t we? My”origin” story goes back much further, as my forebears came to America from England in 1630, and I have no record of how or why they came, However, I have a very complete geneology of those early peoplel thanks to my cousin who makes sure I get all the papers! My native American friends laugh and say we are ALL newcomers, since they were always here!


  7. berlioz1935 Says:

    We went to Bonnegilla first and then to the Balgownie Hostel at Fairymeadow. The culture shock was big and the food was mainly mutton, but without the extra protein.

    The steel works, with its blast furnace, was as dangerous as a war zone. When we produced a world record we got a bag of chewing gum for our effort.

    There were heaps of Dutch migrants too. One read German Wild-West booklets.

    The Aussies bought potato chips wrapped up in newspapers and the afternoon papers they read from the back page backwards..

    It was a strange country – Ossieland. Our little English was absolutely worthless because Australians spoke their own slang without opening their mouth.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Hello Berlioz 1935.

      Yes those were the days. It was strange. Our very first train trip had a conductor who was blind drunk. My father just about passed out. The man keps saying; show us your f**c**ng ticket. Never ever would it come about that a conductor on a Dutch train would be drunk. We felt as if the world had abanded us and that we had landed in some sort of unlawful hell. Of course as time went by we got used to this ‘strange’ country and its cuture.
      Thank you for passing by Berlioz. Drop in anytime.


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