The magic Car. A matter of opinion.

The old Chevy  ute.

The old Chevy ute.

Photo Google images.

All good things came to an end. We packed up from the Scheyville camp to move in with our Dutch friends who had written to us in Holland about their success in buying their own place within a few years after arrival in Australia. This sounded a dream come true. My mother was especially keen on getting a place with a bathroom. We used to get a coin to visit a public bathhouse in The Hague. The value of the coin would allow a certain time for taking a shower. Of course we could only afford the shortest of showers with the smallest coin, which meant that one had to undress and shower at the speed of lightning. A large angry man would bang on the door when your time had lapsed.

To have a house with a bathroom was a dream too far in Holland and with the glorious letters arriving in Holland from Australia it did not take long for mum to be convinced that our future laid there where a bathroom could be attained within a few years. Dad was more circumspect. However, the colour movie of postmen leaping fences with white toothed smiling owners on such sunny verdant lawns did impress. His wife could be pretty persuasive. While mum was the practical partner, dad was more of the celestial kind. He loved the heavens and stars. Rumors had it he met my mum one evening when he walked into a moving tram while staring at the sky. He had a bleeding fore-head which she wiped tenderly. They were married within a year. Of course indulging in star gazing together with his other passion- short-wave radios, it was a difficult task. Six children would run around the table while shouting, imitating Indians or cowboys, during those far too many rainy days in our upstairs apartment.

Mum became even more practical in later life when she saw the interview on TV of her son having had the knife put to his vas deferens when Helvi was pregnant with number three. “Oh Helvi, if I had my time over again today, I would have done the same.”   “For sure,” she added with gusto.” That was a rather big step for mum, seeing her religion urged all onto,  ‘let the little ones come.’  Still, it is reassuring that being number two in a line of six, at least I am here to tell the tale!  She told me later on she saw the advice of the doctor if he could not have done something with or to my father to prevent further pregnancies, she felt she had more than enough.  Poor dad, surely they  must have enjoyed  conjugal blessings  more than six times?

The move in our friends house I have no memories of. We would have taken the train to Granville followed by the bus to Woodville Road Guildford. I do remember dad asking for the train tickets to Granville but pronouncing it in French. The station master,   “wha’s that maid, sayj je it agin”? It took a while but we finally got the tickets. What I do remember when walking onto our Friends’ property seeing an old car that had a cabin behind the motor part and a tray behind that. They were the remnants of a utility or presently known as the ‘pick up’.  Was this the car that I had fantasized so much about? The car; half sedan that would morph into a truck by the push of a button?  It was that indeed. It still had three wheels and a stack of bricks where the fourth one would have been in better times. I never saw it being driven.

It might have been  ‘all that glitters isn’t gold’,  but this old Chevy ute was sure past magic.

The house that they had bought, or, what they said they had bought, was rambling old but did have a bathroom with a gas geyser at the back in a lean to. It was a bit like the Chevy, had seen better days. It had a rickety but charming veranda with some loose boards and nails sticking out, but facing the sun.  On one side it had a few rows of bricks in the shape of a room. It Holland they had written to us they were planning to put an extra room on so that we would be able to spread out a bit. It must have come to an abrupt end because weeds were growing over the bricks already!

Still in The Hague. My parents

Still in The Hague. My parents

We were overjoyed to be away from the camp and the routine of queuing for chops and peas. It was a great opportunity to get our life in order. Dad was to get a job and mum back to the household routine. She had her  washing machine shipped over from Holland and its arrival in Sydney in perfect timing with moving into the old friend’s house. We were grateful and happy for a number of days. It wasn’t till my father found out he would not be able to get a job within the Government that things turned a bit bleak again. Non British subjects (together with non-whites) were barred from Governmental jobs. He went to bed not to get up for another six weeks. Fortunately, I did get a job with special ticket of dispensation from the Government, allowing me to work even though I was still under age. I loved earning money from the first time I received my pay packet. It was real cash in a beige coloured envelope with my name and number of hours worked. It even contained paper money.

I kept counting it out over and over again.

Tags: , , , , , ,

24 Responses to “The magic Car. A matter of opinion.”

  1. rod Says:

    Did it come to the same amount every time you counted?
    It is very fortunate that you have so many photographs from these times.

    Like

  2. Carrie Rubin Says:

    Thanks for giving us another glimpse of your past. Very interesting to read. It’s strange to think how much bathrooms have evolved. Now it’s not unusual to find a master bathroom as big as a room!

    How nice you were able to get a job when your father couldn’t. A lot of kids today could learn from that example.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My dad was really disappointed not being able to work for some Government department as he was used to that back in Holland with all that this entails. A steady income, a steady routine etc.
      At that time jobs were everywhere and I started work within a week or so of moving in withe Dutch war time friends.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I’m glad that at least someone was making money, The saga continues and leaves me anxious to read more about your family’s arrival adventures.

    Was you dad depressed? You wrote that he went to bed x6 weeks and if so, I’m surprised he got up when he did.

    Those days must have been awful for your folks and a total let down for no government work. That was a crock of —- for Australia luring folks over and then limiting jobs.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Ivonne. Dad would have been down. He did not surface for 6 weeks. It was all too much. He got up and managed to get a job as a process worker assembling metal things. He needed a blue overall and steel capped boots.

      Liked by 2 people

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Your poor dad. I can well imagine that he was culture shocked and then with no job prospect that did him in. I’m glad that he managed to pull himself together which was probably because your mother was the influence and the incentive. Those times must have been so hard for your entire family. I know that I could not have done anything of the sort had I been in your mother’s place.

        Do you know of any families that threw in the towel and moved back to their homeland?

        Like

  4. Andrew Says:

    I’m not sure whether these are happy memories or not, Gerard but they are very powerful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      They are memories that were all about ‘the new’ somewhat baffling for a 15 year old. They weren’t the happiest nor dreadfully bad or sad. They just were. My dad going to bed for 6 weeks was a bad memory but getting a weekly wage was a pleasant one for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I too remember getting my first cash as a teenager working in fruit orchards, and how thrilling it was. I’d been at odd jobs since 11, but this was big money, $10-15 for a nine hour day. Enjoyed your post and the continuing journey. —Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My first wage was around 4 A pounds. for 40 hrs often billlowing out to A6 pounds with overtime. Thank you Curt.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Ouch. I had a choice in picking pears, to work by the hour or the box. I was a fast picker so I went by the box. I earned $.20 for a 50 pound box. In good fruit I could pick 10 boxes an hour. Once, on a challenge, I picked 20. Big money, Gerard.🙂

        Like

  6. Silver in the Barn Says:

    These are the experiences which shaped your life, Gerard. No wonder you occasionally raise an eyebrow at modern life when you have memories of “token showers” and large men beating on the door. What luxury we live in now. I used to sell real estate, I may have mentioned, and it used to make me crazy when a young mother would yearn for a house with a full bath attached to each child’s room. Because they “needed” their privacy. Right.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, bathrooms here too became a big item on wish lists. Sometimes there were more bathrooms than bedrooms. We have two bathrooms but one bath.

      When we were small we used to get tubbed. My mum heated the water and one by one we would get tubbed. It was almost a whole day affair.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Silver in the Barn Says:

        My mother did it by sexes. The three girls first. It worked out this way because my younger brother refused to get into the tub after we had been bathed, crying out his horror at having to enter “Girl Water!”

        Liked by 3 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I don’t know how my sister went in the tubbing arrangement. I was second in line and lovely warm and fairly clean tubbing. Adrian was the youngest of the boys and would have been last. He is still around and seemingly without any dire consequences.😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        @Silver in the Barn, we had a similar arrangement in my family. Saturday was bathtime and I was last after my sisters had used the water. Later, they told me, they had peed into the bathwater. I have no idea whether they only told me that or they really did it. My sisters were horrible. Not anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Silver in the Barn Says:

      @berlioz1935 Oh my! I am laughing at this story of your sisters because I can pretty much guarantee they did! At least once. My husband, however, can top that. He and his brother were bathing as toddlers when one of them did number two. His mother remembers them laughing at the submarine. Ahhh, sweet memories of childhood.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Julia Lund Says:

    I remember my first pay packet in an envelope. It was for potato picking.

    Each time I read one of your posts, I am transported to a time I never knew and yet somehow recognise.

    Like

  8. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    With six children I can imagine your mother’s desire for a bathroom My girls took turns as well, and I sometimes went in with them in order to get some warm water.

    I’m eager to read how long your family stayed with friends. You keep carrying us along Gerard.

    Like

  9. auntyuta Says:

    We were in Bonegilla, Scheyville and Balgownie Hostel. Everywhere we could take a shower at any time and there was always hot water.
    What luxury! For the little ones we had a nice big tub.
    How does contraception work these days for the young ones, I wonder.

    Like

  10. Patti Kuche Says:

    The memory of being grateful for a few days jumps out . . . !

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: