From 1976 onwards. Memoires!


Now that the medical investigations of physical health and other possible upcoming frailties in the future have been dealt with I can perhaps go back to my earlier musings about the past.  They were all bundled under the somewhat pretentious title of ‘Auto-biography’, towards the end morphed into autobiography’ or perhaps were even  referred to as ‘memoires’. Perhaps memoires is the most suitable. Who knows? It has a hint of someone getting ready for the softness of blissful forgetfulness but would still like to leave behind a story of when that was not so. A kind of evidence based of the purpose that life once might have held.

Not that life is totally without a purpose now. The garbage bin has to be put out, not forgetting the alternative weeks (fortnightly pension day) that the yellow lidded  recycle bin has to be put outside but the red bin always weekly. A routine that is now well established and I never forget. There is something very endearing about those bits of routine. It beds us down, makes us feel secure. One can imagine the millions of refugees on the run from bombs and terror. All routine of daily life stolen at a moments notice. You can see it in their eyes. Frightened of what the future holds. How fortunate we are. It is only the luck of our birth that separates us from those running the gauntlet of many borders, clambering over train windows, desperate to escape from the uncertainty. Nothing more than that.

As I remembered, after our family’s return from Holland in 1976 we  moved into our house back in Sydney’s Balmain and had taken delivery of our furniture and all other remnants of our previous three years in Holland. I enjoyed the artists salary, had some exhibitions, sold some paintings but also missed our large extended family. The Australian bush as well as the disorder of rusted roofs and the chaos of Parramatta Rd beckoned. Those yawning second-hand car sales yard seemed so attractive. A funny thing. The Dutch sense of order and discipline had taken its toll. The breathing space that we have in Australia is not to be underestimated.

When life got back to ‘normal’ the children back to school and a smooth transition into work and paying bills, life resumed its path with routine getting established once more. The garage was transformed in a place to make the stretchers for paintings. Part of it was made into a darkroom. I suddenly developed a keenness for taking photographs and with my brother used to develop our own black and white shots of people and city/ landscapes. A very prolific period of paintings followed. I entered many in local art competitions which many councils annually held all over Australia. Balmain was attractive to artists and in our street alone there was a group of them all beavering away inside their studios. Some of the artists were very ‘arty’ and used to delve into mysticism or were very esoteric to the extreme. Bach remedy was used for everything, even giving birth or a dog’s broken leg. Dreadlocks and smoking dope was very popular and so were music of a kind sung by the massively curled Carly Simon,  especially ‘You are so Vain’. Of course, we were united all against war, especially nuclear war and used to march in rallies together with Patrick White, whose popularity as a Noble Price winning writer of fame seems now to have waned.


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17 Responses to “From 1976 onwards. Memoires!”

  1. bkpyett Says:

    Lovely post, Gerard. I wonder if the peace movement will regain popularity, now war is being waged on Syria?


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It should. Bombs are now flying everywhere. Leaders are disputing that bombs are not going where they are supposed to do the killing. In the meantime pale childrens’ eyes from hospital beds in Syria are looking at us.


  2. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    Routine saves time, though the recylcing regime here is now so complicated I believe some people find it hard to cope with and others ‘can’t be bothered’, as I heard a young girl say yesterday before stubbing out her cigarette.

    I used to have a darkroom off the kitchen, but don’t any longer. Old skills are overtaken by digits.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I remember the magic of slowly the image appearing on the paper. Of course it is so direct, more so than painting which allows one to change or alter the image.
      I believe that can also be done with modern photography by all sorts of digital cheating. There si a program called photoshop. It allows one to alter almost anything.


  3. auntyuta Says:

    I have never lost my fear of nuclear war. I don’t understand why we are so lucky to be living in peace and comfort while others lose everything and have to flee bombs and terror.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It’s the throw of dice, Uta. It wasn’t always so lucky when war engulfed Europe and a bad throw involved a large part of our world.
      Who would have thought Russia, US and allies are now bombing together? I suspect they just bomb for the sake of it. Is it some kind of addiction?
      Have a read of this from ‘Asidewrite’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        I would not be surprised if the Russians are going to do a bit more now than just bombing. If Assad stays in power, all this fighting has been for nothing. The only thing the Syrian rebel fighters have achieved so far, is that there is an enormous amount of destruction and millions of people having to flee and creating opportunities for Isis to establish themselves.
        Even the Russians don’t like Isis. It seems to me the Isis people want to resurrect the Middle Ages!
        If Assad can after all this be persuaded to resign, I wonder who is going to fill the gap. Is there anyone who can take over in a peaceful manner? Who on earth might this be? Has anyone any thoughts on this?


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I do think that Assad might be another case of the west previously dealing with Sadam and starting the war in Iraq. He too was accused of killing his own people, but…that was all stated through the eyes of the US. It was a dreadful mistake.

        I sometimes think the truth might be the exact opposite of what we are being told.


  4. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    We don’t have recyling in our neck of the woods..wish we would have.


  5. elizabeth2560 Says:

    You speak of all this so well. Both the sharp contrast of us in our ‘normal’ life (compared to those who do not have one), and reliving the era of the ’70s.


  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Excellent Gerard. I’m glad the memoires are back. For some reason I think they are important too. It roots us to our past before we forget it. I would not have started any but for daughter insisting. It’s kind of fun trying to test our memory.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, Kayti. It is kind of fun and really the only reason to write memoires down even if just to cheer up oneself. Of course, others reading hem too is really the golden syrup on the pancake! 😉
    Thank you all you readers for your patience and fortitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Julia Lund Says:

    I remember Rescue Remedy – the Bach cure-all. If only rescue were that easy. When my daughter complains about having to take the rubbish out this week, I’ll remind her that all over the world, there are those who would love to have that routine. Thanks for the reminder …


  9. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Nice to know there is a coloured bin game on the other side of the world. We have black bin (non-recyclable) once a fortnight and blue bin (metal, paper, plastics, card, glass etc for recycling) plus newspaper caddy, and green bin (all compostable waste), the other fortnight.


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