Estate agents are not far behind car-salesmen in the popularity range of professions. Even joining the army or becoming a police man are judged far above them. In the fifties, teaching was also a somewhat dodgy profession to pursue. It makes me wonder whether that might be the reason that our school kids don’t seem to be doing all that well. Apparently 45% of adults in Australia do not possess proficient spelling and math skills. But, if someone studied law, (even for those within the 45% semi-literate range)the prestige barometer would run red-hot. I noticed that amongst our elderly neighbours’ granddaughters, some are doing a university degree in ‘design.’
If job security is important I reckon, estate agents and car salesmen will probably be better placed than lawyers or designers. Australia has one of the highest rates per capita of lawyers in the world, and as for design, the Ikea flat pack with Allan key has taken care of that. Many are out of work and even barristers are scrimping around trying to make a quid. It’s in science and engineering that the future beckons and holds the best prospects.
Selling cars or houses does depend on smoothness and swiftness in seizing up the customer. If the pitch is overly keen, it might make the buyer a bit reluctant. There is the tendency of many people to go against a proposal if put too strongly. Lately Helvi and I are back ‘in the market’ as the parlance go, looking at houses. Even if just to spend time away from our own house. I like looking through other peoples houses. I quickly scan the bookshelves. Of course, bookshelves are not guaranteed.
Back in the fifties, my poor dad used to try and see through neighbours windows, hungry for sighting books. They were very rare. The best, in those years was a horse-betting guide or a real estate section resting seductively on top of little tables. In our house, my mother used to put The Catholic Weekly on top of any reading material. She held hope that we all would go through out teens wholly beholden by men of the cloth. We soon saw through their voodoo tricks. How can anyone take to walking on water and virgin births?
One of my friends remarked; ‘why do your newspapers have all those holes in them? I admitted, ‘because my mum cuts out all the provocative pictures of girls.’ Those photos used to be displayed in Australian Newspapers, especially the afternoon papers. The same papers also used to have screaming headlines with ‘SHOCK SEX’, or a whole page with just one three letter word ‘WAR.’ My mum thought she could save her family, possibly including her husband, from filth and decadence perving on grainy images of swim suit wearing girls.
As soon as we hit the car driving range we would pretend to go to church on Sunday. We all sat inside my old V8 Ford single spinner outside the church. We would take turns in getting snippets of the main sermon before getting back in the V8 and continue the perve on the Sunday Mirror paper girls, before we presented them home for mother to get her scissors out for. It is an endearing image I still treasure.
My mum was brought up together with her sister in an orphanage. She lost both her parents when very young. The orphanage was run by nuns in Amsterdam. As a child she took me to this orphanage and introduced me to some very old nuns who were still alive from the time she was a little girl. The orphanage was stone-cold with marble stairs. Her sister was there too, but strictness by the nuns separated them. She was forbidden to have contact with her. Her sister was my dear Aunt Agnes.
I surmised she must have got her staunch religious beliefs from that period. Her cutting images from newspapers that might invite her sons into carnal pleasures might well have been her intention to save us, and for that I have respect and my love. Of course, she failed, but that is a different matter. Apart from the cutting pictures she was also the eternally undefeatable worker and optimist.
A really great mother.