Posts Tagged ‘Chevrolet’

He died while watching Bonanza.

November 17, 2014

imagesautumn

Our neighbours living opposite us in Rotterdam migrated to Australia in 1949. They were my mother’s best friends and helped us out during the war, even though it was a habit of theirs to put us in the coal shed if we had done a number 2. The pedagogues today would have a field-day and the issue no doubt worthy of a Royal commission. Anyway, they did that to their own kids as well, so we oft shared the same coal shed.

My parents never did this and I am not aware if doing nr 2’s stopped after a while or if we got cunning and somehow ditched the load before getting home from the Montessori pre-school/kindergarten. My mum was forever in hospital with undefined ails or perhaps complications in birthing as that seemed to be, despite wars and lack of food, a yearly event. I was born one year and four days after my brother was born. After I saw the gloom of daylight first, my younger brother came out 1 year and four months later. So they were really rollicking rocking times.

After the neighbours’ migration to Australia, which then took 6 days by air, we were given jubilant reports about Australia which we found out later had been somewhat festooned and given balloons with cup-cakes instead of the reality of gruel and leached out mutton. They too had six children, five girls but only one boy while I had the reverse four brothers and one girl.

We arrived in Australia in 1956 and my mother immediately regained the previous friendship. I was to turn sixteen that year. For a while we shared the same house which they claimed they had bought. It turned out it was rented! They had an old Chevy ute on three wheels with the missing wheel propped up by bricks. Their three legged German Shepherd used to chase very large but frightened looking rats.

Of course memories of having shared the coal shed with their girls, many years before, were rapidly fading and I became reconciled that sharing nr 2s might well change into sharing better and more pertinent intimate details of a different softness and lushness. The roseate looking young girls that they had turned into were tantalisingly near. It was my first experience of true love. That is if you can call the first viewing of a pair of budding breasts ‘love’. I do still have fond memories of those first sexual discoveries and remember as if yesterday. The breasts were offered without any coercion or even asked for. She just bared them as if they were toffees.

The friendship between my parents and theirs continued. When my parents returned to spend their retirement back in Holland the friendship became more distant. I certainly moved on and away from pre-teen budding breasts into marriage and starting family of my own. It was during the late seventies that my mother’s war-time and migrated friend turned up in Holland. Her husband had died. He was a concrete form worker.

My parents in front of 'own' home in Revesby.

My parents in front of ‘own’ home in Revesby.

Australia could not get enough workers spreading concrete far and wide. Australia was expanding its suburbs as far as the eye could see. Hill after hill were bulldozed and concreted over. It was hard work but the husband got by with smoking and help from his supportive very Dutch wife. They had achieved a better life with own bathroom and cake eating on Sunday. The daughters had married well and the son became a potter. One girl married a fire-man, another a car salesman in Hunter’s Hill. I never found out what happened to the daughter who was so helpful in easing my curiosity about breasts.

“Yes, she told my mother, we were watching TV and I thought he was his usual grumpy self. Not a word out of him.”. When the show was over, I told him, why are you so quiet again? He refused to answer. I prodded him, he was dead.”

He died while watching ‘Bonanza’.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonanza

Persistant Migrant Memories

August 29, 2012

Persistant Migrant Memories

 

Our arrival in Sydney was drunk-less and a great relief for all of us. We walked to Hyde Park and mum distributed all the ready- made IXL jam sandwiches, but not with as much jam as we would have liked. Old habits die hard, they say.

On the way back to Scheyville we met up with the Van Dijks at Granville rail station, this is a railway station of some significance and would feature into the next eight months of our lives. It was arranged we would live with the Van Dijks and our departure from the Camp was now imminent. My mother went with Beb Van Dijk shopping at some stage because after we all moved from Scheyville to the Van Dijks we all had brand new, gleaming, chrome plated steel framed double bunk beds. The arrival of all of us at the Van Dijks was not without big surprises. You can imagine my keenness to finally discover this magic car that would convert to truck and back to sedan. As it turned out, it was a 1939 Chevrolet utility with three wheels, the forth one was missing and the car was compensated for that loss by a pile of bricks. It was rusty and nothing like what I had imagined. What a blow, if not deceit. I never saw it being driven.

Disappointed, but I got over it, at least they did have a car, a tiny 1951 Renault that was more like a jacket than a car, something that one put on for a rain shower and it was small. None the less, the whole family would pile into it on the way to church and back. This is when the cake eating came into its own. The house itself was in Guildford, not far from that Granville Station, on a busy road and was very old and in disrepair. Apart from that it was situated in the middle of large stacks of timber and cast iron baths. The baths must have looked promising to our mother. The raison d’être for her coming to Australia was in sight! The car was not the only item on three legs. The pet dog, a large German Sheppard at least ran around on three legs. A friendly dog but why three legs? 20

Anyway, that first evening after our arrival we all had coffee and cakes and good times would surely be arriving. Perhaps a bit hesitantly, but step by step our determination and sense of Dutch pioneering would triumph?

 

So, it was after we moved in from the Migrant Camp of Scheyville with the Van Dijks and our discovery that it is ‘not all gold that glitters’ and that their reporting about their good fortunes in Australia looked a bit pale, that we had to put shoulders under the tasks ahead. Mother was the chief of staff that sat out this mammoth job. Dad, crumbled not only from the disappointment of now living in the middle of a timber yard with huge rats being chased by a three legged dog, nor the ‘magic’ car on three wheels, nor that the extension that we would live in but not built. The only thing that was true was the Van Dijks cake eating every Sunday, after hobbling down-hill in the Renault coat jacket.

Dad just collapsed and refused to come out of bed, deeply depressed and knee deep in gloom. The promised Government job was not available to non British subjects, and he, who was totally spoon fed on life-long permanent Government security, was crushed. The temporary ideology of a culture that thrived on temporary accommodation and temporary jobs, temporary living quarters, people moving to another address at the drop of a hat, was something totally alien to us, especially Dad. He stayed in bed for six weeks. It is difficult to describe those first few months after arrival without coming to some conclusion that the picture of a new country as portrayed by the Australian Immigration Office in The Netherlands and the letters from the Van Dijks had not met the reality of our situation and life then.

Persistant Migrant Memories

May 22, 2012

Our arrival in Sydney was drunk-less and a great relief for all of us. We walked to Hyde Park and mum distributed all the ready- made IXL jam sandwiches, but not with as much jam as we would have liked. Old habits die hard, they say.

On the way back to Scheyville we met up with the Van Dijks at Granville rail station, this is a railway station of some significance and would feature into the next eight months of our lives. It was arranged we would live with the Van Dijks and our departure from the Camp was now imminent. My mother went with Beb Van Dijk shopping at some stage because after we all moved from Scheyville to the Van Dijks we all had brand new, gleaming, chrome plated steel framed double bunk beds. The arrival of all of us at the Van Dijks was not without big surprises. You can imagine my keenness to finally discover this magic car that would convert to truck and back to sedan. As it turned out, it was a 1939 Chevrolet utility with three wheels, the forth one was missing and the car was compensated for that loss by a pile of bricks. It was rusty and nothing like what I had imagined. What a blow, if not deceit. I never saw it being driven.

Disappointed, but I got over it, at least they did have a car, a tiny 1951 Renault that was more like a jacket than a car, something that one put on for a rain shower and it was small. None the less, the whole family would pile into it on the way to church and back. This is when the cake eating came into its own. The house itself was in Guildford, not far from that Granville Station, on a busy road and was very old and in disrepair. Apart from that it was situated in the middle of large stacks of timber and cast iron baths. The baths must have looked promising to our mother. The raison d’être for her coming to Australia was in sight! The car was not the only item on three legs. The pet dog, a large German Sheppard at least ran around on three legs. A friendly dog but why three legs? 20

Anyway, that first evening after our arrival we all had coffee and cakes and good times would surely be arriving. Perhaps a bit hesitantly, but step by step our determination and sense of Dutch pioneering would triumph?

 

So, it was after we moved in from the Migrant Camp of Scheyville with the Van Dijks and our discovery that it is ‘not all gold that glitters’ and that their reporting about their good fortunes in Australia looked a bit pale, that we had to put shoulders under the tasks ahead. Mother was the chief of staff that sat out this mammoth job. Dad, crumbled not only from the disappointment of now living in the middle of a timber yard with huge rats being chased by a three legged dog, nor the ‘magic’ car on three wheels, nor that the extension that we would live in but not built. The only thing that was true was the Van Dijks cake eating every Sunday, after hobbling down-hill in the Renault coat jacket.

Dad just collapsed and refused to come out of bed, deeply depressed and knee deep in gloom. The promised Government job was not available to non British subjects, and he, who was totally spoon fed on life-long permanent Government security, was crushed. The temporary ideology of a culture that thrived on temporary accommodation and temporary jobs, temporary living quarters, people moving to another address at the drop of a hat, was something totally alien to us, especially Dad. He stayed in bed for six weeks. It is difficult to describe those first few months after arrival without coming to some conclusion that the picture of a new country as portrayed by the Australian Immigration Office in The Netherlands and the letters from the Van Dijks had not met the reality of our situation and life then.