Posts Tagged ‘mother’s day’

A normal day.

May 14, 2018


Jan. 1956. Our arrival In Fremantle with dad (with bald head) and mum (white hand-bag) in the foreground.


Normal day are getting rarer. That’s why I am glad it is Monday. I have never taken to Sundays in Australia. They are boring. I know it was mother’s day last Sunday but that doesn’t mean an uplift  in the general mood of all Sundays. It is hard to put one’s finger on the reason for feeling this way. It might date back to our first arrival here. Has anyone ever been to WA Fremantle on a Sunday? We did. Back in 1956. It was our first contact with the mainland of Australia. It was empty. Well not really empty. It just felt like it. No people about except other passengers from the migrant ship. We were all prancing about in our Sunday’s best. We wanted to make a good impression as newly arrived migrants tend to do. It was difficult to make any impression as the locals were nowhere to be seen. We might as well have well walked around stark naked. Some desultory looking dogs were scratching their fleas. It was better than nothing.

Mother’s days of course are different. Our mother used to emotionally blackmail us in saying; ‘Mother doesn’t want any present this year’. ‘Just make your beds, lay the table, do the washing-up and… above all , behave yourself.’ It must have been a murderous job with six kids running around a third story apartment back in rainy Holland. Do kids make their beds now? Some say they are getting away with murder. It’s no wonder when I see those huge black SUV’s dropping off the spoiled kids at school. Make them walk, I would say! My mum had the right attitude!

Our mother’s day was good. We had my brother staying over and on Sunday the grandchildren and our daughter visited us. I tried to book a lunch but the pub was booked out and an upmarket place called ‘The Mills’ was full of mothers, nervous looking partners, prams full with babies and their primordial screams. I recoiled and got out quickly.

We ended up eating very nicely at home. Helvi said; ‘just get big steaks.’ I bought 5 huge Porterhouse steaks. We heated up some left over pasta and an even earlier dated, but still in perfect condition, potato-bake. Both dishes I had used generous quantities of anchovies. I now tend to use anchovies in almost every dish. It might well work as a preservative as well as giving a nice taste. As we sat down to eat, the boys hoed into the porterhouse steaks with great enthusiasm. It was exactly as Helvi had predicted. Our grandson, Max, gave the Bolt salute. We could not have been given a greater compliment.


It was a nice Sunday.



Of Mother’s Day and Hammer and Sickle.

May 8, 2012

Share Mother’s Day with us at Bunnings. (Bring the kids)

It’s hard to believe, but that’s what the blinking sign said. We came home late from Sydney and drove past that sign at Mittagong. ‘Barbeque and jumping castle will be there’, was added for good measure. It just never stops, does it? The barbeque, of course, was meant to entice the forever hungry male partner, the jumping castle for the kids. Nothing was left to chance. It had all been worked out after weeks of doing surveys and conducting polls.

Grey’s advertising team had been working on this campaign (feverishly) and with a $600.000 budget was expected to come up with the goods. The ‘goods’ being a gross return of at least $20.million for that single day of the year spread around Sydney’s suburban stores. There was a palpable buzz of excitement around head office in the days leading up to the big event. Office boys were recklessly flirting with the typists and a team leader had even been so brash as to put his hand on the shoulder of the manager in charge of bolt-cutters and wrenches divisions. This time, she allowed his hand to remain…- Bolt cutters and wrenches are big ticket items for Bunnings, hugely profitable, and at least as big as bananas are for Woolworth. – She was hoping for a bonus and thus allowed his hand to linger longer than she would normally tolerate.

I can never think of wrenches and not come to a smile. Every time we catch the train to Sydney we go past my old stamping ground of Revesby. Not that there ever was a huge ‘stamping’ going on at Revesby in the late fifties, unless of course you consider crawling over a lawn and picking at the grass or staring at petunia beds from behind the venetians enormously  riveting.

However, Revesby is well known for its Workers Club. Many famous artists have performed there including The Bee Gees and Diana Ross. Even today some of the best gigs sooner or later appear at Revesby’s Workers club.  The reason for my mirth when the train passes Revesby is its large cement and white painted emblem at the front of this huge building, high up the façade, facing the railway. It has a hammer and a wrench crossed over. I can just imagine the numerous meetings held by Revesby’s Workers club management, trying to iron out how to put a recognizable face to the club. Clearly the word ‘Workers Club’ indicated an affiliation with ‘workers’, but, at the same time, there must have been some in management hesitant to use the ‘hammer and sickle’ emblem. The symbolism of that emblem could too clearly and too soon be perceived as a possible reversal to communism.  The club certainly did not want to miss out on the thousands of Eastern European migrants having arrived here as a result of the ‘hammer and sickle’. After many meetings and heated arguments a good compromise must have been reached, hence, the crossed over ‘Hammer and (plumbers) Wrench’. A good compromise, don’t you think? One foot in capitalism and yet, still a small lingering and hunkering of that other ‘social’ world.

Have a happy Mother’s Day. (Think of buying mum a rubber plunger to unblock the drain)

Mother’s Day

May 7, 2010

Mother’s Day

Helvi Oosterman

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, but I feel it ought also be a celebratory day for Grandmothers, and let’s be generous and include the Pops, Diddas, Opas, Grandpas and Grands-peres, Abuelos and Isoisa too.

When grandson Jak was in six or seven, he supplied the following excellent reports of his maternal grandparents. They are of course about us:

Grandma is fun to play with.

Really good to me.

Always loving to me.

Never really angry to me.

Darling grandma.

Mostly always fun.

Always caring to me.

Grandpa is fun to play chess with.

Really nice to me.

Always loving to me.

Never angry at me.

Darling grandpa.

Perfect all the time.

Always caring to me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, and have a nice lunch with your extended families as well!