Posts Tagged With: childhood memories

The Paperboy

Writing about my beach cleaning days encouraged me to cast my mind back even further to my first paid job. When I was in Grade 5 a notice appeared in the window of “Skinners” the corner store in our town asking for a “paperboy”. The weekly wage was 15 shillings – $1.50 in decimal currency. 
At the time this seemed like a huge amount of money for a 10 year old but looking back it hardly kept my bike going. Yet every morning I got up at 5.45 am went to the store to sort out the papers for the different clients and then cycled (and pushed my bike) around the hilly part of town, which was my allocated patch, delivering newspapers – The Sun, The Geelong Advertiser, The Age (which was an horrendous monster on Wednesdays and Saturdays), The Sporting Globe and for the racier clients, The Truth (a misnomer), which was an education in itself for a young paperboy!
I wasn’t given a list but had to remember all the addresses and which paper was wanted when and where. I made a few mistakes in the first week or so which irritated both shop keeper and reader. In the end I got the hang of it.
Then I encountered the seasons! Most of the year was OK but winter was dark and cold. Fingers froze on the frosty mornings but gloves made it difficult to handle the newspapers. So my dad taught me a trick he had used in Holland. He showed me how to make cones made out of newspaper and place them over the handles on the handlebar so I could slide my hands in while cycling.  Even my dad, who wasn’t tolerant of “softies”, made an exception on a few really bad cold wet mornings and actually drove me around to deliver the papers.
This time was also an education in names and how to pronounce them. When “Marny” wanted an extra paper how was I to know it was written “Mahoney”. And then there were the migrants from all over Europe whose names were not just unpronounceable but also unspellable. How do the Poles get away with putting so many consonants in a row without losing their false teeth?
The worst thing about being a paperboy was that I wanted to read everything. The papers


Not The Sun, but a headline I remember.

were a constant temptation to stop and read. However the ire of the customers and consequent lateness at school cured me any dalliance. However I clearly remember some of the headlines that occurred on my beat as a paperboy: the Berlin Wall, Cuba, space flights, civil wars in Africa and Marilyn Monroe’s death are still etched in my memory.

I delivered papers for a few years but then two other jobs came up: working on a farm and in a bakery. But they are tales for another day.
Categories: Family, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Memories of Church No 1.

Some of my earliest memories centre on Church. In our small migrant community in Ocean Grove during the mid 1950s, our kitchen was the biggest room. So every Sunday the Reformed people would meet at our home. Sometimes a sermon was read and on occasions a visiting preacher would do the honours. My dad played an asthmatic reed organ that he had rescued from somewhere – possibly the tip.  He also  loved the once a month communion service because the bottle of left over wine was passed on to him – a real treat at a cashed strapped time! I imagine his only regret was that cigars were not part of the service!

Our family in that kitchen in about 1957. N.B. I was a blond in those days.

Our family in that kitchen in about 1957. N.B. I was a blond in those days.

When the community grew in size we moved to the “Methodist Camp” which had a hall large enough to accommodate the growing community. My brother was baptised there as a baby in 1956. Later it was the Anglican Church Hall. A time came when we built our own church building over the road from the Primary School. A disused army hut was moved on site and as funds became available it was rebuilt to serve as a multi use hall. The kids were able to help by carrying and painting and serving cups of tea and coffee.

However by the mid 1960s most of the dutch migrants had moved closer to Geelong and to places of work. The church closed and the building was relocated to another town for another small congregation.

This period of time, at the most encompassing 12 years, has warm memories for me. The overwhelming sense is one of community and cooperation. “New Australians” needed each other as they coped with the massive issues of arriving in a new land. For a while we shared a car with one of the other families. People helped each other out and the church building was just a small example of a bigger attitude of selfless service. When babies were born the rest of the children were farmed out – this was so “usual” for us and it was fun to have new brothers and sisters for a week.

This was my first memory of church. It was what I thought church was about. Years later as wealth entered the community and people became more independent something was lost.

But I like to dream. I remember the time when people walked from all corners of Ocean Grove just to come to our kitchen. I remember the laughter as the adults drank coffee and smoked (sorry – I have to tell the truth!) after the service. There were all these friends I could play with and we could take walks near the marshes along the river. That was Sunday and that was church. When I got back home and everyone had left I would find dad settling down with a glass of wine, and a cigar – if he was lucky.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Church, Faith, Family, my dad, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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