Keeping a Journal 2: My Journal

July 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Experiences, Mental Health, Writing and Life | 10 Comments
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myjournal

Although the word ‘journal’ comes from the French word for ‘day’ (jour), I see it also as relating to the word ‘journey’.

The journals I have been keeping on and off for the last forty or fifty years are both a diary of events and a journal of my personal experiences, and much more than either of them. They are a record of my journey through life to this point.

Journey -journal

Journaling has been part of my life for more years than I care to remember. I first wrote a ‘diary’ before I reached my teens. Then, it was the usual childish notes on nothing, in a tiny, lockable, shiny diary I got for a birthday.

Pink diary

As I grew up, I periodically wrote my thoughts in notebooks left over from school. There was nothing much to them either. Nothing of the teenage angst one goes through; nothing of the day-to-day coping in our family’s difficult circumstances. I don’t think I really knew what a diary was for in those days.

A few years after I married, I did begin to keep a record of what I was doing and some of my thoughts on life. However, my then husband saw nothing of mine as sacred. He found and read it, and didn’t like some of the things I’d written. He even showed his mother, who was visiting at the time, and they both confronted me about a couple of my entries.

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After that, I knew I couldn’t have the privacy of writing my own thoughts. So I didn’t write anything at all for a long time.

Then came the time he legally had to stay away from me for several months. They were times of stress and anxiety; fear and anger. But with him out of the house, I allowed myself the luxury of putting down my thought and feelings again. It was a way of working through several huge issues I faced at the time, including trying to work out how I could keep our children but not have him.

Writing is therapy

One day, I discovered that he had been coming into the house when I was out. He was apparently searching for something he could use against me. Even though I had hidden my journal under my mattress, he found it. I discovered that when he stood outside the window one day, yelling at me and waving a couple of pages he’d torn from it.

I was gutted. I felt like I had been raped. Even though I couldn’t remember exactly what I had written on those pages, I knew they were my deepest feelings; thoughts that I hadn’t shared with anyone because they were an intimate reflection of the very vulnerable me that I was at the time.

Quotation-Jonathan-Franzen

After I moved away, I felt much more secure in writing down my thoughts. My new partner respected my privacy and never violated it the whole twenty years we were together. My second husband also believes I am entitled to privacy in my writing. The gift they have both given me allows me to sort through my thoughts & feelings without fear.

If you keep or have kept a diary/journal, has its sanctity been violated? How did/would you feel about that?

© Linda Visman

Reading for Pleasure Again

July 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Australia, Mental Health, Reading | 2 Comments
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My Forties and Early Fifties

This is my fifth article on my love of reading. My earlier posts can be found here, here, here and here.

I didn’t read as much once I went back to working, firstly at odd jobs and then as a casual supply teacher. For the next fifteen years I was busy with my new partner, making a new life and earning a living. We lived in Dubbo NSW for six years, and then went to the Northern Territory. There we both gained permanent positions teaching with the Department of Education.

Ampilatwatja, community, shown from the air, is here twice the size as it was in the early 1990s

Ampilatwatja, community, shown from the air, is here twice the size as it was in the early 1990s

There, along with 3-4-hour drives into Alice Springs over mostly dirt roads, bush excursions and overnight camping in our swags, I read when I could fit it into my 12-14-hour working days. I loved my work and the people in the remote indigenous community schools where we were sent. However, it could be emotionally and physically draining, and reading way one way of revitalising my energies.

Second-hand Bookshops: We stayed in the Northern Territory through the 1990s. During those years, when we made trips into Alice Springs, we both found new authors as we browsed the second-hand bookshops. We would take a bag full of books with us on the 330 km drive back to Ampilatwatja (for 4.5 years) and, later, 130km to Hermannsburg (for over four years). We would also bring books from other places in NSW after visiting our families in school holidays.

The Potato Factory

I really enjoyed Bryce Courtenay’s African stories The Power of One and Whitethorn. His The Potato Factory, set in London and Tasmania in the days of transportation to Australia, was good too, but not so much its follow-ups. I read several others of his books, but found some of them too rambling.

I love anything to do with humans in pre-historic times, so I quickly became taken with Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series, especially the first few. They are set in the Neolithic era; with a detailed background on climate, foods, art and possible cultural and religious beliefs. The first in the series is The Clan of the Cave Bear, which I believe was turned into a rather poor B grade movie. The book deserved much better treatment!

Clan of the Cave Bear

From there, my partner and I discovered the People of the Earth novels of Kathleen O’Neal Gear & Michael Gear set in pre-European America. The first of the series was People of the Wolf, with lots more following. We devoured each one as we found them. I collected all the Gear and Auel books, and I have read both series at least three times so far. Whenever I get another of the books, I re-read the previous ones first to re-establish the characters, context and story, before delving into the new one.

People of the Wolf

I have read most of James A. Michener’s epic books, many of which take you from pre-history to modern times in a particular location. For some reason didn’t particularly like his Pacific island titles, but my favourites were The Source and Alaska.

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In mid-1998, due to health problems, we sadly had to leave the NT. I then had lots of time for reading and I took full advantage of it. I continued with the several book series I have already mentioned, plus crime and murder mysteries and forensic investigation novels. I had discovered Dean Koontz whilst I was in the N.T. and I read most of the books he’d written before about 2002 – I could only afford used copies. However, I didn’t take to Stephen King, and only read a few of his novels.

Dean Koontz Lightning

I loved Edward Rutherford’s Sarum, but it is only recently that I have acquired copies of two of his other titles, London and Dublin. I have yet to read them.

Sarum -Rutherford

As some of my time was taken up writing my family history, I had plenty of research to do. This included reading books and on-line sources about England in general, and Lancashire in particular, in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as local histories of my birth town, Oswaldtwistle.

My reading tastes have widened through the years, and I am always on the lookout for other authors and other genres to add to my eclectic library.

Lost in a book somewhere

Have your reading tastes changed as you aged or found new books? Are your interests the same as they were, say twenty years ago?

© Linda Visman

Keeping a Journal 1: What is a Journal?

July 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Mental Health, Writing and Life | 4 Comments
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My Journal- child's

Often the words ‘diary’ and ‘journal’ are used interchangeably. It is confusing at times to know exactly what a person may be referring to when they say “I must put that in my diary/journal’.

Are they going to put in the date of an event for future reference, or are they going to write some thoughts about it? Will they reflect on it or just record it? There is actually a slight difference between the two terms.

Appointment diary

Etomology (from Wikipedia):
The word diary comes from the Latin diarium (“daily allowance,” from dies “day”). The word journal comes from the same root (diurnus “of the day”) through Old French jurnal (modern French for day is jour).
The earliest use of the word to mean a book in which a daily record was written was in Ben Jonson’s comedy Volpone in 1605.

This is how oxforddictionaries.com defines them:
Diary: 1. A book in which one keeps a daily record of events and experiences.
2. British A book with spaces for each day of the year in which one notes appointments or information.
Journal: A daily record of news and events of a personal nature; a diary: [while abroad he had kept a journal]

And another online dictionary defines ‘journal’ as:
a. A personal record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis; a diary.

Journal 01

When I look at definitions – and here I am only referring to the personal forms and not such writings as The Wall Street Journal – I see that a journal is a diary. It is simply a less formal and more specialised kind of diary. It may be kept on a daily basis or less regularly.

So, if we say we are writing something in our diary, we are basically referring to the generic form. If we say we are writing in our journal, then we are writing in a diary of a certain type.

Now let’s confuse the issue of a ‘journal’ a bit more. Many people see personal journals as having many forms, depending on what they are used for. One blogger about journals sees at least fifteen types. I did a quick list of the types I could think of in a minute or two, and this is what I came up with:

dream-journal

Gratitude journal

Gratitude journal

- Daily thoughts journal

Travel Journal

Travel Journal


– Dream journal
– Travel journal
– Reading and/or reviewing journal
– Gratitude journal
– Personal development journal
– Project journal
– Nature journal
– Meditation journal
– Planning journal
– Creativity journal
– Writing journal
– Art journal

Art Journal

Art Journal

I am sure there are other varieties of journal that people keep. The journals may have few words in them – or even none. They may consist entirely of drawings and sketches, graphs, or photos of places the journalist has been (though the last is usually called a photo album).

They may simply be lists, jottings of points to remember, quotations of others, ideas to be followed up, places to go. Or they could consist of thoughts and feelings, memories, hopes or frustrations, spilled out on pages and pages of text.

Journals can be about anything

Journals can be about anything

Journals could be just one of the above or a combination of any or all of them. The main thing about a journal is that it reflects the writer, whether on the surface or the depths, depending on what they share with their ‘Dear diary/journal’.

Notebook

Have you ever kept a diary? Do you have a journal now? If so, what kind of journal is it? Do you keep more than one?

© Linda Visman

Reading To Escape

July 14, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Family History, History, Mental Health, Reading | 6 Comments
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This is the fourth in the series of posts about my reading life.

Quotation-Barbara-Kingsolver-life-reading-to escape

Reading in My Twenties and Thirties:
As a young mother in my twenties and early thirties, I had five wonderful sons, who were a joy to me. However I was in an unhappy marriage and reading provided a wonderful escape. I would find an author that I liked and borrow or buy every one of their books I could find.

My then husband didn’t like that I read a lot, and he once ripped up a lot of my books. However, that didn’t stop me from reading, even when I took on a librarianship course by correspondence (we lived in country areas).

Beau Geste PCWrenI read the complete set of Agatha Christie books; the Leslie Charteris books about The Saint; P.C. Wren’s three books about the French Foreign Legion: Beau Geste, Beau Sabreuer and Beau Ideal; Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel books, and all the Hornblower books by C.S.Forester. I read adventure books by the likes of Alistair Maclean and Hammond Innes. I owned the complete set of Nevil Shute’s books including A Town Like Alice.

After finding a couple of books by Dennis Wheatley at my parents’ place, I became hooked on both his thrillers, historical novels and his novels of the occult.Launching of Roger Brook Wheatley

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Wheatley’s novels:
Wheatley mainly wrote adventure novels, with many books in a series of linked works. Background themes included the French Revolution (the Roger Brook series), Satanism (the Duke de Richleau series), World War II (the Gregory Sallust series) and espionage (the Julian Day novels). Over time, each of his major series would include at least one book pitting the hero against some manifestation of the supernatural. He came to be considered an authority on this, satanism, the practice of exorcism, and black magic, to all of which he was hostile.
Needless to say, I found and devoured them all.

Dragonwyck AnyaSetonAlong with such adventure books, I also read escapist historical romances. Most of the authors were, of course, women, including Georgette Heyer, Anya Seton and Victoria Holt. I occasionally ventured into more risqué novels like those about the slave plantations in the American South, but I wasn’t comfortable reading them. I must be an old stodge!

Then there were the science fiction. I loved all the books the books by John Wyndham, both his novels and short stories. Parts of them come back to me even now, forty years later. I read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series and I owned and read all the H.G. Wells books. I got into what we now call post-apocalypse novels: 1984, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World and, later on, Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker.

war-and-peaceI tackled Leo Tolstoy’s massive War and Peace and got through it all – I even liked it! Then I read Theodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, which I enjoyed, as well as Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

It is amazing how many books one can read in a few years. There are so many that come to mind, of which I have only mentioned a few. I haven’t even mentioned all the other historical novels I read. These were set in a wide variety of times and places: the Egyptian, Roman and Greek empires; the Middle Ages in England and France; in Scotland, Africa or Australia.

So many books, so many authors I haven’t yet referred to. There is Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia; Leonard Cottrell’s historical novels set around North Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean; Mary Renault’s Cretan books, Mary Stewart’s novels of the court of King Arthur; Wilbur Smith’s African novels; Nigel Trantor, Irwin Shaw.

Lust for Life -Irving StoneI loved the books by Irving Stone, an American writer known for his biographical novels of famous historical personalities. Those I read included Lust for Life about Vincent van Gogh, The Agony and the Ecstasy about Michelangelo, The Passions of the Mind, about Sigmund Freud, and The Origin, based on the life of Charles Darwin.

In my thirties, I took to religion as another means of coping with depression. During this time, I read a lot of books set in the early years of Christianity. Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur; Taylor Caldwell’s Dear and Glorious Physician, and others. I also devoured many books about living the Christian life and about Christians’ experiences of that life: A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall, and several others that she wrote, as well as books by Corrie ten Boom, and lots of others.

dear-glorious-physician

All of these books only take me to my mid-thirties. That’s when I met someone who changed my life completely. I divorced my husband and went back to work.

Quotation Irving Stone-books cure illness

Do you find reading to be an escape from the pressures and problems of life?

© Linda Visman

Stretching the Mind

July 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Family History, History, Reading | 3 Comments
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Stretch your mind

High School: In my first year of high school I discovered a new book series that I loved. I had to take a train (steam) to school in Wollongong and had a little time between leaving the school and catching it, so I would often call in at the Children’s library in Crown Street (it has not existed for many years now).

Teddy Lester's Schooldays

A series of books I found at the library was meant for boys. I wasn’t interested in most girls’ books, preferring boys’ adventure stories. The Teddy Lester series by John Finnemore, was set in an English boys’ boarding school.

They opened up a world I was completely unfamiliar with; a world of class privilege, bullying, prefects, cricket and rugby, but also of striving against difficulties to be the best at what you did. When I look back to 1961, I am rather surprised that the children’s librarian allowed this twelve-year-old girl to take out books that had been written for boys.

LittleWomen cover

I did also read some girls’ stories, and enjoyed Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and its sequel, but I never heard of the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I also missed out on Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables and the Nancy Drew and even the Hardy Boys books. I never discovered C.S. Lewis either (but he wasn’t a Catholic, so he would not have been mentioned).

In my high school years, we had to read various novels for English classes. I could never understand why other kids hated reading them. We had Vance Palmer’s The Passage, Frank Dalby Davison’s Man Shy, Patrick White’s The Tree of Man, and plays like Pygmalion and Douglas Stewart’s The Fire in the Snow. I wasn’t really into Shakespeare, though I did like A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

wuthering-heights EmilyBroye

In my teens I really got into classic fiction: books by two of the Bronte sisters – Charlotte (Jane Eyre, Villette, etc) and Emily (Wuthering Heights), and by Jane Austen (Emma, Persuasion, etc). But I read other kinds of stories too.

Dad had a set of hard cover cowboy books written by Oliver Strange, the “Sudden” series, that he’d brought out from England. I devoured all those, along with Mum’s complete set of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan, Mars and Venus books. I also read historical fiction by Alexandre Dumas, Rafael Sabatini and many others.

Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan of the Apes Whitman Cover

Because Dad was my hero and had been a fighter pilot in WWII, I read a lot of pilot and prisoner-of-war books, like The Wooden Horse by Eric Williams, and several of Paul Brickhill’s books, including Reach for the Sky, The Dam Busters and The Great Escape. I also enjoyed several of Australian novelist J.E. MacDonnell’s novels about the navy and others.

The Wooden Horse

College: I also had books to read for my college English courses. Among these was the 1872 novel Erewhon by Samuel Butler, a satire on Victorian society. This was the first time I came to understand the concept of the social satire novel. I really liked the idea.

As a result, I read all of Johnathon Swift’s Lemuel Gulliver novels. Many people don’t even realise that there was a series of four books, and not just the well-known, often bowdlerised story set in Lilliput. I fondly remember Brobdingnag in the second book, with its Big-enders and Little-enders as well as the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos of the fourth book.

Gulliver's Travels cover

I also read The Mayor of Casterbridge, some of The Canterbury Tales, and other classic novels of early England.

As I had when a child, I spent a lot of time as teenager with my head in a book.

What literature did you devour as a teenager? And how do you shell your boiled eggs?

what-we-think-determines-what-happens-to-us-so-if-we-want-to-change-our-lives-we-need-to-stretch-your-mind

© Linda Visman

Vandalism or Art; Rubbish or Artefacts?

July 8, 2014 at 10:46 am | Posted in Australia, Culture, Nature, Social Responsibility, Writing and Life | 12 Comments
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I sometimes go to the parks that dot the shores of our beautiful Lake Macquarie. It is so lovely to sit in my little camper van and write without interruption. One of my favourite parks is on the outskirts of the town of Toronto (no, not in Canada; in NSW, Australia).

DSCF9801

Last week I went there to enjoy a quiet and sunny winter’s day. I enjoyed the writing time there as I always do. Afterwards, I went for a walk before heading back home, towards the bridge that spans a backwater of the lake. You can see it in the picture above.

The thing that caught my eye more than anything else was the graffiti that had been painted onto the bridge supports.

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After taking photos under the bridge, I wandered towards the lakeside. This time what caught my eye was the rubbish that had been left behind – possibly by the graffiti “artists”, or by others who had gone there to drink.

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It really upsets me when I see such examples of vandalism. It seems to me that there is a certain element in society who have no respect for the property of others. Admittedly, the “property” in this case belongs to the people as a whole, but what right does it give anyone to deface a public structure or to contaminate a public park with their detritus?

This is our lovely park, well supplied with bins in which anyone can put their rubbish – if they aren’t too lazy to walk the few yards to get to one.

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This is the lovely shoreline where the park meets the lake. This is what those thoughtless and self-entitled tossers are degrading with their refuse.

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Do litterers and graffitists rile you as they do me? How can we stop such destruction of other people’s property – is there a way at all even?

(c) Linda Visman
Photos by Linda Visman

Lost in a Book

July 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Australia, Family History, History, Reading | 7 Comments
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Lost in a book

My Very Own Books! It was either my ninth birthday, or the Christmas of 1957 when I received the first two books I remember owning. They were compendiums of stories for children, published by Blackie.
ThreeCheers -stories

One was called “Hello There!” and the other “Three Cheers”. The books disappeared somewhere in my growing up, and I have been searching copies – or at least pictures of their covers – for the last twenty years or more.

The books were printed on cheap paper, intended for families who could not afford to buy quality books – that was certainly us! But I didn’t know that then and I wouldn’t have minded if I had known. I finally had my very own books and I loved them, losing myself in the stories time and time again.

As I was writing this, I finally found pictures of them; a copy of each book was for sale on e-bay. I am delighted to have the cover pictures – I don’t need to buy the books now.

HelloThere stories

Most of the books available for children in 1950s Australia were British books, and Enid Blyton was about the most popular author at that time. I chased down every Famous Five books that I could find in the library. I always wanted to own them but we could not afford that luxury. Perhaps that’s why I now own a collection of them – and a lot of the other books that I read as a child!

Five Go Adventuring Again

I particularly remember an Illustrated Classics magazine that must have come into the house during the time Peter was running a comic exchange around the community from his billy cart. It was “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police” – again, it was something I really loved.

Classics Illus. RCMP cover

I couldn’t have bought it, as we received no pocket money, but I did own it. Perhaps Dad got it for me, as he had fond memories of his RAF training months in Canada during WWII. This led me into other genres of books, reading that brought me knowledge in an eclectic range of subjects by the time I was a young adult.

Being a good, scared little Catholic, I was eager to see how others had become so good that they were made saints, So I loved reading about their lives. When I took the name Bernadette at my Confirmation, Mum and Dad bought me a book about the life of St Bernadette Soubiros of Lourdes.

I read many of the usual books that kids read back in the 1950s and early 1960s (I became a teenager in 1961). Many of the classics passed through my hands via the library. I was a tomboy, always wanted to be a boy but had to make do with being a girl, so I enjoyed boys’ books much more that girls’.

treasure_island

There was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Kidnapped (I read Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde in my twenties); Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne; Two Years Before the Mast; The Swiss family Robinson, and many others Strangely enough, I never came across the works of Mark Twain.

I would often become so lost in a book that I was completely deaf to everything around me – including my mother’s calls to do my household jobs. This carried on all the time I lived at home, until I married when I was twenty. I was often in trouble over it, but my books were never taken away. Mum was an avid reader herself, and knew how awful that would have been for me.

Lost in a book somewhere

Do you remember the books you read as a child? Was there a special one you will always remember?

© Linda Visman

On the Rocks – Catherine Hill Bay

July 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Tourism, Travel | 6 Comments
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On the winter solstice, my husband and I went to one of our favourite places near home – Catherine Hill Bay. But this time, instead of walking around the old jetty and the rocks at the south end of the beach, we walked along the beach to the rocks at the northern end and explored there.

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The cliffs and most of the rock shelf are not solid as are most rocky seashores along the Australian coast. Instead they are conglomerates – millions of rocks compressed together by the pressure of their weight over many millennia.

They are constantly being broken up by the action of wind, rain and waves. Large chunks sometimes fall from above.

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That area is rich in coal, and there are many mines from the coast right through to the inland. The Hunter Valley (Catho is just south of it) is well known as a coal-rich region, and the first white people were quick to find the seams that ran along the coastal cliffs.

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Brightly coloured lichens cover the rocks in places.

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A creek has worn its way through the conglomerate and opens onto the sea.

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There are some interesting shapes in the sandstone which sits under the conglomerate layer.

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This is where the creek empties into the sea. Rock fishermen enjoy the sunny day as children play around them. The waves wash across the rocks as the tide comes in.

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As we walk back towards the beach, you can see more of the sandstone – conglomerate layers.

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I love the white crashing waves that wash across the rocks.

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Do you like the sea? The rocks? What is it about land meeting water I wonder that catches our emotions?


(c) Linda Visman

Photos taken by Linda Visman

Open Road to Reading

June 29, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Posted in Australia, Family History, Reading | 12 Comments
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Girl reading 1940s

I have always loved reading. I don’t actually remember learning to read – the letters, phonics, word recognition, etc; I just remember reading. I feel like I have always done it.

I do distinctly remember the early years of school and the books we used to read. I started school in England when I was five, but we came to Australia only six months later. So it is the books we used here that I remember best.

The first reader I remember was a red soft-covered one that was followed by one with a blue-cover, “Stories to Read” The stories were illustrated in colour, which made them more attractive to young kids – to me anyway.

Stories to Read cover

More advanced readers, written for the NSW Department of Education, were “The Open Road to Reading” and “Travelling On”, and another I can’t remember now. The stories in these books really grabbed the imagination of this little girl who still believed in fairies, elves and a natural world that felt and responded to what people did to it. My favourite stories included “The Elves and the Shoemaker” and “The Little Fir Tree”.

The Open Road to Reading

One book from my childhood – when I was about eight years old – I will always remember. My brother Peter had probably borrowed from the library, as it was only there for a relatively short time. It was one of several flower fairy books by Cicely May Barker, I think “Flower Fairies of the Trees”.

Flower Fairies of Trees cover

I so wished it were mine, and I would get hold of it whenever I could.
That book would keep me engrossed for hours, drinking it its gorgeous pictures and the verse that went with each one. I wanted so much for those beautiful little fairies to be real, and more than half believed they were.

Australian public primary schools received magazines published by the Department of Education. Catholic schools, which we attended, had to buy them. They were graded in difficulty by age and class, with content aimed at the appropriate reading level. They were cheaply produced on white paper, and we would file them into a folder that used string to hold the issues for a year.

The magazines contained true stories, fiction and poems, many, if not most of them Australian, opening me to stories that were quite different from the English ones I usually read. The magazines came each month of the school year (ten a year, I think). I loved those stories too, and the nuns had no trouble getting me to read them. I would have read each item many times myself before we had to read them in class.

School magazine cover

I joined the local public library as soon as I was able to and when there was one I could get to. We lived in a mainly dairy farming area, with small villages here and there. The nearest decent sized town was fifteen miles away. There weren’t a lot of public services then either. So I also used to read any book at my level wherever I found it.

Do you remember when you first learned to read? Are books and reading important to you?

© Linda Visman

An Enterprising Young Lad

June 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Culture, Family History | 12 Comments
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Superman 04

When I was in primary (elementary) school, my enterprising older brother decided he wanted to make some money. It was the second half of the 1950s in rural Australia, and Peter was about eleven or twelve years old.

Phantom 05Peter knew that kids who wouldn’t read books did read comics. He was an avid reader of books, but loved comics too. They were popular, but a little expensive for struggling families to buy on a regular basis. Peter decided he might be able to make a little pocket-money while also providing a cheaper alternative.

Somehow, he managed to get together a reasonable selection of used comics, and these provided his base stock. The idea was not to sell them – he would soon be out of stock if he did. No, he was going to exchange them – at a cost, of course.
Archie
Peter stacked his pile of comics into his billycart and took them out around the streets of our town and one a couple of miles away. Because both were small, but with many young post-war migrant families, Peter knew that there would be plenty of kids who would love to get their hands on the comics he could provide.

Depending on the size and condition of the comics he exchanged (both those outgoing and those coming in), he would charge between a penny (one cent) and threepence (just under 3 cents) for each one.
Billycart 01
Peter did his arounds regularly for a while, but I don’t remember how long he kept it up and how successful this enterprise was, though I think it went well for a while at least.

Getting the whole story can be difficult at times, especially when he lives in another state and doesn’t have a telephone. However, when I think about his creativity and initiative, I realise there is a lesson in it:
Opportunities can be created when someone sees an unmet need and finds a way to fulfill it.
create your own opportunities

Have you seen examples of creative enterprise in a youngster? How did it turn out? Are there opportunities these days for the young to exercise initiative?
Were you a comic person when you were a youngster?

© Linda Visman 24.06.14

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