A Letter to my Grandchildren

August 3, 2015 at 12:30 am | Posted in Experiences, Family History, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, Memoir | 10 Comments
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monday-memoir-badge

June 2005

My dear Grandchildren,

Remember when you’ve been to the museum, where you saw old carts and other old things. You thought that it was very old, and that those days were very long ago. Well, we used to have our milk in one of those old carts

My Mum and Dad and us kids had come out from England when I was five. We didn’t have much money, even though my Dad worked very hard. He did manage to put a deposit on a block of land. Back then, not like it is now, the area was all bush, and our land was on the shore of the lake. There were five or six houses within a few hundred metres of us, and a little store over on the highway. Dad rented a caravan, and we lived in it on our block of land. There was no electricity, but the water was connected to a tap at the front of our block of land.

I remember how we all helped Dad to clear the land, and how we played in the bush around our house and on the lake shore. The only thing we had to watch out for was snakes.

Anyway, back to the cart – well, in a roundabout sort of way! How do you get your milk? In plastic bottles from the supermarket I’ll bet! Well, we didn’t. There were no supermarkets then. There were no plastic bottles either. And, where we lived, there weren’t even any glass milk bottles yet!

Our milk was brought around early every day by a man called Max. Max had a trusty old horse named Fred (now, isn’t that an original name for a horse!). Old Fred was very well trained. Max and Fred and the cart would come along the rough dirt road with a big tank of milk sitting on the back of the cart. As they went along, the people would come out of their houses with their billycans. Max would give a whistle, and Fred would stop, right outside the house – or caravan in our case.

Milk cart&horse

Each of us kids always wanted to be the one to take out the billycan to have it filled up from the tank. At first, we were all a bit wary of Fred the horse, because we weren’t used to such big animals, but we soon got to know that he wouldn’t hurt anyone. It was exciting to give Max our shilling and see the creamy milk splash into our billycan. When our can was full, and we had exchanged a word or two with Max, he would give another whistle, and off Fred would plod to the next house. We had to be really careful carrying the billycan of milk back down to Mum, so that we wouldn’t spill it.

Now, don’t you think that’s a more interesting way of buying your milk?

Mum would put the milk into an icebox because we didn’t have a refrigerator – or even electricity. But that’s another story!

With love from

Grandma

This started off as a letter to my young grandchildren– written over ten years ago when the first of them was only a year old, even though I pretended that he was a lot older. I wrote it to describe how we got our milk when I was a child,

I wanted to show that it wasn’t really so long ago that things were so different. But perhaps I’m having myself on. Even a child of seven or eight would think fifty years (as it was when I wrote it) WAS a heck of a long time ago. It just doesn’t seem that way to me, and now it is sixty years ago!

Anyway, it’s interesting to look back on those changes.

Would you like to share an example that illustrates the changes from when you were a child to now?

©  Linda Visman

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10 Comments »

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  1. TV was black & white. I remember when JFK was shot, my other crying, watching the funeral on TV.

    • In our case, no TV at all until my teens. I remember when JFK was shot, and the horror of it too.

  2. Great read Linda. Being a city raised child I missed all that and always intrigued how innovative and hard working people of the land were.

  3. During my high school years I helped my dad with his bread run in the Dapto area – only the loaves that were sliced were in plastic.

    • Hi Hazel, thanks for visiting and commenting. Do you remember the round brown loaves? I loved cutting into them, smothering the slice with margarine and plum jam, andsavouring the taste. 🙂

  4. The idea of a letter is a lovely thought! And yes, it is amazing the changes each generation sees as it marches on towards that indefinite horizon. A thought, though, which always surprises me – if we take a lifetime as being as low as even seventy years it was only six lifetimes ago that Elizabeth I was on the throne of England, witchcraft was punishable by death at the stake and our damply enticing land was a gleam n the eye of the King of Spain.

    Come to think of it, not so much has changed: galleons then, trawlers now….

    • Yes, the existence of mankind is but the blink of an eye when we look at it in perspective, Frederick. But we haven’t changed much while we’ve been here.
      It sounds like you should write a letter too. 🙂

  5. I remember our milk deliveries Linda. They were also done by horse and cart but we received the milk in bottles. What I loved was the arrival of the cart very early in the morning and us hearing the creaking noises of the cart and the “klinking” of the milk bottles. It was always dark, Winter and Summer. The milkman would arrive at about 4-30am. Imagine what time he went to bed. 🙂

    • Great memories, Don. 🙂 Who on earth would want to be a milkman in those days?! I often wondered.


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