Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Simpler Times

Seventy years ago there was no partying on New Year's Eve for Mother's parents although they did stay up until midnight.

New Year's Day morning would see the house a hive of activity with the preparations for a picnic. With my grandparents and perhaps another adult squashed into the cabin of the flat tray truck used to take vegetables to the market, Mother and assorted children would travel on the back of the truck as it slowly drove down Warrigal Road to Mordialloc Beach for an extended family picnic gathering. That the occasional child was not launched off the back of the truck as it bumped along is surprising but Mother has no memory of it happening.

Depending on the weather, they would find a place in the sun or shade and lay out a feast to behold, as would other members of the extended family. The children, mostly Mother's cousins would run and play and play and play until they were exhausted. The adults would sit and gossip and take the occasional paddle in the water. There would usually be a walk out on Mordialloc Pier to get that bit closer to the sea air.

Mother remembers them as been magical days, and perhaps they were. Not that I partied last night, I worked, but I reckon I would swap NYE celebrations for a huge family picnic at Mordialloc Beach.

But being a bit of a grump, I then think of the hot sun, stickyness from the salt water, flies, biting things, sunburn, noisy children. No, perhaps it is better to stay home in the air conditioning.

I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Later edit: I've remembered something. One of Mother's cousins was killed in a road crash, maybe on a motorbike, maybe on the way home from the gathering. That was the last extended family New Year's Day picnic at Mordialloc Beach.

22 comments:

  1. Stickiness from salt water?
    I don't remember doing anything for New Year's Eve as a child, I do remember my mum cleaning the house thoroughly so the New Year would see a newly sparkling clean house and I've done the same ever since I got my own home and family. Yesterday I did a modified version, in between naps. Happy New Year!

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    1. River, it was the wrong word. You know, when salt water dries on your skin. I don't like it. Was your day, vacuum, nap, sweep, nap, wash dishes, nap? It is allowed. You don't have to answer to anyone.

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  2. I don't remember us doing anything for New Year's Eve or Day. I am pretty sure it was just another day.
    I too worked (voluntary) last night, and I am a very tired puppy today.
    Happy New Year to you and yours. Health, happiness, love and laughter.

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    1. Well done you EC for being there to pick up pieces. Thanks for your good wishes.

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  3. I remember a big Dinner on New Years day but not much happening on New yYears Eve, no fireworks then that always happened on ANZAC day every vacant block of land in the suburbs of Sydney had a huge bonfire on it and everyone let off their own firecrackers a lot of fun but no where near the display like last night.
    Merle............

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    1. Merle, wasn't it Remembrance Day for fireworks? 11th November? I remember the fireworks well, and unfortunate animal cruelty too.

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  4. Happy New Year! Hope last night wasn't too full of misbehaving drunks... I had a quiet-ish night with the usual crowd in Hirosaki. It was fun!

    As a teenager, I remember spending NYE with my family at the home of family friends. We children were allowed to indulge in a glass of lemonade laced with a fruity liqueur. The night was passed watching the telly until midnight. Then many people living on the estate would go outside banging pots and pans to celebrate the new year. Not sure why we did that but it was certainly fun to make lots of noise!

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    1. Cheers Wombat. Returned to you. The Hirosaki crowd are good fun.

      I have heard of this banging of pots and pans. Is it a Scottish thing? I have not heard of it in Australia. Very interesting.

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    2. many years ago this "tin-kettling" was popular here in Australia and I think in Ireland. Friends and family of newly weds would hide outside the new couple's home and wait for the lights to go out for the night, then march towards the home banging on tins and pails, anything that would make a loud racket. The newlyweds were expected to get up and graciously welcome the tin-kettlers in and feed them.

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    3. River, yes I have read of this tin kettling on the wedding night. The expected night of passion was thoroughly spoilt.

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  5. What a nice tradition to gather the whole family for a picnic ! Except the sad accident which put an end to it. We have had a very nice New Year's Eve with friends and although we had intended to all leave after midnight it suddenly was 2.30 am !

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    1. Really Gattina, 2.30 at your age. Wicked.

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  6. cars are a shocking threat to anyone on a bike and that's that.
    I recall big picnics too and none of your negative items list. All the fun things like riding in the back of utes and one-tonners have Traffic regulations against them now, but I remember in the 50's a local guy always drove around with his 3 little boys looking out the raised boot of the FJ.
    A blogger one time mentioned that after a summer one when the family cleared up and they lifted the baby basinette from the travel rug there was a sleeping snake curled under it. It may have been the blogger as a baby. Think it was Boynton.
    x x

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    1. Em Stacks, I don't know why the road toll was not much higher.

      I have had snake experiences. I am sure you have too.

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  7. Sounds like a true Aussie Christmas Andrew.. I have very clear memories of celebrations in our house when we lived in Africa that went on all night into the next day, now that is a very Scottish thing :) All the very best for 2014 to yourself and R, sounds like you have some very exciting travels coming up this year.

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    1. Grace, I think you have a duty to history to start another blog where you talk about your early life, instead of just teasing us with tidbits. Your kind wishes returned.

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  8. We have become so accustomed to the fireworks extravaganza each New Years Eve that I am forgetting how we used to celebrate it.

    I think it was mainly friends' parties or a late night at some restaurant.

    Back in the late 1950s I recall my parents and I went to see a new musical play called 'My Fair Lady' on NYE. At the conclusion of the performance the cast and the audience stood and held hands whilst singing 'Auld Lang Syne'.

    Some years later, a shy teenager who knew no other gay boys, I went on NYE to see the movie 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying' surrounded by dating straight couples who stared at this boy/man sitting all alone. I have rarely felt more like a fish out of water.

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    1. Yes Victor, private parties, often boring as batshit.

      I would go for My Fair Lady as an alternative. How nice to sing ALS after the performance.

      You were clearly among misfits when seeing the movie HTSIBWRT. Why did they not have somewhere to party? You have awoken a memory or two about a lone young gay boy being fish out of water. I will quickly forget the flashbacks.



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  9. Ahhh, what a civilised way to spend NY day, such a pity the huge fire cracker nonsense has taken over when they could spend that dosh on hosting family-friendly outings instead.

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    1. Yes Jayne, like at Edinburgh Gardens. The fireworks are a hard one. I wonder what it would be like if all the young people who go to see them were loose on the streets. There is just so many more people now.

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  10. CRUSTINESS from the salt water! Ha ha! Maybe you should come join us on the Yarra, it sounds similar only on the river instead of the beach :)
    Happy New Year to you and R xx

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    1. Fen, I saw your tweeted photos on the evening. It looked like a great time. Thanks.

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