We caught up with Non Dreaded Nephew and his partner at a family celebration for the first time since they returned from their five month trip in South America. It was great to see them and hear their traveller tales. While the nephew spends his weekdays in Gippsland preventing and fighting fires, he and his partner have moved from their shared North Carlton house to their own flat in Footscray and are quite happy there.
While chatting about Footscray food and changing demographics, the subject of the African immigrants who are populating the area came up. Mother had briefly paused from talking about her medical issues with someone else and she chipped in, "We have them". Indeed she does. Quite a number have moved into Mother's town. But oh dear, where is she going?
"My friend Margaret's street is full of blackies, the really dark ones, you know." Margaret lives close to Dandenong on a long road. Oh, mother, not in front of your grandson. Where is Mother going with this? Hmm, must check if Mother knows nephew's partner is Jewish, lest she say anything untoward in front of her. While mother's choice of nouns could well be called into question, she went on to say,
"I've always liked bright coloured clothing and the blackie women do too. They are getting very involved in the local community organisations and oh how they adore their children and seem to just overwhelm them with love, and they always dress them so beautifully."
Not so much the two younger of us siblings, but ABI Brother and myself were always dressed in very expensive clothing. That we didn't like our clothes was beside the point. The point being, well dressed children impress Mother.
When Mother first met her neighbour's new mail order bride from the Philippines, she described her as 'one of those Philippino Thai type people'. Yet as the years went on, they both became widow neighbours and looked out for each other. Sadly Remy suicided and we never really found out why.
Mother was born in 1934 and grew up in a very conservative tea total society of honest lower middle class church going people of the land (never mind their black market trading during the war and post war). R and myself once had a freestanding wardrobe stamped with the manufacture date being the year of Mother's birth and also stamped, European Labour Only.
Mother's choice of words may be poor and she is full of the old prejudices, but she is not an unkind person and treats everyone with kindness and respect if she thinks there is something in it for her.