Mind Pictures

{Concluding part}
The roles of male and female were clearly defined and I cannot remember hearing any of the women of that generation bemoaning their lot. Nor, I might say, the men either.
My mother always wore an apron at home while doing her chores-which were almost non-stop because we were a large family. In the late afternoon/early evening before my father returned for his meal at the end of his working day, my mother would replace her apron with a clean one and comb her hair afresh. I now appreciate her example of physical appearance as pleasing to my father. That she, being weary from her day’s toil, which was not yet finished, took the time and made the effort to do this, impresses me greatly. I feel a touch of love there in those simple actions and am grateful for it.

Life was not all work in those “back-there” days and as children we enjoyed lots of play in the fresh country air, most of which we engineered from our own minds. I remember collecting buckets of the wild growing blue bells {a kind of inedible berry} with my younger siblings and leaning over the top side of the bridge, tipping them into the river we rushed to the lower side of the bridge and watched a purple blue tide roll by.

Before we learned to swim our mum would sometimes take us to a part of the river where sloping stones held a pool in the bottom of their meeting together. We were allowed to soap the stones and slide down them into the pool. In time all we nine children learned to swim and enjoyed many happy times on hot afternoons at the river, often with mum and dad there too.
{My dad always swam with his shoes on, and my uncle with his hat on!}

We lived near the site of a large sawmill and dad and the older boys would strip some slippery bark sheets off a tree and we would sit on them and swoop down from the top of the huge pile of sawdust to the bottom in a wild ride, only to troop back to the top and do it all over again. At night there were board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Draughts and so on, and dad and the “big boys” often played cards.
{There was no TV or computers of course, and no electricity in our district until I was in my late teens.} We also played verbal word guessing games, either for spelling the words or defining their meanings. We used to have a “bobs” set which we played on the quite long kitchen table-it was long because we all had a seat there for our meals.
Bobs was something like billiards, yet nothing like it, I suppose the only real similarity was that one had to shoot balls into holes, but numbers counted so if one was smart enough to get the right ball into the right hole then a better score was reached. {Depended on whether one was too small to reach the table top and hold the cue maybe?} At one time we also had a table tennis set-kitchen table again handy!
I remember building a ride-on buggy with two of my younger brothers and we had lots of fun running it down the hill, as one of us sent the other off with a push.
Taking turns was not an option for us, it was an expected behaviour.

Our parents passed on to us a love of reading and that was the main relaxation during the evenings in quiet times. I well remember when my mum and I were alone for lunch at the time the older siblings were at work and younger ones at school: we would sit one each side of the kitchen table and as we ate we each had our books propped up!
My love of reading has never diminished and I enjoy the companionship of a multitude of characters who enter my life through the pages.
My mum had a lovely voice and one beautiful memory I have of her is when she took us for a moonlight walk, and coming home we all sat on a log as she sang us a lullaby.

Hard days, some may say these were, but they rest happily in my mind, and memories bring back the love of good parents who cared for us all, and taught us to live in ways that brought happiness not only to us but to others as well.

{There is much more I could write but having written a lot in my personal memoirs I will refrain from doing so here}

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