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Hello! I’ve decided to write a series of recollections from my childhood. As I mentioned in this post my childhood was a little different to most. I don’t have a clear purpose in writing this series of posts. It’s not for fame or ego. I won’t be sharing identities or photos just fragments of memories. I think it’s inspired by the auto/biographies that I’ve been reading. I like telling stories from my childhood and I hope that you will be entertained when you read them. I can’t prove that these things happened but they are my memories and I will be honest in my retelling. Deep breath. Here goes:
From before I was 5 my memories are brief snatches that I can’t grip onto, distorted images that I can’t be sure are real memories or if they are created memories from photographs, revisiting and retelling. One thing that is clear is the memory of milk crates from our neighbour who worked as a milkman delivering milk. These plastic crates were designed to hold glass milk bottles. The full cream milk had a red foil lid on the bottle. I recall when I was five, my cousin saying to me in front of my mother that she didn’t like milk and in the instant I realised that I didn’t like milk either. I recall announcing the newly acquired fact to my mother and sensing that she was irritated by my cousin for saying that to me and that my mother felt that I was just copying my cousin. Whatever the truth I disliked milk forever more.
When I was a baby my parents lived in a dilapidated house that they partially renovated and then sold to buy a steep block of land where they built a house. I recall little snippets from that house for example, it was a very nice spot with forest on one side. Everyone who hasn’t been to Australia has their own mental image of it. Because it’s an entire continent and spans many degrees of longitude and latitude and is surrounded by ocean it has almost any type of landscape and ecosystem that you can imagine from sandy desert to alpine meadows to tropical jungle beside rivers near the equator to cold climate rainforest. Where I am describing is in the Illawarra, a narrow coastal strip nestled between lovely white sand beaches and a sandstone escarpment. The escarpment catches orographic rainfall and has created a lovely temperate climate, damp forest to rainforest. That’s what it was like outside our house, glossy dark green leaved trees that are evergreen and do not lose their leaves in the autumn, tree ferns, maiden hair ferns, leaf litter on the forest floor and vines tangled in the branches. I love that sort of forest most although I am very happy with the Norwegian forests where I currently live in Trondheim.
We had landscaped gardens that hugged the steeply sloping block, some of the walls of the house were painted in strong colours and I can remember standing at the top of the stairs peering down at the floor below. I can remember seeing my older brother in his school uniform. I’ve been told that I broke my collarbone while we lived there but I have no memory of that.
Back to milk crates, our neighbours were a friendly couple who smiled a lot and I was not afraid of them even though I was a shy child. I have a positive feeling from my snippets of memories of spending time at their house but details fail to come to mind. I think that our milkman neighbour must have given us some milk crates and throughout my childhood and early adulthood the milk crates were very useful for carrying and storing things. Later my farm grandfather (one set of grandparents lived in town and the other set lived on a farm) kept one on the back of his motorbike to carry things around between our farms and I recall my older brother using them to create furniture in his share house.