Dad would always try and do something special with us on the weekends. It might have been just going to Frankston beach where Dad would have fond memories with his friends. Mum and Dad would give us a memorable day out and buy us fish and chips followed by a vanilla choc wedge each. Mum would always make sure we would be warm and covered us with her amazing knitted jumpers and scarfs.
They would sometimes take us up to the mountains towards Emerald and if it was the right season Dad would take us to find and collect chestnuts. He loved his chestnuts and made us love them too. Every year around the middle of March we would get up really early and go have an amazing experience. It feels like only yesterday that I was walking through those tracks with Mum and Dad with such excitement. Dad had his proper work boots on so he didn't feel the pricks from the outer shell on his feet. We just had our runners on so occasionally we would get a prick, but it was worth it. Mum would always pack a picnic lunch which we would enjoy after all our hard work was done.
We would come back home and Mum would roast the chestnuts in our fireplace in the room we had outside. She then would wrap them up in a tea towel for a while so that they could cool down. This would also make the hard skin softer and easier for us to peel. The smell of the roasted chestnuts was so hard to resist and we just wanted to eat them straight away even if we burnt our fingers a little.
We had this awesome room that was attached to the garage and it had an open fireplace, window and power so it was like part of the house. We used it like a rumpus room and when friends or relatives would come over, the young ones would go out there and play. The adults didn't mind as we didn't annoy them and we could have our own kids space. We also used to go in there when Dad would be doing shift work. Our house wasn't that big so if we were a little noisy it was really hard for Dad to sleep as you could hear everything. Mum would always tell us to quiet down, but overall I think we were pretty good. We also would have family functions out there.
Dad would occasionally take us to the big City or as I remembered it being so big. He would take us on an adventure and to watch a movie. We would park our car 'Nellie' at the Dandenong Station and then take the train into Flinders Street Station. From there, we would then walk to Russell Street where the cinemas were. I remember watching Herbie Goes Bananas and on another occasion Blackbeard's Ghost. I can remember on other days we had amazing experiences out at the Melbourne Zoo and visiting the Victoria Market to get some yummy jam donuts.
Dad worked a lot and even though money was a little tight, he would always make sure that we had Sunday Funday. Well, it always started out that way. This was something that we tried hard to do with our boys, Sam and Luke too.
Dad took us to Steavenson Falls in Marysville so we could see a real waterfall. I can remember Mum and Dad taking us to Lake Mountain so we could experience the snow. Mum grew up in the snow, but we had never seen it. Mum would bring big black garbage bags and they would be our toboggans. It did the trick and was even better than the paid ones. Mum was pretty clever and just made everything work. She would also bring cordial or Vinocotto when she had it, which is a cooked wine and she would pour it over our fresh snow so we could have our very own snow cones. I can still taste it as if it was only yesterday.
We used to go to Cowes, Phillip Island every year around Christmas time. We would rent a unit and we would go away with family friends that lived across the road from us in Gloria Avenue. This happened for many years and we had some amazing memories together. Mum tells me that in December 1974 we went away on our trip to Cowes, then we came back home and a month later in January 1975 we went to Lakes Entrance for another trip.
When it was the right season Mum and Dad would take us up to Maroondah Dam to get cherries and once or twice we actually went cherry picking.
Dad and Mum took us on a memorable day out to Sovereign Hill, Ballarat and one of the photos' above shows Frank and I panning for gold. I'm pretty sure that after Dad took that photo that I accidentally tipped my pan water all over Frank as I was so excited. He wasn't happy with me. We had first stopped off at Kryal Castle on the way which was so much fun.
We were so lucky growing up that we got to live where we did. We lived on a corner house and there were many kids in our area and we would play ball or roller skate down the court and we always felt safe. Everyone knew everyone and the adults always looked out for each other and their kids.
We lived one house up from our primary school Greenslopes. In our younger years, Mum would walk us up to the school and I can still see her waving goodbye to me from the school gate. I remember that I would keep looking back to look for her and she would still be there until I turned the corner of the building. I remember the school had huge nectarine trees near some of the classes and we would enjoy them when they were in season. They were so crunchy and delicious.
We had a milk bar in the next street and occasionally when we were good, Mum would give us a little bit of change that she had saved. We would go and buy some lollies or a special treat like a sunny boy and then walk back home. Sometimes, when we were really good, we would cut through the school grounds as you could walk through to the Lyndale shops where there was a fish and chip shop. What a treat that was whereas most kids have junk food all the times that it doesn't make it feel special. I can remember when Mum and Dad would say let's go buy some Kentucky Fried Chicken or Dad would just surprise us with some well that felt like Christmas. I miss being a kid and I really wish I wasn't in such a hurry to grow up.