Patracat's Memories

This blog is my story. I have created it for posterity, as some of my early memories are of a way of life that many of my peers have forgotten, and the younger generations will never experience. I hope the reader enjoys it, and will be encouraged to write their own story. Once you have gone, your memories go with you and can never be recaptured unless you write them down.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Chapter 2: More about Dad.

Until I was about ten years old, Dad would take me for walks on the weekend, to the local store to buy bread or milk, and to the park on a nice day, where I would spend time on the swings and slides. Sometimes he would give me a penny or threepence to spend on lollies, and I would deliberate for several minutes on which ones to have. To have as many varieties as possible, I would ask for "a ha'penny of those, a quarter penny of those, and one of them" and so on, pointing to each jar. Dad and the shopkeeper always found this most amusing, and I remember Dad saying he had never seen anybody divide up their money so carefully to make the most of it, the way I did.

One day in the park, we saw a disabled man and Dad said "There but for the grace of God go I". Another time I was grizzling about something I wasn't allowed to have, and he said "Remember this. I cried because I had no shoes, but then I saw a man who had no feet". Those two sayings have stayed with me ever since. My school friends just adored Dad. When they came to our house to play, or stay the weekend, Dad would always find time to play cards or board games like Snakes & Ladders and Monopoly. He would play the piano for us so we could sing with him, or just listen. On a hot day in summer, we would put our bathers on and run around the back yard shrieking with delight while Dad chased us with the garden hose. And I think they liked the way he came to say goodnight. He would tuck me in, kiss me on the cheek and whisper "Sleep tight Miss Muffet". For the rest of Dad's life, three of my closest childhood friends continued to send him Christmas cards every year, and Dad always reciprocated. On the occasion of my 50th birthday, two of those friends were present and they were delighted when Dad, at 92 years of age, acknowledged them as it it was only a few weeks ago that he had last seen them.

When the young Queen Elizabeth came to Melbourne in 1952, Dad took the family in to see her in the motorcade along St Kilda Road. At the age of four, among thousands of adults, I couldn't see anything, so Dad hoisted me up on his shoulders to see over all the heads. But she had already passed by, and all I saw was the back of her head in the car disappearing from my view. I was terribly disappointed.

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