January 27th, 2022Just sayin’…
THIS edition is all about looking back so I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane, to my “born and bred” town of Frankston.
Very early memories include trips to the beach with Mum in summer. I guess Dad was too busy working at the PMG, or Post-Master General’s office, now Telstra, to come along.
We would pile into the old 1960s Holden Kingswood, (rego KEO 505) three kids in the back, one in the front and mum driving, with all manner of beach toys, umbrellas and towels. We always seemed to park on the wrong side of the highway and Mum had to drag four young kids across a busy road just under Olivers Hill. After a few hours we would dodge the traffic again, cry out as our legs burnt on the hot vinyl seats and when we got home rub cold butter on our sunburn.
I also recall lots of really boring long Sunday drives and visiting so many display homes. Not sure why. Mum stayed in our weatherboard home in The Range from her marriage in 1956 to her only move to a retirement village just up the road in 2013.
My school days were first spent at Overport Primary, where I loved reading and writing. I memorised Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country (you know, I love a sunburnt country…) to win points for my house (boring Red compared to Harry Potter’s Gryffindor) and wrote a letter to author Ivan Southall. And yes, he wrote back.
Mt Eliza High School had only just opened up and was looking for students, so that was the next step. My older sister and I, in our all-brown uniforms, caught the bus from the Frankston War Veterans Home in Overport Road. All my friends had gone to Frankston High so I had to start again and there was also a feeling we were from the wrong side of the tracks. Looking back I think most of my classmates’ parents just had bigger mortgages.
Away from school, we were always hanging out at the beach or spending Friday nights in Frankston, buying the latest single at Brashs if we had enough money. There was also a bit of time spent at the AC, a pinball parlour of fairly poor repute. My mother was always worried someone was going to walk past and stab me with a needle filled with heroin and I would be addicted. It wasn’t that bad. Television was black and white until 1975 but we didn’t care. We watched Countdown and Get Smart and Hey Hey It’s Saturday.
When I reached Form 5, or today’s Year 11, I headed back to Frankston High with my best friend. That was a great year socially, but education-wise, a complete disaster. I failed miserably but instead of repeating I pleaded my case to the local TAFE college and got into Form 6. Back on track and then off to uni.
All through high school I wanted to be a journalist and badgered the poor editor, Dina Monks, at the then Frankston Standard with everything I wrote. Sometimes they were published, mostly not. When I finally finished uni, a cadet job came up at the Standard, at just the right time…and went to the daughter of someone working there. Luckily, a little later the same position came up at the Southern Peninsula Gazette in Rosebud and it was mine. The rest is history.
Frankston was a great place to grow up. It seemed very safe, one of those “kids head out in the morning and come back at dusk” scenarios. We knew all our neighbours and practically lived over the back fence many afternoons after school.
Mums stayed at home and their work was the family and now and again the school canteens, and that’s when you got free lollies. Dads went off to work each day, in suits, and were on the school committees at night.
At Christmas we all went out and chose a real tree. We got one main present. We left presents for the milkman and the garbo, by the front gate, and no-one ever stole them. On Guy Fawkes Night (people under 30 ask your parents) we had Catherine wheels and sparklers and penny bangers. No-one had heard of Halloween.
Of course, there are always the dark sides to any life or town or time, but this is not about those. It is about a time gone by, seen through rose-coloured glasses and is just a gentle trip down memory lane. Just sayin’…