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U3A Writing: Past Times

Joyce King present four fragments of times past recalled by members of Werribee U3As Writing With Words group.

For more memories visit http://www.u3answ.org.au/ Click on Remember When on this site.

Sun Li had a market garden on the outskirts of town. People said his produce was so good because he used human manures. His horse and cart called at our house regularly, as did the butcher, baker, grocer and milkman. When Sun heard that my aunt had died at a young age he laughed and said, "Velly solly". Every Christmas he gave us jars of ginger and wicker baskets. The grocer would give us boiled sweets in a twist of paper when we paid the bill, or sometimes a bag of broken biscuits. Mum used to buy our clothes "On appro." Which meant on approval and could be returned if not suitable.

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"Please to remember
The fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot"

I remember when the Fifth of November was a really big event. Children would find an old pram and make a Guy and dress him up. Then wheel him round from door to door asking "Penny for the Guy ?".They would use the money to buy fireworks to be lit at the bonfire on a vacant paddock. All the garden clippings and household rubbish would be piled up and as soon as the night became dark enough the fire would be lit. We'd buy Jumping Jacks, Catherine Wheels, sky rockets, penny bangers and throw downs.

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I was born in Stawell in 1926 and lived there until 1935. I remember when electricity came to the town. We all gathered at Cato Park to see it turned on and a great cheer went up.

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I remember when I began school at the age of 4. My eldest brother took me and led me in by the hand through the boys' entrance. His teacher came out and asked "Who is this little curly-headed girl?" In my own class I began to cry and the teacher asked me what was wrong. I said I was hungry, so she shared her lunch with me. I've used food ever since when lonely or upset.

I remember going to stand in a quiet side street and watch a magic lantern show. The first silent picture I saw when they began to be shown at the drill hall was "Seventh Heaven" with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. When a talkie was shown at the Town Hall my father and I went and peeped in the side door to see and hear comedians called Gallagher and Sheene. They sang as follows:

"Oh, Mr Gallagher. Oh, Mr Sheene.
What is on your mind this morning, dear old bean?
Cost of living is so high, that it's cheaper now to die.
Do you think so , Mr. Gallagher?
Oh, I'm certain Mr Sheene."

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