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U3A Writing: The Way Things Were

Shirley Curtis, Diana Elford and Carol Short, members of Macarthur (Camden) U3A writers' group, Australia, recall bygone days.

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The way things were
by Shirley Curtis

Looking back to the late forties, one could trust people. No need to lock doors. There were always people calling in, be it the milkman, baker, iceman, green grocer, prop man. Most deliveries were made using a horse and cart, the manure dropped by the horse scooped up to put on the garden. The postman walked or rode a bike, always with a cheery whistle. He delivered mail on Saturday as well as from Monday to Friday. Christmas time was exciting, the mail would sometimes be very late at night. Friends, relatives arrived unannounced at anytime, and were always made welcome.

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My father's shed and other memories
by Diana Elford

I remember (it is my first vivid memory) being terrified as I was chased around the kitchen table by an apparition. It was my father, showing off his gas mask. Because he had been away so long I didn't know who he was.

I remember being in a taxi in a ditch at the side of the road, because the driver couldn't see where he was going in the blackout. It was wartime and there were no street lights and vehicles had the main part of their headlights covered so that no light would be visible if an enemy aircraft flew over.

I remember, vaguely, my mother making camouflage nets.

I remember my father's shed filled with his inventions. He fashioned a jigsaw from an old treadle sewing machine and my jigsaw puzzles came from this machine. He used a bike wheel and pedal as the basis for his circular saw. The kitchen cupboards, a radio case and many fine pieces of furniture originated in Dad's shed.

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Bobby pins and butterfly clips
by Carol Short

I remember bobby-pins to keep the hair out of your eyes and butterfly clips to put those lovely waves in your hair. My mother always did her hair with a roll around the back of her head kept in place with bobby-pins, and waves on the top and sides made with butterfly clips. Although she changed her hair style in later years to something more modern I always think of Mum with this hair style.

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