What childhood adventures or even lovely moments can you remember? Your children will especially love hearing these – they’re from and about you as a kid! ”Saturdays” is by Susan Perrow, one of the featured author’s in “A Loving Family”.
a childhood story by Susan Perrow
I was born in Tamworth, a country town in western NSW and I spent the first ten years of my life growing up in a house at the foot of the hills behind the town.
Saturdays were my best memory.
Not the first part of Saturday, as this is when the jobs had to be done! Many jobs! My older brother David had outside things to do – trimming the edges, weeding the garden, that sort of thing. I had inside things to do – washing up, mopping the floor, dusting, that sort of thing. David used to call me ‘Rapunzel’ as I was always inside the ‘castle’ doing things while he was always outside.
But late morning, when the jobs were finished, our mother would give us a rucksack and we would head off into the hills behind the house. Inside the rucksack were two packages – some sausages wrapped in paper, and some buttered bread wrapped in paper. There was also a bottle of water and two coloured metal cups, and a box of matches. Sometimes, on a lucky day, as well as water we had a bottle of lemonade or fizzy orange. It was adventure time! The time we both looked forward to all week.
I think I must have been about eight when these adventures started, and my brother was three years older than me. So he was the one who carried the rucksack and he was the one in charge! We would make our way up the rocky gullies, David leading the way. We had a purpose – to find a good place to build a fire to cook our lunch. A good place meant one with large flat rocks and no grass close by or overhanging trees that could catch alight.
Once our fireplace had been found we set to work gathering dry sticks and branches, and choosing forked green sticks for cooking the sausages. Some of the wrapping paper was used to get the fire going, and some was kept to help protect our precious bread from invading ants. Once the fire had settled down a little, we squatted around it with our sausage precariously balanced on the forked stick, trying to cook it evenly on every side. Of course, this was an impossible task. Invariably we ended up eating half cooked meat, or, if the sausage had fallen into the fire, some very burnt meat, if not pure charcoal. But for some strange reason, once the sausage (raw or burnt or both) was wrapped in the buttered bread, it always tasted wonderful.
On one occasion one of David’s sausages burst open and the ‘guts’ spilled out into the fire. For weeks after this event, we would dissolve into laughter at the dinner table when my brother would whisper to me -‘Remember the day when the guts fell out of the sausage’. Our parents never understood how we could laugh so much about nothing!
Once lunch was over, we used a mixture of water and dirt to put out the fire, and then packed up our rucksack. With our tummies full, we now had the rest of the afternoon to play. There seemed to be an endless line of hills and gullies to explore, and we were always on the lookout for pepper trees to climb, caves to hide in and pools of water amongst the dry hot rocks.
It was rare that the gullies had any water. Usually the creek beds were dry, but occasionally we would come across a shallow pool that glistened like a shining mirror. We would pretend we had reached the ocean and dip our hands into it to enjoy the coolness of the water. Tamworth was a long way from the coast and we often fantasised about living by the sea. It is interesting that we both ended up raising our own families within walking distance of the ocean.
Late in the afternoon we would arrive home – tired, dirty, and sometimes with scratched and burnt fingers. But, always so happy to have had such an adventure! In another week, Saturday would come back round again. After doing our jobs, up into the gullies we would go, with the rucksack on David’s back and our ‘lunch’ wrapped up in paper parcels inside.
Yes, this was definitely one of my best childhood memories.