History Chapter 1
Norton has been a Brissie boy all his life
. North of the river, of course. The mob on the southside
may as well have been in Tasmania. I can remember the 1950's in Brisbane but only vaguely. Dirt roads in 'burbs, timber outhouse up the backyard, louvre windows so regularly smashed by a cricket ball
we kept spares in the laundry. Clothes were hand washed in a copper with Sunlight Soap or Rinso. The "spin dryer" was a set of rubber coated rollers moved by a handle. No Hills hoist, just wire strung between two posts that looked like crucifixes and the wire was held up in the middle by a timber prop. Trains were red rattler carriages with puffing billy steam engines. Open trams with drop centre boards the only restraint from getting out on the wrong side. Dinosaur busses that went to low gear to get up hills, and occasionally a few passengers had to get off halfway up so the bus could reach the top.
Holidays were at the grand parents family shack at Cribb Island (now the runway at Brisbane Airport), Surfers Paradise or Kirra/ Coolangatta. Pies at Yatala once a year. The pie shop is still there today and I never fail to stop and have one when going to the Coast
Have never missed a Brisbane Ekka except on three occasions when working in the USA or UK. Cracker night with a roaring bonfire in the backyard. And someone always tried to blow up the dunny or the letterbox
We were tough back then....none of this woossy pre school or kindy stuff. Just Sunday school with the presbos down at Redcliffe then off to Grade 1 with the Good Samaritan Sisters at Enoggera
. Mother Superior was stylised by the nun in the Blues Brothers movie, and we would come home with the bruises on hands and buttocks from the bashings to prove it. They really loved discipline, the ruler and the cane.......probably explains why I know how to behave myself when I have to.
Mass on Sunday preceeded by a morning fast, Confession Saturday night. No meat on Fridays. Regular Novenas and always the Rosary chanted at night. We starved on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday
. And we scammed for Plenary Indulgences.....a promise that Jesus would give you a tip the end was nigh
so you could do a quick repent with the last breath and bypass St Peter for the members enclosure in Heaven
(that is the bit over the wall and away from the prods). Have mine in credit so I can still safely play up. Even if St Peter tripped you on a technicality (e.g. using an expired ticket) you only went to Purgatory for a bit just to get a feel of the heat from the fires of Hell (no need to weep and gnash the teeth) and be grateful you were good at least some of the time. You could cash in indulgences to erase accumulated Purgatory fines for mortal sins. I never did cash any on, so I intend to die in a thermal suit, just so it will be tolerable. I feel sad for the prods because Martin Luther proclaimed the indulgence stuff was a con, and they believed him....poor buggars.
We walked to school, listened to Superman, Hop Harrigan, Whats That, Dad & Dave, Argonauts etc on the radio after school and into the evening. Bath was run once and first in got the best of it, was bit dodgy by the fourth kid through
. Trips to the dunny after dark was by candle and we wiped our bums with newspaper. If someone got sick
with the vomits, runs, lumps or rash we all got it, and the GP did housecalls to inject you with a gallon of penicillin from a syringe the size of a Volkswagon. Bread was delivered to the door, often still hot, by the baker in the mornings. Ditto full cream milk with the collar of cream at the neck of the bottle. Lawn was always green because it always rained somtime during the week, and bindii seemed to be confined to a few patches we all learned to avoid. Lawn got cut with a push mover and we raked the clippings.
Gee life was good
. Dad worked, mum housekept, they stayed married their whole adult lives, and the 4 kids lived the life of Reilly. And people smoked cigarettes, even on the bus, train and tram.