Saturday, August 11, 2007

Three Generations

This photo is of me in February 1971 in our backbyard in Queensland. I was 15 months old.

On Friday last my parents were over for afternoon tea and we sat in the kitchen with Ella while Leila slept. Ella was entertaining my parents with stories of silly things I've done recently. The first was of me leaving a bag of shopping at the local supermarket, later looking for the meat to make dinner, searching in crazy places before realising I'd never brought it home at all. The second was of the truck driver who was flashing his lights at us as we were driving home. I'm always wary of anyone doing that - I knew I didn't have a flat, wasn't on fire so couldn't figure out what he wanted. In the end I had stopped at a merging lane and he got out of his truck behind me and retrieved my purse from the roof of the car. I had travelled about 5kms with it balanced on the roof!

All the talk of silly things I'd done got us remembering silly things the three adults (mum, nan and pa) had all done over the years. The stories had us all in stitches and Ella was completely entralled listening to them. There was me disappearing through the fence in Queensland and up the steps of the next door neighbour's house when I could barely walk (hence the photo at top); mum's recent effort of putting the bread in the fridge and the lettuce in the freezer; my brother mistaking the green washing up liquid for cordial (mum used to buy it in bulk and transfer into old pop bottles) and gulping down a glass before mum could say anything; me fooling the whole family with the "animal prints" that I'd made across a freshly raked area of ground to the point where they were going to ring the zoo in case they were from an endangered animal. It was so nice remembering all those times (there were many, many more) and particularly nice sharing them with Ella. After every tale she'd ask "what other silly things did you do?"

That afternoon I was really aware that were three generations of us sitting there together and I felt very grateful for that. My parents emigrated from the UK to Australia, so my family was that of my parents and brothers as all extended family members were still in the UK. I didn't have grandparents to spend the holidays with or cousins to play with - but my daughters are have both those connections and more.

I'm sure many have said before me that they should document tales of their family - I'll be another to say the same. I may do that for myself and the girls when they're much older. For now, I think I'd just like to tell more tales over a cup of a tea and a cake at my kitchen table - there's a lot of subject matter to draw on.

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