9 March 2015

#FearlessFemales - Day 8 - Diary Extract

Today's Fearless Females blogging challenge is to share an extract of a diary, journal or collection of letters left by a female ancestor.

My Mother was a prolific diary writer - you'd see her every night after dinner and dishes were done sitting in her chair and writing about how her day had gone. Sometimes she would write just a little sometimes pages would be filled in - going across to the next day or onto a spare page at the back of the diary.

My mother didn't start keeping diaries until the late 1970s - after receiving a diary as Christmas present from one of her friends. I remember her wondering what possessed this friend to think she would want such a gift, but she ended up loving it. It became a tradition for this friend to give her a diary for Christmas every year after that. But I also remember the year that friend gave Mum a handbag instead of a diary - she was so disappointed.

So tonight for this blogging challenge I went out and just picked one of her diaries from their storage box.

The year I picked was 1981.

I started flipping through the pages and the memories came flooding back.

Here is what she wrote on Wednesday January 7, 1981:
Went to Jenolan Caves today, was real good, set off about 7.45am weather overcast mild & humid.
Had to laugh at John when we reached 1250 metres on the mountain before going down to Jenolan & he said you added that to the 1000 odd metres from Katoomba. [Daughter] & I told him that was how high we were above sea level.
[Son] was quite good although he acted up a bit on the way home.We toured LUCAS Cave 1 1/2 hours it was very interesting.
Had a quick lunch at the milkbar & set off for home about 1.30pm through heavy rain & fog, arrived about 3.45pm.
It was a very good day.

So where was I, as I wasn't on this adventure? According to the entry for Sunday January 4, 1981, I was out at YMCA Camp Yarramundi, where I was a camp counsellor during school holidays, and didn't come home until Saturday January 17.

Here's another extract from the same year - Tuesday November 3, 1981:
Melbourne Cup Day, a fine mostly sunny day, partly cloudy few early showers.
Looked like the rain was clearing up, only a light sprinkle when I left to catch the bus this morning.
Had an unexciting but busy day at work. [ ] the supervisor told me the payman was asking if I was paid by bank account as they didn't have me on the list; told her no I get cash so now I hope I get my pay tomorrow.
Everything stopped at 2.42pm for 5 minutes while the Melbourne Cup was run - I didn't win a thing.
Just-A-Dash won, El Laurena 2nd Flashing Light 3rd. I was in three sweeps & had the same horse in two "Magistrait" & Diatric in the other
[Daughter] & John met me at the station at 7.25pm & we went to the Rooty Hill RSL for [daughter] to get her badge. We went into the bistro first & I had some dinner as I was starving.
We stayed at the club till 8.30pm. [Daughter] and [friend] have gone to stay at [friend's daughter's] for the night so [friend] can tidy up for them coming home.
You'll be pleased to know Mum did get her pay the next day.

Melbourne Cup is bigger than ever, as is Rooty Hill RSL. These days most work places stop for more than just 5 minutes - mine, for example, sets up a tv and has drinks and nibbles for most of the afternoon. Lot's of others celebrate for the whole afternoon. In Victoria, Melbourne Cup day is a public holiday! And nowadays people rarely get paid in cash in Australia, we usually get paid by electronic funds transfer.

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