I’m not sure which month we moved into the new house, however I do know it was in 1966 when I was 10 years old. The house was built from light cream brick, with a blue black tile roof. Funny thing is, when I married and we built our new house, I chose a blue black tiled roof because I liked the one on the new Mumby farm house. Has anyone noticed?
Around the perimeter of the house were hybrid-tea rose bushes. I don’t know how many there were but there were a lot. I can even remember some of their names. Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Barbra Streisand, Black Beauty, Blue Moon, Brandy, Candy Stripe, Chicago Peace, Diamond Jubilee, Dolly Parton, Double Delight, Fragrant Cloud, Gold Medal, Granada, Helmit Schmidt, John F Kennedy, just to name a few. The garden was always a picture and my mum spent a lot of time in it. In fact, she died the night after she’d spent a big day in the garden, at just 59 years of age, of a sudden heart attack.
I’ll never forget how devastated mum was when dad was spraying roundup around the garden to kill the weeds. He obviously didn’t realise it was deadly to roses too, not just the weeds! She lost over half of her beautiful roses at that time. I was away at boarding school and remember seeing the dead roses when I came home for the holidays.
We never used the front door, only visitors who didn’t know the family would come to that door. It was made of glass and a wooden frame, with terylene curtains, that you could see through and saw who was standing outside, but no one could see in. This door lead to the breezeway which had reddish terracotta tiles on the floor and lots of indoor plants around the walls. Another door was on the opposite side, so this could be opened to let the breeze through. Hence being called a “breezeway”. I don’t think it was opened very often, because all it really did was let the dust blow through. And we can only imagine that on the west coast of Western Australia in the middle of summer with those hot easterly winds.
To the left of the front door was a long passage with grey carpet, a pink and black tiled bathroom that mum and I used, a toilet and three bedrooms, Mum and Dad’s, mine which was painted mauve, and the boys bedroom. My bed had a white cotton bedspread with purple roses on it and my walky talky doll sat beside the pillow. I loved this doll and still have her today. She was given to me for my 5th birthday by my Nanna Herbert.
My three brother’s slept in one room, they had mustard coloured candlewick bedspreads. Off from each of our rooms were sleep-outs where visitors slept. My nanna Herbert (nee Caddy) always slept in the sleep-out off from my room and she would tell me bedtime stories until I fell asleep. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood were some of my favourites. She never read them from a book, it was always from memory.
At the other end of the house was the lounge room with it’s, black, gold, green and brown axminister carpet. There was a fire place built out of coloured limestone rock. The kitchen-dining area had a large yellow laminex table. I remember that this was specially made so it could seat 8 chairs around it, they were orange vinyl. Across the middle of the room was a glass display cabinet with many of dad’s tennis and fishing trophies displayed in it. I have many of those items in my cabinet today. Then there was the laundry. We had a chip heater to start with. That is, small pieces of wood to get the fire started, then larger pieces to keep it burning. Later a gas heater was installed with a permanent pilot light, which kept the water hot all the time. Across from the laundry was the office where dad kept his farm books and the black telephone. 51D was our phone number, and the distinguishing ring was a long and two shorts. Next to the office across the small passage was a green tiled bathroom for the boys. Being at the back of the house it was handy for the men when they came in from working on the farm.
Along the verandah on the side of the house was a wrought iron railing. The cement verandah’s were painted red and mum would religiously mop these down every Monday after she’d done the washing. There was another rose garden bed at the front of the house and here mum grew her miniature heirloom roses. I can only remember the name of one, Circus.
The house was designed on the letter “H”. The lounge, kitchen/dining, laundry, office and bathroom being one leg of the H, while the bedrooms were the other leg. The breezeway and passage were the joining piece.
Next week, I’ll tell you more about my mum.