Can you remember how exciting it was waiting for the school holidays to start? One of my earliest memories is of my time at Ogilvie School and the end of the school year.
I remember that during the weeks before the holidays started, we had to sit exams. They were tests given to us to see how much we had actually learnt throughout the year. Thank goodness I used to do quite well.
Then we had to clean out our desks, take all our books home and scrub the tops of the desks with, I’m sure was called, Ajax or Gumption Paste. We’d scrub those wooden desks so clean, then finish them off with a wax and polish them until we could see our faces in the reflection.
On the very last day, we were all allowed to bring our favourite board games to school. It really was a fun time.
I don’t recall what we used to do at home on the school holidays, but knowing Bobbo, my youngest brother, and I, we probably made cubby houses and either caught tadpoles in the creek or ride our pretend horses around the paddock.
School holidays were two weeks in May and August and six or seven weeks in December and January. About twelve weeks in total. My birthday was in May, so I never once had my birthday at school.
During the August school holidays, every year, as far as I can remember, my brother Peter and I used to spend a week, if not two, at our grandmother’s home in Snowden Street, Geraldton. Nanna Herbert would take us to the Sunshine Festival. There was the parade down Marine Terrace, pet parade, pavement art, chocolate wheels and toffee apples. And of course the traditional Fun Fair with the clowns that you had to put the ball down his throat and after getting a score, you would win a prize. I remember winning a huge black and white panda bear one year and a doll.
All these memories come flooding back when our grandchildren come to visit.
This year, 2017, our son Peter, flew over from New South Wales and brought his two boys Isaac and Jacob with him. His eldest daughter Alana, who lives here in Geraldton, also visited, bringing her son, our great-grandson, Zahkai with her. They had been here a few days when three more grandsons from Perth came to visit. Harley, Arden and Myles, our middle daughter, Melissa’s children. Harley stayed at my brother Peter’s farm, which he later said was just the best. He even said he wished he could live in the country as there were so many more things to do!!
The weather wasn’t kind the first few days, however, they did get to see the Chapman Valley museum where we (nanna and pop MacKay) volunteer and had their photos taken with the WWI tribute that nanna did the research for, a project for the Centennary of Anzac and the First World War Fallen Soldiers from Chapman Valley.
Peter’s boys went for a drive out to Tardun, the agricultural school he went to in 1994, 1995 and they had a day at my brother Peter’s farm when we took Harley up. The boys had fun riding the farm tractors and watching the sheep being shorn. They also enjoyed playing the Neos game at the fun park in Geraldton and swimming at the beach, even though it was cold.
By the end of the week, the New South Wales grandchildren flew home. After watching some of the grand final of the AFL (Australian Football League) between Richmond and the Adelaide Crows. It was such a wipe-out game and the weather had fined up, so off we went for a spot of fishing on the Chapman River, although nothing was caught, Arden and Myles enjoyed themselves. Sunday we went in early to town to join in on some of the festivities at the front beach and watch the Sunshine Festival Parade. It was the grand final for the rugby that afternoon, which the Perth boys love, so it was then home in time to watch it on tv.
Harley came back from the farm on Monday, so the next few days were filled with more fishing, this time at the Greenough River where both of the older boys caught crabs and let them go.
The holidays are over now so it’s back to school for all the boys. I hope they have some great memories of their holiday with nanna and pop.