DIARY 1987

I enjoy finding old diaries and calendars in our family archives as a little glimpse into days gone by. Special people and places mentioned – a lovely step back in time. These entries were written when we lived in Melbourne and before Patrick, Samuel and Michael were born….


Thursday 1: Amy spending some time with Michelle at Nana & Grandad’s

Friday 2: Mark went sailing at McCrae.

Saturday 3: Barbecue at the Peter’s

Sunday 4: Party for Christmas – Jim’s 40th birthday at Cecilia’s

Monday 5: Mum phoned with Auntie Betty’s scone recipe. Started letter to Mum and Dad. Amy has started learning to iron – hankies and teatowells.

Tuesday 6: Shopping in Frankston for Timothy’s birthday, Amy’s ring, groceries. Stopped at Sharyn’s first with baby clothes, sling etc

Wednesday 7: Shopping at Karingal to spend Christmas money. Paddling pool and new red cutlery.

Thursday 8: All day at home! Catching up on housework, tidying cupboards, rooms etc. Debbie dropped in – she is still in pain with her back. Joy and James visited – nearly time for baby’s arrival. Children played with Jane and Chris. Mark, Amy, Timothy & Geoffrey went to see Ken and Lyn. I am learning to play Beethoven’s ‘Sonatina in F’. Started Amy flower pressing. Boiled eggs at 2am!

Friday 9: More tidying

Saturday 10: Mark & Geoffrey shopping in morning. Drive to McCrae then icecreams. Movie at home ‘Weird Science’

Sunday 11: Sausage sizzle at Sharyn’s – Amy and Tim going for Hailey’s 5th birthday.


Published in: on July 14, 2019 at 8:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Family History

My first home

The house I lived in from birth (September 1957) to May 1973 (age fifteen), 8 Macarthur St, Fairfield (now Fairfield East), NSW. I’m not sure exactly when Dad, Mum and my older brother and sister moved in but census records state they resided there in 1954. It was a basic housing commission home (first photo) with quite a large yard and by the time we left (second picture taken on moving day) it had been modified with several structures and extensions added – fences, an animal pen (which through the years held chooks, ducks and rabbits), a brick incinerator, a small front verandah, a carport, a large shed/garage, a little shed/cubby (called ‘The Dolls House’), an above ground pool, a back bedroom (my eldest brother’s room and where my piano stood) and a master bedroom (including purple carpet!) with an ensuite. This house was still existed when we visited a few years ago…Image (1504)Image (1506)

Published in: on May 22, 2019 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  


My Charm Bracelet

The very special sterling silver bracelet that I received and started adding charms to for my 40th birthday…eventually completing it ten years later on my 50th birthday.





treble clef small

tiny teddy


four leaf clover

pair babies shoes


green tree frog




treble clef large

magic lamp

butterfly outline

Eiffel tower

butterfly lacy



mother owl and baby owl

rocking horse

jointed teddy


three music symbols

Mickey Mouse hat

letter S

highchair with baby


wishing well

teddy sitting

stork with baby

Mickey Mouse


teddy bear with bowtie







Published in: on March 7, 2019 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  


A Special Pine Cone (and Pine tree)

 Although the ‘Pine Trees Estate’ sign has long since disappeared from our neighbourhood, I can clearly recall how exciting it was back in 1991 to buy a block of land situated in such a festively named location. Even more exciting is having a pine tree still standing in our yard so many years after building a house here. Memorable pine tree moments include checking its height (at the beginning barely up to my shoulders), decorating it with Christmas lights (before it grew far too big to decorate), several times fighting to save it from being cut down (for example when we added the music studio extension) and collecting the first pine cone that fell from one of its branches (not sure of the date but I’m bound to have noted it somewhere). Recently I was both puzzled and disappointed to discover the much loved ‘first pine cone’ treasure missing from its usual safe keeping place in the linen cupboard (which used to also be the hiding place for December stocking gifts) until I recalled having moved it to one (but which one?!) of many seasonal storage boxes during a major spring clean over twelve months ago. Very happy this week to finally stumble across the familiar white facial tissues, freezer bag and twist tie packaging and the prickly brown specimen of nature (plus a seed…hmm…I wonder if it would sprout?) within. To celebrate I’ve performed a little tender loving care with new wrapping and a sturdy plastic container. The red ribbon is a reminder that I once used red wool to create a protective border around our one and only pine tree and to attach a ‘Please Do Not Remove’ sign written in large red letters. I hope this special part of our garden continues to stand tall and firm and to sway safely and gently in the breeze for a long time yet.


Published in: on December 6, 2018 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  


My 40th birthday letter to Mum

Although it has been (and will continue to be for quite a while) a mammoth task to sort through our family memorabilia, I can’t help but feel sad on finding what I believe to be the last box of memories – that is until another one somehow appears from nowhere. All the while it seems as if my parents are watching from above, somehow guiding me to stumble across just the right treasure at just the right time. Having seen the wonderful movie ‘Mamma Mia Here We Go Again’ with Amy last night, I woke up early feeling bright and breezy enough to march on with chores yet also melancholy enough to prefer resting and reminiscing. But thinking that time is running out to complete a multitude of tasks from my “while I’m on leave” list, I chose to work hard in the carport where many of my teaching resources are stored and where there should really be a parked car instead. Not a box of memorabilia in sight. Or so I thought. At the bottom of a stack of music studio paperwork was a stash of letters including one I had written to Mum in September 1997 with details of my 40th birthday. Dad had passed away two years before and though I rang Mum frequently to check how she was coping and to hear her news, I tended to save detailed stories from our end for the long letters I would write to her at night when the youngest children were asleep. A box of these letters, like a special unplanned diary, carefully saved and later found after she passed away, is indeed one of the greatest gifts she left behind for me. And every so often, like today, I find another letter that went astray…


Sept 20th ’97

Dear Mum

Thankyou for the lovely birthday card and gift of money. Yes it’s hard to believe I’m 40 now!

I had fun spending all my birthday money and received some wonderful gifts too. My bear ‘Bill’ will take a few weeks to mend – the man said I’d never find another bear like that now and he’s in good condition and worth saving. ‘Bill’ visited the pre-school before his trip to the Doll & Teddy hospital and they took photos of him so the children can see ‘before & after’. Samuel and Michael really loved their train trip to the city and were very well behaved.

My baby photo is being done in a pretty mushroom pink frame – so thanks for giving me the original, I’ll treasure it. I chose a silver ‘baby’ name brooch with teddy charm which Mark had engraved with ‘Susan’, also a silver bracelet with the matching teddy. I bought some extra charms which I hope to have put on my bracelet. Silver is much cheaper than yellow gold so I’m glad I picked white gold for my engagement and wedding rings – now I can have a bit of new jewellery for a fraction of the cost of gold. A silver charm is only $6. I think it costs more than that to have them attached!

I also received a Teddy Bear CD which the boys love. We used it for pass the parcel at the picnic. It has the ‘Me And My Teddy Bear’ song that was originally sung by Rosemary Cloony. Also a new Barry Manilow CD called ‘Summer of 78’ which is all music of the late 70’s, around the time Mark and I met. I bought a pretty mauve bear called ‘Bear Hugs’ and one with floral paw pads I called Jennifer. Amy and Daniel gave me a gorgeous green bear called ‘Forest’ and Bailey gave me a tiny bunch of dried flowers, my first To Nana card and a black and cream Panda. Tim gave me a brown bear called Tre, his favourite name. I also got a picnic basket and check picnic cloth and a big brown bear I named ‘Sebastian Koby’, same initials as mine. At the picnic there was a competition to guess his name and both Amy and Mark picked Sebastian and Amy eventually guessed Koby too. For another one of the picnic activities I asked everyone to draw a teddy on a card. I’ll have to show you, they’re all so cute and different. Ros came from their house in Toowoomba for the last time, they return to Sydney next week. Because they are moving she gave Geoff her big fish tank & fish so he’s thrilled.

I made this paper etc using one of the stamps in the craft things I bought after Amy & I went to the party at Paddy’s teacher’s house. You can simply decorate with stamps, many coloured inkpads available or use the 3D effect or emboss with gold etc. I’ve enclosed a few samples.

I also started a ‘Cherished Teddies’ ornament collection. I’ll try to enclose a picture. I got an ‘S’ bear and a sapphire September bear. They’re very sweet. Also a picnic bear in the same series, who is called Thelma! They all have names – almost any name you can think of. Only available in gift shops and jewellers, so not a thing you could collect a lot of but something to hand down to the grandchildren when the china cabinet gets full!

We’ll be home for the holidays, just trips to Grand Plaza for the free shows & I’ve promised some days at parks & perhaps a swim since it is hot now. Not as hot as it will be in a few months!

I’ll close with the words of Barry Manilow’s ‘Summer Of 78’ song. Quite meaningful since it was the year we married. You’ll have to hear the song sometime. Amy has a lovely tape of a song ‘Butterfly Kisses’ have you heard it?

‘Summer Of 78’

It was one of those summers lasting forever

Making the winter wait

A summer of music and passion

The summer of 78

You appeared like the summer, sudden and perfect

And not a day too late

I swear there was music when I found you

That summer of 78

It seemed we floated through the days

And nights were always filled with stars

And it seemed that every song they played on the radio was ours

It was one of those summers only for lovers

Touched by the hand of fate

And now when winters are long I remember

The summer of 78

Published in: on August 30, 2018 at 8:59 am  Leave a Comment  


Sherwood, Baden Powell Drive, Frankston, Victoria

Of all the many organised and labelled boxes, albums and folders of family photographs I have, one treasure I really enjoy sorting through now and again is the little mountain of ‘miscellaneous’ – pictures that haven’t yet been otherwise categorised due to being blurry, too distant, not sure who the people in them are or simply views that weren’t among the better images after a snap happy session pre-digital era. The ones we would probably instantly delete or later throw away these days. Yet almost every one of those miscellaneous treasures tells a story. I took this black and white photograph of my Mum at our property ‘Sherwood’, the place in Melbourne we moved to from Sydney when I was 15. Only now, as a mother and grandmother myself, can I truly relate to how heartbroken she was being away from two of her adult children and all five of her only grandchildren at the time – grandchildren she adored and had looked after regularly. I often caught her crying quietly alone and indeed sometimes we cried together. Although more interests, new friends and another grandchild ‘just around the corner’ helped dear Dulcie settle in, it was her lifelong love of gardening that became her greatest therapy and escape, particularly in such a magnificent setting. Here she can be seen proudly showing us a beautiful Weeping Cherry Tree. No colour necessary to prompt my memories of sunshine and warmth on that day I held the camera for a glimpse into her world 


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…and I just now found a photo of myself with the same tree…

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Published in: on August 12, 2018 at 12:07 am  Leave a Comment  


Thoughts and life lessons

prompted by

Coles Little Shop Collectibles


From what I’ve noticed on Facebook and beyond, I am not the only adult keen on completing this ever so precious collection.

I was unusually slow to get on board with such a fun fad being somewhat of a recluse in recent times and avoiding the local supermarket – mainly due to struggling with the guilt of taking leave from studio teaching and thus not wanting to bump into any of the families I let down. For the same reason I no longer go for a daily walk. I also have a particular aversion to the local park although the reason for that I am unable to elaborate on for now. I generally limit venturing out in Jimboomba to quite frequent doctor visits to monitor my hypertension or to an occasional Noodlebox or Subway takeout meal when I don’t feel up to cooking after a long day cleaning, lifting and sorting in the house and sheds.

Had I still been earning my own pocket money and educating little students, I would not have hesitated to go all out and buy these toys (and the accessories I missed) from eBay, although not until after August 28th when this promotion ends – because like most collectors I enjoy both the patience and impatience associated with collecting, along with the thrill of the search. It no doubt would have been more than acceptable for this music teacher to gather a whole set plus extras because it’s well known I often use tiny toys to teach creatively at the piano keyboard and for theory floor activities. Perhaps not so acceptable for someone who is supposed to be focused on downsizing and getting their home and belongings and memorabilia in order, in readiness for whatever the future holds.

I am currently half way there in a quest for these thirty highly sought after pretend play groceries…and would be a lot further behind had it not been for lovely friend and neighbour Pam who gave me spares when I had no spares to offer or swap with her. I could not hold back the squeals of delight on finding my first packet of mini Tim Tams in the letter box. They were a definite ‘want and need’ since our famous and delicious Aussie biccy reminds me of son Timothy. Also high on the ‘must have’ list are the bottle of Mount Franklin water (way too cute and my favourite beverage), the Huggies nappies (me being obsessed of course with all things baby even though I used terry towelling cloth and very rarely disposables with our children) and the tube of Colgate (though Sensodyne and lots of it was my toothpaste of choice while up at 3am this morning in much pain). I now have the Colgate and a spare too if anyone out there needs it – meantime the second tube is stored among my box of doll hobby miniature props (just in case the elves and fairies eat too many sweets next Halloween).

Though I would not stoop as low as reaching for and stealing from the mountains of Little Shop packets at the store counters while the person serving is distracted and selling cigarettes, I did have a moment of weakness not being entirely honest with a kindhearted checkout girl who after asking me (and other shoppers) how many grandchildren we have then handed over eight toys when I’d only spent enough to earn three. Did I tell her truthfully that not many of those grandchildren are little kids anymore and of those that are I’m not sure they’re even collecting? No, I took the bonus with a big and slightly deceitful smile on my face and left, knowing she would have got into trouble from her superiors for giving away too many. On arriving home I made, with the best of intentions and aimed at showing littlest granddaughter, an entertaining Little Shop blind bag opening for YouTube. Unfortunately I accidentally permanently deleted the video, including the part where I excitedly shared with would be curious viewers overseas the surprise reveal of a tiny jar of Vegemite. My dear Mum would have said “God moves in mysterious ways Susan”.

As for the negativity associated with this promotion including complaints about giving away plastic toys when plastic bags have only recently been banned and also the safety aspect of introducing dangerous items like cleaning products to children, I am too old and too tired and too set in my love of collectibles ways to join in with the discussion. It only serves to remind me that you can’t please all of the people all of the time – and stirs up memories of when I would put much effort into typing up and handing out regular studio newsletters which resulted in both gratitude for my being so well organised but also criticism for wasting paper and harming trees.

Although on occasion during the past few weeks I’ve pouted and been disappointed, I will not give up easily on finishing my mission to complete the collection. I have a history of perseverance and determination in this field having gathered two full sets of Series 1, 2 and 3 Cadbury Yowies for our youngest boys many years ago, only giving in to the purchase of two rare Lord Balthizaars for ten dollars each during a Yowie swap meet in order to surprise the guys on their 7th birthday as they proudly wore around their necks the almost as rare set of Yowie crystals.

In closing, I promise husband Mark I will not try to use any more imaginative female and desperate collector attempts to convince him it seems only logical to stock up on pet food and frozen meals for two before Coles withdraw the toys from offer. Not a good idea really since the cats know how to open the pantry and help themselves to snacks plus one freezer is already full and the other one isn’t functioning. And for the sake of my health and current diet I will try hard to add fresh fruit not a chocolate bar when the grocery shopping total falls short of the required minimum multiples of $30.

Happy hunting everyone (who’s still hunting) 🙂

Published in: on August 7, 2018 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  


Bailey’s Feathers

Image (311)

Published in: on July 21, 2018 at 8:11 am  Leave a Comment  


‘Black and White’ Scrapbook

This is my favourite and easiest to work on scrapbook. I add to it any time, in any order and on any page, using black and white scans of images which are usually accompanied by typed journalling – various bits and pieces I have gathered from family and friends over the years.


The title page…


The first entry…


Published in: on July 17, 2018 at 9:18 am  Leave a Comment  


‘A very special diary’ continued…

Samuel Alexander and Michael Christopher

January 8th 1994

...I constantly ask myself what I could have done so right to deserve two healthy baby boys at one time. I hope having twins is something I never take for granted – now I consider it a wonderful gift. Life with twins is busy of course but so rewarding. It all makes for interesting writing which I hope to put down someday, as much as my memory allows. No time yet. With our little boys formally named, baptised and already past a year old, I wonder what my next entry in here will be. As I look at them sleeping peacefully in their cots nearby I realise how quickly they’ve grown – and they’ll probably be at school by the next time I put pen to this paper. Until then…

The next entry is dated June 23rd 1996…

Published in: on July 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment