Family

THE HUMBLE ORANGE

Of all the online places I visit including facebook, forums and youtube, my favourite place to be yet the one I am most absent from is wordpress. I suppose in a way these infrequent visits make sharing photos and journalling here more special. Something comes to mind and I think to myself…I really must take the time and make the effort and use my imagination to blog this.

A determined resolution to eat more fruit instead of chocolate was the prompt for this entry. Who would have thought an orange would make me remember……

Dad and ‘Uncle’ Bill – chapter one

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Aside from his casual attire of bermuda shorts and long socks for Saturday mornings cooking in the kitchen or trips to the shops and his even more casual old shorts and shirt for gardening and fishing, this photo above is how I mostly picture Dad during my childhood. A business man in a suit leaving early in the morning and returning late at night. But oh the fun and interesting things he shared with us and the friendly and fascinating people he introduced us to outside working hours. A world of dining in special restaurants,  entertaining clients at home with dinner parties and music and home slide shows and movie nights enhanced by Mum’s beautiful cuisine, receiving presents from overseas travels and being educated about anything and everything from speaking French to calculating the area of a circle to having a little bet on the horse races to the skill of catching a flathead or bream with a handline wrapped around a toe instead of a finger.

One of the best things about his business world was the new friends we made. One of the most difficult things – losing friends who left for business reasons that made no sense to a child. Thankfully many friends remained lifelong ones – like our ‘Uncle’ Bill who would always visit with smiles and laughter and treats – and who shared Dad’s passion for fishing and for music. Bill delighted in hearing me play the piano or joining in with a family ensemble – Dad with his harmonica, Mum with her comb and wax paper and all with their lovely singing voices.

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But what does Uncle Bill have to do with oranges? Well he once gave us a huge supply of them and as a thankyou Dad decided he and I should thank Bill with a song. We practised long and hard memorizing something sure to charm a fellow music and fruit lover and set about turning ‘Thanks for the Memory’, that we had heard Bob Hope sing, into ‘Thanks For The Oranges’….”the little ones were sweet, the bigger ones couldn’t be beat, the yellow skins we  threw in the bin, the juice was running down, how lovely they were….”. I can still sing it like it was yesterday. I wonder where are you now Uncle Bill?

Mark and Susan’s supper – chapter two

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Mark and I met on 12th October 1974 during a blind date. Of our almost forty years together few of them have been without the joy and company of children. If I wasn’t babysitting I was teaching little kids to play the piano or guiding Brownies or making music for tiny ballerinas or allowing my heart to be melted by any baby that crossed my path. (No reborn dolls back then but I still had my childhood baby dolls tucked safely away). We became engaged October 28th 1976 and married on the 14th January 1978 and within a few months discovered our first baby was due to arrive November 30th. Beautiful Amy Mellicent was born on Saturday 25th November.  Five gorgeous boys followed – Timothy Mark, Geoffrey Stephen, Patrick Ainsley, Samuel Alexander and Michael Christopher – and two precious lost souls along the way. Time to ourselves was always rare but even when when we had the chance to arrange escapes, with the help of grandparents and friends, I usually preferred to have the children with us. No lectures on the importance of husband and wife bonding please. My strong maternal instinct is something I wouldn’t change for anything or anyone. I wasn’t exactly against taking a baby into bed with us from time to time however we did manage to get everyone to sleep at once most evenings while the children were young so we could enjoy some quality time watching movies or listening to music or just talking etc. Midnight snacks were something we looked forward to and often consisted of boiled eggs and toast and…at last getting around to an explanation for the photo above…the frequent hand peeling of oranges and sharing of fresh orange segments.

The twins  and Pa – chapter three

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Samuel and Michael were almost three when my Dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  Sadly, being so young, they don’t really remember spending time with him. Thank goodness for cameras and family storytelling to keep a person’s presence and spirit alive. These photos of the boys were taken during our last visit with their Pa at home in Ocean Shores NSW. Dad was very proud of his fruit trees and keen to show two inquisitive rascals these delicious and round edible treasures in nature, ripening as they should on the tree, very inviting but not quite ready to be picked. “Not ready to be picked!” emphasized Pa.  When he said something he meant it or beware his disapproving look. Hmm, alas they simply couldn’t resist. All was eventually forgiven after they’d helped themselves to one each without permission – and he gave in to letting them have the thrill of picking a few more, ready or not. Delightful pictures at the time and how much more meaningful these photos have become now.

A music teaching theme – chapter four

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I guess you could say I am easily inspired – and inspired by all sorts of things. The creative mind can be exhausting and difficult for its owner and for people around it to bear sometimes. Mine is particularly over-active. Always has been and always will be for as long as I have full use of it and old age or medication don’t diminish my brain pathways and eccentricities. I am also easily pleased and more than a little obsessed with acquiring the unattainable – especially when it is clearly ‘not for sale’. Few people would get truly excited over a cardboard prop in a supermarket but there I was having a desperate ‘must get it’ moment at the sight of a fake fruit tree laden with oranges (mandarins or peaches it was later suggested to me to which I turned a deaf ear). My back to school ‘oranges’ theme was realized. Unsuccessful visits with greengrocery staff and store managers plus phonecalls to other shopping centres followed until one kind young man said “Sure we’ll hold it for you. We were only going to throw it away”  Just what I wanted to hear. I am also very keen on rescuing and recycling junk. Add some rhythm flashcards and the orange tree becomes a music tree ready to greet students. To cut a long story short other orange items were hunted for and found – including artificial orange blossom, scratch and sniff stickers and plastic orange savers to which I hid inside theory revision questions.

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Today – chapter five

Apples have also played a big part in our lives since Mark lived and worked on an apple orchard during our early years together. But I will save that fruity tale and the spin off journalling and photos for another time. I have pretty much lived by the ‘apple a day keeps the doctor away’ belief for as long as I can remember but today I’m reflecting on my original prompt for this blog post and thinking that there’s really no need to give up chocolate for fruit when you can find fruit IN chocolate!

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The end

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 2:04 am  Comments (2)