Pooh Reflecting

Pooh Reflecting
Pooh Reflecting

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I think everyone who knows anything about me knows that I am a Pooh aficionado.  I have loved all things Pooh since I was about five years old when my aunt Joan sent me, from England, a set of four books - Winnie-The-Pooh, The House At Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.  I think they came at different times rather than as a set, but I loved them all.  The first two are the A. A. Milne stories, the others are the poems.  I think the poems were my favourite.  It helped that Mum and Dad bought us a record of the When We Were Very Young poems - I learned my favourites off by heart.  The record came from The World Record Club, and this was the cover.  I still have it, and when I work out how to use Jim's analogue to digital record player I will record it as an mp3.  One of my very favourite poems was Vespers - it goes like this:
Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that's right.
Wasn't it fun in the bath to-night?
The cold's so cold, and the hot's so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy - I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny's dressing-gown on the door.
It's a beautiful blue, but it hasn't a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.

Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,
And pull the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I'm there at all.

Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said "Bless Daddy," so what can it be?
Oh! Now I remember it. God bless Me.

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

Another favourite was The King's Breakfast.  It goes like this:

The King’s Breakfast

By A. A. Milne

     The King asked
     The Queen, and
     The Queen asked
     The Dairymaid:
     “Could we have some butter for
     The Royal slice of bread?”
     The Queen asked
     The Dairymaid,
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “Certainly,
     I’ll go and tell
     The cow
     Before she goes to bed.”
     The Dairymaid
     She curtsied,
     And went and told
     The Alderney:
     “Don’t forget the butter for
     The Royal slice of bread.”
     The Alderney
     Said sleepily:
     “You’d better tell
     His Majesty
     That many people nowadays
     Like marmalade
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “Fancy!”
     And went to
     Her Majesty.
     She curtsied to the Queen, and
     She turned a little red:
     “Excuse me,
     Your Majesty,
     For taking of
     The liberty,
     But marmalade is tasty, if
     It’s very
     The Queen said
     And went to
     His Majesty:
     “Talking of the butter for
     The Royal slice of bread,
     Many people
     Think that
     Is nicer.
     Would you like to try a little

     The King said,
     And then he said,
     “Oh, dear me!”
     The King sobbed, “Oh, deary me!”
     And went back to bed.
     He whimpered,
     “Could call me
     A fussy man;
     I only want
     A little bit
     Of butter for
     My bread!”

     The Queen said,
     “There, there!”
     And went to
     The Dairymaid.
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “There, there!”
     And went to the shed.
     The cow said,
     “There, there!
     I didn’t really
     Mean it;
     Here’s milk for his porringer
     And butter for his bread.”
     The Queen took
     The butter
     And brought it to
     His Majesty;
     The King said,
     “Butter, eh?”
     And bounced out of bed.
     “Nobody,” he said,
     As he kissed her
     “Nobody,” he said,
     As he slid down
     The banisters,
     My darling,
     Could call me
     A fussy man—
I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!

Here is a Wikipedia reference to the book When We Were Very Young and one to Now We Are Six

I have quite a collection of Winnie-The-Poohs now.  My favourites are the classic Poohs rather than the Disney ones, although I love Disney's Eeyore.  Probably my favourite is this one - a Gund Classic Pooh.  I actually have two - not sure where I got the first, but the second came from a second hand stall at a market in Portland and cost me all of $5!  Susan also sent me a lovely classic Pooh from America when she was there.

Church of Christ

I always went to Church when I was growing up - in fact did so until I went away to College at 18.  In my teen years I often went twice - once in the morning because it was the main service, and once at night because it was more informal and I really enjoyed it.  Mind you, all services at the Church of Christ were more informal than anything at the Church of England or Catholic churches.
This photo was taken in April 2000.  It is just as I remember it.  To the right of the Church was the Hall.  At some time in the 70s the two buildings were joined with an extension that connected them, and provided indoor toilets and a modernised kitchen.
I believe the building is now a private house, since the Church moved to another location.

This article about the Church came from the Morwell Historical Society newsletter of June 2003:

Meetings were initially held in the Scout Hall led by Mr. J. G. Shaw. The Shire
Council approved plans in July 1950 for the construction of a new church building. 
The site selected was near the corner of Church and Winifred Streets, diagonally opposite the site of the “La Mode” clothing factory.  The final service conducted at the Scout Hall occurred on Sunday, 2nd. November 1952.
The Winifred Street Chapel was officially dedicated on Saturday, 8th. November 1952, the service which began at 3.30 p.m. was led by Mr. W. W. Saunders, President of the Victorian Churches of Christ.  Also in attendance were Canon Phillips (Anglican Church), Rev. G. Williams (Baptist Church), Rev. R. Hunt (Methodist Church), the Shire of Morwell was represented by the president - Cr. Alan Hall.
The Chapel was built by the congregation. 
The honour of turning the key in the door went to two stalwarts of the church, Mr. E. H. Reid and Mrs. C. Blucher.  After the dedication service a special Tea was held at the Town Hall from 5 p.m.   A special service of “Praise and Thanksgiving” began at 7 p.m.  The guest speaker at this service was Mr. E. L. Williams, M.A., principal of the College of the Bible, which was located in Glen Iris.
The church hall was officially opened on Sunday 27th. November 1955. 
The hall was also built by volunteer labour.
Source: “Morwell Advertiser”
The Historical Society also had this article about the 40th Anniversary of the Church on a 2005 newsletter.  I remember each of these people from my childhood.  If I remember correctly Sue Lacey came to the Church on my wedding day to see me married.


I was one of the lucky ones - I went to Kinder.  This was located in Vincent Road near the corner of Churchill Road.  because it was so close I remember being allowed to walk to Kinder by myself.  I used to go down the lane, then over Churchill Road to the empty paddock on the other side, then across the paddock to the Kinder.
I loved doing paintings on big sheets of butcher paper held up on easels - just like these two girls.
 I also remember the Wendy House corner, where we dressed up and played House.  It wasn't exactly the same as this, but did have wooden cupboards and appliances.
The Kinder was next to the Infant Welfare Centre, where Mum used to go with us as babies for our check ups.  I remember going there once and playing with the toys while Mum was talking to the Sister with John.  When it came time to leave Mum asked me what I should say - meaning, thank you for letting me play with the toys.  I clearly remember saying "Thank You", and then attempting to take the toy I had in my hand away with me.  I can't exactly remember what it was, but have vague recollections of it being something made of tin cans and wood.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Li'l Bruvver

Not so little any more!  John Loring SULLIVAN was born on 27th July (I won't divulge the year in case he is sensitive!).  I was about to turn 2.  Mum and Dad took me to Nan's place for a couple of weeks while they had, and settled in with, the new addition to the family.  Apparently I didn't want to know them when they came to collect me.

This is one of the earliest photos of John and I together.  It was taken in our back yard.

This is one of the latest photos of the two of us together!  At least I can say I have more hair again now (because it it slowly growing back) - but so does John because his beard is growing back.  He had shaved it off to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation.  No more on top though!

The Kitchen

As I write one post it often makes me think of something else - this time, talking about the strap reminded me of our kitchen.  It was a typical 50s kitchen, with multi-coloured cupboard doors, a sink below the window, formica bench tops, and table and chairs just like in this photo.
We had shadow boxes just like this one (not sure if they were in the kitchen though - more like the loungeroom) and appliances and cannisters just like these.  Our cupboards and drawers were painted different colours.  But the fridge was pretty much like this one.  And we ate in the kitchen, not a dining room (or loungeroom as so often happens these days).  I only remember an electric stove and oven, but perhaps when the house was first built (which wasn't long before I was born in 1953) there was a wood stove, because I seem to remember that the oven was in an alcove under a chimney.  I'm sure there was a chimney because I remember the day a bird got into the kitchen via the chimney, frightened John and he (literally) had a fit - biting Mum's finger as she tried to keep him from swallowing his tongue.
Eventually Dad recessed the fridge into a cavity made into my bedroom, so that the door was flush with the wall and the fridge itself didn't protrude into the kitchen.

The Outside Dunny

Like all houses in my childhood, we had an outside 'dunny' or toilet.  This was non-sewered - a can placed under the wooden seat for collection of the 'waste'.  Very smelly, what with the combination of the waste itself, but also the additive that was supposed to prevent the smell but had a unique smell of its own.  Probably phenyl if I remember correctly.
Our dunny was in the back yard behind the playhouse, shed, woodshed and chook house.  Quite a hike, especially if you were in a hurry!  Of course for night time needs we used a 'potty', kept under the bed.

This site provides a good description of 'dunnies' - but don't click on it if you are likely to be offended by a bit of 'blue' language.

Dunnies by Warren Fahey

The waste was removed, not at night time as is commonly believed, by the dunny can man.  He carried in an empty can, and took away the full one - carefully covered by a secured lid!

Oh how we relished the day when our indoor, plumbed toilet was installed.  In those days - sometime in the 60s I guess - toilets had to have rubber floor covering.  This was approximately 1/4" (1/2cm) thick and very flexible.  As the workman was trimming the floor covering to fit, he created several strips about 1" (2.5cm) and 12" (30cm) long.  Muggins me suggested to Mum that one of the strips would make a good strap for when John and I were naughty.  She agreed completely, and from that day on the strap lived in the middle drawer in the kitchen.  It was used, occasionally, and threatened often!  One day it mysteriously disappeared - and I genuinely don't know where it went.

The Play House

Thinking of Livingstone Street reminded me of the play house which Dad built for me in the backyard.  Oh, the hours that were spent there playing house and school - I couldn't tell you.  It was wonderful.  Not sure of the dimensions, but it was a full height room.  Had a door at the front, and a window in the left wall, and another in the back wall.

This photo shows John and me having a tea party outside the playhouse.  It was next to dad's big shed where he had his model railway set up.  In front of the playhouse you can just see the aviary where we had a rosella (I think).

Go To Sleep My Baby

And of course Billy Blunder reminded me of an even more special song - a lullaby in fact. My mother used to sing it to me when I was little, and I sang it to my daughter and my grandchildren when they were babies. Apparently it is the chorus to a song called "Wyoming". The midi that follows is the whole song, but about a third of the way through it goes to the chorus - and these are the words:
Go to sleep my baby
Close your pretty eyes
Angels up above thee
Watching dearie from above the skies
Great big moon is shining
Stars begin to peep
'Tis time for little picaninnies
To go to sleep


Still brings tears to my eyes to hear it. I hope I can sing it to Susan's children one day.

One Rainy Morning

Doing some surfing on the net this morning - well, actually, I was looking to update a couple of links on this blog - and I suddenly remembered a song I used to sing when I was in Prep grade at school, and which I subsequently taught to my own infant classes. It was Billy Blunder, although I don't know that I ever knew it by that title - I think we called it Big, Black and Shiny or maybe One Rainy Morning.
Here's the words:

One rainy morning
Without any warning
A large umbrella crossed the street
Big, black and shiny
Covering someone tiny
And all that we could see were two small feet

In and out the traffic
Dodging here and there
That umbrella went with a Don't-Care air
I said in wonder
Who is that down under
Hugging that umbrella like a teddy bear

Apparently there are more verses, and it was actually a road safety song, but these are the only two verses I ever remember singing. Tried to find an audio version, but no can do.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Games People Played

Thinking about primary school made me think about some of the games we played.  One I particularly remember was called "Two Ball".  It basically involved juggling two tennis balls in a series of manouvres.  You also required a flat vertical surface.  The inside of the 'shelter shed' at school was ideal because the wall was divided into perfectly sized spaces by the frame.  It was a game you could play by yourself, or in competition with others.  If in competition it was your turn until you dropped a ball or made some other mistake.  The idea was to see who got to the end of the sequence first.  Let's see if I can remember it:
10 = underhand throws
9 = overhand throws
8 = under / over
7 = up
6 = up / under
5 = up / over
4 = hmm - that's about as far as I can go, and 5 might not be correct.
Strange thing is, I NEVER met anyone else who had played it.  I did find a reference to it on the internet one day, but a search just now has failed to turn up any reference, except a wikipaedia page that has since been removed.  But I know I even added to the information I found so it was some sort of forum.
Aha -  I just found this:
Two Ball is a very good game. You sing a rhyme as you throw two balls against a wall.
Here is the rhyme:
   Please miss, mother miss,          
   Come to tell you this miss,        
   I miss, won't miss,                
   Be at school tomorrow miss. 
The rules are that you are throwing the balls in a sort of juggling way and if you drop one, then you are out till it is your go again.  You can have any number of people playing but it is wise to have 3 as a maximum.    
We never sang a rhyme that I remember.

Real Knucklebones
Plastic Knucklebones
Another favourite was Knuckle Bones, or Jacks.  We often used real knuckle bones from the roast lamb, but you could also buy a set of plastic knuckles which came in five different colours.
The plastic ones I had were the same size as real ones, but later versions were smaller and had less weight.

The other favourite schoolyard pastimes were skippy, hoppy and swap cards. 
I had quite a large collection of swap cards - some had even been my mother's when she was at school.  I know I had (still got them in a cupboard somewhere!) the middle top card, and the bottom right card in my collection. I still regret swapping some of the cards that were my mother's.

Skippy was played with either a short individual rope, or one or two long ropes.  Most skipping games had rhymes that went with them.

Hopscotch was NEVER called by that grand name - it was always Hoppy we played.  Usually the grid was drawn onto the path or asphalt with chalk, but at school there was a favourite grid that had been deeply scored into the clay at the top of the oval.  There was always a race to get to it first. 

Tobruk Street State School

Tobruk Street Primary No. 4680
Approval for the construction of a third Morwell Primary School was given in June 1951. The school was planned to cater for the children who would be living in the 300 home Housing Commission area known as the "Hourigan Estate".
When discussing the issue of the "Churchill Road School" as it was then referred to, the Shire Council resolved in May 1952 to ask the Education Department to call for tenders for a "built on site" building in preference to a pre-fabricated unit. Cr. Hourigan believed that " a local job would be better, cheaper and completed earlier".
The Department had earlier advised that a pre-fabricated unit could be ready by February 1953. Cr. Hare stressed the need for the school to be erected as soon as possible.
Tobruk Street Primary School was eventually established on 2nd. February 1954, at a site on the corner of Churchill Road. The initial pupil enrolment was approximately 500. Meetings were held in February to establish a Mother's Club, at one of these meetings it was decided that a Father's Club should also be formed.
The following were elected as office bearers:
Mother' s Club President: Mrs. Jeffrey Vice Presidents: Mrs. Milligan and Mrs. Cummings Secretary: Mrs. Scicluna
Father's Club President: Mr. Little Secretary/Treasurer: Mr. Scicluna Committee: Messrs. Judge, Cash, Bakker, Cook and Jeffrey
The school committee was formed at a meeting held on Monday 15th March. The office bearers elected at that meeting were:
Chairman: Mr. Woolley Correspondent: Mr. Baker Treasurer: Mr. Sawyer Committee: Messrs. Cook, Bakker, Millett and McKay
The first head teacher was Mr. John Evans.
From: http://www.morwellhistoricalsociety.org.au/motmschools.htm

The Tobruk Street school was at the end Livingstone Street - easy walking distance from my home.  I remember my first day at school so clearly - as if it were yesterday rather than more than 50 years ago.  I remember wondering why some of the new kids were crying - this business of going to school was so exciting.

I completed Bubs (Preparatory) and Grade 1 in the same year (1959).  This was common in those times - 'clever' children were 'promoted' half way through their first year when a second intake of Bubs began school.  I can't remember the name of my Bubs teacher, but I think my Grade 1 teacher was Mrs. Buchanan.  In Grade 2 I had Miss Tucker, but I think she left to get married and I don't remember who replaced her.  In Grade 3 I had Mr. McQualter.  My favourite teacher was Mr. Louis Lowe in Grade 4. He was special.  We had a lovely old wooden gramaphone in the classroom and he used to play records for us.  He also put lots of things like spelling rules on the windows in window paint.  And in the middle of the top of the blackboard was a quote I have never forgotten - "Good, Better, Best.  Never let it rest.  Till your Good is Better, And your Better is your Best".

Good better best picture

Mr. Lowe was also our Horticulture teacher in Grade 6.  How I loved his lessons.  I remember a poem he taught us to help remember the parts of a flower.  For years I could only remember the first few lines, but in about 2009 I finally discovered the rest of it.

The Calyx is outside the cup
That holds the flower snugly up;
Its sepals have been woven stout
To keep the cold and dampness out.

Corolla is the colored part
That gladdens every childlike heart;
Its petals wave on the breeze
To summon butterflies and bees.

The stamens next within the ring
Their anthers set on magic spring –
These anthers store a generous meed
Of pollen needed to make seed

The pistil’s in the centre fair,
For it must have the greatest care;
The stigma’s catch the pollen beads
Which turn the ovules into seeds

                                                         -- Ruth Chandler
(as communicated by Major Wilson)

Lucky Toffees and Umbrella Lollipops

When we went to the Rintoull Street shops we used to buy Lucky Toffees and Umbrella Lollipops.
The lollipops looked just like these, but they were different colours and if I remember correctly they were more opaque and sugar-coated.

The Lucky toffees cost 3d each, and if you were 'lucky' the one you bought had a sixpence in the bottom of the toffee.  I don't think they had coloured sprinkles on top - maybe coconut, but they were in little patty pans like these.  Oooh!  They were yummy - even if you didn't get the 6d!

Other favourite lollies - but strangely I only remember really buying them from the shop near Wattle Park in Melbourne (near Nan's house) - were Big Boss chocloate cigars and Fags.  Fags are now called Fads!  I must admit we used to pretend to smoke them - even though no-one in the family was a smoker.

Big Boss Cigars
 Also liked Choo Choo Bars!  Don't think the wrappers were exactly like this though - think this is a more modern rendition.

And while I'm on treats - something else I loved when I was growing up was a Lime Spider!  Nowadays they are usually just not the same - they should be made with lime flavouring, lemonade, and icecream.  But today they are usually made with lime flavoured softdrink and icecream, and they are just NOT the same.

6 Livingstone Street

My childhood years were all spent at 6 Livingstone Street, Morwell.  Ron and Val Hardy and their children Yvonne, Sharon and Dale lived across the road, Mr and Mrs Locock (or was it Laycock?) and Patricia lived next door on one side, the Pointers lived on the other side.  Etta Milligan and her husband, whose name I can't remember, lived across the road next to the lane.  There were the Junkers down the street, next to the Smiths - Harry and ? and their children. The Junkers had twin boys - one, Shane, was tall, dark and solid - the other, Dennis, was much shorter, thinner and blonde.  They didn't look like brothers, let alone twins!  Mrs. Chaffey lived across the road between the Hardy's and the Hendersons - Aileen, Jim and Jane were the children.  Mrs. Chaffey was very old and frail - she had LOTS of cats.  I remember Mum often had to go over to help Mrs. Chaffey find something she had 'lost', or to ring the police because there were naughty men in her roof! and there were cats everywhere.  I guess she had dementia.  On the other side of the Henderson's were the Shanklands, and further down on our side were the McPhee's - the wife was a Milligan daughter, sons were Robert and Ross.  The de Lange's, with daughter Helen and sons Kees and ? were right on the corner where the road curved down towards Churchill Road.  There was another family, German I think, with a name something like Merkel.  I think they were either between the Hendersons and the Shanklands, or perhaps next to the Shanklands.
This photo of the house was taken in November 2006.  The front fence, the garage, shed, playhouse and it seems the room Dad added on as my bedroom have been removed - but it also appears that there have been other extensions at the back of the house.
The 'hill' behind the house is the wall of the reservoir - still as tree-less as when I lived there.  The house was always white when we lived in it.

Next to the Pointer's house (I think the people who moved into it later were the Kearns's) - just visible to the right of our house here - was an empty block.  This was an SEC easement I think, and where we used to play, and have bonfires on bonfire night.  Across the road from the empty block was 'the lane' - again, a block wide but it went right through from Livingstone Street to Churchill Road.

Here's the lane - no concrete footpath when I was a kid, in fact we walked down the middle.  Milligan's house is on the left, Hardy's on the right.

The lane was the access to the Rintoull Street shops, which were off Churchill Road, also to the bus stop - turn left when you got to the end of the lane, up the hill to the bus stop.

My goodness - Montague's Pharmacy is still there, after all these years.  But the newsagency used to share a door with the chemists, and be on the right.  They were also the last shops in the block - I see now there are a couple of extras.  The greengrocers has gone, and so has Trevorrow's bike shop which was the first shop in the block.  There's still a butcher's I see, and a mini mart.  We used to have a little shop that sold some groceries - maybe it was the greengrocers too.  I can't remember - but I know we used to go there to buy our lollies.  Especially 'umbrellas' and lucky toffees.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In the beginning!

This is going to be a random collection on reflections on things that have happened to me during my lifetime.  I said random, because they won't be in chronological order - rather, just as I think of them.

I was born in Yallourn Hospital on 12th August 1953.  My parents, Yvonne Valerie (nee GOOD) and John Rees SULLIVAN had waited some time for me to be born.  I think there were several false alarms before I finally decided to make my entrance into the world.

This isn't the earliest photo of me, but it is my favourite.  I was 6 1/2 months old when it was taken.  I'm not sure if the toy I am holding was mine or the photographer's.  But the dress still exists - I think Susan has it in a bag of baby clothes.