Summer Memories

Ah, Summer memories! They’re the best in the world, aren’t they? I was listening to an album by Bread earlier in the week, and was immediately transported back to Summer holidays; those long, hot, lazy days……..Summer was always hot and lasted forever when we were children.

One Christmas we bought Pa Kettle a hammock and he put it up in the apricot tree in the back garden. Poor Pa didn’t get much time to spend in the hammock, but LittleBigBrother and I would clamber on, lie one at each end, and reach up into the apricot tree to pick a ripe, juicy, sun kissed apricot to devour. They were true, dribble-down-the-chin juicy, delicious tasting apricots. Just like the ones Andrea brought along last week. Hmmm.

The best part of Summer holidays was spent in our caravan down at Torquay. I reminisced about this time a couple of years ago, but wanted to add a few more thoughts! Indulge me?

Back in the 1970’s, for us anyway, take away food was a real treat. I mean a once or twice a year treat, and when we stayed at Torquay, one evening we would bundle into the car, head for the fish and chip shop (in those days, just about the only “fast food” shop in town!) and the boys would wait in line with the fish and chip order and Ma Kettle and I would head over the road to the ice-cream shop to buy milkshakes. Ma Kettle always had a vanilla flavoured one, Pa Kettle chocolate, LittleBigBrother liked banana, and I chanced upon that magical flavour of Blue Heaven and have been a slave to it ever since!index(photo courtesy of Aimee’s Kitchen)

Once all comestibles were ready, we headed to the surf beach. Pa Kettle parked the car, and we devoured this scrumptious treat while watching the surfie boys catching waves in the twilight.

images My favourite surfer was the guy in the black wetsuit with the peppermint coloured board…….wonder what he’s doing now? We often had a walk along the beach after dinner, dodging the waves – or sometimes not!

On our very first holiday at Torquay, Pa Kettle, LittleBigBrother and I were playing skippy (obviously this was my game; the boys were holding/turning the rope and I was the one skipping!), when a little girl came up and asked if she could play too. Pa couldn’t relinquish that rope fast enough! Each year when Pa booked us in to the caravan park, he would always ask where this little girl’s family site was, and each year we would meet up. To this day, I still keep in touch with that little girl, although she’s a big girl now, with girls (and boys) of her own!

On some of those long, hot Summer days, we would walk along the foreshore road to the main street to buy supplies. One of the shops I loved visiting was the newsagency, not least because it was dark and cool on a hot day! It also held a wonderful treasure trove of stationery; pens, pencils, writing pads, coloured paper. Then there were the books and magazines! Hard earned pocket money often went to pay for a copy of “Pink”, or “Princess Tina”, or an “Archie” or “Josie and the Pussycats” magazine. These treasures were taken back to be read while lying on my bed in the annex, too precious to be taken to the beach in case they became wet or sandy!princess tina(I have this exact Annual!!)

Sometimes a day at the beach was forsaken for a day in Geelong. Now you need to understand that we came from a very small country town, so to go to Geelong was another treat – surely the “big smoke”! Geelong was just a short car ride away, and we parked in a multi-storey car park (what????), ventured into shops whose names we’d never before heard of, and had lunch in a cafe! I can remember visiting a haberdashery shop and buying a rainbow patch for my (flared!) jeans, much like this one:rainbow patchAn even bigger adventure was the, rarer, trip to Melbourne! Melbourne, the capital of Victoria! This really was The Big Smoke!!

A trip to Melbourne involved the car journey to Geelong, then the catching of a train (a train!!) to Melbourne. We would alight at Spencer Street station then walk down to Collins Street, and up the Collins Street hill to the shop where Pa Kettle needed to go. That bit of business done, we could explore the shops in Collins Street, Bourke Street, Lonsdale Street, Flinders Street. Ma Kettle would point out places of interest from her visits to the City. I can vividly remember visiting Coles Variety Store; in those days the girls stood behind angled counters, ready to assist. I remember being fascinated with the loooong strands of beads hanging from a horizontal pole, trying to make that agonizing decision about which colour/s to have. I eventually chose the green and yellow strand.

But of course, the best part of a trip to Melbourne was lunch at the Coles Cafeteria. And why was this, I hear you ask? Well, at the Coles Cafeteria, you picked up a tray from the pile and placed it on the metal pole-bench, sliding it along to the tiers of food, from which you could choose your lunch. Oh, the agony of indecision with all this amazing choice; sandwiches of all flavours (on white bread!), little bowls of salad, tiny cakes, bowls of jelly and cream…..and that’s just what I can remember! Once the decisions were made (“come along now children, you’re holding up the queue!”), and Ma Kettle had paid, we were sometimes lucky enough to get a seat looking over Bourke Street where we could see all the people going about their shopping and business.coles cafeteriaA little more shopping and then it was back on the train, hopefully before the commuters, and back to the quiet of the beach. The City was so noisy, with all that traffic and the trams “ding-dinging”, not to mention all those people! Just a bit much for a kid from the bush!

So in the relative peace of the caravan, we explored our purchases, made plans to wear new clothes (and beads!), and decided, as much fun as we’d had in the City, we liked living in our small country town!*

Just thought, while it’s still “holiday” time, I’d share some of these memories with you. After all, after this coming Australia Day long weekend, I consider the Summer Holidays are over; appointments are booked in, schools start, classes will start soon after and it will be back into the swing of another year.

What do you remember of Summer Holidays? I’d love to know.

Much love

Meredithe x

* I’ve now lived in The Big Smoke for 30 odd years but I still value the quiet of our suburban street after a visit into the (still) noisy City!

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.




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20 Responses to Summer Memories

  1. Meg says:

    Loved your memories. Like you, I felt that summer was always hot and long. No complaints. But now I can’t stand the heat and tend to hibernate, emerging for the winter days. Meg

  2. L says:

    Such evocative pictures of summer. Thanks for stimulating my memories, makes me appreciate where I’ve been and the people who made childhood special. L

  3. Judy Bowen says:

    Oh Meredithe what memories you have brought back. I would stay with my grandmother during school holidays and we would go to Bankstown once a week. It is a suburb of Sydney and was our shopping centre. But we would have to dress up in our best clothes to go and we would have lunch in Coles Cafeteria. It looked just like your pic. Thank you for the memory.

  4. Meran says:

    I still miss Coles Cafeteria! When we went to town with Mum – usually in the school hols – we were treated to lunch there. I always had the 4 quarters of white sandwiches and the piklets! Those piklets! Yum yum yum. Thanks for the memories! Meran

  5. lyn lindsay says:

    Thanks for the reminiscing of childhood days, I so relate and am so greatful that those memories are stored well in my mind…good days, when our children were younger we would head camping to Narrabeen in Sydney and live on the beach all day, wonderful holidays, now we are in Brisbane and our holidays are very different, but hey still worth storing away for times like you have just done, reminiscing. Thanks, Lyn

  6. Fiona Lazenby says:

    You have just bought back so many memories. A visit into the city was a special occasion so mum would always dress me in my best clothes. Lunch would be at either Coles Café or Myers. Sometimes we would meet my dad at his work (journalist at the Herald) and have lunch with him in the Herald’s café. Thanks for the memories.

  7. Janine says:

    You forgot to add that you would listen to 3XY on the radio. Still fond of a Blue Heaven Milkshake myself. xx

  8. Debbie says:

    I love your memories!. We lived in Wallsend, a suburb of Newcastle and your memories are my memories. A huge day out involved a bus ride to Newcastle city, the movies and lunch in Coles Cafeteria. I now live in Cardiff, 2 suburbs away from Wallsend and my 3 sons don’t really get it. “What is so special about a day in Newcastle city?” How time changes everything!

  9. Marsha Smith says:

    When I was small we rented a cabin on the Oregon (USA) coast. We played in the sand and water all day. Sometimes my dad took me out in his boat to fish on the bay. I remember how hot the asphalt was as we walked barefoot to the local grocery store for ice cream Drumsticks. In the evening my parents built a bonfire on the beach out of driftwood and we would roast marshmallows on a stick.The cabin we stayed in was named Black Cap after a small blackberry. In the woods back of the cabins there were huge banana slugs-ugh!
    I’ve always lived in Portland the largest city in Oregon. We lived about a mile or so from downtown, but on the block where we lived was an old Victorian house on an acre lot. It was surrounded by fruit and nut trees and because my mother was friends with the two elderly ladies who lived there, my sister and I got to pick the cherries and apples and play there sometimes.
    Thank you for sharing your memories. I always enjoy reading what you have written.

  10. Mary says:

    How interesting! What’s Australia Day weekend? I imagine it’s like Labor Day here in the U.S. where Labor Day is the first Monday in Sept. and marks the end of summer and time to go back to school. Of course, some schools return to classes in August now as they end in May or early June. I also grew up in a small town (approx. 1,200) residents – everyone knew everyone else and their business – by the time I got home from school, my mother had already heard from someone if I strayed and walked home via Main Street instead of the usual route. Yet we could ride our bikes for hours or go to the school yard to play games with other kids and no one worried that something might happen. It was nice to hear about your vacations with your family. I don’t remember anyone in our town taking vacations but they must have. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  11. Jenny M says:

    As a young teenager we had one holiday away at Rosebud in a caravan park, miles from the beach, as least there was a pool there. Our trips into the city via train was a highlight. Mum use to pop into a shop owned by a cousin, and I use to think how very fancy the shop was, as it was a shop selling fur coats! (now, I wouldn’t consider even owning one!) Then lunch at the Coles cafeteria, I can remember sliding along the tray, but can’t remember what I ate, but I certainly remember how noisy the place was. And then on our return train trip having to hand in our ticket to the ticket conductor before he would let you thru the gates to catch the bus home.
    Another shopping trip during holidays use to be to the Chadstone Shopping centre (the very small original Chadstone) and when waiting for the bus home we would have to stand outside the donut shop (how cruel to have a bus stop outside a donut shop!) and often Mum would buy us donuts.
    Yes, the Summer holidays use to go on forever!

  12. What a super post!When I was little we would go to Prestwick in Ayrshire. We would stay in a private house, where we all shared a room – Mum and Dad in one bed, my sister, brother and I in another (we were quite small), with the use of the kitchen and bathroom. Sunny days were spent on the beach, rainy days in the room doing a big jigsaw. There were ponies to ride on the beach, and icecreams with raspberry sauce

  13. Carolyn says:

    Fantastic post. I grew up in the Yarra Valley. I remember we would travel to the beach once a year on the summer holidays for the day. Generally it rained. We would get a special bus there and pack a picnic lunch and stop off and get an ice cream on the way home.
    My mum and I would also catch the train the Melbourne. I loved walking along Collins Street and Bourke Street. I remember my Mum and I walking past a flower seller and he said ‘Good morning Miss Melbourne’ to me. I felt so special in my second hand dress. We would also go to Coles Cafeteria. I loved Coles. It was a real treat to get to choose something for lunch. Such special memories now that my Mum is no longer with me. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Sue Whitburn says:

    Lovely to hear of your memories. We too had ‘take away’ as a holiday treat which involved fish and chips from the local town nearest to the camp site where we stayed!!!!- oh what a treat!!!! Your holiday annual was a treasured gift for us at Xmas time in our stockings!! The joy of having two sisters was we got to read each othes (eventually) as well! Oh how I loved Xmas!!

  15. thimbleanna says:

    How fun to read about your summers Meredithe! It sounds like you had the perfect childhood. And you’ve done such a beautiful job of writing about it — I remember things about my childhood, but not sure I could recount in the level of detail that you have — what a great read!

  16. Helen F says:

    M – I felt I was there with you all!! Good old Coles Cafeteria – we all have special memories there!! My beautiful Auntie used to take me on jaunts by train in to the city for my school holidays. Ice skating at St Mouritz ice rink, the old Melbourne Museum with the planetarium, the “new” Arts Centre with the stained glass roof, the magnificent Botanic Gardens and the beautiful old arcades where I had my first lunch in one of the tiny coffee shops. It was a toasted cheese sandwich and chocolate milkshake (in those days you didn’t make them at home as no sandwich makers back in the 60’s so it was a real treat!) Funny I just shared this particular memory when out shopping with my granddaughter as that is what she wanted for lunch!!!!!! Great minds think alike!!! x

  17. Oh Meredithe, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I lived in a country town growing up and my memories are very similar to yours. Those were the days my friend!

  18. lisa says:

    aahhh Meridethe my holidays were spent not far from you, down the road a bit at the sleepy hollow of Mogs Creek! It’s just past Airey’s Inlet and I would go down all the time with my Grandparents for years and years. My dad grew up down there as a boy as well. We had a beach house until 1996 it was unfortunately sold. I miss those days at the beach right across the road.

  19. Andrea says:

    Love the memories of summer! I now have blood plums ready and am looking forward to tasting Donna’s blackberry jam!
    Going to Wilson Prom for a week with friends camping…which is one of my most favourite summer memories really happy times from a teen to till now…

  20. Glenda says:

    Fabulous !!!
    I well remember how special a trip to the city was and the visit to Coles cafeteria ! We used to wear our ‘best’ clothes ! My earliest memorie is of a white dress with a blue sailers collar , white gloves and a white hat with blue ribbon ! How stylish !!!
    Our summer holidays were spent in the country at our holiday home at narbethong .sadly destroyed in the ash sat fires.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Xxgj

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