Mim and I were sitting at GoGo bar under Chin Chin sippin on $20 cocktails. She had cleverly put her credit cards ‘somewhere down the bottom’ of her giant handbag so she could never find them, and therefore never spent too much.
But dat fancy leopard hat – why you so thrifty, lady?
Prices are ridiculous, its so expensive now. Life’s too advanced with so many modernised things – I feel sorry for you lot
We have Netflix tho – what do you mean?
We used to know everyone, even blocks away, and borrow sugar or invite them all over for meals. Now, we don’t even know the name of our neighbour. We live closer in apartments, but share no community.
Stop depressing me but also what else when you were 20?
- we used to rinse and boil nappies in copper pots everyday and used a stick to get them out then hang them on the line
- toilets were all outside and you’d use old newspapers to wipe
- the baker and milkman had a horse and cart to deliver everyday
- food tasted better, meat in particular. The mince was incredible. But now you get it and it’s all stringy and yuck
- holidays weren’t really a big deal, if you were lucky you’d go to Sorrento.
How was your life?
I had a great one. My husband made it back from the war – he was a pilot – we had four kids, good jobs – yes life was great.
Is there anything about now that you like?
You’re all more educated, and far more confident. I’m glad for that. You all seem so much more capable, and unafraid.
Your husband left for the war at 18 – did he change much?
He was a well educated boy when we met he was very polite. But he came back knowing every swear word under the sun. Most of his friends in army units were decimated in New Guinea, and four of his airforce friends were beheaded in Japan. He had nightmares a lot.
But you loved the war?
I partied the entire time with all the American servicemen who were stationed in Melbourne. Best years of my life.
ICONIC. Biggest inspo?
My mother-in-law. She was a woman before her time, I was lucky to have Gladys Machin. She:
- became a nurse at the mines for awhile (without qualifications)
- started an op shop to support the disadvantaged in Caulfield
- began meals-on-wheels and made her neighbours cook (and she would boil ham in the same copper she would wash nappies in)
- founded the Sailors, Soldiers and Airman’s Mothers Association
- became Mayor of Caulfield TWICE
- was awarded an MBE and an OBE
- bought herself three houses
- was very pro-abortion
Advice for the youth?
Be content with your lot. Don’t yearn for more.