Whats a house? If you look at pictures of my street it has hardly changed in 100 years. The only difference is that where there was a large garden there is now a car park, but that’s it.
I was trawling google earth street view in Victoria, Australia to try to find an old gym for another blog entry, but while I was there I thought I’d look up my Nan’s old address which I spent much of my bored childhood.
I wish I was prepared for what I saw.
My grandparents bought the place in the 60’s and lived in it until the mid 90’s. to them it must have been the Australian dream that they immigrated for, and then properly wogged (Australian terms) it up.
The brickwork, the concrete swans, the fancy iron work. I’m being unfair in a way it was mild really. What was different to the rest of the street was the carefully manicured lawn and flower beds in the front (my nan thought they were more posh, a nice front yard will do that to a person).
My favorite thing was the building to the side of the house that looked like a garage that was really a small flat. The trick was to put a rolling garage door in front of the brick wall. I even lived in that “garage” for 3 months in 1980 while my father was building an alpine style wog mansion of his own.
I have memories of peeling broad beans for my grandfather (child slave labour), keeping my distance from snoopy the psychopathic dog that was tied up, the first place I was dropped on my head, (my uncle is still boasting that he dropped me) and longing to gome home so I can watch T.V, instead of having to listen to the Maltese news REALLY LOUDLY on the radio while my Nan sang oh my Marie. The only entertainment we got was watching my Nan pop out her false teeth and cross her eyes at the same time.
So when my parents left us there over the weekend, the night would go as follows.
Sit at the table which was covered in a thick fabric table-cloth followed by a further 2 plastic cloths and DONT MOVE. This could go on for hours, brace yourself.
Dinner is served, Some randomly bland Maltese food (funny that, it was terribly bland but now I miss it). Have to spend the whole meal having to listen to my uncle, mouth full going “Aye this is bloody better than that bloody Mc Donalds shit”
Someone would break wind, someone would complain about another’s foot odour, lots of loud conversation, which to the outsider would appear to be a fight but was just really about who was going to put their car in the driveway first. For dessert we may have had some low joule orange jelly with my grandfather, because “she has the diabetes”.
Saturday night entertainment, Maltese style!
Sometimes this meal would be followed by a car ride to church in my grandfathers old ford with no seatbelts. Just holding on for dear life in hoping that the car doesn’t roll. (On one occasion our aunt took us in her car to 7-11 instead of church, that was the highlight not only was she cool and 19 but she had a toy gremlin in her car). But in most cases it just meant that we had to listen to the rosary said in Maltese. We didn’t need to participate, just sit there. DONT MOVE. I can still recite it today.
After that was done with we could watch a bit of TV, we were at the mercy of either a foreign film (because my nan used to “like them having the sex”) , variety show “Hey Hey Its Saturday” or whatever the Saturday night movie was on normally John Wayne. If my uncle was in it would be some horror film like Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead (Yep I saw that when I was much too young). We have to sit on the itchy floor because we were not allowed to sit on the plastic covered sofa’s . That was were the massive old doll sat.
kinda like this but much more upmarket
If she was in a good move she would put the special light decoration on (still keeping the plastic cover over it) I still love these I keep threatening to buy one but Mr. Crafty also threatens to kick me and the light out if that happened.
For a good nights sleep..
Then finally when it was time for bed, bed being an outdoor banana chair with 6 blankets above and below. A blanket sandwich if you will. This was most welcomed in the summer.
I looked forward to the mornings only really when for my nan would heat up milk on the stove and have real branded Special K. It is still one of my favorite breakfasts today.
I sounds like a right bore, and it was. But it makes up who we are. All the boring bits just build up character, I had many funny times there too. Probably eek them out in other entires.
So as I said earlier I was looking for an old gym in the area and thought I’d look at my nan’s place now.
HOLY CRAP!!!!!!! Stomach turning. What the fuck had they done to it??? I felt sick, sad and tearful at the same time. The whole street looked the same except this house. I’m so glad my grandparents never had google maps when they were alive, this would have crushed them.
All the hours my grandfather put into his front yard, all gone! I mean how did
they get the white concrete swan out? (It may still be there it’s so overgrown). Who rips out the fence and the gates?? And the side gate has been replaced with some dodgy fence? The hours my nan spent mopping the beautiful gold tiles on the front veranda I can only imagine are dirty and grim now. It was a lovely not too badly designed early 1960’s home. Now it looks unloved.
I fairness it looks better than the neighbours front yards,(unless you like front lawns made out of concrete) but that still doesnt make it right.
I know it’s no longer ours, but that bit of history has been erased, a shadow of its former self. It’s just very sad.
Here is a good example of ethnic design…my nan’s place wasn’t as bad as this.