My Own “When I Was Young” Geneameme Responses

A few weeks ago I starting thinking about writing down some childhood memories. After mulling it over for a while, it resulted in the “When I Was Young” Geneameme. which I posted a few days ago. I’ve been really pleased that others have embraced the idea, and have decided to take part, including Randy Seaver as part of his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun activities.

So as a number have been busy documenting their childhood memories, I thought I’d better get my butt into gear and get my own response to this geneameme done.

So if you’d like to know a little about my childhood read along …

1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (ie. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.)
I do have a my baby book that mum filled in and I have my baby bracelet. I can’t believe I ever had a wrist that tiny.

Alona's baby book

my baby book

Alona's baby book

proof I was born

Alona's baby bracelet

my baby bracelet

2. Do you know if you were named after anyone?
Sort of. Dad knew a lady called Alona and liked the name, and eventually convinced my mum that it should be my name. My middle name Margaret, was after mum’s friend who died young. 

3. And do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?
I have heard that mum wanted to call me Deborah. Not sure how I’d have gone with that name, but I do remember getting frustrated that I couldn’t get anything with my name on it, so Deborah would have been an advantage.

4. What is your earliest memory?
The earliest thing I can date would be me breaking my arm when I was three. I still remember doing it (falling backwards while standing on my grandma’s lounge chair), and I remember the doctor’s appointments later, when they were stretching it out. I’m sure the whole town heard me scream. If you wonder why I look so happy in the photo below, it’s because I back then I did like my picture being taken, and getting to set on the chair outside was a treat ;-).

Alona, age 3, with a broken arm

Alona, age 3, with a broken arm

5. Did your parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you? Do you remember any of these?
I’m sure I had a number of Little Golden Books, as well as Dr Seuss books that mum read to me. Here’s a pic of one that I still have. This is a Disney version of traditional stories like Donald Duck and the Witch, Mickey and the Beanstalk, Pinnochio and the Whale, as well as Bambi, the Wizard of Oz and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Later in primary school I really got into the Mr Men books, and had a large collection of them.

Walt Disney's Best Storybook Ever

Walt Disney’s Best Storybook Ever

6. When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?
This one’s easy, an archaeologist. Afterall they get to find cool stuff while digging in the dirt.

7. Did you have a favourite teacher at school?
Probably my grade 6 teacher, Mr Jarman, who was an exchange teacher from Canada. Apart from the accent, (which was very cool), he taught us about some of the things (traditions) that they had over there. As I was sick the day of the school photos that year, I don’t even have a class photo with him in it.

8. How did you get to school?
As I lived in the same town as my primary school, I usually walked the 1-2km to get there, although once my brother and I had bikes … bikes it was!!

9. What games did playtime involve?
Thinking back to recess and lunchtime as primary school, Red Rover was a favourite, so was handstands, skipping, elastics and playing on the monkey bars (including flipping from the top rung of the vertical ones – apparently I had no fear back then). Rollerskating and colouring in were things that would keep me occupied as home.

10. Did you have a cubby house?
I kind of had several. On my grandpa’s apple orchars I remember making apple crates into one with some of my cousins. At home I had a little old tin shed (which is still standing), and I used to put all old things I’d found (old bottles, horseshoes etc) in there. I also used to make up cubby’s in my room with sheets when my friends came over.

11. What was something you remember from an early family holiday?
I remember staying in a caravan at the beach with my grandparents, and grandpa, my brother and I went looking for crabs. I found a few and popped them into an empty milo tin and left them inside the caravan. I didn’t know that they’d be able to climb out, and grandma stepped on them the next morning. Needless to say, crabs inside the caravan were banned from then on.

12. What is a memory from one of your childhood birthday’s or Christmas?
Getting a proper pine tree for Christmas and it barely fitted in the house, but it sure smelled nice.

13. What childhood injuries do you remember?
Oh, where do I start? There was a broken arm when I was three (see above), then there was the time I put my tooth through my lip when I was probably about four. Not to forget the numerous times I hit my head – hard enough to leave a scar, but not enough for stitches. And when I was probably about 10 or 11 I thought rollerskating down a steep path would be a great idea, which simply resulted in two chipped front teeth. I also can’t forget the thorn (about 2 1/2cm long) that I had in my foot for about two months as it was stuck in there, and then there were the burns I got from when my brother was playing with a melting plastic bottle and hot plastic landed on me. Boy oh boy, it’s a wonder I made it through childhood!!

14. What was your first pet?
I guess it would be our ginger cat “”Harold Cleggett” (dad named him) … later on we had lambs, more cats, dogs and birds.

Stephen Phillips & Alona Phillips with Harold Cleggett (the cat)

my brother and I with
Harold Cleggett (the cat)

Alona with Sammy (or was it Puddles)

Alona with Sammy (or was this one Puddles)

15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”
I know they did, but I don’t remember any real details.

16. What was entertainment when you were young?
My grandpa’s apple orchard was my playground when I was really young. During primary school I loved my brother’s go-kart and my roller skates. Playing in the creek near our house and going tad-poleing was also something I loved doing. However when I was  about twelve, that all changed as we got a Commodore 64 which kept us occupied for the next few years. Going to the movies was a HUGE deal, and one that I used to get so excited about that I’d throw up, which is probably part of the reason we didn’t go very often. But I do remember going to see ET and one of the Star Wars films.

me on my brother's go-kart

me on my brother’s go-kart

17. Do you remember what it was it like when your family got a new fangled invention? (ie. telephone, TV, VCR, microwave, computer?)
I remember my parents getting a VCR probably when I was early teens. I remember it cost a fortune, but as a bonus they got a video with it for free. That was “The Man From Snowy River”. As it was the ‘only’ video we had for quite some time, it was well watched.

18. Did your family have a TV? Was it b&w or colour? And how many channels did you get?
I remember having a black & white TV, but I don’t remember anything about it. But I do remember the little colour one (it was only about 30cm or so) that my grandparents gave us. I’m pretty sure it only had four channels (2, 7, 9 and 10), which was fine, because that was all we needed.  We had that one for years.

Alona watching TV

me watching TV at my grandparent’s place

19. Did your family move house when you were young? Do you remember it?
My family moved when I was about two from one house at Cudlee Creek to another one (one they built). However I don’t remember this, but there’s photos below to show it happening. However when we moved from Cudlee Creek to Gumeracha when I was about eight, I remember being scared of the cracks in the walls of the old house we moved into, thinking they were going to collapse.

our house at Cudlee Creek, being built 1975-1976

our house at Cudlee Creek, being built 1975-1976

our house at Cudlee Creek, being built 1975-1976

our house at Cudlee Creek 1976, with the Cudlee Creek Methodist Church and cemetery in the background

20. Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (, flood, cyclone, earthquake etc)
Ash Wednesday in February 1983 will forever stick in my mind. I had my things packed up in the car ready to leave (moneybox, denim jacket, you you important stuff when you’re 10), but dad wouldn’t go, we had to stay and watch it come closer and closer – down three sides of  the hills towards my family’s house. The house ended up being fine, but it was something I never wanted to go through again. However the Sampson Flat fires in January 2015 got even closer. Still my family was all ok, and the house is still standing … fortunately.

21. Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory?
Hmm … this is a tough one, as my family weren’t into listening or playing music, and I didn’t discover the radio until my early teens. but having grown up going to church I’m sure there’s some hymns that if I heard them, they’d sound familiar, but I don’t remember what they were called.

22. What is something that an older family member taught you to do?
My grandma was very into craft, and I used to do some with her (leatherwork, quilling, beadwork and more), though not sure I’d remember any of it now. I know my mum taught me hobbytex back when that was a fad, and my brother taught me to drive, so I guess that counts.

23. What are brands that you remember from when you were a kid?
Hmm … TAA, Ansett, Ampol, Shell, Amscol Ice Cream, Hubba Bubba bubble gum, FAGs (the lollies), Redhead matches (they are still around, but barely anyone uses matches these days, so they’re not common), TDK cassette tapes, Sony walkman, and I can’t forget the Commodore 64.

24. Did you used to collect anything? (ie. rocks, shells, stickers … etc.)
I was a collector for sure. I did the usual thing of collecting shells when at the beach (though not sure what I did with them afterwards). I collected stickers and had them all in a book, and I also collected sew-on badges from every place we’d been. Smurfs was a big thing for me. And I also collected novelty erasers, and had quite a large collection (50+ I would guess, and I have no idea what happened to them), and the cards out of the Weet-Bix boxes so I could stick on them on the big poster they used to issue.

25. Share your favourite childhood memory.
It’s hard to choose just one … Coming home from school and smelling home baked bread. My grandparents morning tea and afternoon tea stops on the side of the road, complete with tea, biscuits etc. when they were out for a drive. OD’ing on chocolate paddle pops after doing the 40 hour famine. The 20c packs of lollies from the local deli. But probably one that really sticks with me, is picking flowers from mum’s garden, and getting little vegemite jars and putting them on the graves in the cemetery next door to where our house was.

26. Did you learn any instruments?
In primary school I sort of learnt the recorder (didn’t we all), and had a go at guitar, but that hurt my fingers so I was lousy at that. I did have piano lessons for a few years, and played flute in high school.

27. Did you play any sport?
While I did love running, I wouldn’t have said that sport wasn’t really my forte. However I did play netball for Gumeracha for a number of years. I think I even got a trophy for most-improved player one year.


So that’s my trek down memory lane, reminiscing a little about my childhood. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve done well, and thankyou for your patience in reading right to the end.

7 Responses to “My Own “When I Was Young” Geneameme Responses”

  1. Crissouli says:

    Love the added illustrations… I had some aside but was too hard to add at the time. I might have to go back and add a few.
    I’ve seen mention of elastics a couple of times, that’s not familiar to me. I loved the story about the crabs… we had some rather large ones which escaped from the laundry. They terrified me…though I loved eating them.
    I love the memory you shared of picking flowers to put in vegemite jars on the graves next door… a lovely thing to do. Thanks, Alona…

  2. Alex says:

    Ooh Alona. Lots of happy memories here. I love your knitted green cardigan. How could I forget TAA, FAGs and TDK cassette tapes?

  3. Judy Webster says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your childhood, and I love the photos – especially the one of the lamb (I grew up on a sheep grazing property, so each year we had a few poddy lambs in our houseyard). When I have time to sit and think, I’ll put my response to the meme in Jottings, Journeys and Genealogy.

  4. Carmel says:

    What fun, loved reading your response. How could I have forgotten FAGs those most sophisticated of lollies!! Wow, what a message they were sending to children of the time. No wonder that they’ve disappeared. You’ve made me remember our vegemite always came in the small glasses and yes when they were emptied and washed those were the glasses we used daily.

  5. Pauleen says:

    What a rich set of responses Alona with so many strong memories. You were plainly destined to be a family historian with all those influences. I’d forgotten some of the things you’ve mentioned so I’ll be “cheating” when I do mine shortly.

    A great meme, thanks 🙂

  6. GenieJen says:

    Oh, the old Commodore 64!! What fun the kids had on that here in the kitchen. I used it for my uni subjects when I did my Grad Dip in Librarianship working into the night after everyone was in bed and printing on the old dot matrix printer. Thanks for the memory

  7. Being able to run free and having lots of open space when a child is priceless, you certainly had a beaut environment in which to grow up.

    And we still have our 2 Commodore 64s down in the garage!

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