Wednesday, May 9, 2012


It's come to my attention that Mims and Peaches, and even my husband, are displaying the signs of acute 'spoiltness' when it comes to dinner time.
Most nights they sit down to a Morrocan feast, or a hand stirred risotto, a stuffed chicken breast or an Asian style salad with grilled salmon. Occasionally, I'll get a complaint that it's too salty or there's too many vegetables. At times Peaches will simply push her plate away with a look on her face like she's just stepped in dog poo.
So, with this in mind, a few nights ago I decided to serve them what I was most likely to be served, night after night, circa 1978. We know it as 'meat and three veg'. In my case the 'meat' component would usually be a wafer thin charcoaled steak or a fatty little chop.
I took a photo of mine, but due to my misplacing the camera cord, here's a generic shot of 'meat and three veg'... we all know it anyway.
Yesterday I had the misfortune of reading the newspaper and watching the news all in one day. It was more than this koala could bear. The news is such a source of frustration and angst for me that I had no choice but to retreat to a nicer place, using only my mind! That place in this case was 1978.
I started school in 1978. I remember the first day of school. Mum packed my little blue cardboard port with good stuff like pencils and exercise books. I remember the smell of them.Then we walked to school, as I did everyday for the rest of my primary schooling.
We didn't have a 'healthy options' menu at the school tuckshop. It was open everyday and it sold sausage rolls, Samboy chips, Mr Juicy orange juice, Surfie iceblocks and finger buns, and no one was overweight.
I would go to Woolworths with Mum on a Saturday morning. It closed at noon on Saturdays and wasn't open at all on Sundays. There was a designated person in the fruit and vegetable section to weigh and price your things. On the checkout one person would punch in the prices and another would pack your groceries in brown paper bags.
We'd take our paper bags home and put everything away in a kitchen that looked a bit like this....except our fridge wasn't yellow, not sure where they would have got that?

We ate out at a restaurant when it was someone's birthday. It was a Chinese restaurant with red walls and a lazy Susan on each table. I remember we always had chow mein and I had pink lemonade.
Most weekends my parents and their friends had a party at someone's house. While the parents got sloshed the kids would play pool for hours on end or spotlight, depending on whose house we were at. Dad would have ten scotches and drive us all home at midnight.
He would also smoke in the house, and shoot feral animals in our yard - and we lived in town! This was Rock-vegas in the 1970s.
We would open our birthday and Christmas presents very carefully so we could re-use the paper. That was just the done thing. Grand-ma always gave us a bath towel, and it got harder and harder with each year to look excited.
We only had two television stations; the ABC and RTQ7, which had quite a few local shows. I remember watching the test pattern early in the mornings waiting for a program to start, and it would come on again later at night once all the shows were finished. Notable programs that I was impressed with were Charlie's Angels, Young Talent Time and I Love Lucy.

Jimmy Carter was in the Whitehouse and Malcolm Fraser was in The Lodge. Bread was about 50c a loaf. Petrol was 21c a litre and at the petrol station someone would fill your car for you and take the money. Most transactions were done with cash. Mum was a nurse and each pay day she'd go to the hospital and pick up her little envelope with money in it.

There were no mobile phones, but everyone had a house phone and you only paid for the calls you made - how's that for a system? Genius.
Fashion in 1978 was out there. Saturday Night Fever was starting to have its influence. Being only six years old, I missed all this.

It was a heyday for men's fashion. No shirt was tight enough, no collar too wide...think dress shorts, Farrah slacks and the famous safari suit.

Like any other era though, not everyone can win a prize.

Actually, this crowd above had the last laugh. They formed a company and called it Microsoft.
And that folks, is 1978 according to me.
In other breaking news, I attended the opening of the Nespresso shop in Queen Street last night. They had a flash mob. It was very exciting. I'd only ever seen one on the tele.
Maurice Sendak died. I would have liked to meet him. I wonder what he would remember about 1978?

Adios amigos.


  1. I've tried not to think of Maurice Sendak today, because for some reason, I find it hard to believe he's gone. Maybe because I feel he was such a talent and we have some of his most endearing books and he only published a book last year.

    Your trip down 1978-lane was a good one for me. My 1978 was fairly similar to yours. I also remember being dropped at school on a daily basis at about 7:30am in the morning, because my father worked early, and there was no before-school care, we looked after ourselves in the concrete playground until everyone else arrived, many driven in Sandmans with tropical scenes spray-painted down the sides.

    I think I just realised what a flash mob is, aren't they those mass-dance phenomena?

  2. Sorry, yes, a flash mob is an impromptu mass dance. They take everyone by surprise by suddenly burning up the dance floor at a local shopping centre, or in this case, the Queen Street mall.
    Maurice Sendak wouldn't ever do book signings because he didn't want mothers to make their children wait in line for hours to meet him. He loved children because they told him what they thought, 'not what they thought they should think'.

  3. Such easy childhoods we had. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    TDM xx

  4. My kids still get meat and three veg at least once a week...

    I can remember thinking spaghetti bolognaise was really special. My parents used to go to parties at country halls and we would all go to sleep in the car. (And they would drive home with us still asleep in the back after several drinks too - it wasn't that uncommon to get home with someone else's child as we all hopped in and out of each others cars.) We played spotlight and murder in the dark. If my Mum had a dinner party she would always make something called a Gingernut Log and have After Dinner Mints. And I can remember going to the local Chinese for my 5th birthday.

    And I agree with TDM - it was a wonderful, happy easy childhood. For which I am very grateful.

    1. After Dinner Mints! How funny! They smacked of a posh 70s dinner party. I'm laughing here.

  5. I think I am familiar with the gingernut log, bikkies soaked in booze and stuck together with cream? Ultimately, it had a Flake crumbled on top.
    That's right. No dinner party was complete without the square after dinner mints in the little brown packets.

  6. Enjoyed that trip down memory lane and even though my 1978 was the other side of the world, much of it was pretty similar. One of my memories is going out for special meals wearing long dresses and having prawn cocktail. It would be served in a glass with lettuce and a few tiny tiny prawns smothered in a seafood sauce - even though I didn't really like it much, I thought it was the height of sophistication!

  7. I love reminising about the 70's too. My first day at school was in 1975 so you are talking about my era too. I can still visualize my page boy haircut and the blue denim slacks and jacket I had with red circle cut outs on my elbows and knees and my brother had a matching tan/brown one ha! Our kitchen was a horrible yellow-brown-white jewel that had old Mateus bottles on the top of the cupboards with vines growning and selected macrame bottles positioned as well. My school days were really magical here in Brisbane we had the huge oval where we played horses and jockeys, elastics hopscotch and tiggy and ran around everywhere we could at full speed. I remember Easter bonnet parades - supper dances where we did the Pride of Erin and a number of bush dances like Strip the Willow - oh and McDonalds cakes at Big Top the pink and yellow paddy cakes- Surfie iceblocks and Sunnyboys. How those times were great it was a different time and Brisbane was beautiful with so many trees back then. Thanks for the chance to remember it all

  8. Square dancing lessons and old Mateus bottles with plants - now I'm remembering more...and cold watermelon on 'break-up day', the last day of the school year.
    Of course, it wasn't all beer and skittles. I also recall teachers throwing tidy boxes out of windows if they weren't neat enough, the cane (not first hand of course) and one poor boy who was hung up on a hat hook by his shirt collar by the principal.
    Then there was the test every Friday in grade 7, and the ensuing reshuffle to seat us in order of how well we had done. Smarties at the back, dunces at the front. Barbaric stuff.

    1. your friday tests - it wasn't Crescent Lagoon State School was it?

    2. Indeed it was Gus. I was in year 7 in 1984 and had the pleasure of Mr Hannan.

    3. Mr Hannan - tall, lean and a touch effeminate. Wow - were they still doing Beat the Tape on a Friday in the 'open area' 60 desk room in 1984? I had Mrs Madsen and Mr Grey - pretty tuff muthas! I was in grade 7 in 1980. That was so mean to put everyone in order of how well they did in the tests. Marble and yo-yo crazes?

    4. Tall, lean and more than a touch effeminate. Not sure if Mr Hannan would have got his Blue Card if he was teaching today (rest his soul). Beat the Tape rings a bell but I can't really remember what it was. I think those front rowers should form a class action and sue Queensland Education for the emotional torment of the Friday tests. I can still remember the name of the boy who was consistently bottom of the class. I am positive he would have been permanently scarred by that. Geoffrey was his name.

    5. did you have Kerrod Parsons - the PE teacher? Geoffrey is probably out at Etna Creek. The pool was cool. I think I was in Blue school house. I also remember taking rubbish for the teacher up to the incinerator on the bitumen basketball court. The tiny Library and mean old Mr Ross.

    6. Im sure you're not still checking this stream Gus, but yes, I remember Mr Parsons - he went on to be the district something or other in Qld Ed? I was in blue house too I think. I also remember the incinerator and the grumpy old sod in the library, Mr Ross. I think I was pretty cute but the old bastard would never even crack a smile for me.
      Do you still live in Rockhampton?

    7. hi - no longer in vegas - left after high school and only go back every few years to visit family. It was a pretty cool place to grow up but am glad i don't still live there. I thought the gardens were cool - with the zoo as well.

  9. What a lovely post. I too recall the 70s with much affection, although as a twenty/thirty something. I remember going to see Saturday night fever and, in many ways, the Bee Gees are the major musical soundtrack of the 70s for me at least.

    Was it the mid 1970s that the first colour televisions arrived? I remember watching Angie Dickinson in Police woman I think and marvelling at the colour.

    Thanks for the memories.

  10. Pfft, you had the sheer luxury of a phone in your house!?! Unheard of, I remember going to the telephone box on the corner and checking for any forgotten change!!

    Great memories there, I too remember the smell of the pencils and new pencil case!! mmmm


  11. Love this post! Can relate to a few things there! Great memories you have! Mx

  12. Holy Cr@p -how did I find this post!!?? I grew up in Rock-Vegas in the 70's and your description of going to school and parties was spot on! I can't believe people in Brisbane call it Bris-Vegas - that just does not make any sense. Thanks for the flashback.