My parents also taught us truth, compassion, love and fairness. And, never to take things for granted. We lost our father at a time when we probably needed him the most in our lives for special events. He was to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, in three weeks time from this tragedy, so was a sad occasion that was meant to be one of the best days of my life.
I suppose we were lucky to have two older brothers to drive our mother and two younger siblings around to continue our lives. My father's death was sudden, but we had to carry on, sad as it was. Life on the farm couldn't stop, not even for this terrible accident. There was no time off to mourn our loss. We missed him every day and, sadly, we didn't get to say goodbye.
Growing up fifteen miles from Benalla, we just couldn't step out to down or up a street, or frequent the shops. There was also no pocket money. We worked for our keep, as our dad often said, and we sure did! This taught us to realise money doesn't grow on trees, as some may think. I also grew up in a different time, long past, but not forgotten. A time when you were taught, taught to cook, taught to clean, to appreciate what we had and to respect other people's property. In my mother's words 'If it's not yours, you can't covet it'.
Families that grow up in rural districts have a lot in common. We all walked to school, were never driven as children today are. We rode bicycles if our parents could afford one; our farm was never able to give each sibling a bike, so we shared one that was given to us.
Friendships were made and kept. I am still close to all my state chool classmates. We catch up back at the old Lima school that was handed back to the community when the school closed. Each year there's a reunion and a dedication to the fallen soldiers from the district held at the old school.
I now live in Benalla where I raised my family and worked. All those childhood learnings came with me. I'm now retired, but seem busier than every with my sport croquet, my house work and my vegetable garden ... . I now have four great grand children who love to entertain me! They too are being taught manners, respect and self discipline.
I do believe I'm a product of my upbringing and find myself torn between the past and the present. The past with its stricter side and the present with a more relaxed side.
I still believe I grew up in the best times.
I sometimes wish I could take my children back to my uncomplicated life at Lima.
12 May 2023