14 April 2017

Love, learning, luck and a little licorice

A-Z challenge - My memories of life on the farm in the nineteen fifties and sixties

My childhood was filled with love and I suspect quite a bit of luck. I was the youngest of seven children otherwise known as the lucky last. My mother was 38 and my father 42 by the time I was born and by then, well experienced with child rearing. I was also nurtured and cared for by older siblings and had plenty of ready-made playmates. Farm income was so dependent on the seasons but I was never short of clothing, food or love.

Luck and learning

I was lucky that government regulations for school buses changed when I was in grade four so then I could travel to the Riverton Convent for the last three years of primary school. Previously regulations only entitled school buses to carry government school children. In Riverton, the nuns carefully coached their charges and at the end of year seven, I was lucky enough to secure a scholarship to a boarding school in Adelaide. I suspect the nuns played a role in recommendations. The fact that my parents had previously paid for other siblings to attend the school, probably contributed to this award.

I made the most of my learning opportunities even though the shock of moving from a small country class of seven, four girls and three boys, to a class of 51 girls, was a major change. Along with that, there were no loving parents to kiss goodnight. I thrived in boarding school and luck intervened at the end of Intermediate (3rd year) when my scholarship finished. It must have been a relatively good season and some older siblings were in paid work. My parents then paid for my last two years at boarding school.  This paved the way for my chance to commence tertiary studies at the end of the sixties.

Luck and love

I met my future husband at one of those boarding school socials in April of 1967 – ah, that’s now fifty years ago! Just demonstrates one must make the most of the opportunities that luck offers.

A little about licorice

On Sundays after Mass, Dad would seek out an open shop to buy a packet of licorice allsorts. These were his favourite lollies and this was a Sunday treat. We could select one each and usually there would be a second round while we were driving home. The packet then found its way to his desk where the rest would have lasted a whole week for him.

Next M - Making merry, mud and other muck


  1. Licorice Allsorts was my mother's choice of sweet for Christmas. I never feel its really Christmas without them.

    1. I just have to make dried apricot balls each year and have fresh cherries on Christmas day. Those were our treats.

  2. I remember licorice candies like those, but haven't seen any in quite a while. I didn't appreciate licorice too much when I was small, but I do love a nice strong black licorice now.

  3. Hi Carmel - what a fascinating post ... loved reading this - and how luck featured - yet Loving too ... from your family and then luck again with your husband - congratulations on 50 years ... Liquorice - another treat ... I prefer plain liquorice .. no 'candy' attached ... but childhood memories - cheers Hilary


  4. I can empathise with your comment on the change from a small primary school to a large secondary school. I didn't get to go to boarding school although I read Enid Blyton's Malory Towers and other boarding school books with relish and thought it would be so much fun.

  5. Totally identify with your luck and learning experience. It's quite an adjustment to be thrown into the hubbub of a large school class when you come from a farm!

  6. A very lovely, loving post Carmel


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