Fab Feb Photo Collage: 2 Feb – Cats, Kittens, Maggie & Cyclones


4 x 7UP collageAnother of my photo favourites! I’m a huge devotee of cats and kittens and have been since I was a little girl, thanks to my father’s equal addiction. All my life we’ve shared our homes with one or more cats. Each one has a special place in my memory. When I was a child, one would always walk to the end of the street with us, and another would come all the way down a couple of blocks to the public phone booth.  Small wonder that Mr Cassmob also met this vital selection criterion for a future partner…neither of us can walk past a cat without saying hello and asking politely for a pat.pauleen norm at picnic bay

A man after my own heart

A man after my own heart

In this early photograph my father and I are in the back yard of the flats where we were holidaying at Picnic Bay on Magnetic Island in 1956. Presumably the kittens just happened to be nearby and we couldn’t resist them. Magnetic Island was one of our semi-regular holiday places, partly because we could get there using Dad’s railway pass, and partly because my mother still had friends there, including her closest friend. I talked about my love for the place in the 52 weeks series.

But back to this particular holiday which has become part of our family’s folklore. You see while we were there in 1956 Cyclone Agnes came through and threatened to blow us all away. The flats were only fairly flimsy fibro buildings with corrugated iron roofs so we were certainly at risk. My most distinct memory is asking Dad to take me to the backyard toilet in the midst of the storm. Why on earth he was willing to do that I don’t know, because I’m sure I’d just have told my kids to use a bucket! I remember the palm trees bending in the wind, like ballerinas touching their toes. Dad always said that the wind gauges at the Garbutt Air Force base snapped in the strength of the wind which fits with the news stories of the day.

Afterwards we were trapped on the island for a few days and I’m told there were no fresh supplies of milk or bread. My memory says that we were evacuated by Army amphibious duck to Townsville but Mum doesn’t recall that at all, so did I imagine it? Soon after we trained up to Cairns where I have a vivid memory of the Barron Falls in full spate, and then travelled to Green Island where the seas were so rough I can still remember the boat dipping into the waves on each side. Story goes that only Dad and the engineer weren’t sick on the voyage. Everyone else was hanging over the side of the boat. Or, as Mum always said, “green on the way over and green coming back”.

R and L asleep at Magnetic Is

Many years later we would take our girls for a visit to Maggie, on a day that was much more tranquil.

On the return trip to Brisbane the Sunlander train waded across the flooded Burdekin River where the waters were lapping the sleepers on the bridge as we crossed. Dad used to say that the fireman pushed away a log that was up against the sleepers only to discover it was a crocodile. A tall tale or true? I don’t have a clue! Mind you, being a fellow railwayman, Dad ofter heard stories that weren’t shared with all the passengers.

Pauleen and cats c1960

Socks' mother was fully-wild, but Socks was the most beautiful cat.

Socks’ mother was fully-wild, but Socks was the most beautiful cat.

This post is dedicated to all my feline friends who’ve given me so much love and affection over the years: Chips, Tammy, Sooty, Tabitha, Pedro, Brandy, Socks, Ginger Megs, Kizzle and Springer. Each had their own distinct personality, but I could wish Springer, my current young furry-friend, would extend himself to a few more cuddles….maybe he’s still in that teenage phase where boys won’t cuddle their families <smile>.

Fab Feb image

Unfortunately Pedro was chased away when we moved to our 2nd Goroka house- by our next cat! We never found out if he wound up as a fur hat or in the cooking pot in a village because we never found him.

Unfortunately Pedro was chased away when we moved to our 2nd Goroka house- by our next cat! We never knew if he wound up as a fur hat or in the cooking pot in a village because we never found him.

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7 thoughts on “Fab Feb Photo Collage: 2 Feb – Cats, Kittens, Maggie & Cyclones

  1. I wasn’t raised with cats because my father hated them. I have no idea why. But after we moved to the country we always had cats. We brought our last one here but he was almost 20 years old and couldn’t adjust to not being able to just walk into the woods. Poor cat.

    • My mother hated, or at least disliked, cats too but she lost that battle with Dad and I around;-) By the time they get old they just don’t adapt to new surroundings as readily. Still it sounds like your old cat had had a good life with good care.

  2. Always had at least one cat – and still do! And I wonder if the silhouette in the collage was cut by the man at the Brisbane Show (the Ekka)? I lost mine in a move somewhere, but it was very flattering!

      • Hi Pauleen
        This comment was actually from me (Sue Dibbs). I help out TELAF with their site a bit – and WordPress obviously decided I was Sideon before I could stop it, as I was logged in there. Gotta watch these computers all the time!!

        Look forward to your Ekka piece. So exciting – those wonderful proper showbags with miniature packets of Fantales and Kelloggs cereals. And the copybook writing competition (which I won once).

        Sue D

      • You succeeded in tricking me Sue! Yes computers have a mind of their own sometimes it seems. I had forgotten about the copybook competition -probably because unlike you I didn’t win one ;-) Pauleen

  3. Pingback: Sepia Saturday 172: A hiking we will go | Family history across the seas

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