I’m always surprised when people can tell me things they remember as toddlers. Sadly such memories are lost somewhere in my mental ether. Perhaps the closest I can come to these is remembering my paternal grandmother brushing my hair and telling me I was a “bonnie wee bairn”. I’ve always thought that a later memory but perhaps it was a continuous one from being a small child.
My maternal grandmother died when I was under four but I do have vague memories (sensory memories really) of her being kind and quiet and cuddly. (It’s always hard to disassociate real memories from family photos and anecdotes). She would visit us and bring biscuits for morning tea. This must have happened quite often as I still associate a particular biscuit with her memory.
My earliest precise memory is my grandfather taking me to primary school at the nearby Catholic School when I was in Prep 1, aged 5. Although my grandparents lived next door to us, this was an exception and occurred because my mother was quite sick and presumably Dad was at work. I remember us walking up the hill together, and I remember that not long afterwards I headed off home on my own down another hill. I guess I was anxious because life was slightly out of kilter.
Another memory from that year is learning the alphabet and the mental image of the big banner with the images and letters on it. I can easily see the class room in my mind’s eye but that is probably easy because it was on an enclosed verandah adjacent to the church.
Yet again that year Brisbane felt the impact of a cyclone and I remember being one of only a handful of children who went to school. I think because Mum came from tropical Queensland she thought it was just a bit of rain so off to school I went. Personally I thought it was a great adventure splashing in the puddles….loving the rain runs in the family.
So it seems that going to school made a really big impact on me in the year I turned 5 and dwarfed other earlier memories…that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!
The old school and church (a combined building), as well as the convent, no longer exist. The school was closed in the late 1960s and the church replaced by a modern open building. It’s strange but I can’t find any images of the buildings online so that’s an addition to my research list for Brisbane. However I can still see it quite clearly in my mind’s eye, not surprising I suppose since I spent at least 6 days a week there.