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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

nostalgic guff du jour



My cousin scanned an old photo album and put the images onto facebook. There were many that made me wistful, but this one just makes me smile wryly.

We have a few photos from this particular series, and the occasion is Colonel Duck's graduation from military college back when he was Cadet Duckling. There's one photo that's always been on the mantlepiece, of just Colonel and Lady Duck standing together, skinny he in his uniform and her, dewy in her white satin dress. Woof, they looked young and hot.

Isn't mum gorgeous in this photo? I used to think that the mantlepiece photo was their wedding photo, and until I was old enough to understand, my mother didn't disillusion me, because it's probably the closest thing she got to a wedding celebration anyway, since they'd been illegally and secretly married for eight months already (and she'd done the deed in a hot pink mini-suit, which was really much cooler than a white satin dress anyway) and at the end of this big swanky grad do she had to go home and hang out with me, who was with one of my usual family babysitters. So I'm guessing she enjoyed this evening as the last time she'd ever have to hide my nappies on the hills hoist (apparently she would peg them to the line on the inner rings and then put vast amounts of the family washing -- mother, father, three sisters, grandfather -- around the outer rings to hide them), and after this night she'd actually be able to cohabit with my father. Back then, cadets weren't allowed wives & kids or cars; these days they can have anything they want, and they can even live off-campus with their wives or husbands. Tuh! What is the world coming to?

The other thing that makes me smile wryly is my grandmother, on the left. This is the famous Nanny Annie whom I invoke when I clean my house furiously. Today my father and I worked out that in this photo she is only one year older than I am today. That is a sobering thought. My grandmother always seemed OLD, and I can't relate to her ever being my age! The three of them look a bit tense; it's probably been a long evening...

LATER: I keep noticing little details. Check out Nana's hands, curled into fists: she was a miner's wife from dusty Kalgoorie, and I'm sure she was nervous about such a ceremonial occasion. Also mum's wonderful black satin gloves. I wonder if she still owns those? And Nana's gloves -- I'm presuming they're also black gloves, unbuttoned and curled back? Were black gloves a requirement or did my family decided to be co-ordinated? So many questions! Time to phone home again :)






My pillows should be on their way home today. I can't wait for a good sleep, my head feels claggy. For those who are interested, I rang Lady Duck, and apparently the brand is 'Aussie Pillow Fibresoft' -- it's a microfibre pillow that I bought at Domaine (or Domain, or however that chain of homewares stores is spelled). The pillow itself has a satin seam around the edge of the pillow, and it's a slightly cheaper alternative to duckdown or goosedown. It might be available in other stores, and there are probably other brands that are similar...

10 comments:

Carol said...

Great story to go with your nostalgic photo. And thanks for the name of the pillow, I'll be looking for one.

Another Outspoken Female said...

Your mum really is hot!

Great family story. Made me think there must be so many untold stories from the wives/children perspective that should be recorded as part of our military history.

Mindy said...

What a gorgeous photo. It must have been a great relief to finally be able to "come out". I wonder if there were any raised eyebrows at a baby suddenly appearing, or lots of other people did that as well.

naomi said...

Is an awesome photo - love the colours and the formality, with the streamers overhead creating a false bonhomie.

Your Nanna looks excellent, but old, and certainly much older than you look.

Or act.

xxx

Ampersand Duck said...

Yairs, I can say without a doubt that my beauty secret is not having 6 children plus owning a vacuum cleaner, dishwasher and washing machine...

glasscentralcanberra said...

Great snap darl. Reminds me a lot of the dynamics around my bro; wifey/lover on one arm, possesive madre on the other. Though I'm sure the oedipals weren't so rampant in the Duck scenario. (Come to think of it, it could be me, Sammy and Nonna - same/same.) Jeez, how cute is the colonel...I'd be scuffling over him too!!

Anonymous said...

Another time for me to add to your wonderful stories. I was 12 at the time and Uncle David 8, we had to go and stay at Aunty Jans while mum and dad made the long trip on the train over to the gradutation.(By the way it was Mum and Dads silver Wedding annervisary when they arrived on the train and your father and mother gave mum a beautiful silver borach and dad silver cuff links when they got of the train) Yes Mum was so nervious and proud. Your father was one of only 2 boys selected from the whole of WA to go to Duntroon and his picture was in the local rag. Her dress was one of Aunty Jans Ball dresses as she did not have one that would have suited the night. Dad was warned and warned to be on his best behaviour for weeks before they went. I was so happy when your parents came out. I could tell everybody at school I was an Aunty.BUT not until after the grad ball. My girlfriends brothers wife had a baby 2 weeks after you were born and she used to tease me so much that she was an Aunty before me.I could not tell her anything. I am still good friends with her and we always have a laugh about that who was the first Aunty. How I was told was in front of the wood fire place and told to sit down and threaterned with all hell if I told anyone about you. Mum could not keep the secret from the rest of Col Ducks siblings because she was so excited. As the photos of you come over to the west they were put in a little photo album and when Mum came back that book went everywere. Lawn bowles and all the neighbourhood. I think Col Duck shivers in his shoes when I start on family history. I have the best memories of what happened this side of Aussie and will continue to add to your stories over time. Love you Lots Aunty Lou.

Helen said...

Your parents ARE cool! I'm glad my kids are unlikely to read this post or they'd disown us.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

FWOAR (both of them, plus the naughty sinful aspect is the icing on the cake)

librarygirl said...

I've heard about a blog/website called something like "my parents were awesome" ( can't quite rmember!) this photo should be on it!