21 October 2009

A tough life for mothers

Chapter Three: A tough life for mothers.

It was obvious from the stories my father told that things were easier for us than for the previous generation. But we weren't getting it all that easy either. It was pretty harsh - especially for Mum. Kids can make do. They can play with anything, and they seem to have a way of occupying their time; but it was the women - the mothers - who must have found it very tough going.

The thing that worried Mum most was sickness... family, especially babies, getting sick. Before motor vehicles, it took them forty-eight hours to get to town, and there was always that fear that something would happen. But it very seldom did. I think the fact that they were so isolated probably helped them to stay healthy because there weren't the bugs flying around and they didn't pick up many germs. None of us ever had chickenpox, mumps or measles until we went away to boarding school. Then we got the lot!

There was always that fear of accident, but we were pretty well drilled to look after ourselves to avoid injury... about the danger in different things we did... to watch out for snakes, and to wear shoes whenever we went chasing things - butterflies and the like - in the bush.

There weren't as many hazards as there are now... like cars and motorbikes. There were falls from horses, but you'd have a better chance of getting away with just bruises if you had a fall from a horse.