I was going to launch into our events over the past year that I have been thrilled to be part of, but it sounded a bit exhausting for a Saturday and will get back to it…..soon…
Instead, I am going to talk about our move to Parkes back in 1989!
After growing up in Leeton, same people, pretty much mostly the same friends and being used to living at least five hours from family, we moved to Parkes! I make it sound so simple, like a quick pack up and off we went. Any of you who have lived somewhere for more than five years (mum and dad had lived there for 18), know how you can quickly accumulate stuff! That stuff that you might need for another event or stuff that you kept from pre-school that the kids would love to look at one day…..and wool and material…and egg cartons…and plastic containers!? How did we end up with so many egg cartons?!
My dad accepted a job with the Parkes Department of Agriculture and it was an opportunity to live closer to my grandparents at Bathurst…and a few hours closer to Bellangry. It all made perfect sense. It caught me by surprise and whilst the thought of leaving friends and adopted family was quite awful for a shy girl, I found the thought of moving strangely exciting!
I had no recollection of ever being to this place called Parkes. I was unaware of the famous Parkes Radio Telescope or a small event called the Parkes Elvis Festival, but my mother assured me that it was a lovely town and showed me a photo of a cream, fibro house with a pretty fence that would be our new home.
After growing up in a town where the fish and chip shop was the highlight of any takeaway evening and then finding out that Parkes had Pizza Hut! I was ecstatic! Funny thinking about it now that this was the big selling point for me. Looking at our assortment of takeaway options in Parkes now, you would not think that would even be a consideration.
When I was halfway through Year 10, we moved to Parkes. My sister and I to Parkes High and my brother to Parkes Public School. There was this other school that everyone referred to as the greeny school, that evidently was out the road, but we were accustomed to public schooling and off we went.
Interestingly, one of the first things that other students asked a new student was what side of the railway you were living on….like that somehow made you a better person or not….it just goes to show how a town can grow and evolve and how we don’t reflect on where a person lives as much as what they are contributing to our society now. Funnily enough, where we were in Grenfell Street was pretty close to the border and that was fine with me.
The house that we moved into was….cosy. Dad set about constructing the obligatory chook pens that were necessary to sustain our requirements and established the veggie patch, significantly smaller than what he had been used to, but a veggie patch.
I can remember an elderly lady, who just recently passed away, telling us that her family grew up in the house and that on hot summer evenings they would sleep on the verandah. Now Parkes is a pretty safe place to live, but sleeping on the verandah….
We were, again, very fortunate to have fabulous neighbours, but I want to finish off with two of my lovely neighbours. On one side was an elderly lady, who had family around town and walked with a walking stick. She had a good sense of humour and kept her home very tidy. Our kitchen window looked out onto her driveway and basically we kept a check on her. My mum would call out and say hi and she would return with “hello noisy neighbour”.
On the other side was a couple who also had a long connection with Parkes and the house was her family home. She had amazing collections of salt and pepper shakers stored in cabinets (I am talking hundreds and hundreds) that I think were nearly holding up the house…and a corella that was as old as she was. She would spend a lot of time knitting the most amazing things.
If you have read any of my previous posts, you might recall my reference to the smell of a Department of Agriculture Office…not surprisingly, the new office in Parkes had a similar scent. No preserved reptiles though! In those days the office had a Piggery Officer, Sheep Officer, Agronomist, Field Assistant and Secretary. How things have changed.
A lesson from this story….I’ve gotta give you something…stepping out of your comfort zone can be challenging, but helps you to grow. Don’t be afraid to grow. Even if it is painful. Learn from it. Just keep going, even if it seems like you aren’t making any ground. Just keep going and it will get easier.