FROM HELEN IN TORONTO
My Grandma Evers spent all her adult life in Molong, a small outback town with a pub on every corner, a post office and a general store. I was about four years old when my mother first took me to visit her. Growing up in a Vaucluse semi, located between two blocks of flats, I had always been surrounded by neighbours, and had plenty of playmates nearby. Molong was a whole new experience.
As I recall, I had my first glimpse of isolation after the train left Emu Plains and started the ascent up the Blue Mountains. From time to time, we would see workers doing track maintenance. My mother told me that people would throw their newspapers out the window so these men could catch up with the news.
She also reminisced about the old days of steam trains, when the options, in summer, were to close the windows when the train went through long tunnels, and put up with the heat, or keep them open, and inhale the soot.
My Grandma’s modest house on the edge of town, in Boree Hollow. It had a dunny out the back (of course) and a cold water tap over a drain in the kitchen floor. The washing up was done in an enamel dish filled with water heated on the wood stove. I had a bath in a big tub in front of the open fire, and I suppose my mother made me do with a wash.
Sheep grazed int he next-door paddock, visible from the lounge room window and accessible through a gate in the fence. I named one Tommy the Baa-Lamb, and tried to make him my pet. A rooster used to attack me en route to the dunny, until my uncle gave me a stick to ward him off. My memories, aided by old photos, are a bit vague, but I do remember how much I loved that holiday.