I have recently made contact with a new branch of my maternal family – the MURRAY family. I was going to explain how it started when I realised it should really be a blog. It’s appropriate here but even more appropriate on my AncestorArrivals blog so that’s where I posted it. You can read the rest of the story there.
What? What has that got to do with history? Well a lot more than you think but you’ll have to be patient. I have to set the scene, explain the background, then we’ll get to the blowing up bit. The big problem is where to start.
I think it has to start with my darling late Dad. He would have been 95 tomorrow – 13th December 2017. I think about my Dad often – and ‘chat’ to him regularly. He died far too young – back in 1989 – but in my mind he is as alive today as way back when those Milo tins were getting blown up.
But I digress – a bad habit I have.
My brother and I had a totally decadent upbringing – Dad was Production Manager of Peter’s Ice Cream and we were the official taste testers of EVERYTHING that came out of that factory. There’s a special photo of Fussy and me in an earlier blog. Fussy is my brother – two years older – and he was called Fussy because our surname was Fussen (French) but as a little tacker I couldn’t say ‘Graham’ – Fussy was MUCH easier to say! And more than 60 years later he’s still called Fussy! And of course he answers to it.
The two-storey part at the front was Dad’s floor – his office, laboratory, cool room, and a view and access to the factory floor below.
Getting back to that decadent upbringing – Fussy and I would get home from school, grab our homework and run around to the factory and upstairs to Dad’s area. What new exciting concoction had Dad created that he needed an honest opinion on?
Of course the BIG one was the Drumstick – yes, our Dad created Drumsticks. And lemonade ice blocks and all sorts of other things. Every kid’s fantasy! And of course the workers at the factory also believed in spoiling the boss’s kids. Can you image a birthday party when a team of men jogged around from the factory with a special ice cream cake for me. Remember the little plastic dolls with a fancy ice cream skirt? Well, the reason for the special trip from the factory – that doll was bigger than ME – I think it was my sixth birthday.
There I go – digressing again. Drumsticks – some years ago I met my brother in Mount Gambier. He lived in Adelaide, and still does, and I was living in Ocean Grove at the time – Mount Gambier was about half way and he was there at a Rotary Conference. He stayed on so we could have a bit of time together. We went down to Port Macdonnell doing the tourist bit. We remembered we had been there on a holiday with Mum and Dad when we were quite young. We were about to walk out on the very long jetty when Fussy yelled … WAIT! Why? He ran across the road and bought two drumsticks – we couldn’t reminisce about Dad without having a Drumstick!
In the early 60s we moved from the house around the corner from the factory to the house that Dad built – and he really did build most of it. He hired the tradesmen and worked side-by-side with them every weekend until we were able to move into our first ‘real’ home in Adelaide.
OK – I’m getting to the Milo tin but this is an important part of it. It was a two-storey house – my bedroom was the dormer window on the left and Fussy was in the one on the right. We had our ‘wardrobes’ in the eaves of the roof and for two little tackers it was so easy to crawl from one room to the other via the built-in-wardrobes. We rigged up a string on hooks just inside each cupboard door and attached a small cardboard letter box which we could send to and fro simply by pulling the right string. And of course we rigged up a small bell to signal when there was mail. Just like on your computer these days – You’ve got mail!
Back then there weren’t as many obstacles in the front yard and there was no roller door blocking the driveway – it was important to be able to run quickly from the back yard to the front yard. YES – this is ALL relevant!
Although we’d moved further away from the factory we were still regular visitors to the tasting laboratory a number of times each week. Dad was also the ‘ice-cream’ man for our school fetes. He would pack up the big green canvas bags with the obligatory dry ice in the bottom. The walls of the green bags were a good four inches thick – heavy insulation. On top of the dry ice was a thick wad of newspaper, then the bag was chock-a-block full of Dixie Cups (ice-creams) to be sold at the school fetes. Dad had a trailer that was loaded up at the factory with a number of canvas bags that he would then deliver to the schools. He’d also collect the bags to go back to the factory and sometimes there were a number at home in the carport or on the back verandah. The ice cream was all gone but that dry-ice lasted forever.
OK – I’M GETTING THERE!
Because we spent so much time roaming around the factory, in and out of the freezer rooms, and helping Dad load up the big green canvas bags, it was essential that we were taught about the dangers of dry-ice and how to handle it without burning the skin off our fingers.
OK – ARE YOU READY? Back in the 60s we didn’t have computers and the electronic games etc that are so prevalent today. We made our own fun and games and unless it was bucketting down we spent weekends outside. The neighbourhood kids gathered at our place because we had the best game – and their parents were happy – as long as they could hear the explosions they knew where their kids were!
Of course these days we wouldn’t be able to blow up Milo tins – for LOTS of reasons including:
- We wouldn’t be able to get hold of dry-ice
- Milo tins aren’t real tins any more – they’re foil lined cardboard or thin tin – not nearly sturdy enough for our needs
- Our game would be deemed too dangerous – no-one EVER got hurt!
It was SO MUCH FUN and we got HEAPS OF EXERCISE.
This is how the game worked. Only Fussy and I could set up the ‘bomb’ as we were trainined in the use of dry-ice. We knew exactly how much water to put in the milo tin and exactly what size piece of dry-ice. We pounded the lid on so that only a really good explosion would blow it off. We also had a little mound of sand to tilt the Milo tin at the right angle. This was all done in the back yard so all the kids in the front yard couldn’t see what we were doing.
Then we ran like blazes to the front yard (with no roller door blocking our path), and then we waited, and waited, and waited, and then BANG. That’s why it wouldn’t work these days – the Milo tin was STRONG so that only the lid blew off and the tin stayed intact. The lid went flying up in the air, OVER the two-storey house, and into the waiting arms of the excited mob of kids in the front yard. The winner was the one who caught or grabbed the lid first. Lots of cheering and shouting. And then we did it all over again … and AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN.
We never tired of blowing up that old Milo tin. We sometimes stopped for lunch – a picnic lunch that Mum or one of the other mothers supplied – then it was back to blowing up the Milo tin. All the other kids understood that you needed special training to set up the ‘bomb’. There were never arguments about it, just the excitement of waiting to see the lid come flying over the roof of the house.
By the end of the day we were exhausted but happy and safe. The explosions stopped and the other Mum’s knew their little darlings were on their way home.
Now do you understand why Dad’s birthday tomorrow reminded me of blowing up Milo tins? Oh, and of course tomorrow I will be eating a Drumstick and ‘chatting’ with Dad. And YES – this is all important history that should be recorded. These days I have diabetes but one of the first things I worked through with my Diabetes Educator was how I could eat an occasional Drumstick without causing havoc with my blood sugar levels.
It’s a bit like making a toast with Champagne or Whiskey – in our family we make a toast with Drumsticks!
Happy Birthday Dad – love you lots.
I’m back home after attending the full two days of ‘Researching Abroad’ in Melbourne – ONE major complaint! I didn’t want it to end!
Friday was predominantly Chris PATON on Scottish, Irish, and English research.
Saturday was predominantly Dirk Weissleder on German and European research.
Which was best? I just feel sorry for the people who had / have to choose between one or the other – I was lucky as Melbourne was a two-day experience and I absolutely loved both and learnt so much from them.
In addition to Chris and Dirk I really enjoyed the MyHeritage presentations, Part 1 and Part 2 with Rosemary and Eric Kopittke – definitely worthwhile.
I caught up with a number of friends and former colleagues and was delighted to meet up with my fellow ‘Official Ambassadors’ – Anne Young (left) and Jennifer Jones (middle).
Apart from my own German ancestry (New South Wales) there were a lot of German immigrants to my ‘local’ region – Geelong and District. I’m definitely keen to follow up more with the German-Australian Genealogy and History Alliance and the International German Genealogy Partnership.
It was a great two days – you still have a chance to attend the Adelaide and Perth sessions so jump up and do it!
From famine to feast! I’m making the most of my newfound mobility minus the moon-boot and with wheels!
It all kicks off today with the first Family History talk I’m giving for some months – at the Wyndham Plaza Library in Werribee – TWO talks this afternoon – they’re free and you can still book. I’m really hoping I’ll catch up with some old friends there.
Mind you I WILL have trouble seeing people there because my hair is SO LONG as I haven’t been able to get to the hairdressers for SO LONG. I have to keep pushing the hair out of my eyes!
Things will improve by Wednesday as that is when I will get my hair cut – Yippee!
Then I am SO looking forward to listening and learning instead of talking on Friday and Saturday at the Unlock the Past Researching Abroad event at Bulleen in Melbourne. It is just so great to be out and about but even more-so to get to this event. Yes – I’m an ‘Official Ambassador’ and more than happy to promote the event because the two days are SO relevant to my own family history research:
- I have German ancestors
- I have French, Swiss and Italian ancestors
- I have Irish and English ancestors
- I’ll be catching up with Chris Paton who I haven’t seen for a number of years!
- I’m a great fan of My Heritage
- My brother and I have both done DNA tests
- AND I’m sure I’ll be catching up with a number of friends.
Hope to see you at Werribee or Bulleen or both!
I can hear you saying – what has this got to do with history? Simple – it’s part of MY life that I am recording here as part of my personal / family history! Apart from that, it was so ridiculous and unbelievable I needed to share it with you.
Large Companies and organisations pay mega-bucks to other companies to be consultants and provide a report full of ‘helpful’ advice.
I am not charging one cent to give some really good advice … do NOT aggravate or upset someone who:
- is in pain
- is forced to use a service they don’t want to use
- has to rely on that service for essential items
- is completely immobile (adding to the frustration levels)
- has a lot of time on their hands
- doesn’t appreciate non-delivery of a service – not ONCE, not TWICE, but THREE times
- loves writing blogs
OK – I guess that sums me up at the moment. The only thing I’m not doing in this blog is NAMING the company – that will happen if they don’t rectify the problem by midnight tonight – as requested.
So what has upset me this time?
Due to my immobility I have had to use online supermarket shopping and delivery. Initially I was reasonably impressed and I particularly like the way my previous purchases over a number of months were displayed to I could purchase EXACTLY THE SAME PRODUCT as when I was mobile. My first order and delivery was early in June. That order included 3 boxes of
Whiskas adult cat food oh so meaty poultry dishes 12x85g
And they delivered the correct items – selected from my previous purchase list!
My next two orders didn’t include this item but my order last Tuesday, for delivery on Wednesday, did include it – 3 boxes, again selected from my previous purchase list.
If you haven’t used this service before, the items are delivered in plastic shopping bags and placed on a bench or table. You are then required to sign the order form or the iPad so the driver can leave and get onto the next delivery. Then you start to unpack each bag full of items.
WEDNESDAY – what happened to my 3 boxes of the above item? I got 3 DIFFERENT boxes – one box that I HAD ordered, one was meat chunks (not POULTRY) and one box was clearly marked “1+” meaning for a 1 year old kitten – definitely not ADULT.
I called the number you’re supposed to ring if your order wasn’t correct … and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and eventually got onto a human being. I explained the problem and received the expected platitudes. I explained that my ADULT cat would only each the poultry dishes.
- was given credit for the two incorrect items
- was given a bonus voucher for $15 for my angst
- I had to put in a new order for the ‘correct’ items
- I had to order a minimum of $50 worth of goods to get a free delivery
- notes were taken to guarantee that the RIGHT items were delivered
NOT HAPPY but I put in a new order to be delivered the next day – Thursday – so my darling cat wouldn’t starve – I wanted the food to get ‘us’ through to the date I hoped I would be moon-boot free and have a bit bit of mobility.
Because I had to order $5
0 worth of goods, I ordered 5 x boxes of the ADULT POULTRY items and two packets of the Whiskas biscuits he eats – that got me over the limit to get free delivery.
THURSDAY – items delivered. Stupid me let the driver leave as soon as I’d signed the delivery docket. He plonked the bags down and was well gone by the time I limped to the table to unpack them.
2 packets of biscuits were the right ones – selected from my previously purchased list.
5 boxes of Adult Poultry items – WRONG! Instead I received 5 boxes of 1+ kitten items. Check the delivery docket – definitely had the ADULT ones I requested.
To say I was gob-smacked would be an understatement.
On the phone again – waiting, and waiting, and waiting etc. etc. etc. etc.
I politely made it clear that I WASN’T going to order another $50+ worth of goods to get free delivery. I was reassured that as the impossible had happened – incorrect items two orders and days in a row, I would get an extra credit voucher, I would get an extra free delivery voucher, and on top of that I would receive a delivery the following day – FRIDAY – of the 5 boxes and no charge for anything.
So, it shouldn’t have happened twice but to be absolutely certain I asked if it would help if I photographed one of the correct boxes and emailed it to ensure the pickers couldn’t possibly get it wrong a third time.
What a great idea! So I photographed the last box in my pantry and emailed it to ‘the Company’ ready for the delivery the next day.
FRIDAY – I’d been reassured it shouldn’t have happened twice in a row and that it definitely couldn’t happen three times / days in a row but guess what they delivered – 5 boxes of the 1+ KITTEN food!!!!!!!!!!!
When the driver arrived I said I wouldn’t sign anything until I’d inspected the contents of the bags, I was explaining what had happened previously – and showed him the INCORRECT 5 boxes sitting on my table from Thursday’s delivery as well as the earlier 2 boxes from the Wednesday’s delivery.
We were both gobsmacked as we opened the bags he delivered to find the WRONG boxes – all 1+ KITTEN food. He was furious, grabbed his phone, and rang the ‘special’ number. 11 minutes later he still hadn’t got through!
In the end he had to leave – and he left behind all the wrong boxes – said there was no point in taking them back until they delivered the RIGHT boxes. He DID take an empty box from the delivery at the beginning of June – to make sure the pickers got it right – the FOURTH time!
Take a look at the picture at the top – can YOU pick the ONE correct box?
They deliver on the weekend – I requested a delivery Saturday or at least before midnight tonight (Sunday).
IT’S NOT LOOKING PROMISING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
History has been made in more ways than one! I’m not sure if it happened earlier this week but I definitely noticed it this morning – Hobart is back in it’s rightful place. I could be forgiven not spotting it earlier this week as Monday morning I picked up the keys to my new home [renting a lovely unit in South Geelong]. Needless to say I’ve been a tad busy but this morning I woke in my own bed in my new home and had a lazy lie-in watching Sunrise … and I nearly fell out of bed – Hobart came after Darwin and before Melbourne – exactly where it should be! It really felt like all was right with the world … and Hobart.
BUT another bit of history is being made NOW as I type – this if the first blog I’ve posted from my new home. I confess – the computer is all hooked up and working on my kitchen bench while I sort out the new office [spare bedroom] etc. but I can’t spend too long chatting – the list of chores is LONG.
I have separate pages on my dining room table to write on – complete with pen handy:
- PU – OG [pick up from Ocean Grove – still emptying and cleaning out old place]
- PU – Newcomb [while I was waiting 3 weeks to get the keys to here, every trip to Geelong meant a car loaded with boxes and items – the storage unit is only 5 minutes from here, so saving a lot of petrol and packing time]
- FIND – I remember seeing it in … that bag or that box! See the image at the top!
- BUY – either essential items for the unit or perhaps some food!
- TASKS – essential tasks here – cleaning or re-arranging before I bring in more things to trip over
- TO-DO – essential things – like ring the Salvos for a pick-up, etc.
OK – TASKS and TO-DO items are yelling very loudly so this is enough blogging for now – I’ve created history so I must move on.
OH – and my pussy cat is yelling loudly – currently locked in the bathroom until I let him explore his new home further – probably tonight when I’ve stopped going in and out the doors every two minutes! Best thing is that he was allowed to live with me in my new home.
Happy, tired, contented …
I’ve used the “Ask a Librarian” service before – State Library of New South Wales, State Library of Victoria and National Library of Australia to mention a few. I don’t over-use it but there are times when it is the right option.
It all started here when I posted the Blog yesterday about no ice cream on Sundays! I mentioned that ice cream was part of my life. Overnight I woke up thinking about ice cream and Grafton where my Dad worked at the Peter’s Ice Cream factory before we ended up transferring to Adelaide.
The one gap in my own life – I didn’t know where we lived in Grafton – but you can read all about that on my other blog. Needless to say Grafton and Ice Cream were at the forefront of my mind this morning and I was determined to find the answer.
I decided that Pluto was a different angle that just might work. Then in the process of looking for photos of Pluto I found the photo above – me and my brother in what MIGHT have been our house but with a building in the background that looked like old photos I had found of the Peter’s Ice Cream factory in Grafton.
That’s when I decided to try “Ask a librarian” at the State Library of New South Wales. I wasn’t expecting an answer for about a week but the reply arrived this afternoon.
Why am I babbling on about it here? Because I’m so excited I needed to share it with some of my friends and followers. Did “Ask a librarian” work? You bet it did – absolutely wonderful.
They found an address in the electoral roll for me – and just have a look at the Google Maps street view of the house where we lived and compare it with the photo above!
Now you understand why I’m so excited! Yippee … thank you Pluto, Blogs, and “Ask a librarian”!
In August 1999 I created a framed photographic storyboard titled The Men in My Life. It was a significant day – 10 years since my adored Dad had died far too early. It was great therapy putting it together and embraced more than my Dad but the influence other men in my family had on my life. I admit there were more than a few tears that day but lots and lots of smiles since when I look at it on my wall – for the wonderful memories that flow from it. [My family tree]
More people spell my first name wrong than get it right! I can understand that because I generally sign off my emails as ‘Susie Z’ and of course my surname starts with a ‘Z’ [Zada] so people have ‘Z’ in their mind. I’m a forgiving person and as my adored Grandpa used to say … “as long as they don’t call us late for dinner”.
But people spelt it with a Z in the 20 years before I acquired that name by marriage so the ‘Z’ in the surname might be an excuse but not the reason.
I thought if I explained HOW I got the ‘S’ and not the ‘Z’ in my first name might help people understand.
It all began way back in 1944 when my Mum’s baby sister was born. Jan [Janette] caused quite a stir in the family because there was 20 years between Jan and Mum – in other words she wasn’t quite expected. Subsequently things happened a little differently. No name had been planned for the new baby so Mum and her older brother were given the task. How did they choose it? From the list of girls names in Cole’s Funny Picture Book. Blindfolded and armed with a pin – it landed on Janette – and Jan cursed them throughout their lives as she wasn’t at all keen on her name!
Fast forward to 1950 when my older brother was born – out came the Cole’s Funny Picture Book! Mum & Dad agreed that if it was a boy Dad’s pin would be the first name and Mum’s the second name. And if it was a girl it was reversed. So that’s how Graham John and Susanne Marie came about – well their names at least! Oh – they’re the cute pair at the top of this blog!
Sadly we don’t have the book anymore and I have no idea which edition / number it was – there were many editions published over the years.
As an avid family historian I was devastated to learn that I wasn’t named after any of my ancestors – that was until I did a lot more research! My Mum’s maiden name was NIALL and here’s what I’ve found for the oldest girl in four generations:
- Susanne NIALL born c.1728
- Susanna Maria NIALL born 10 Sep 1752
- Susanna NIALL born 13 Oct 1780
- Susan NIALL born 12 Apr 1812
So who was really guiding Mum’s pin?
Whether we’re in denial or just very forgetful, as family and local historians the one area that we are really bad at researching … ourselves or our Societies.
We forget the things we did, the places we went, and all the things we considered a normal part of our lives and “nothing to write home about”. The last 24 hours made my rethink some of my own “history”. These were the two triggers:
- Inspecting the contents of the garage and the things that HAVE to go in preparation for downsizing
- A Skype call to my brother which included my great nephew and great niece [5 and 2 respectively]. Mitchell, the 5 year old, wanted his grandpa to send me his favourite Minion trailer [what’s a Minion? I know now!] and he also has had lots of questions about me.
So I ended up Googling words like Burroughs, Unisys, CUBE, U3, and United Unisys Users. What I had in my garage were two large wooden purpose built transportation boxes, complete with locks and handles, that contained the perpetual trophies for the best presenter at each of our Annual Conferences. One trophy for CUBE [Co-operative Users of Burroughs Equipment] and one for its successor U3 [United Unisys Users] following the merger of Burroughs and Sperry into Unisys.
I had to chuckle when I found one article from 1989 when I had been the Australasian representative at our ICU2 foundation meeting in Bluebell, Pennsylvania, USA. Apart from me then reminiscing on the different locations around the world where ICU2 met, it reminded me when I was told that Susie was not an acceptable name in the Corporate world! From then on I was to be know as Susanne – the name I only ever heard when I was in trouble with my parents or teachers!
Is it any wonder that as soon as I backed out of the so-called Corporate world I quickly went back to my Comfort name – Susie?
I’ve now contacted Unisys to see if they have an Archive or Museum – I’m part of it!
Another reminder of “getting old” – my brother and I were mentioned in the Social Pages of the Manning River Times in September 1953!!!! True! OK – it’s not the front cover of Woman’s Day but the article said “Mr and Mrs John Fussen and children, of Chatham, who have been holidaying in the Newcastle district, returned home at the week-end.”
Thank goodness for TROVE and GOOGLE – it’s going to help me with my memory and personal history!