Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Times Change

The lady with the gun and wearing the apron is my Grandmother Lily Smith.  The photo was taken in around 1943 and my mother, who is the one to the right of my grandmother, is the only one left alive.

The lady on her knees is my grandmother's sister, May and the girl at the front right is my aunty Nancy.

The menfolk were at war.  Grandad was besieged in Tobruk and Uncle Phil in Papua New Guinea.   Two of my Nana's brothers were POW's, one at Changi and the other on the Burma Railway.   One brother in law, Laurie Mayhew, after whom I was named, was already dead in Rabaul, killed by the Japanese within hours of their invasion.

And yet for all that, the picture is a happy one.   They've probably been out rabbiting, something we also did as kids, and then finished off the day with a picnic on the beach.   It looks a bit like the beach around Cape Schanck but I can't be sure, and that would have been a major day trip back in those days.

Things were oh so much simpler then.  The world was on fire and yet there were times of normality, and the courage of ordinary people is something to be admired.   I am very proud of my family.   All of the men went to that War, those who were old enough.  Some didn't come back, but those who did returned to their womenfolk, knowing they had kept things going, taken the rifles and shot rabbits to put food on the table, hunted fields for mushrooms and dangled string in farm dams for a feed of yabbies.  And despite the worry found the time to laugh and joke, and live life to the fullest.

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