November, 1909....They were totally unaware until the visitors drove up. The fine large room recently erected for the men’s quarters during shearing time was invaded, bunks removed and soon everything was ready for the dance. The genial host and hostess and family joined heartily in the fun, as did also the shearers, and a warm welcome was received by all. At midnight, refreshments were handed around, which were provided by the visitors, after which the fun was resumed and kept going to daylight. Refreshments were again partaken of, after which a start was made for home, one all having thoroughly enjoyed the night’s fun.
This excerpt came from a newspaper article about a party held at my relatives farm in 1909. They were probably sitting around the fire with their seven children when they were surprised by lots of people who had driven for miles, just to have a surprise party. Imagine.
These days the past holds as much fascination for me as the future. I’ve noticed my eyes no longer glaze over when my mother talks about the family tree.
Yesterday, I immersed myself in her book which holds the lives of families past.
There was the Polish Countess who had to escape when Russia invaded and her relatives who had to do the same when Germany attacked. Then there was the English convict banished to Australia for stealing a handkerchief. And some interesting skeletons like the Norwegian ship Captain, a Polish mother and an 8 month voyage.
My father has a Polish and German background. He is blue eyed and fair. Names like Ferdinand, Frederick, Karl and Johann abound. My mother has a British and Australian background. She is olive skinned and dark. Both lineages entwined with Jewish, Catholic, and Church of England beliefs which wax and wane with each passing generation.
Mix all that together and you get me. A fair haired, pale skinned, green eyed Australian with my mother's Jewish nose and a feeling that I have strong roots in Italy for some peculiar reason. Go figure.
My world is indeed a melting pot. And the generation which follows will spice it up some more with Asian and Pacific influences.
While I was leafing through the past, something struck me.
Despite all the advances made in the last century, are we having as much fun as they appeared to in past generations? Are we in fact far more isolated in our hi tech industrialised cities than our ancestors who lived in isolated and sparsely populated parts of the country?
Maybe they had less of everything and life was harder but maybe they had more of what counts. Close friends, family, neighbours, a strong sense of community and some amazing all night parties.
They say you have to take the good from the past, learn the lessons and forget the rest. I think I found 'the good' today.
I want to party like they did in 1909.
Surely I am blessed with the party gene......and if I knock on your door after dark sometime, you better have some great music and your dancing shoes on....
When was the last time you partied till dawn?
King Edward VII was on the throne. Construction began on the Titanic. Joan of Arc was declared a saint.
London's Victoria and Albert museum was opened. The world's first air race was held. The actor Errol Flynn was born.