Sunday, 11 October 2015

Mrs LRM and the Nail Polish Naughtiness

Mrs LRM, once upon a time had a very respectable job in banking. As a beacon of respectability I would sometimes head out on business visitations. If you couldn't come to the bank to sort out the admin side of your business banking, not a problem as I would come to you.

I had built up a good relationship with Sonia (not her real name), the office manager from We Look After the Community (not their real name) which was a not for profit organisation. W.L.A.K got a new charismatic CEO who I briefly met once. 

After a couple of years, the CEO rang me one day and explained that Sonia needed to be taken off the accounts straight away. I asked why and the CEO explained that Sonia had left the organisation. Normally I didn't deal with the CEO so I rang Sonia at home as a smelt a rat. Sonia explained that she hadn't left and there were some major shenanigans going on. Sonia explained that she had taken leave to prevent the CEO from sacking her and she had handed all the office records to a forensic accountant.

To cut a long story short, the CEO had been using government funds which had been allocated to help disadvantaged members of our society for their own personal use. First class airfares, 5 star accommodation, dinners in New York etc etc.......does it kind of sound familiar? This seems to be a very modern malaise that we see time and time again from business leaders that hold positions of authority in society.

Anyway, the charismatic CEO was convicted of fraud and sent to prison, much to their shocked surprise. After the dust had settled I had returned to W.L.A.K as we needed to add some new signatories to their accounts. Sonia thanked me for coming all that way out as she said the CEO had always insisted on coming to see me herself. I looked at Sonia with a quizzical look on my face and said "Huh, what are you talking about? Charismatic CEO has never come to my workplace to see me!" Sonia replied "Yeah yeah, she did. Charismatic CEO used to tell us that she would take you to the local nail salon so you could have a business meeting." My jaw just dropped to the floor. I then held out my hands to Sonia and showed her my chipped broken nails with ragged cuticles and white vitamin deficiency spots. My nails were bare and I said to Sonia......"do these hands and nails look like someone who frequents a nail salon?"


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Growing Up, Clayton......A Personal Perspective

Growing up in Clayton during the 1960's and 70's feels like a black and white photograph where you look at the subject captured in a snapshot of a long lost moment in time. Clayton was once a quiet little suburb full of market gardens located on the outskirts of Melbourne. These were then sold off and sub-divisions appeared. Young couples such as my parents had spent the early years of their married lives living in compact houses along with parents and other siblings, while fervently working towards the goal of saving up a deposit to buy their first house. The dream of owning your own home was as strong then as it is now.

(Pic of me as a three year old in the Hills Hoist backyard of Clayton)

The inner city was full of housing slums so many young couples yearned for the wide open spaces of the outer suburbs. Depending on your finances, there was a multitude of choices in the East. If you had a bit of money saved, Doncaster was the goods.  You could buy from a developer a solid brick box however the suburb that had very little in the way of amenities and infrastructure. Public transport was an issue while Robin Boyd bemoaned the lack of thought and care in the design of the little brick boxes.

My parents decided to buy in the newly developed working class suburb of Clayton. In 1963 they bought their first and last family home. A gleaming white weatherboard house on a flat quarter acre block. Transport routes were good as you could trot down to Clayton Railway station and catch the train to work. My father never drove so as a family we walked everywhere and also caught the train. On Sundays, the train only ran once every hour so there was many a time dad, mum in her platform shoes and us little tackers would have to run so as not to miss the train.

There was no sewerage so we all had outside dunnies. For night time we had a little chamberpot that was located under the bed. The night watchman would come and remove the content of the outside toilet. He was almost like a mythical creature that you were aware existed but very rarely saw. Luckily sewerage came to Clayton and housing bliss was an inside toilet.

Work was plentiful if you were not scared of hard labour. You were spoilt for choice. Resumes were not necessary as you could walk into any factory and get a job on the assembly line. Many migrants such as my parents learnt to speak English on those assembly lines. The assembly line was a low tech, no frills adult classroom full of a multitude of nationalities. Mum worked at Elmaco in Fulton Rd Huntingdale  and it is these years that I remember her being her happiest. She would come home with the coolest plastic decor such as plastic plant pots, sputnik table lamps and the ubiquitous orange and faux wood grain kitchen canisters.

(Orange and faux woodgrain family kitchen canisters)

(Our Elmaco plastic planters on the front porch)

During the day, dad worked in the kitchen at Prince Henry's Hospital. He would rise before we were awake and take the train into the city. When he finished his 9 hour shift at Prince Henry's he would then head off to his part-time cleaning job. Eventually he would get home at 10pm. When there were train strikes he would get up extra early and run into the city. It is a long way from Clayton to the city but he could not accept or fathom not going into work. During his annual leave he would apply for assembly line positions at the car manufacturing industries in Westall. I oftened wondered why he worked so hard but the reason really was quite simple. The second world war had disrupted his schooling in Europe and at the time he had faced many hardships. His family suffered greatly and they had experienced many deprivations. Australia was a fresh new start and his success was dependant on his own hard work. So he worked and worked and worked. He was eternally grateful for this opportunity.  

We lived a really simple life but Clayton was like that. It was a no frills unpretentious working class suburb. Families grew their own veggies and the neighbourhood kids played safely in the street. You would return indoors at dusk and sleep soundly after hours of outdoor play. We had a sense of community and we were in and out of our neighbours houses. We ran about, climbed trees and I would even sneak up to the roof of our house standing on the highest apex while looking out in wonder at the landscape around me. There were no townhouses or apartments obscuring the view so you could see forever. I even joke to this day that we were very fortunate as we had much desired sea views. That was very true as long as you walked to the top of the street, stood in a certain spot, facing a certain angle while also ensuring that the sky was clear with no clouds about. It was only then that you could see the bay in the far far distance.....but boy was it a beautiful view.

Clayton is in my DNA and part of the fabric of my life. I am proud of my working class roots. I am proud of my tenacious migrant parents and I am truly blessed that I grew up in Clayton.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Martha & Arthur Lived Happily Ever After.

Valentine's Day is usually about unspoken love. Love is not in the things that we give but it is in actions that we undertake. Love is enduring, love does not fade, love transcends. Here is a retro Valentine's Day love story.

I am a sucker for old photographs found while rummaging in op shops. I rescue them and proudly display them among my own family pics. I hate the thought that these photographs are no longer loved and cherised so I make it my mission to incorporated them into my family history. They then become part a mysterious part of the LRM family.

Martha and Arthur came calling for me one day at one of my local op shops. They were in a cheap and tacky multi photo pine frame. I had to rescue them and take them home with me. The pine frame did not do them justice so I grabbed an old box picture frame that I had keeping for the perfect vintage photograph. Martha and Arthur were then relocated to their new home. To make the pic look that little bit more special I created a border made from ripped 1970's gold embossed wall paper which I had acquired from Amelia.

I often wondered about their love story and how it came to be that they ended up at the op shop. My Friends at Lost Melbourne helped me to find Martha and Arthur's family. They kindly posted the love story of the abandoned this lost couple and the family came forward to claim them.

Arthur's name was really Laurie and in his last few years he had dementia which may help explain how the pic ended up in the op shop. Laurie's wife had passed away ten years prior and they never had any children. Arthur's niece contacted me and I am pleased to say that I was able to reunite her with this pic. I was shown a beautiful framed large colour version of the same pic so it warmed my heart that Martha and Arthur(as I had named them) could be returned to family members that loved them. The were not lost after all.

So here is my Valentine's Day gift to you all......The love story of Martha and Arthur.

Beautiful retro box frame displaying my adopted family members Martha & Arthur after they had been rescued and relocated.

For the briefest of times they joined my family and were displayed in my lounge room on this 1950's bedside chest of drawers.

Oh dear! This is how I found Martha and Arthur. Only $2.00 at the op shop. Martha and Arthur you deserve better.

Hmmm time to replace this shabby frame with a missing pic with something a bit more dignified.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Australia Post and the Birthday Card Ghost.

This post should have had a happy ending but sadly the Australia Post Birthday Card Ghost intervened and it all went pear shaped.

A few weeks ago, little Amelia popped a birthday card in the post for Mrs LRM's birthday. Hmmm I can see that you all know how this story is going to end but let me continue anyway. Amelia is a full-time uni student in Northern NSW so money is tight for her. Being so far away from Mrs LRM, Amelia wanted to mark the occasion by purchasing the most beautiful card possible. This purchase set poor Amelia back $8 which was a huge chunk of her almost non existent budget.

The card Amelia chose was of the best and thickest paper. To make the card even more special, little Amelia hand decorated the envelope with Happy Birthday messages and pretty drawings. Being a former art student I imagine it would have looked very sweet and eye catching. It was so eye catching  that the Australia Post Birthday Card Ghost acquired it and made it invisible.

The only saving grace of the Australia Post Birthday Card Ghost's greedy acquisition is that when they opened the envelope they would have found zip.  Yep.....NO Money, NO Scratchie just a lot of loving messages from my beautiful little tacker. At the end of the day love always endures and my relationship with Amelia is not measured by a card alone.

Anyway, to console myself I have looked over my retro card collection and dreamed of what might have been while sobbing forlornly into the handkerchief of the first card. Please enjoy these cards with me.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Living the Retro Life Bucolic Way Down in Kongwak.

This weekend Mr LRM and I were fortunate to live the retro life bucolic way down in Kongwak. Found in the Valley of Peace situated in South Gippsland, Kongwak is a perfect weekend getaway when combined with a bit of retro treasure hunting. Held every Sunday from 10-3pm, the Kongwak Market has brought colour, activity and life to what was no longer a thriving town. Today we enjoyed a fun day incognito while surrounded by all things retro at the market. Here are the happy snaps.

Interesting notices while taking a load off and grabbing a seat in the child's saucer chair. Donna is looking for an older caravan. Can anyone help her out?

Time to revive shell art jewellery boxes.

Follow this path to incredible views and the retro el fresco dining experience #1.

Okay so the bag is not retro.....but it is cute and I had to buy it for my little tacker Charlotte.

Happy tunic.

Retro el fresco dining experience #2.  Good old bratwurst sausage in bread.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Souvenir Spoons and the Tivoli Girl,

I don't know how this story began nor do I know how it ended but let me share my 15 minutes of whimsical wonderment at being introduced to a world of souvenir spoons and the Tivoli girl. Please forgive me if some of the details are a bit sketchy but I will do my best to recall the story as best I can.

Many retro moons ago I found myself on the front doorstep of this amazing house delivering a parcel to Mr Wrench. I am going to call him Allan because I pretty sure that was his name. I was a parcel contractor in those days as Mr LRM and I had relocated from Melbourne to raise our little tackers in a small country town. I could see that once upon a time this house was a showpiece but by the time I had landed on the doorstep with parcel in hand, she had become a faded beauty.

While handing over the package to Allan, I remarked at how beautiful the house was and he invited me in for a quick tour. Allan was born and bred in this small country town and his family went back for generations. Previous generations of the family had been boot makers so it was no surprise that Allan ran a shoe store with his brother. As a strapping young man he headed off to the big smoke and came back home with a Tivoli girl. Myrtle was blonde, beautiful and a very talented dancer. They married and Allan built a special home for for his special girl. The attention to detail in this house was exquisite and far removed from the surrounding neighbourhood homes.

I felt that I had entered an Aladdin's cave as my eyes feasted upon the lushness of the lounge room. The windows were beautifully bespoke while the walls were timber clad. It was a sensory overload scanning the room and taking in case upon case filled with souvenir spoons. Click click click went my mind just like the shutter of a camera in a manic race to commit this visual wonderland to memory. There were hundreds if not thousands of souvenir spoons carefully displayed. Each spoon revealed an adventurous heart full of romance that saw Allan whisk his Tivoli girl to the far flung corners of Australia. For a short time Allan shared that passion with me and showed me his favourite spoons.

I felt honoured and blessed that for the briefest of moments I became a participant in this long enduring love story of the souvenir spoons and the Tivoli girl. My skin tingles to this day looking at these pics and recalling that all too short interlude.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Desert Boot Darling Days.

In the 1970's we were able to escape the confines of the black leather school shoe when the camel coloured suede desert boot burst onto the school uniform scene. The 70's was an era when strict uniform policies were reviewed and abandoned by many schools in Victoria. In my older sister's time, she would have to kneel on a table top while a stern female teacher would measure three finger widths from the top of the table to the bottom of her school dress. Any higher than that and you were sent home in disgrace with instructions to lengthen your school dress.

When I rocked up in 1976, my school year started with a restrictive school tie and by December it was replaced with a bare neck. Tight shiny blue gaberdine slacks for the girls became official winter uniform replacing ugly shapeless woollen tunics. Grey scratchy school jumpers out.....soft fleecy wind cheaters in. 

The ultimate sign of our uniform shackles being left behind was being able to walk into this new era of educational freedom wearing our camel coloured desert boot with crepe soles. The desert boot allowed us to address both school and leisure wear with the one type of footwear. 

Every so often the desert boot experiences a humble revival. A few years back we enjoyed the pastel coloured desert boot but nothing will every come close to beating the original and the best.

Mr LRM modelling his Lost and Found Market Desert Boots.



Made to last.

Super stitching

Thank you LunaRayVintage for the cool pic.