Saturday, January 8

Hey, big spender

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I was chatting with my Nan last week - and considering to do talk to her at least once a week I am still discovering things about her that amazes and surprises me.   She was sent to Sydney from her hometown of Cooma in 1947 where she boarded with a well-to-do family who were quite prominent in the meat industry.  I'm guessing this was set up by her Dad, as he was the town butcher in that day and she worked at a Department store called Farmers.

At Farmers she earned 23 shillings a week - and her boarding was 20 shillings a week - which left very little.  Her Dad sent her 10 shillings a week and that paid for her fares 'and something sweet for the week's treat'.   She said that the Landlady took her into town one day and showed her how to lay-by and slowly but surely she bought herself more 'city-like' clothing.

After a year at Farmers she saw an advertisement for a shirt maker - and she liked to sew (though can't remember where she learnt because her mother didn't sew so she guessed it was her Dad's Mum) and she interviewed and got the job!  She learned first how to make and attach collars, make the sleeves and button holes and eventually master a whole shirt.  (This would prove useful some 15 years later when she was a single mother of three and making all the kids' clothes)

When Nan received her first pay she had never seen so much money - 3 pounds 75 pence!  So what did she do?  She bought a new hat. Of course she did - one without a brim and trimmed in flowers.

Bless my Nan, I would so have done that too.  She 'needed' that hat.  I believe her!

Do you remember your first big purchase with your first job (or even second?)  I seem to remember buying myself a citizen watch....
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5 lovely comments:

Lily Mulholland on January 8, 2011 at 4:35 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

ACtually I can't remember back that far, LOL, but I do remember buying lots of vinyl.

But first BIG purchase when I got my first 'real' job was a new car. A brand new first model Mitsubishi Lancer in electric blue. That was 1994 or 1995! I was so happy to see the back of my crappo Holden Camira! :)

Love the story of your nan. I am so pleased for you that she is still alive - I lost all mine years ago and I didn't ask them enough about their lives growing up. So much has changed within two generations!

Super Sarah on January 8, 2011 at 5:35 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I remember the week I got my first paycheck in the city in London, I went into town and bought myself a new mobile phone, a huge soundsystem and a red velvet curtain. I still have the mobile in a box somewhere, the red curtain hangs in my girls room and up until recently my sister still used the soundsystem until it got frazzled by a lightning strike!

Lucy on January 8, 2011 at 6:24 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

From my part time job (in a hotel kitchen - I was 13) it was a Sony Walkman. I thought I was just it and a bit back then in 1982!

And my first "proper job" after graduating from uni....a car. A bright red Ford Festiva.

Those were the days...

(I love that photo, by the way...)

Nic on January 8, 2011 at 6:39 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I don't remember my first purchase but this family story always brings tears to my eyes when I think of it. My dad comes from a very poor, working class family. He was born in London in 1944 so at a time when the city was only just starting to recover from the ravages of WW2. He's a pretty clever bloke and won a scholarship with British Telecom to work with them for a year and then they paid for him to go to university, something that despite his brains he never believed possible because his family could never have afforded to send him. Anyway, with his first pay he didn't buy anything for himself, instead he gave my aunt (his sister) money to buy herself a new dress because she was never able to buy new clothes, and he bought some new lino for the floor of his parents' kitchen which is desperately needed. How selfless can you get! It pretty much sums him up though, he's a very generous guy :)

Emma on January 11, 2011 at 1:04 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

When I was 15 and sent to the big smoke of Melbourne to boarding school my parents would give me $20 a week to live off. Considering I was living in Melbourne by myself and as a boarder we weren't allowed to have jobs I found this incredibly scungy!! But I found a pink velvet blazer in Sportsgirl which was $120 and I promptly put it on laybuy. I scrimped and saved and eventually wore that blazer everywhere. I still have it and simply will not get rid of it as it was the first thing I really wanted and really tried to save for.


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