Memories from 1974

5 Mar

The other day I came across some notes I made about some conversations in our
family towards the end of summer of 1974 when Gaby was sixteen, Monika fifteen, Martin close to fourteen, Peter close to thirty-nine and I also thirty-nine.


Gaby, my daughter, sits close to the open door in her wheelchair. Peter, her father, helps her to sort out her record-club order.

I take notes of the following conversation. I am outside close to the open door and I am stretched out on the lawn under a large umbrella.

Gaby: I should’ve written on that form ‘please hurry’. Gee, I’m glad I’m going to get that record at last. Will you put all this away now, please?

Peter: Wie, das willste auch aufheben? Das ist doch nur Reklame, Menschenskind!
What, you’re going to keep that too? These are only adds, for heaven’s sake!

Gaby: I keep everything from the record-club.

Peter: So, wo kommt das hin? So, where does this go?

Gaby: Right at the back of the folder. It’s nice paper, isn’t it?

Peter: Nee.

Gaby: That’s the second record I’ve ordered. Are they going to send me a receipt?

Peter: No, das ist covered. The balance is going to show it. Kommt das hier rin?

Gaby: No, it goes into the blue folder.

Son Martin comes up the ramp. He carries his school-case., greets me with ‘Hi, Mum’, enters the house. A little later daughter Monika follows, also with school- case and saying ‘Hi, Mum!’ I say ‘Hi, Martin! Hi, Monika!’ As Martin enters the
house, Peter and Gaby are still deep in conversation.

Peter: Martin, was sagt man denn, wenn man hier hereinkommt? — Good-day!
What do you say when you come in here? — Good-day!

Martin: You were talking.

Monika says ‘Hi’ as she enters. And Peter says: ‘Hallo, Monika!’

A bit later Peter and Martin talk with Gaby about her school-certificate.

Martin: That bit of scrap-paper, is that all you’ve got?

Peter: Mehr braucht se doch nicht. Das ist das certificate.
She doesn’t need anything else. This is the certificate.

Martin: Actually you shouldn’t have passed since you didn’t work right through
the year.

Peter: Hat se gut gearbeitet, hat se auch bestanden.
Oh, she worked well, that’s how she passed.

Martin: But she didn’t arbeite gut. She didn’t work well.

Peter: Nun lass man gut sein. Sie hat schon gut gearbeitet.
Now leave her alone. She did work quite well.

A bit later

Monika: Gee, it’s hot! Pat and Donna are coming in a minute. They want a lift over to
Warilla Grove. Who’s going to take us to Warilla Grove? It’s late already, you

(calling from outside)
Uta: Papa’s going to take you!

Monika: Better hurry up!

Gaby: Papa, don’t forget to mail my record-order! The letter-box gets emptied soon!

Peter: Wann musst Du auf der Arbeit sein, Monika?
When do you have to be at work, Monika?

Monika: We have to leave within the next five or ten minutes.

Peter: Ich fahre erst tanken. I go to get some petrol first.

Peter leaves in a hurry.

Pat and Donna come up the ramp. Monika greets them and goes inside with them.

I hear a terrible noise from the neighbours’ backyard: One of their sons goes on his mini-bike round and round in the backyard.

A bit later Wayne comes up the ramp. He carries a beach-towel.

Uta: Hi, Wayne! Do you want to go to the pool with Martin?

Waine: Yeah.

Uta: Best thing you can do in this weather!

Waine: Yeah.

Wayne enters the house. Peter returns from getting petrol. Soon after he leaves with Monika, Pat and Donna in the car. (At Warilla Grove Monika is going to get some training at the Woolworths cash register.)

Martin and Wayne leave for the pool. The mini-bike has stopped making
noise. I enter the house.

Gaby: Heh, Mama, you have to buy some food today, don’t you?

Uta: That’s right.

Gaby: When are you going?

Uta: Later.

Gaby: Better go before five thirty.

Uta: Yes, I’ll do that.

Gaby: How much money have you got?

Uta: I don’t know.

(A bit later.)

Gaby: Mama, can you move my left foot? (I do it.)
Can I go on the Pfanne when Papa gets back?

Uta: Yes, sure.

(She means when Peter gets back, she wants him to lie her on her bed, so that I can put her on her bed-pan.)

Gaby: Can I have a Vitamin C tablet?

I give her one. There’s some more noise from the mini-bike. Peter

Peter: I just remembered, I forgot to post your letter.

Gaby: God, how could you forget! — Can you post the letter, Mama? You have to go now because the letter-box gets emptied soon.

Peter: Mensch, ist mir warm! My goodness, I feel so hot and sweatty!

Uta: Willst Du nicht zum Pool gehen? Martin ist mit Wayne zum Pool
gegangen. Wouldn’t you like to go to the swimming pool? Martin did go
to the pool with Waine.

Peter: Ich bin schon ewig nicht am Pool gewesen. It’s been ages since I went
to the pool.

Uta: Ein bisschen Schwimmen würde Dir gut tun. A bit of swimming would be
good for you!

Apparently Gaby wants her letter posted before she goes to the toilet.
I get ready to post the letter and do some shopping. The mini-bike makes
an awful lot of noise again.


10 Responses to “Memories from 1974”

  1. CH March 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Do you remember what made you write that down at the time?

    • auntyuta March 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

      This is a good question. I probably thought that our converstions often centered around Gaby. I imagined it would be interesting to have a record of the sort of converstions that went on in our family. Going over it now it all sounds pretty accurate to me. It certainly brings back memories!

  2. ElizOF March 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Does she remember this differently? 😉

  3. auntyuta March 7, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    What was said within one hour or so on this particular afternoon I wrote down at the time otherwise I am sure I would not have remembered it like this. I cannot speak for Gaby. I would have to ask her.

  4. auntyuta March 7, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Hi Eliz!

    You may be interested in the following:

    I copied the above text in the blog from my OpenOffice files. The text in OpenOffice I had written some time ago from the notes I made in 1974. The translations from German I had added in italics. For some reason the italics disappeared once I copied the text to WordPress. So the way it looks now is really not very satisfactory.

    By the way, the notes were handwritten of course. But I really put down every word the way I heard it. Often when I write totally from memory a bit of fiction may come into it, but this is not the case with these memories except for the last part, where I talk to Gaby; I would think I added this a bit later on the same day!

    Is this totally as it happened then? Well, you can doubt it or you can believe it. I wonder what it would be like to write totally in fiction? To create your own characters and create situations where the created characters fit in perfectly! I guess to make your characters believable you can’t run wild with them either.

    Thanks, Eliz, for being interested in what I write. Much appreciated. Thank you.

  5. Team Oyeniyi March 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Aunty Yuta, thank you very much for your interest in our journey today. It is lovely to have people so interested.

    Clearly I will need to catch up on your site before commenting, but I am amazed at the historical touch already.

    • Team Oyeniyi March 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

      Please correct my typo on your name! How embarrassing! So sorry!

      • auntyuta March 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

        Hi Robyn! Thanks for wanting to follow my blog. I am trying to catch up on your blogs. I looked up quite a bit today. It’s all very interesting.
        Your health problems remind me a bit of all the tests I underwent during the past few years. But I am o.k now. I hope the same about you. Best wishes to you and your beautiful family. Uta

        P.S. I think I’m going to have a bit of a problem with the spelling of your surname. But Yuta or Uta doesn’t matter to me. Sounds the same, doesn’t it?

        I live in the Illawarra and we are in for a bit more rain now.
        Maybe the same goes for Melbourne?

      • Team Oyeniyi March 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

        It has been wet! I drove the kids to school every day last week, but this week has been a lot better.

        I am glad you find our journey interesting, it gives me motivation to get our memoir finished! Readers such as you help convince me our book will sell, so thank you! 🙂

  6. auntyuta March 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    You’re welcome, Robyn. Good luck with your book!

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