The memories continue in part 2 of “Memories of our Mum” as Noeleen, Gwen and Kellie describe mum’s cooking and sewing ability.
Tell me something about Mums history?
I thought mum was great at cooking desserts (loved them). Used to like watching her cook them and in particularly liked to help mum with the Christmas pudding –
lots of hard work as a kid stirring all that fruit. Mum was also fanatical about how to mow that lawn. Had to do the edges first out on the front footpath then you could work your way to the driveway and the rest of the footpaths, then you could mow but in a certain way. She never did like the way dad mowed the lawn either. Would drive you nuts but I suppose that’s what mothers do sometimes. When I look back on it, that’s how I used to mow the lawn in Tamworth. Strange how things stick with you.
Mum’s cooking was pretty good when we were young. I can remember how we used to sneak down to the sheds where dad and a friend Don Windus were growing mushrooms, and pick some and take them back up to mum and she would cook them for us. She would fry up some onions with the mushrooms and put them in a white sauce and they were beautiful on toast.
One thing mum hated was church pot luck lunches where you would all bring a lunch and put it out to share with everyone. Mum would never go to them. Speaking about church I don’t know anything about the Woman of the year certificate or Dorcas other than all the dolls cots she made to raise money.
I can remember family trips to different places and mum always packed a picnic of Bread Rolls and Bananas and she would make a cake which was often a chocolate cake. We would often have takeaway for tea when dad was away which, as kids, we didn’t mind at all.
Mum always wanted to be a dressmaker and she dreamed of getting an “apprenticeship” in a quality dressmaking establishment like the one owned by a Mr Herzberg in King Street Sydney. I think “apprenticeship” meant that you worked there and learned as you worked, but I don’t know that it was as formal as our apprenticeships are today. The day came when she was able to go looking for work – I guess she was about 15 or 16 years old so this would have been about 1928 or 1929. Mum (Madeleine) got dressed and left home early that day. She felt good – her smart outfit that she had made herself, hat, gloves, silk stockings – a lady would not go to the city without being properly dressed. After alighting from the tram she made her way through the city streets, walking slowly past a number of dressmaking establishments in the area until she came to her destination – the Herzberg Dressmaking establishment in King Street.
There were some garments attractively displayed in the window at the front of the shop, and since it was still fairly early in the morning, a man in overalls was cleaning the glass. She examined the window display for a few minutes and then said, half to herself and half to nobody in particular, “I wonder if they would give me job here if I asked?” To her surprise, the man in overalls responded “Would you like to work here?” After her enthusiastic “Oh Yes!” he told her –“Well, you’ll never know if you don’t ask, will you” and then disappeared into the shop with his cleaning gear.
Mum (Madeleine) pondered on those words for a time, then finally plucked up the courage to go inside. After stating her purpose she was directed Mr Herzberg’s office where a smiling, well-dressed gentleman greeted her – “So, you decided to take my advice.” Somewhat flustered, Mum realised that Mr Herzberg was the man who had been cleaning the windows out front.
Yes, Mum got the job and worked for Mr Herzberg for a number of years learning the skills of measuring, cutting and sewing at a quality level.