On the long drive home to Canberra from Brisbane, we took a short stop through the little country town where I lived till I was about nine. It was my first time passing through since I had children and while I duly expected a fun little trip down memory lane with my babies, I was rather surprised to be hit pretty full force with a strong wave of emotion and nostalgia.
It was surreal to say the least, to see my own trio of children standing in front of the house I lived in at their age, part of a sibling trio myself. So many fond memories of that simple little country life, running around barefoot and grubby with my sisters. Feeding scraps to the chickens and bringing the cows up from the paddock after school... yes, those were our chores. How sweet it was to share some of those old stories with the kids. They could barely believe I lived somewhere so 'exotic' haha... and they also found out that we had our own pony. Uh oh!!
How can it be that life moves on, through so many winding paths, and yet this little farmhouse remains, basically identical to the day we left it....those two palm trees, the fig tree, the huge pepper tree on the right, the loooooong driveway (felt like miles as a little kid) which we walked to and from the bus each school day... often I was also lugging my cello.
The same rusty old mail box still remains.... looking even rustier and a great deal wonkier, yet still standing, still in use. I remember being terrified of spiders when I reached inside for the mail.
When I was about four, my grandmother bought some of our land from us to build a house next to ours. We had a connecting driveway about 100 metres long and we loved running along it to go visit her after school, where she would teach us to garden (we each had our own little garden bed set aside for us) and to bake (we each had our own particular biscuit recipe we would bake with her each time... sadly I can no longer remember what mine was though). Oh, Granny. She was very old school, super strict, a lady of the highest order...tough as nails yet as elegant as an aristocrat. All about manners and decorum and so on. She was strong and she was amazing, having lived a fascinating life filled with writing and theatre and travelling to Europe as a Red Cross nurse in World War Two. She spent so much time telling us stories and family history, walking us through the house and showing us all her incredible family heirlooms and antiques. She passed away when I was about twelve and I often wish I had known her better, as an adult. To have soaked in and better understood her stories, who she was as a strong, creative, passionate woman.
Her mailbox still stands. Her hand painted lettering fading but still neat and tidy after all these years (thirtyish?!)... I expect our surname got scratched off by new owners! But 'Weetwood' still remained. Granny named her home thus after the heritage listed home that had been part of our family in decades past. How lovely it is to see 'Weetwood' still standing.
As we stood there, taking photos of the mail box, the current owner came driving up. Being the country, he was friendly - even when discovering some random family taking photos of his letterbox!! And being the country, he still knew of our family, remembered meeting my Dad. We had a good chat about the neighbours living in our old home, and how long he had lived at my grandmother's place. He chuckled and said he had always meant to update the letterbox but never quite got around to it. Life moves slow in the country and I could only be grateful for that thread still connecting me to my past, a thread far stronger than I expected it to be.
Thank you, country roads, for that trip down memory lane..... nothing quite like a heavy dose of nostalgia x