So Dear Reader: I’ve been spending time on photography lately. One of the dramas living where I do is that no-one seems to have heard of lomography. I have a number of lomo cameras and I use all sorts of film but, the other drama is trying to get the film cross-processed to get the vibrant colours I like. In Sydney, it was easy but I had a couple of films processed locally and it was a disaster. Until I sort it out, I’m back to using my digital camera: the faithful Nikon D40 (a now-discontinued digital SLR).
This is not the point of my post though. I wanted to tell you about one of those amazing coincidences that can happen in life. On Facebook, I belong to my old Primary School reunion group. There’s a reunion planned for September 2015 in Sydney and I’ll fly to Sydney for this. There’s also my High School reunion coming up in a week or so but I’m not going – largely because I have stronger (and fonder) memories of people in Primary School. BTW: Hugh Jackman went to my Primary School. You Google this and you’ll find out what Primary School I went to. Alas, he was not in my class :-(
So….we are all chatting away on the Primary School FB page and a guy mentioned he lives in Avalon. I say yep, a lot of great memories from Avalon as my grandparents lived there. My grandmother’s sister, Mabel, lived with them and she used to pick up from school on Friday afternoons. We’d drive down to Avalon from Pymble and I’d spend the weekend with my grandparents and grand-Aunt. My parents would arrive Sunday, around lunch time, and we’d have the slap up Sunday lunch. Then motor on home around 3.30pm.
I remember my grandparents house as being rather grand and large. I’m sure if I saw it now I’d be stunned at how small it is but maybe not! Anyway. The chap asked me where in Avalon so I told him the address and that’s where it got interesting. He had tiled the front steps to the house recently and then another fellow student said he had lived in the downstairs flat during the 1980s. During my grandparent’s time, the downstairs flat was used for family visitors and also as my private play area.
After getting over the amazing coincidence of two fellow students having connections to my grandparent’s house, I then find them organizing to go and get photos. The chap who tiled knows the current owners and went there the next day to get tons of photos for me. The owners have said I can have a tour when I’m over in Sydney for the reunion.
I was really touched that these two guys would go to all the trouble of getting photos. Both of them worked on making the images as clear as possible, then posted them to the group. WOW is the word I’d be using. I can still recognise my childhood second home but, at the same time, it’s wildly different. Some walls have been knocked out and, of course, it looks so different with contemporary furnishing (as opposed to the 1950’s style my grandparents had – since they built the house in the 50s).
I don’t have any photos of my grandparent’s house as it was but I have the strong memories. I do, however, have one photo of me with my grandfather and my grand-Aunt standing at the top of the circular steps, leading up to the front verandah. In the FB group, the tiling chap said he had tiled circular steps. I was perplexed as I didn’t recall the steps as circular but….I was certain I had a photo of the front verandah and, hopefully, those steps. Bingo…I do and yep, they’re circular. Funny how we can have memories of certain things and totally forget other details.
The renovations done to the house are amazing and it looks beautiful. I am SO going to take the current owners up on having a tour next year when I attend the reunion. Can’t wait. Apparently, they have kept the original light fittings and the large garden on one side of the house that my grandmother lovingly created and tended. My grandparents would be super-pleased if they could see the house as it is now.
The circular steps weren’t tiled when my grandparents owned the house and I don’t think the verandah had an open roof either. More lush trees surround the house now too.
Me with my grandfather and grand-Aunt, Mabel. They’ve taken down the wrought iron ballustrades and opened it all up more.