My mother, Ida Joyce Watson, died in June 2014 in Adelaide, South Australia, at aged 98 years, however, some years ago she had given me some of her writings. I have many of the letters she and my late father wrote over about 40 years too. My mother and her family lived at Wistow, just out of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, and some of her ashes were scattered there early in 2015.
This one I think Mum wrote about 30 years ago.
“Snakes! Snakes! Snakes!
Most country places had their share of reptiles, sleepy lizards, and varieties of snakes!
I can remember seeing my Father being chased around our house by a grey snake. Dad had a gun with which to shoot it, but it was very quick and nearly got Dad before he was able to shoot it. We children saw it all and were terrified.
We had an old horse called Jess. My Dad gave her to me. I used to just sit on her back and we would meander around the yard – she was so tame I could have gone to sleep on her back. After school holidays were over one time Dad put her out into the back hills to graze for the rest of her life.
I can remember one day seeing her at the bottom of the gully and thought I would go down to talk to here – this was on my way home from school.
I was just standing there and felt something move under my feet. I looked down and saw a big snake uncurling and heading away down a ditch. I was just so terrified, but it made no attempt to raise its head at me and just crawled away. I was so shaken, I ran all the way home to tell my Mother, and she said I was as white as a ghost and she gave me a few sips of brandy to help me recover – what a lucky escape.
Once we saw a death adder, which was dead, obviously been dropped from a fiar height by a kookaburra, thank heavens it was dead. Snakes would not attack unless trapped or disturbed in their resting place.”
My mother had left school at around 15 years of age, around 1930, and as was the case then and for many years later, women were not expected to go into the workforce. They were expected to be a wife or a mother, so education was not important.
Despite that Mum was good with a pen! She had wanted to be a school teacher, but sadly for her that didn’t happen. I copied word for word the way Mum had written it in her wonderful handwriting.
I like to point out to people thinking of writing their stories that there are many items that are useful in piecing together someone’s story.
Just recently I was interviewed for a book about nurses and found my certificates, photos, and other items to be of great value in helping me piece together my story.