28 May 2020
I saw a promotional thing about my local community, based on the premise of “Love where you live”. It got me thinking about all the places I’ve lived in my life, and what was good about them.
Now I’ve lived in a lot of places. Between having a dad whose job meant we moved around every four years, then a husband whose job meant we also seem to move often, there have been a lot of places we have called home.
I was born in York in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, and while I was too young to remember much, the one thing I do remember is a big wide verandah. The house was on a big block backing onto the train track so there was obviously a lot of space for four small children to play. My memories of York can be summed up by the word “space”.
Our next home was in South Perth, and to a very young kid, was a place of friends and getting up to mischief. My memories from those days are of playing in the drain with my friend Leah, and getting my feet burned by playing in a recently burnt off yard. South Perth memories were of “play”.
Wagin was our next home – friends with farms, and horses, and sheep. Sheep that dad would purchase from a farming friend, and that I would help butcher. Good times! And mallee root fundraising drives for church – firewood collection known as “root drives”. And a massive vegetable garden, and turkeys and chooks that were also butchered for meat. My Wagin word is “farming”.
This is getting difficult, trying to sum up one location with one word. And this could be a long blog.. hope you’re in a comfy chair with a drink to help out!
Wembley was next, and suburbia brought big changes. There were buses, for a start! Bigger schools, and more people. My brothers were at the driving age, so there were always cars being pulled apart and put back together in our car port. We all grew up and eventually left home from here, so my Wembley word was “build”.
I briefly lived with my oldest brother and sister-in-law in Innaloo, but then moved into a flat in Wembley while doing nursing training. This was a tiny one bed flat where the washing machine lived in the bathroom and not enough room to swing a cat. I got a cat but didn’t swing him around much. But it was my first solo home and was special. This part of Wembley, strangely enough, is also “space”. Psychologists, eat your heart out with that one.
By the time I’d gained myself a husband and a qualification, we were living in Wilson, also Perth suburbia. We bought my recently deceased Grandma’s house, and as eager home owners spent a lot of time tiling things, putting in reticulation, planting gardens, building chook enclosures, painting. Again, the house was on a big block, and there was always something to do. My Wilson word is “create”.
We moved to Karratha and living in the North West of our state was amazing. The heat, the colours, the heat, the scenery, the heat. People either loved the north west or hated it. We fell into the love category. Karratha this time was “explore”.
Mandurah came next (quick stop at Furnissdale while we were buying the house in Mandurah…Furnissdale word was “midgies”) and it was while in Mandurah that we gained our first son. It was a time of family, of friends, of growing, of connections. We had a massive golden wattle tree out the front of our house, which looked absolutely breathtakingly lovely when in flower. The bees loved it too, so the beauty was best admired from indoors. My Mandurah word is “family”.
Heading back up to Karratha, we somehow gained another son. Living up north this time was slightly different as we had extended family – instant friends for my children with their four cousins living a suburb away. There were holidays, kids with ear infections, gastro – and pneumonia on one memorable occasion, bike riding, growing huge bananas, working for days to dig a hole because the ground is so hard and dry (when our old cat died – the one I got in Wembley – I was so thankful that it had just been raining for two days as it meant the ground had softened, and we could bury the pussycat in the backyard without too much drama!). My Karratha #2 word is “grow”.
(Intermission time allowed now for toilet breaks and refilling of coffee cup if needed…)
Warwick – when we moved down south again, the kids priority in housing was that it had to have trees they could climb, steps and a swimming pool. So our house was two storey, had a tree out the front, and a swimming pool. We are nothing if not obedient parents. This house was our longest time living anywhere and consequently was pet central. Soooo many pets of every description came through our lives living in Warwick. Let’s just call this place “pets”.
Duncraig – our next house seemed to have been built by someone with teenagers. Huge living spaces, big bedrooms, small garden, swimming pool. It was on a slopey block so at night you could look out over the lights of the surrounding area imagining you were up high on a hill. Both the Warwick and the Duncraig houses were within ten minutes of the beautiful Perth beaches, and centrally located to big shopping centres. It was from here that both of our boys eventually left home. The Duncraig word is another familiar one, “space”.
During the Duncraig time, we also had 18 months living in the USA, in Houston. Living in a different country was a wonderful experience, made easier with new friends. It’s tempting to call this one ‘space’ as well, both because of the proximity of NASA and the size of the house. But I’m going to have to go with “power” – our single storey house in Sugarland had over 100 power outlets! It summed up the convenience that is American lives – whether it’s drive through banks, massive shops or super fast deliveries, life in the US is, by nature of the population numbers, designed for convenience.
And now onto South Perth again. We downsized, got a small house comfortable for two people and then got one of our sons back home again fairly quickly. It’s a bit squeezy at times but is a beautiful central location, easy access to the river and for walking options. It’s not too far from our other son and his family so much grandson is never too far away 🙂 Let’s call South Perth #2 “central”.
It should be noted that there is another overseas home in this time frame, with Simon living for a year and a bit in the Netherlands. While I didn’t actually live there, only visited, it certainly felt like home. This apartment felt like any other Hamblin home, until you look out the window to the canal on the other side of the street. The location of this place gives me its word “base” – it was the base from which to explore a very watery and very pretty country. And a very convenient base from which to investigate parts of Europe that would otherwise have been a very long trip from home.
If you made it through to the end of this Diarrhoea episode, I must award you with a word, too – “perseverance”.
Tell me something about either where you live now, or a significant home in your history. But remember you have to sum it up with one word.