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the hands project: part 2

the hands project has prompted me to start writing my own stories down

I’ve lived a remarkably unremarkable life, but there are stories that my kids need to know.  Stories, moments, events and people that my kids have never known or seen…. and they’ve all helped to shape who I am today.

So I’ve invested in a couple of pretty lined notebooks and will sit and write a little as I’m eating my lunch.  I write until my hand cramps, then I sharpen my pencil for the next lunchtime, so I’m ready to go.

Brian – born 1924.
I spent my life shearing sheep. Now I play bowls. I’m pretty good.

Hilda – born 1917.
I looked after my family and went to church. For fun, I played tennis. I was very good. I think my last game was when I was 92.

Win – born 1930.
I enjoyed doing fine work. The harder the better. It was a pleasure of mine.

Ruth – born 1929.
They gave me an Order of Australia medal for community service. I was just looking after my boys. It’s what a mother should do.

Jane – born 1921.
Being at the stables with the animals was always a big part of my life.

Poppy – born 1916.
I love the fun of life! Love to sing and dance and wear fine things. Life is about happiness.

Jim – born 1931.
I’ve always had a hankering for cars. Rebuilding fine examples has been a life’s work.

Joan – born 1923.
I was a nurse in the war. It was hard. We were a great team of girls. We looked out for each other.

Pat – born 1943.
I started full-time work on the land when I was 13. Seven days a week from then on. Driving the tractor was the best job.

Mavis – born 1920.
This rolling pin helped me raise my family and win awards for cooking at the show. I’ve had it a long time.

You can find part 1 of the Hands Project here.

In the comments I’d love to hear:

Have you started writing your own stories down for your children and grandchildren?  If you haven’t started, what’s stopping you?

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the hands project: part 1

a little bit of history as to how the Hands Project came into existence…

I was at the local Farmer’s Market and was checking out some really funky eco-dyed scarfs when the lady on the stall noticed I was carrying a camera.  She introduced herself as Janine – of Zenzi Designs – and we got talking.  At the time she was working at our local aged care facility and was on the lookout for a photographer who might be interested in a project she had pitched to management.

The idea was this:  there are a wealth of stories from the old folk at the home.  The people who helped to shape our community.  We needed to be able to capture their stories before they passed away because these are the stories that are being lost.

I immediately said “Count me in!” and the Hands Project was in motion.

There was a bit of red tape to wade through before we could get started, with the first photos and stories being collected in late June 2016.  Residents moved out and in, and some passed away, which made the project all the more important to the both of us.

It’s a project I hope to continue, and one that has prompted me to begin journaling my own stories, so that when my time comes, my children will know all of the exploits of their Mother!

Until then, I present the Hands Project.

Iris – born 1927.
I always have my handbag with me and the names of all my family right here. In my heart and in my head.

Gwen – born 1923.
I joined the Red Cross in 1951. I was President for a long time, zone representative on the Divisional Council and an Honorary Member of Laos Red Cross. Being involved in organisations in the community has been very important to me.

Bea – born 1934.
Reading has always been very important to me. It opens your eyes to the world. I always want to learn.

Les – born 1935.
I worked for the council for many years. Driving the digger one of the best jobs. There’s not much I don’t know about the area.

Rachel – born 1932.
Raising my family was my most important job. Knitting for them was part of showing my care for them. I still enjoy knitting.

Rod – born 1934.
I was a Jackaroo. Spent most of my time on the land. Horses were a big part of that life.

Yvonne – born 1930.
Creating my garden has been a life’s work. It has given me great pride and joy over the years.

Margaret – born 1927.
A camellia is one of my favourite flowers. My garden has given me great pleasure over the years.

Helen – born 1920.
I love cats. I liked looking after them. I had lots of cats.

Irene – born 1917.
My cakes won the ‘Best in Show’ for many years at the Walcha Show. I miss not using my old friend anymore.

Next week I will share Part 2 of the project with you here on the blog.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you have the stories of your older relatives?  Are they written down, or have they been passed down orally?

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the world is going to shit, mum: why my boy is learning survival skills

The Little Man (not so little anymore, but always to be my Little Man) has recently developed quite an interest in survival skills.

He’s been shaping a bow shaft and making arrowheads from bits of wood. Whittling knife blades and learning about flint napping. Reading about what you can eat and what you can’t eat in the bush. And learning how to make rope from tree bark and vines.

While driving to Armidale last week, I questioned him about this new interest.

(Seriously, mums of soon-to-be teenage boys – the best place to have conversations with them is in the car. They are your captive audience! Put on a few of their tunes and start a conversation. You might be surprised at what you learn…)

His response was not what I thought it was going to be…

“Donald Trump is going to fuck things up, Mum. And we need to be prepared because it’s not only going to affect America. It’s going to affect us too.”

I took a few minutes to formulate my response, because, to be honest, his answer kind of floored me.

Little Man followed the recent U.S. election with great interest and was as shocked as the rest of the world at the results. He now listens carefully to news reports and reads world news from a variety of sources, obviously coming to his own conclusions from what he reads.

An honest and open conversation about imports, exports, trade agreements and sustainable living – interspersed with our shared love of black humour – lasted the next 30 minutes to Armidale. It was a conversation that made me grateful I have a son who takes an interest in the world at large.  Grateful even more that I have the relationship I do with him.  And it made me realise that having conversations like this with your children are important…

…because you never quite now what another person is thinking until you ask

Little Man and his pocket knife getting ready to shape arrowheads
preparing to make a blow dart gun
the Little Man is not a boy anymore
hammer and chisel blows
hollowing out a section of wood
my Little Man deep in thought

As to his choice of language, we’re a family that allows swearing, which you can read more about here.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you have regular, deep-and-meaningful conversations with your kids?

And what has been their reaction to the new president of the United States?

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