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Children from privileged families who showed promise were sent to universities and a lucky few won scholarships. The husband went to work and was encouraged to seek higher education or, as in Changing Lifestyles, to work the farm.

About the Author Barbara Ashton is a senior lady who lives in a retirement village on the Central Coast. She took up writing after retirement, and Changing Lifestyles is her first published work. Barbara has a full life with her husband of thirty years and hopes to enjoy many more in the beautiful surroundings of their home.

Changing Lifestyles

Barbara Ashton

Amy could see that this situation was not right for her; she spoke to her mother to let her know that she wanted to earn her own living. She was more than willing to work hard to achieve her ambition, maybe she would even have a loving family eventually.Was her ideal partner out there or was it all a dream?

Changing Lifestyles

Young women had been taught by way of example that their place in life was to be a mother, to nurture their children and put any thoughts of higher education out of their minds.

Fiction – Australian romance

Barbara Ashton www.aampersanda.com

9 780980 739923


Changing Lifestyles Barbara Ashton

A&A BOOK PUBLISHING


A&A BOOK PUBLISHING admin@aampersanda.com www.aampersanda.com www.shortstoppress.com First published 2010 Text Š Barbara Ashton 2010

This book is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 and subsequent amendments, no part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means or process whatsoever without the prior written permission of the publishers. Cover design, text design and typesetting by David Andor / Wave Source Design http://wavesource.com.au An entry for this title can be found in the National Library of Australia.


This book is dedicated to my sister, Mary Ross, my companion on the farm.


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washed and wind-dried clothes and linen were piled in the baskets, June had collected them from the clothes lines. Clara called to her twelve year old daughter, “Amy, please put your pencils down and help your sister to fold the sheets and towels.” Amy very reluctantly did as she was told; she had a genuine love of drawing and sketching, mainly figures in all sorts of clothes. She was of slight build with wavy strawberry blonde hair and fair skin, the youngest of three children. June was four years older than Amy and their brother, James, was in the middle. Clara had married Robert Farley and moved into his parents’ home at the family farm, Green Meadows, which was set on about 100 000 acres a few miles out of Crookwell in the lush bush area of the beautiful Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. They were the third HE

SWEET

SMELLING ,


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generation of Farleys. Bob’s father and grandfather had built it up to a good working farm and orchard. Bob—as he preferred to be called—lived on the farm all of his life and when he spotted Clara at a district fair he fell in love, she had the perfect way of walking with her skirt brushing gently on to her long slender legs. She was closing the gap between them and he saw her beautiful blue eyes smiling at him. “Hello Bob, I believe that you seldom come to town for social events? I work in Smiths & Miles; I have seen you a few times when you have come to purchase your goods.” She had made discreet enquiries with her boss. “Hello,” he stammered, “you took me by surprise; may I ask your name?” “My name is Clara Smedley and I live in Crookwell with my parents and sister, Lily.” Clara always knew that she would marry a farmer, she had heard talk about different eligible young farmers and was thrilled that Bob seemed to like her on this first meeting. Both sets of parents were delighted. Clara and Bob married and settled down to help his aging parents to run the farm and also to raise their three children, June, James and Amy. The year was 1942; World War II was of great concern to everyone. June had started to blossom into a pretty sixteen year old; she had long brown hair with blonde


BARBARA ASHTON

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tints from the many hours that she spent in the sunshine. She had searching brown eyes, was tall for her age, slim, with boundless energy; she spent a lot of free time helping Bob and James with all the work on the farm. She loved the baby lambs and calves and often had the job to bottle feed them. James was a sturdy lad; his long legs, dark hair and brown eyes mimicked his father and his love of farm life was obvious. Amy, on the other hand, was a bit of a dreamer; she was happy to help Clara with the cooking and cleaning but escaped to her sketch pad whenever possible. The farm house was set on a small hill near the road, rolling hills covered with lush green grass disappeared into the distance behind, and white sheep could be seen dotted here and there. The building was a large, rectangle style, which had been built from timber with mainly compressed mud for the walls, which were whitewashed regularly; the roof was pitched and covered with sheets of corrugated iron painted red. The front garden was a beautiful picture, which was lovingly tended by Clara— sometimes Amy helped—with roses, lilac and lavender in bloom at different times of the year. A red telephone box stood in front of the small post office, which was built at the end of the verandah. The bathroom was built at the end of the back


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verandah, a door led into a hall which gave access to the four bedrooms. The bath was a large tin one, which had to be filled with hot water from the wood heated copper, cold running water came from the tank. The toilet was known as ‘the dunny’; it was down a path in the garden in the outhouse, each bedroom had an elaborate jug and basin on a side table with soap and towel handy for small absolutions through the night and a jerry pot under the bed in case it was needed. Two huge water tanks, one underground, were installed for all the water that was used in the house. Light was by beautiful kerosene lamps that were lit at night, cooking was all done on a huge fuel stove that also supplied warmth in the winter; James chopped most of the wood. Fresh air was the only cooling system available during the long hot summers. The luxury of electricity had not reached the farms at that stage which meant that the women had to work extremely hard with wooden washboards to scrub the clothes clean and flat irons were heated on top of the stove to iron the dresses and tablecloths. The floors had to be swept until they gleamed and the cooking was all mixed by hand. Clara was very skilled at making clothes for herself and her two daughters on the treadle machine. She taught the girls how to sew; Amy loved it, but June only did what was necessary.


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The farmers’ wives never complained—it was a good healthy life—there was always plenty of fresh meat and vegetables, which all came from the farm, plenty of fresh fruit in season and the milk and butter were laid on. The cows had to be milked each morning and night and then Clara and Amy separated the milk from the cream in the spotless dairy near the house. Clara kept what she needed and the rest was put in large cans to be collected for distribution. Education for the children was at a one-teacher school, which was located two miles down a winding dirt road. The syllabus only covered the first five to twelve years and then they had to make the journey to and from Goulburn High School to complete either three more years for the external School Certificate exam or five years for the external Leaving Certificate. They would then graduate if they won a scholarship or the parents could afford university. Amy was helping her mother make the beds with the big feather and down quilts when she decided to tell Clara her decision. “Mum, I don’t think that I want to marry a farmer and settle down to raise children, I would rather live in the city somewhere.” “Amy, you are only twelve years old and I guess you will change your mind a few times.” “Maybe … but I love sketching beautiful clothes and I


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could make some of my designs when we have the electricity connected. I will be going to high school after the holidays. Gosh, I am looking forward to that!”Amy enthused. “My guess is that you will meet and fall head over heels with a boy at school and change your mind about marriage. How about the Watson boy? I believe he is a talented lad.” “I didn’t say that I will not marry eventually, but he will have to accept my ambitions and that would not fit in with farm life. Mum, you know how I like to look at the magazines which you buy when you go to the shops in town.” The traditions of the farming community had long been accepted—the daughters of the farmers would marry local men from the farms or men from the small towns surrounding them. A lot of the marriages were still—very subtly—arranged by the parents with good results and happy lives. The war situation had deteriorated. The local school teacher, Tim—a young bachelor—had been notified that he might have to enlist. Tim enjoyed his teaching position, a real challenge to teach all infants and primary grades to his twenty or so pupils. He said that the school would have to be closed unless the education department could find an older retired person to fill-in for him. The


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single eighteen and over girls in the towns were being called up to replace the men from the factories who had been called to serve the country. A lot of the farmers left their land and volunteered, leaving their wives and children to manage as best as they could. June had just completed her three years at high school and decided to try for a job at the bank at Crookwell after the holidays. She had been very friendly with Peter Smith from a neighbouring farm. He was a tall young man with sandy colour hair and hazel eyes, and she hoped that he would not be called up when he turned eighteen next year. Peter had some news to give June, “Sally has given birth to her pups, five in all, would you like to come over to see them?” “Yes, thank you. I will bring Amy with me.” Bob had mentioned that the Smith’s kelpie was due and that he would like to have one to train so that it could work with his dog, Roger. He had purchased a few more sheep recently and they were excellent work dogs. June and Amy collected their push bikes from the shed and started on the four mile ride to the Smith farm. The morning was very warm, birds were singing and the girls sang as they peddled along the side of the rough unsealed road. The main road was the only one to be sealed, all the side roads had started as dirt tracks with very little progress, the traffic was very light, being local farms.


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Peter was waiting for them at the big farm gate, which opened to a very long drive between huge pine trees; this led to a very neat white farmhouse set on a hill. Peter took June’s hand and the three of them walked up the long drive. “Hello June and Amy, it is good to see you both. The pups have opened their eyes, they are a bundle of fun,” Peter said. “Hello Peter, what colour are they?” Amy wanted to know. “They are mainly black with a touch of tan and white on their faces and legs.” “What have you been doing, June? Are you looking for a job now that school is behind you?” “Yes, I would like to work in a bank for awhile, but I love helping Dad with the animals and the fruit has to be picked and sorted for the market.” “Will your dad hire any itinerant workers to help?” “Dad usually puts one or two to work at this time of year,” Amy replied. They had reached the house by this time. Mrs. Smith came out to meet them. “Hello girls, I believe you have come to see the pups.” She noticed the closeness between June and Peter and smiled to herself. “Come inside for a cool drink before you ride home.”


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They put their bikes on the lawn and went to the shed where Peter indicated the box where the pups were curled up with Sally who unwound herself from her babies to greet the children. One little pup had slightly more white on her nose than the other four. Amy picked her up. “This one is my choice, which one do you like, June?” June felt that they were all beautiful but she told Peter that a definite choice would be made when they were a little older, in a week or two. The trio joined Mrs. Smith for a cool drink and they walked down the drive. Peter gave June a friendly kiss. The girls rode home to tell Bob all about the pups. “Dad, one little pup is my favourite; it is a girl, she has more white on her face than the rest.” “What did you think, June?” asked Bob. “She was certainly lively; I think she would be okay.” “Alright then, what name should we give her?” “Candy, please, Dad,” begged Amy. Clara and Bob were happy with the girls’ choice; Bob rang Allan and asked him to keep Candy for them. When the time came for Bob to collect her, Amy went along. She made a great fuss of her and then introduced her to Roger, Ginger and Whiskers, the two cats. She didn’t want to stop playing with her new friend but when night came, she made a lovely bed in a box and put her in the shed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR I grew up in the Sydney suburbs, first at Sandringham and then at Bondi, and spent my high school years at Crown Street Girls Intermediate High School. I was fourteen and ten months when I graduated with an excellent pass in the School Certificate. My parents tried to persuade me to move onto Sydney Girls High School but I was keen to get on with my life. I worked for five years at David Jones in the pay office, we had moved to Croydon by this time where I met my first husband. Western Sydney was starting to spread; we built a house in Blacktown where my five children were born. My second child was stillborn at twenty six weeks. I persuaded a friend to help me set up a group to raise money and lobby the council to build a pre-school kindergarten at Doonside. The centre was opened in 1969 and they held their 40 year anniversary last year. My need for further education was beckoning in 1975; I began my personnel management and accounting course at Nepean Collage of Advanced Education. Unfortunately, my marriage had started to fall apart and my second son was killed in a car accident at the age of seventeen in 1979. I had been working for Boral since 1973. My children helped me to pull myself together and I completed a lower grade course at Blacktown Technical


College with many credits from Nepean. An increase in salary followed; however our branch closed down which resulted in retrenchment in 1990. I married my present husband in 1982; we started our own business, Ashtons Texture Coatings. We decided to retire to the Central Coast in 2002. I began a correspondence course with The Writing School. After many short stories and instructions I wrote my novel, Changing Lifestyles. I received my certificate in May 2005. I thoroughly enjoyed the research and am pleased to say that it is a dream come true to have the book published. We now live in Forresters Beach Retirement Village where I currently hold the position of treasurer on the retirement committee. We play bowls, go on bus trips and spend time being lazy. My youngest son lives on the coast with his family, my daughter lives in Melbourne with her family and my eldest son lives in Sydney. Lex and I have 17 grand children between us.


Children from privileged families who showed promise were sent to universities and a lucky few won scholarships. The husband went to work and was encouraged to seek higher education or, as in Changing Lifestyles, to work the farm.

About the Author Barbara Ashton is a senior lady who lives in a retirement village on the Central Coast. She took up writing after retirement, and Changing Lifestyles is her first published work. Barbara has a full life with her husband of thirty years and hopes to enjoy many more in the beautiful surroundings of their home.

Changing Lifestyles

Barbara Ashton

Amy could see that this situation was not right for her; she spoke to her mother to let her know that she wanted to earn her own living. She was more than willing to work hard to achieve her ambition, maybe she would even have a loving family eventually.Was her ideal partner out there or was it all a dream?

Changing Lifestyles

Young women had been taught by way of example that their place in life was to be a mother, to nurture their children and put any thoughts of higher education out of their minds.

Fiction – Australian romance

Barbara Ashton www.aampersanda.com

9 780980 739923

Changing Lifestyles  

Young women in post-war rural Australia had been taught by way of example that their place in life was to be a mother, to nurture their chil...

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