My Grandma tells me something almost every time that I visit with her – she tells me to make my memories while I am young. Sometimes she tells me that she has told such and such a friend that they should make their memories now. She is not referring to me making memories on my own rather that I need to make memories with my husband now.
When she met my Grandfather they were at a dance. She was practicing to go for her Gold medal in dancing as she already had her Bronze and Silver medals. My Grandfather had came to the hall that the practice was held at. My Gran told me that she went home and told her father that she had met a really nice man, but he had mentioned that he was going to a different dance that night. She thought that she wouldn’t see him again. My Grandfather had asked what dance she was going to, but she was sure that he would go to the dance that he had previously spoken about. Sure enough, that evening when she was waiting for the bus to the dance, my Grandfather ran to get the bus and go there with her. She wouldn’t let him pay the cost to get in and she danced with him all night. They saw each other the next week at the dance, and he asked her when he walked her home from the bus if she would come to a dance with him during the week so that he could practice to get his medals too. They ended up dancing almost every night at different dances around their local area. She thought that he was lovely, but she not too sure if her family would approve of him as he had a very Catholic name – Hartney. Whereas she was part of the Church of England, and her father was wondering if he was related to the Jockey, Vic Hartney, who had won a Melbourne Cup.
When she went to his house for dinner she was instructed by her father that she should look around the house and see if there was Catholic things around the house. She felt slightly uneasy about it as she didn’t want to spy on him. When she went to his house there was nothing around that suggested that they were Catholics. However she did see photos and trophies that belonged to Vic, who was his brother. On the way home she got the courage to ask him about his religion, telling him that her dad would never approve of her going with someone who was a Catholic. He assured her that his father was born a Catholic but his mother was not. So when she got home she told her Dad that she had good and bad news. The bad being that he was Vic Hartney’s brother, but at least he wasn’t Catholic.
My Gran’s mother told her that it wouldn’t last with him, but my Gran thought that he was wonderful. She had to have permission from her father to get married as she married my Grandfather when she was only seventeen and a half years old. They had 3 sons and adopted 2 little girls. They spent lots of time doing things together as a family such as holidays to Coloundra and camping every year at Rye beach. My Grandfather was a school teacher and worked hard.
What I think back about my grandfather all I remember are little primary school girl memories, and probably quite skewed. But the things I remember are all rich with a loving heart. I remember staying the night at my Grandparents house and crawling into bed with them when I woke. I remember going through his cupboard and telling him which of his ties I liked the most. I love the noise that magpies make, even though I’m quite scared of birds, but I love it because he would whistle the way that magpies call. I remember him saying “Happy Days” every time we left their house. But above all of those things, I remember most fondly how my Grandparents would take me dancing. I would love being the only child there and my Grandfather dancing me around the room, me in a special outfit for the occasion, me in his arms and whistling the tune to me as we danced.
This year will mark the 25th Anniversary of when my Grandfather died, my grandmother was only 60 when he passed away. I only have a few years of memories of him. Every time I visit her and speak of him I learn something new, about his life, his values and my history. There are many stories that my Gran shares with me, she has a great memory. I’m glad that they made their memories together, so that there are always stories for her to tell me. She shares the memories fondly and with love.