Monthly Archives June 2017

A Letter From the Queen

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Children growing up today hardly know what a stamp is. Even the middle aged very rarely go into the local post office and buy some stamps to mail letters.


Growing up the western suburbs of Sydney, I knew there was a huge world out there but it seemed to be unobtainable. My way of connecting with it was through letters and the stamps on them.


One of my most memorable letters created a great deal of celebration in our street and even the postman was excited


The new Queen Elizabeth was coming to Australia. The first visit of a reigning monarch ever. I thought it might be good to write to her and tell her how pleased I was. I didn’t really expect to hear from her but about six weeks later, there was lots of whistling from the postman and he personally came to the door.


“There is a letter for Robin from Buckingham Place.” he excitedly told my mother.


There was this beautiful cream envelope with the Queen crest in red with BUCKINHAM PALACE on the back. Practically the whole street was out by this time all wondering why I was getting this letter. I explained that I had written to the Queen and she was nicely replying to me. I didn’t tell them it was a nice note from the Queen’s secretary but it didn’t matter; I was excited that I got the letter.

I got quite excited by this new idea for getting interesting letter. I started writing to all the heads of states but no luck there. They didn’t write back. No worry, I would try something else to increase my stamp collection.


I dragged out my mother’s large Webster’s Dictionary, which had an atlas in the front with all the maps of the world and a separate one of each of the American States. I would pour over it and find interesting city names and write to the Principal of the High School somewhere in the United States asking if there was someone who collected stamps and would like to write to me.


Occasionally I would write to places in Europe to add to my pen friends.


This worked really well and my friends in all parts of the world increased and certainly brightened up our postman’s life with all these interesting letters arriving. My pocket money went to sending these letters off each week and it did help my stamp collecting.


As I got older and other activities took over my life, the number of pen friends grew smaller but two remained until after I finished school. One was a boy from Stoney Brook, New York and the other a girl from Sweden. I often wonder where they are if they occasionally see a letter with an Australian stamp and think of me.


I recently found out that Australia post sell stamps to Pensioners at a discount. I went up and applied for my discounted stamps. Now I am wondering who I should write to.



Fifty Years of Sgt Peppers

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Over the past week the radio and TV have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beetles amazing Sgt Peppers recording. Can it be 50 years?


Fifty years ago, I was travelling from Sydney to Hong Kong to meet my husband who had taken a job there. I was travelling with my (then) three children Sarah, Bridget and Suzi. Things were not good in Hong Kong with bombs being deposited randomly throughout the city by the Communist Chinese and this was my first time to leave Australia.


Although I was in my twenties, I felt like an old married woman. But I was looking forward to spending five weeks on a small passenger ship called the Aramac. We would get there via Brisbane, Japan, and Taiwan. We only had 100 passengers and a load of wool to unload in Japan.


A couple of nights into the trip, some of the officers who had joined the passengers for the evening entertainment, asked me and a couple of other younger women to join them for a drink. The children were tucked in bed being looked after by the cabin steward.


When the entertainment finished the officers suggested the guests join them in the Officer’s Mess. Feeling rather pleased to meet some of the passengers and the officers, I went along.


The Mess was virtually one room with a small bar and a few chairs and record player. As we got to know one another, one of the officers put on a new record – Sgt Peppers. Although I knew the Beetles songs, this was new and dfferent. It was exciting and made me feel young again


Each night, the assortment of passengers joined the officers after dinner and then off to the Officer’s Mess – and Sgt Peppers. There were probably other records played but it was “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “With a little Help from my Friends”, “When I’m Sixty Four”, and all the other songs that I remember.


Listening to I being played today, brings me back to those weeks on the Aramac. It gave me back my youth and the start of a new life.


It can’t be fifty year. Sometimes, I still feel young.