Upon sitting down with my note pad on my lap, a cup of tea in one hand and my phone in the other, it was time to call my nan and take a journey down her memory lane.
As I began explaining my task to nan, my mum wondering by caught some interest and sat beside me with her own cup of tea. I put the phone on speaker and our little three generation conference began.
Mum began to describe the old farm house she lived in with nan, she remembers running around outside, brushing her cheeks on the coffee plant leaves, trying to guess the name of each bird that sang in the morning and milking cows for breakfast but being too grossed out about it to drink any milk afterwards.
Nan described the beauty and the horror of raising five kids in the country, where freedom was great but danger was greater, freedom of letting the children climb trees, ride horses, chase ducks and learn a lot from the land themselves, but the horror of having one of them break an arm or a fever in the middle of the night and be hours from the nearest doctor.
As I sat in silence, writing away and furiously swapping between my pen and my cup of tea, I painted a beautiful picture of everything they told me inside my head. Their words and perhaps the power of having all of us together, remembering, sharing and laughing, transported me back in time. I began to suddenly appreciate how far we had all come, much like technology.
‘I remember a huge black box on top of a little table, looked heavy, there was nothing ever around it, no one could touch it or go near it, it was like a precious painting at a museum’, – Mum.
‘I remember your dad (my pop), bringing that thing in, took every man in town to carry it because God forbid someone dropped it, it was huge, all I remember thinking was, not another surface to clean!’, – Nan.
I used to think that televisions started off black and white and as technology progressed you would buy new TVs that would incorporate colour into the moving pictures, but mum remembers clearly when they did start to show colour, it was due to a see through piece of plastic that you attached to the screen of your TV and it turned parts of it blue or green. It was the first time they had ever seen coloured television.
‘I never liked television, we would gather around the living room, squished, all seven of us, in occasions the neighbours would come too and no one could talk’, – Mum.
‘You didn’t like it because you could never stay quiet for more than a minute at a time, we had to, there was barely any sound so we had to pay attention in order to understand what was going on, besides, having five kids and a whining husband, anything that could make you all sit down in silence, to me, was a miracle’, – Nan.
I’m unsure of how things worked over here in Australia, but when the TV was fuzzy or didn’t work we would put those cleaning sponges made out of steel wool called ‘bombril’ in Portuguese, on the end of the TV cable so the picture would get better, and it did!
‘Back then TV was good to keep everyone quiet and give me some rest, it was good to see the family gathering around and not complaining or fighting, to tell you the truth I liked watching them watch the TV more than I liked watching the TV itself, but now at 85 years of age, TV is a huge part of my life, I wish it wasn’t so much, but It’s just me and your grandad and it gets awfully lonely you know? I miss other peoples voices, other peoples stories, I love him don’t get me wrong, but we’ve been married for 65 years, there is nothing he could tell me that I didn’t already know, that’s why we watch TV all the time, makes me feel connected to something bigger than just this house, I don’t care about the pictures moving faster or in colour, it’s the sound that I like to sleep to, lets me know that I’m not alone.’ – Terezina Marcucci, 85 year old grandmother and best woman I know.