Before Our Time I just visited this blog and what memories it brought back to me. They are talking about the days when ladies were ladies and didn't do much but needlepoint and wandering through the garden oh and of course seeing to the staff. How funny, it reminded me of the Housekeepers we had living with us when we were children. Mum & Dad both ran their own busieness's and must have thought our lives would run more smoothly if we had a little help with meal times, washing, cleaning etc. So they employed a live in housekeeper, several actually over a 2 or 3 year period. In the beginning they were firmly ensconsed in a fairly roomy caravan we had in our back yard. We also had a lovely swimming pool which they would have looked out to so I think it was probably fairly pleasant. But our neighbours complained to the city council and the housekeeper had to come and live inside with us. She took my room and my sister and I had to share a room. I don't remember it being a huge problem at the time, but we certainly didn't have a huge house so it was quite cosy. I can vividly remember one girl, Judy, she was only about 20 and I was about 10, so I was quite enamoured with her. My parents were quite strict and Judy was everything they would have lived in fear of me becoming. She had tatoos, very rebellious in those days, she rode a big motor bike, she smoked cigarettes and she drank. We found out later that she was as quiet as a mouse when she was sneaking her boyfriend into her room late at night too. Well she had been until this one night when my dad caught her out, giggling and smooching with her guy in the hallway. He said she'd been smoking something that night. My sister and I loved Judy, mum & dad did not, bye bye Judy. We then had a lady, I am so sorry I can't remember her name, but we usually called her the witch so that's what I recall. She had wild black hair, long and wispy. She was a terrible cook, not great at cleaning and to be honest I don't know how she passed muster with my mum in the first place. Unfortunately my sister, 2 years my junior hated her and this poor soul, lasted only a few months. I think Kerri, put weed from our fish pond in her bed and short sheeted her sheets. I shudder to think of the way she must have felt. I honestly had nothing to do with that. But she left and our next lady was on parole. Yep my folks liked to help out where they could and somehow they thought that this would give this poor lady a start fresh from prison. I guess they hadn't counted on her having visits from her cigarette smoking, swearing, stolen goods delivering, de facto, and that she loved a swig of vodka from the bottle dad kept in the fridge. He wasn't a big drinker and she wasn't very bright, because by the time he actually went to have some, she had filled it with water so much it was almost no vodka at all. Bit of a giveaway I think. She also had this really nifty way of putting our mashed potatoes on the plate. She would use the ice cream scoop, with the intention of leaving a nice little rounded mound on the plate, but I guess when you lob the potatoe from 2 feet back it's just going to splatter no matter what you scoop it in. So she didn't last long either, well long enough to finish off the vodka.
Next we had a single mum with a little daughter, I have very few memories of her so I'm not sure how long she stayed or why she left. But she was followed by Fay. Fay had a son, she said she was from Victoria, and she was a tyrant. She made a television roster for us kids, including her son, so that we had to take turns in what we watched on the telly. What the heck this was our house and we weren't happy about having to share tv rights with anyone. But no way she was giving in and we shared, like it or not. Mum & Dad seemed quite taken with her and she quickly became part of the furniture, that was until one weekend when we went away just the four of us, for a family weekend and she disappeared. Yep we came home to a note telling us she had gone to Tasmania to visit family, umm thought you were from Victoria Fay? It took a little while but Mum & Dad tracked her down and when they went to the airport to pick her up her shirt was torn and she told a very exciting story about her ex husband etc etc...none of which I might add was true. We never found out where she'd been but the next morning she was really gone and she'd taken mum's engagement ring, fur coat and money from a bank account she'd managed to get into. Very exciting stuff this having staff. We called the police and low and behold our Fay was a very well known lady, pity we hadn't known this before she took over the house. Mum did find her ring again it turned up in a pawn shop some months later, she didn't really want it then though, it kind of seemed odd she said, never saw the fur again or the money or for that matter Fay. I wonder where she went to? I have had a cleaning lady for a year when I worked maternity leave for a girl at the school my kids attended. I was fine if I was out of the house while she worked, no good at all if we were home on holidays. I just can't give orders to people to do my housework. Wish I could get past that though, I don't even like to pay to have my ironing done now. I don't work outside the home so I feel so guilty about not doing it myself. Actually I should probably feel guilty about not doing it full stop. If I look over my shoulder now 3 huge baskets loom, oh for the days of staff.