Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Snow Bear

I grew up in Goulburn, a small country town of about 20,000 people, a couple of hundred kilometres southwest of Sydney.

I had a wonderful childhood, and it is full of the memories of which a childhood should be made: dad taking me for rides on his bike; thick white fog that didn't lift till noon; going to the Saturday matinee at the cinema (or 'The Pictures' as we called them then) and having change from a shilling to buy lollies; the smell of burning autumn leaves; a birthday present of a box of 12 Derwent coloured pencils (which I left on the school bus one day and never saw again); Easter egg hunts in the house in Albert St; early morning thunderstorms that meant a ride to school in the car; scorching summers buzzing with cicadas; listening to Life With Dexter* with dad by the light of the valves from the old valve radio; the smell of chlorine and suntan lotion at the swimming pool; hot Milo on the back steps with mum.

Some of these memories (but surprisingly few, all things considered) are recorded in photos taken on an old Box Brownie camera which I still have.

Now, snow is a rare sight in most places in Australia, and outside the main mountain ski fields of Perisher Valley in New South Wales and Mount Hotham in Victoria, snowfalls are consigned to a few brief days a year in places that get cold enough.

During my childhood Goulburn was cold enough twice.

Luckily for readers of The Cow, the creation of the Snow Bear is one of my memories that has been preserved on film for posterity. This shot was taken around 1963. That's my brother Steve on the left.

*Overseas visitors: here's an mp3 of an episode of Life With Dexter. You can have no better impression of what it was like to be in Australia in the early 1960s.


Anonymous anne arkham said...

You look damn cute.

November 05, 2005 9:13 AM  
Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

Steve on left, check. So who's the child standing to your right? And weren't you cold inside the bear?

(nice post, man. I like this.)

November 05, 2005 9:45 AM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

Very perceptive of you Jam. I've never forgotten that Kid on the Right icing me up in that goddamn bear. Planning my revenge is the one thing that makes my insomnia bearable. But I have big plans for that kid, now that he's All Grown Up and has a taste for Amontillado. Soon, Charly Peerboom, soon.

November 05, 2005 11:08 AM  
Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

Bah. I'm still off; took me two reads to catch that intolerable pun.

The Life With Dexter clip is good stuff. I'd forgotten how different listening to a radio show is, compared to watching television. Maybe it's mental wiring or my back-then listening frequency, but radio programs trigger interest, imagination, and engagement on my part. Television viewing? I don't know. Even when I'm paying attention I'm still flirting with a vegetative state.

That would of course be 'potato'.

November 05, 2005 12:05 PM  
Blogger jedimacfan said...

Couldn't help but do a google search for "snow cow" and behold the results!

Matt Lesko eat your heart out.

Hopefully, since you live in Australia, you are fortunate enough to not have any clue as to who Matt Lesko is. And for that I envy you.

Apparently this guy really liked the snow cow, though, because there is a whole page of photos with various Leskonian outfits.

More pictures

November 06, 2005 2:22 AM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

Nope, I had no idea who Matt Lesko was, but I can see he has a serious jacket collection.

November 06, 2005 9:35 AM  
Blogger Misha said...

That is the cutest photo ever. Cute kids :)

I really do like Goulburn, I think it would be a great place to live. A great place to grow up.

November 06, 2005 1:52 PM  
Blogger weirdpixie said...

Wonderful photograph. What an imaginative snow creature you and your brother made. Nothing beats the imagination of children. Even better still are those memories we are able to keep with us while we move through our lives. Really priceless beyond words...

November 06, 2005 9:05 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

How adorable! I'm glad you explained about the infrequency of snow, because my first thought was...uh...does it really snow all that much in Australia?

November 07, 2005 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Pil said...

That is a gorgeous photo. Thankyou.

November 07, 2005 10:14 PM  
Blogger ScroobiousScrivener said...

I recently found Milo in the supermarket opposite my office - and just in time for winter. You can imagine how happy this makes me. Instant regression.

November 10, 2005 3:43 AM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

Well of course Milo is a national institution here in Oz, Scroob, so it is widely available on supermarket shelves.

I'm glad you found some over there as the chill season approaches. I have it on good authority that Milo is one of the best defenses against bird flu.

November 10, 2005 11:51 AM  
Blogger ScroobiousScrivener said...

And in SA, my place of origin, it's widely available too - hence the regression factor. Here, not so much.

November 10, 2005 11:29 PM  

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