Who is Your Favourite Rascal?
One of my early childhood memories was of a crowded Christmas dinner in the sitting room of my elderly grand-mother’s weatherboard home at Beecroft in the 50s.
Twenty or so relatives crowded around the long table in the centre of the room. Despite the temperature, the traditional baked dinner cooked in Nan’s fuel stove was served.
The Christmas tree which reached the 12-foot-high ceiling took up the only available space in the corner, its branches tickling the necks of those at that end of the table.
This was the same year that Nan’s gift to each grand-child was a roll of twenty pennies carefully wrapped in cellophane, the ends secured with red and green ribbon like a Christmas bon-bon.
The Christmas pudding had been simmering in boiling water in a five-gallon tin sitting over a small open fire in the backyard for most of the morning.
Served with custard after it had been brought to the table and ‘flamed’ with brandy, we children were keen to see if we could find one of the sixpences or threepences that Nan added to the pudding mixture before it was wrapped in cloth, securely tied with string and dangled from a stick into the boiling water.
Imagine my younger brother’s amazement when Uncle Eric produced a florin, equivalent to twenty cents, from his slice of pudding!
Their eyes were like saucers and they asked for a second slice of pudding to see if they too could find a florin.
Nan smiled knowingly and passed out second helpings.
Uncle Eric was known for this sleight of hand each Christmas it seems and had several florins in his pocket on that day.
Each family it seems has a rascal, someone who makes us smile or who we talk about in hushed tones because of their behaviour, if a little risqué or not quite above board.
Lithgow and District Family History Society has chosen the topic My Favourite Rascal for the 2019 Yvonne Jenkins Memorial Award essay.
Yvonne, for many years the Society’s President and a prolific author, always encouraged members to write their family stories and when she passed away in 2011 the Society decided that an essay competition in her memory would be a fitting tribute.
Entries, which should not exceed 1,000 words, close on April 30, 2019 and the entry form and conditions of entry are available by contacting the Society by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting the Society during opening hours Tuesdays 6pm – 9pm, Friday 10am to 4 pm on 02 6353 1089, or on the Society’s website ldfhs.org.au
Lithgow and District Family History Society
Drop in for a visit, we are located on the corner of Tank and Donald Streets, Lithgow. We are open during the hours on Tuesday from 6pm - 9pm, Friday 10am – 4pm, first Saturday of the month (except January) 10am - 4pm.
We have a huge variety of family history and local history information. We have a large photo and map collection and many parish records that are not available elsewhere.
Fees for the year one March 2018 to end of February 2019 are: Joining fee: nil. Membership fee: $45 (journals sent by Australia Post; $40 (journals sent by email).
Membership entitlements include three journals per year, free admission to LDFHS Resource Centre during opening hours including assistance with research enquiries, three hours free research by the LDFHS research officer for members who live outside Lithgow City Council area.
Non-members’ research at the Resource Centre costs $10 per person on Tuesday evening & $20 on Friday & Saturday. Digital copying is allowed (subject to copyright).