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BORN IN 1955? WHAT ELSE HAPPENED?

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                                                       62nd BIRTHDAY

FOOD AND DRINK

I am a hamburger eater.  Over the years, I have eaten all sorts of food, in many different restaurants and dives.  Some of it has been too sophisticated for words, and some of it the almost-barbarous dingo stew. So, you might expect that when I say the good old fashioned hamburger is about my favourite foods, then I am not speaking from complete ignorance.

Of course, it has to be the old-fashioned hamburger. It cannot be a fast-food burger. It cannot be a plastic bun, with its hunk of still-frozen meat paste, dill pickle, and a scrape of mayonnaise, pushed out in under a minute. With shredded lettuce, would you believe.  Let me elaborate.

My ideal hamburger, a la 1955, has to be made in a small shop, probably a milk-bar, run by an Italian or Greek family, with the mum and children often sitting on stools out of the way.  The dad has to be sweaty, standing over a hotplate, taking orders over his shoulder, while a son or daughter chops the beetroot, tomato, and onion, and wraps up the end product. The meat has to be proper minced meat, with real blood dribbling off the wooden cutting-board. The beetroot is essential, and it has to be so fresh that its juice will dribble down onto your shirt at the first bite. No hamburger is complete without burnt onion rings.

Other essentials include a wait of at least 15 minutes, so that you have the time to drink a small Coca Cola, in its classic shaped bottle.  The burger must be eventually wrapped in newspaper, and it must be eaten quickly so that the grease will not soften it till the burger sticks to the paper.  A juke box is important, with “Rock Around the Clock” played at least once each visit.  

Alas, though, it is getting difficult to find anywhere that sells such delicacies. In the City of Newcastle, 50 years ago a mecca  for good burgers, I can count current vendors on the fingers of one hand.  It seems that the need for speed, and the not unnatural desire for cleanliness, has allowed US chains to out-sell the local Italian and Greek boys.

Well, so much for good food.  What about good drinks?  Here I am not talking about alcohol, or fizzy sweet stuff. Rather I mean beverages, hot beverages, the drinks that everyone sips throughout the day, and without which the world would stop spinning. 

In 1955, I can only be talking about tea.

Not instant tea, in a little satchel, that you steeped directly in your cup. That came later.  No, I mean real tea, the tea that you bought in a quarter-pound packet at the grocers.


62nd BIRTHDAY

The excerpt below is taken from my item on the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956.

....The Russians only stayed away for a few days. There was no way they were going to let some pip-squeak nation like Hungary create a hole in the defensive ring they had built up over the last decade. If one country went, then others would want to follow, and that was not high on Russia’s agenda. So on November they stormed back in, and within two days had 200,000 troops and 6,000 tanks in the Budapest region.

Many brave souls fought against them, but they were simply killed. Resistance was useless here, and in the countryside as well. In six days, the revolt was all over, and the purge of the dissidents was under way. Thousand upon thousands of men were arrested and trundled, without any sort of trial, into railway wagons, and sent off to Siberia. Many thousands more crossed the border into Austria, arriving there with nothing but their clothes, and thus began another world refugee problem.

Our own government said it would take 3,000 refugees, and it declared that the Hungarian athletes at the Games could defect to Australia if they chose. No one initially took up the offer. The athletes continued to compete at the Games, and insisted that every time their flag was called for, that the old pre-Russian flag was used. A nice gesture of defiance from afar, but the reality was that their nation had again been over-run by the dominant Russians, and they as a nation would stay in subjugation until the Iron Curtain came down.

The UN made loud noises in protest. But in the Security Council, where it mattered, the Russians had a veto and could stifle any sort of combined action against her. Again, the veto powers of the UN showed how easily world politics could negate the howls of outrage from the vast majority of the world’s nations.

Again, Letter writers were very vocal

Letters. The "Herald" in its leading article of November 5 has rightly said that Russia has struck at the counter-revolution in Hungary with the speed and venom of a cobra.

Once again the rule of the most ruthless tyrants that history has ever known – of tyrants equal to at least, if not worse than, the Gestapo and the Kempei Tai – is being imposed on a proud and fearless people.

There can be no doubt that the commander of the Russian troops will sooner or later be able to tell his masters in the Kremlin: "There is peace in Budapest." But it will certainly be the peace of a churchyard, as it was the case once with Warsaw in Poland.

It is not exaggerating to say that, by butchering the Hungarian insurgents, Russia has put the clock of civilisation back for centuries.

As a former student of Hungarian civilisation and culture, I can testify that Hungary is one of the countries in Europe that have always been bulwarks of Christianity and civilisation, and I want to pay a tribute of the highest admiration to the defenders of Budapest, the heart of the Hungarian bulwark. I think that it is not to be wondered at that the fiery national credo of the Hungarians, translated into English, is: "I believe in one God; I believe in one fatherland; I believe in the eternal justice of God; I believe in the resurrection of Hungary."

Letters.  My wife is an Hungarian and proud of it, as well she may be. During these tragic days of her heroic country’s martyrdom she has kept on saying, "Will the free world help? Why is nothing being done?"

UNO has talked and talked and talked, "We will not fail you," they have promised. If they do, they may as well put up the shutters.

And what tangible proof of sympathy has this fortunate Australia given? The Press has written a few articles, praising the immortal heroism of this proud people; there have been meetings and talks, attended mostly only by Hungarians and other New Australians from Iron Curtain countries; and Mr Menzies and Dr Evatt have referred to Hungary as though it were almost a side-show in comparison with Suez....

 


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

BORN IN 1955?  WHAT ELSE HAPPENED?

INTRODUCTION.

CARRY-OVER STORIES FROM 1954

MENZIES

OTHER CONTINUING STORIES FROM 1954

UNREST STORIES FROM 1954

JANUARY NEWS ITEMS

AUSTRALIA ON HOLS

ON HOLS? LETS GO FISHING

PROBLEMS WITH PISTOL PACKING

ALIGHTING FROM TRAMS

THE PRICE OF FALSE TEETH

WHAT ABOUT FLUORIDATION?

RANDOM, BACKGROUND MATTERS

FEBRUARY NEWS ITEMS

THE EVILS OF THE DEMON DRINK

AGE PENSION: WHAT’S CHANGED?

A MOTHER’S QUESTION

MARCH NEWS ITEMS

HUNTER VALLEY FLOODS

THE REACTION TO THE FLOODS

BATTERY HENS

APRIL NEWS ITEMS

FOOD IN PACKETS

OUR TROOPS FOR MALAYA

TWO VIEWS OF DESECRATION

FOOD AND DRINK

MAY NEWS ITEMS

NUCLEAR BOMB DAMAGE

HIRE PURCHASE FOR THE NA¤VE

REACTIONS TO SALK

JUNE NEWS ITEMS

THE KILLING OF BIRDS AT BATHURST

GAOL SENTENCES BY PARLIAMENT

THE PRACTICE OF CHRISTIANITY

JULY NEWS ITEMS

DOWN MEMORY LANE

DID I MENTION A SILENT COP?

MORE ON BYGONE DAYS

SHOULD CENOTAPHS BE REVERED?

THE END OF THE PAPER STRIKE

HERALDRY IN FASHION

AUGUST NEWS ITEMS

DESIGNING THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

CHURCHES LAGGING THE COMMUNITY?

REDEX TRIAL CONTINUES

SEPTEMBER NEWS ITEMS

HOW SACRED ARE SUNDAYS?

RED FACES FOR THE AIR FORCE

THE SIZE OF CITIES

OCTOBER NEWS ITEMS

GREYHOUND TRAINING

DRESSING FOR THE THEATRE

HITCH-HIKING IN AUSTRALIA

HITCH-HIKING IN EUROPE

MURRAY CODS

ONE-MAN BUSES

NOVEMBER NEWS ITEMS

STIPENDS FOR CLERGY

THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND DIVORCE

RANDOM INSIGHTS

DECEMBER NEWS ITEMS

TOP OF THE POPS, 1955

BEST RATED US MOVIES, 1955

GOD AND JULIAN HUXLEY

TV IS COMING

WASTING TIME ON THE JOB

SUMMING UP 1955

 

EXTRA READING --  COMPLETELY OPTIONAL

   

YOU WILL NOT BE EXAMINED ON ANY OF THIS

ABOUT THIS SERIES   …  But after that, I realized that I really knew very little about these parents  of mine They had been born about the start of the Twentieth Century, and they died in 1970 and 1980. For their last 50 years, I was old enough to speak with a bit of sense.  I could have talked to them a lot about their lives. I could have found out about the times they lived in.  But I did not.  I know almost nothing about them really. Their courtship? Working in the pits? The Lock-out in the Depression? Losing their second child? Being dusted as a miner? The shootings at Rothbury? My uncles killed in the War? Love on the dole? There were hundreds, thousands of questions that I would now like to ask them.  But, alas, I can’t. It’s too late.

 

Thus, prompted by my guilt, I resolved to write these books. They describe happenings that affected people, real people.  The whole series is, to coin a modern phrase, designed to push the reader’s buttons, to make you remember and wonder at things  forgotten. The books might just let nostalgia see the light of day, so that oldies and youngies will talk about the past and re-discover a heritage otherwise forgotten. 

Hopefully, they will spark discussions between generations, and foster the asking and answering of questions that should not remain unanswered.