Sunday, November 18, 2007

australian story...


My dear old Dad turned seventy-five last week !!!
He came out to Australia from Yorkshire in 1952, crammed into the hold of a leaky Greek deathtrap called ‘The Patris’, arriving in Sydney alone with the balance of his starting kitty as a ‘ten pound POM’.
Dad quickly found work as an apprentice carpenter, earning the princely sum of eleven pounds a week, out of which he had to house, clothe, feed and entertain himself…while at the same time save a deposit for a house some day.
Over the next 5 years, he scrimped and saved every penny until he had almost 300 pounds, which, combined with a 2500 pound loan from The Commonwealth Bank, enabled him to purchase a tiny hovel in the working-class suburb of Petersham.
He would complete his 12-hour day at work, come home to a dinner of fried kippers and chips, then spend at least 6 hours using his newly-acquired carpentry skills renovating his hovel in the evening. After three years he sold the place for 3700 pounds and with his capital appreciation bought a dump in Newtown.
By now a fully licensed tradesman and earning 18 pounds a week, he continued to work hard, eat his kippers and renovate by candlelight into the wee hours of the night. Over the next 4 years Dad found time to meet my Mom, marry her, have Me…and replace virtually every fixture and fitting in our little dump, eventually selling it for 5000 pounds and a small profit in 1964.
My parents used this money to buy a run-down terrace in Surry Hills, still both working 11 hour days to pay the bills for our soon-to-be-growing family, as well as finance the improvements Dad would again make to our house. He would come home exhausted, Mom would have his kippers and chips ready, then he would retire to some un-renovated part of the house and hammer and saw and sand and scrape and paint away the best years of his life…
The following year my sister was born, further adding to the financial strain, however both my parents continued to work the standard blue-collar day, after which Mom would look after her children while Dad transformed the terrace into a livable home. They had modest plans to sell the terrace and use the money to buy a semi, starting the whole process all over again in what was then unfashionable Bondi…
However in 1966, my Grandfather won the Opera House lottery and gave my parents $50K, so we fucked off the renovating crap, moved to a big house in The Eastern Suburbs with a pool, tennis court, two cars and lived happily ever after…although Dad still eats kippers.
Happy Birthday Dad…

38 comments:

phishez_rule said...

Happy Birthday Mr Fingers Sr. Jeez. Just imagine the value of those houses now.

fingers said...

Well, considering he could probably sell his current house and buy a very long street in Petersham, I doubt that it's lost opportunity keeping him awake at night.
Maybe it's the kippers...

Kitty said...

what a delightful little tale.

good for old man kipper-fingers to reach such a milestone. actually, is 75 a milestone? or is it 80?

whatever.

hip hip hooray.

Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Ok... ok... you don't have to make up your dad's age to cover how ancient you are. We know. Stop hiding behind Kitty's boobies. I see you there! Old focker.

Happy Birthday to Daddy Fingers anyway... however old he is...

~Miss Smack said...

What a great post! Loved it. I loved the way you took us back to what it used to be like in years gone by for our parents. Makes me realise how fuckin' greedy the world is now.

Kippers are revolting things though, eh?

it's the little things... said...

So Kippers are the secret to financial success?
You could have shared that little tidbit with me long ago, and saved me all the other advice you've been giving.
I'm off to the store now.
Happy bday Daddy Fingers.

it's the little things... said...

hehehe Kitty...I just saw old man kipper fingers.... HA

poody said...

That is so cool!!I need to win the lottery so I can call in rich to work!

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Fingers...wonderful story.

Happy birthday to your pops. I hope he has a wonderful birthday.
He sounds like a fab dad...1952 huh? Hugs for your pops, babes..

Wha-hey, a new house cost like 200 dollars back then, right?

Betty said...

Dr Fingers Jnr - luck and hard work was bequethed to your family from the flittering fairy of fortune.

You lucky boy!

Happy Brithday to your Dad.

Betty said...

I called you Dr Fingers Jnr but what I realy meant to call you was MR fingers Jnr but I suppose you realised that :)

I have never once suspected you were a doctor - even if your finger looks very much like the one I saw coming at me at the gyno's office last year.

electro-kevin said...

Happy Birthday to your old man.

Fantastic story.

Nice to hear it.

fingers said...

Kitty: Considering his 50 cigarette/10 kipper a day habits, 75 is a medical miracle rather than a milestone.

Kelly: When my father was my age, his son was just entering university. Yikes.

Smack: When you've been raised in Yorkshire, kippers are considered fine dining. I might do a post on this peculiar fish shortly.

LT: If kippers were the secret to success my Dad would be Bill Gates...but he's not.

Poody: Welcome. You have to buy a ticket first.

Spiky: Thanks baby. It's a story that's always inspired me to grab that silver spoon with both hands and hang on for dear life...

knifepainter said...

Kippers. Like eating fishy hair....

Congrats to the old fella. Great post.

Kitty said...

fishy hairs? sounds like munching hairy pie that has been left out in the sun too long.

yeeeeuch.

Betty said...

and how come I get ignored? is my grammer that bad?

boo hooey

surfercam said...

Great story!
Good on him!

BottleBlonde said...

I won't ignore you, Betty. *boobie squeeze*

Fingers, I am so THRILLED to hear the wonderful news. You have a rich daddy! Hows about you, me, and Kippers have a three-way in all that dough he's got lyin' around the mansion?

Happy Birthday, Father Finger!

Kitty said...

Betty I would never ever eveeer ignore you baby. Fuck your grammar sweetie, you have big titties.

:o)

fingers said...

Betty: I'm just thrilled not to have made your life any more miserable for a change. I do that alot, apparently.

E-K: Thanks mate. Yes, it's taught me that I'd rather be lucky than clever any day.

Knife: I wouldn't know. Never eaten a kipper in my life.

Betty: Nah, your cooment came through while I was doing my reply. And if you weren't so thin-skinned, I'd say it was 'grammar'.

SC: Yeah, Dad inspires me to want to win my very own lottery.

BB: No shixas, baby.

Kitty: No lezzing, baby...

UBERMOUTH said...

Wow ! What did you buy him for his birthday? Kippers?
I loved the line that he spend the best years of his life renovating( paraphrasing). Really puts things into perspective.

I hope you show your dad this post, Fingers. I am sure he will be touched.
And yes, this is the real Uber. TY for comments btw.

fingers said...

Uber: I got him a pair of high-performance water skis...

Kelly said...

and you don't have any? wow...

I think I would kill myself if I got that old.

not that I want you to... just sayin.

Kelly said...

;-)

BottleBlonde said...

Is that so?

Well why don't you take your old, shriveled up yamaka and shove it up your cornhole, ya Yenta!

fingers said...

It's a 'yarmulkah', Bird Brain.
You think you'd know that living over there in Yid Central...

Kitty said...

oh lookski! fingers is trying trying to e-fuck bb!!!

can i third wheel - pleeeeeease!!!

*licking screen*

Effortlessly Average said...

I guess that just proves what they say: "hard work and kippers will only get you by until someone gives you money."

He's from Yorkshire? Does he get a lifetime supply of puding?

it's the little things... said...

It's 'shiksas' Bird Brain yourself. I should know. I used to be one. And I still look like one.

mutleythedog said...

Does he need some little jobs to do at all as my house has a few problems and I am very lazy. I will feed him freshly caught kippers straight from the sea! Hoppy Brithday to Yer old man by the way Mr Fingers...

Casdok said...

Lovely post and a happy birthday to your dad!

fingers said...

Kitty: Shut the fuck up, Kitty. How am I going to get her to land if you keep yapping like a terrier.

EA: Yes. Kipper-pudding.

LT; Mazeltov, baby. Nothing like the zeal of the converted.

Mutley: My Dad has passed the torch, as well as the rest of his tools to me for now. I'm busy with my own renovations, as well as the lifetime supply of odd-jobs handed to me by my husbandless exes (Hi Nat...).

Cas: Welcome to TWG. Just had a look at your blog too. I suspect your sense of humour is more than robust enough to handle it in here. Excellent news, as I believe we just lost one of our thinner-skinned sisters...

Kitty said...

I will NOT shut the fuck up.

YOU shut the fuck up. I saw her FIRST you motherfucker.

MINE
MINE
MINE

Jin said...

They make them that Yorkshire folk out of stern stuff. Grandma's from Yorkshire & at near 79, she's still smoking away (despite the cancer) & drinking brandy to her hearts content.

Good on yer Fingers Snr - Happy Birthday to him & may he have many more.

This & the cat story are really making you out to be a nice person Fingers. Somminc's not right!

OneHungMan said...

What the hell is a kipper?

Effortlessly Average said...

"what the hell is a kipper?"

You don't see many of them in this decade, but a "kipper" is someone who's such an insane fan of Winger that they name their kids after the lead singer. Just fyi

Les Miserable said...

You're getting better and better at this ritin' gig, fingers. Maybe you should flick the cleaning job and work full time at it. You're even at the top of Google Search for "Whine Guide". Well done my son.

Your Dad's story was similar to my old man's - except for the Opera House Lottery bit. After three and a half years at Club Changi, Camp Sandakan and Klub Kuching he went to work for Lever Brothers soap factory in Balmain as the Safety Officer. My uncle told a tale at Dad's funeral of coming around to the house at St Ives and here was the old boy at age 84 up on the high roof replacing a broken tile. Said he'd taken all safety precautions - length of rope tied around his waist and twice around the chimney. And yeah - like your old man he worked long and hard. I'm still looking for that Fifty thousand clams but.