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Today's quote:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Their only job is to grow up

As eighteen-year-old paymaster in 1963 or 1964 somewhere between Walsrode and Verden where we built the autobahn from Hannover to Bremen. In the background is my double-bunk and an oil heater on which I cooked meals and heated up water for my morning ablution.

 

I don't know if it's an age thing but these days as I walk around town I keep noticing those adolescents - young adults really - whose only job seems to be to grow up as they ride their skate-boards and do silly stuff our generation had either never done or already stopped doing by the time we entered high school.

Not that I ever entered high school. High school was for the kids of rich parents; it certainly wasn't for our family of five kids who tried to exist on the meagre pension my father got for getting shot up in the war.

Don't get me wrong: I am not feeling sorry for myself. My education was never ruined by any school system and I successfully completed my professional articled years earlier than other articled clerks had even begun theirs.

And I hadn't even started to shave yet when I left home to become perhaps the youngest-ever paymaster for a construction firm that built the autobahn from Hannover to Bremen. My "office" (which was also my "home") was a kind of gypsy caravan which relocated every few months to catch up with the 200-strong construction crew who demanded their pays every weekend on time and accurate to the last 'Pfennig'.

As a young bank clerk in front of the ANZ Bank's Kingston A.C.T. branch

Those beginnings equipped me well for my first few years in Australia where I built myself a new career faster than those adolescents learn how to ride their skateboards.

Do I envy them their freedom? Hell no! On the contrary, I feel kind of sorry for them because they, too, need to grow up, and I've yet to see a fifty-year-old skateboarder!