That’s right. Shepparton.
I’ve spent the last three days in my home town. There’s nothing like a warm summers day in Shepp to take me back to my childhood. The sounds, the scents, the heat; nothing like it at all. Wide open spaces, bright blue skys and scorching sun. Heaven.
Though it was memories other than these that saw back there. Memories and my Ipod.
My dad is an amazing man, 82 and sharp as a tack. He has a great memory and I’ve listened to his tales for years. I have my favourites and always wanted to get them down on paper, a project dad started a couple of years ago but put aside a few pages in. Enter me and my Ipod. The addition of iTalk to the pod means it can record a lazy 1000 or so hours of speech making it a fantastic tool for recording family histories.
I spent the days in Shepp recording dad talking about his life. I have a great outline, round about 6 hours of him talking about his life. I managed to get my favourite tales and many I had never heard before. I learnt how he met and courted my mother, stories of my older sisters I had never heard, hilarious tales of his times living in Melbourne during World War 2 and at last I have the history of the Malloy family and dad’s early years. We even took a trip and found, still standing, a friends house from 80 years ago. He swears the shack hasn’t changed. His childhood house that once stood in the middle of an orchard is now a warehouse. We drove around the block and from the side you can see a fruit tree out the back. A tree that may have been there since dad was kid.
We also spent a little time walking around Shepparton recording dad’s recollections of how the city has changed. We’ve only just touched on a couple of blocks so there will be more trips with the pod in hand to cover as much of Shepp as we can. Each time I head up home now I’ll be taking the iPod and adding more to the library.
It was the most time I think I’ve spent with dad. All I had to do was listen and prompt him with a word or two here and there.
And now I will have his stories, his memories, in his words, in his voice, forever.