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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The incongruous sound I heard in the night

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. I haven’t been participating, but the week 9 prompt set me thinking. It’s past week 9 now, but better late than never.

Week 9: Sounds.  Describe any sounds that take you back to your childhood. These could be familiar songs, jingles, children playing, or something entirely different.

The sounds from my childhood that stay with me are the sounds I heard lying in bed at night when all was still.

Most distinctly, I remember hearing the slow clip clop of a horse’s hooves ringing out in the early morning before dawn. Before writing this post I called my father, to check that my memory was correct. It seems so out of place. I grew up in the 1970s in suburban Melbourne. I never saw horses on the streets. Was my memory true?

My Dad confirmed that yes, I would have heard a horse or horses slowly passing by in the early morning. Even in the 1970s, our milk was delivered each morning by horse and cart. Later in Canberra in the the 1980s I remember milk being home delivered each night by truck and exhausted runners. Nowadays we have to go to the supermarket and buy it ourselves.


  1. I have a memory like this, too. We lived in a small town, and an Italian gentleman would bring round a fruit and veggie cart pulled by a donkey. I remember listening for the donkey hooves and bells, and petting the donkey whilst Mom made her selections.

  2. My memory is of the milk man and the bread man both coming around by horse and cart in Mosman. There was an undignified dash by the avid gardeners in the street to pick up the manure.

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