Youthful Yesterdays

This is the next instalment of my Special Moments, Magic Memories series for the 2022 A to Z Blog Challenge.

I’m really not sure that snippets of my youthful yesterdays will involve any Wows. They may even make you YAWN! Interspersed will be some retro fashion pics which may give you a Laugh, however.

Reflecting on my teen years in the late 60s what factors had the most impact on my life beyond the front gate?

Socialisation and Fashion

DD2 wearing my idea of traditional dress at PreSchool. Her skirt was my old jiving skirt. I think that’s DD1 in the background.

Social media memes would have you believe that all children back in the day were “free range” during daylight hours. This certainly wasn’t the case with my parents who always wanted to know where I was going.

That didn’t change appreciably in my teens though mum, in particular, made sure I had social exposure to concerts, restaurants and ballroom dancing. Inevitably, “going out” meant stockings, a good frock and shoes, and gloves…those were the days. Don’t miss the stockings and gloves for sure!. Classes in ballroom and Latin dancing progressed from being preparation for adult life, to just being a fun activity that I loved doing, and for a number of years I attended the same studio two or three times a week especially during holidays. I especially loved a dress made with a circular skirt which swirled wonderfully when jiving. My granddaughter inherited my love of dance though she does hip-hop and tap and modern. Sadly, Mr Cassmob has many wonderful attributes but a love of dance is not one, so my skills are now non-existent.

At high school, our school formals were just that – formal and strictly managed. There were no plunging necklines or split skirts or super-minis. Mum was an excellent dressmaker and would make my formal outfits: a blue chiffon number with pearl beading on the bodice for the (boys) Nudgee College formal and a princess line with a cowl back made in pink crepe with a silver thread through the fabric for my own (girls) school formal. Later at uni, there would be ball frocks for my debut (my favourite dress, ever), and other balls I attended. Once I left home, such sewing challenges were left to me to meet and Vogue patterns became my go-to. Don’t you love how fashion reflects our lives over the years?

Left side: school formal outfits mid-60s; centre: ball frocks late 60s; My deb frock which I love still (late 60s) and my matron on honour outfit for my sister-in-law’s wedding which I sewed myself (early 70s)

University and Politics

University came with a greater interest in politics, thanks to a very active core group of people both students and academics. Vietnam was a major concern since young men of our age were vulnerable to being drawn in the ballot for conscription and had Mr Cassmob not been officially registered in PNG, he would have been conscripted as his birthday came up in the ballot. Protest marches were, however, focused on the limitations the state government placed on gaining permits. The huge protest march from the university to the city was something of a wow, albeit on the negative side given the outcome. Our state premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, dominated Queensland life for many years without most of the population having any idea of the extent of corruption during the period. We were very familiar though with the Special Branch police who attended any political rallies on campus. The visit by LBJ and the government’s rhetoric of “all the way with LBJ” caused the inevitable split in the political factions. it was the first visit to Australia by a US President so it was significant.

The earlier 60s were marred by the on-going “Reds Under the Beds” fears, and the Cuban missile crisis.

At a local level, our city’s Lord Mayor, Clem Jones, was busy “revitalising” the city which involved knocking down buildings leaving huge holes in the ground until new buildings or carparks were constructed. I guess it made Brisbane grow up to some extent, but it also meant it lost some of its character. He was also the instigator of Brisbane’s trams being taken away, something that is still bemoaned locally. Brisbane’s main problem for public transport, from my experience, is the river which splits it in two, north and south, and ensures that public transport requires a hub with the transport rarely coordinated. I was always somewhat amused that Jones took on the restoration of Darwin after its devastation from Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day 1974 – it always seemed a case of the fox let loose in the hen house. He was also responsible for the destruction of 2500 grave memorials – a genealogy heresy.

Clockwise: My first store-bought dress which I loved; turning all Nehru and more bell-bottoms, early 70s; Parish in paisley; Moresby and a meri dress with the kids; normal attired – shorts and a top, it’s hot; very 60s; at the uni late 60s, a new frock and hat for a holiday, early 60s.


Growing up in a Catholic environment, the impact of Vatican II can’t be underestimated. From a religious point of view it was definitely a wow moment, really throwing responsibility on the individual to think more independently. At uni, I was a member of the Newman Society which was very active, including politically and in the early 70s we were very involved with ecumenical gatherings of different faith believers in PNG. Only ten years beforehand, attending a church from another Christian “brand” was tantamount to heresy for both sides and would affect marriages between religions, how children were brought up, family disputes etc.

Paisley run rampant! DD2’s christening. I think we may have been the only Catholics there, other than the priest who was a friend.

Fun and Games

I just had to include this when I saw it as I’d completely forgotten this outfit. Our first leave from PNG Xmas time 1971. Midriffs were obviously a “thing” at the time as I had another outfit baring my tummy as well. Oh to be so thin again!

In the 60s into the 70s, adulthood didn’t arrive until you turned 21. You couldn’t drink in a pub in Queensland, you couldn’t vote, but you could be sent to Vietnam.

I have to say I probably lived a fairly uneventful life compared to some of my peers. Pubs weren’t on my agenda, nor were discos, raves or huge parties. This was probably a good preparation for PNG since I don’t think they even existed, or if they did, I didn’t know about them. In Brisbane, social life was a small group of friends, going to a movie with a few other people, visiting the Ekka (a first big date for Mr Cassmob and I), watching a cricket match at the Gabba with my friend Margaret, or occasionally going ten-pin bowling…and studying.

During our uni years, we saw the first landing on the moon as we walked through a department store. Sadly, we weren’t as excited as we should have been…probably thought we were being “cool”.

Probably the only wow excitement in this category was getting to see the Beatles when they came to Brisbane with my friend Maria. I’m still amazed that either of us was given permission to go!

Well done if you’ve read this far! It turned into a bit of a saga.

Were your teen years exciting or ordinary?

Do you love your now-vintage outfits or laugh at them? Do your eyes pop at earlier decor choices?

23 thoughts on “Youthful Yesterdays

    1. Exactly Anne. I love seeing photos with old fashions and despair that a relative of my first immigrants said the descendants burnt photos so people wouldn’t laugh. 😱😱😭😭


  1. I’ve always thought these were lovely clothes, and the deb gown was beautiful. My problem was not a lack of liking or enthusiasm for dance. Like singing, what I could see/hear in my head just did not translate to my two left feet.
    Wasn’t our paisley just the bee’s knees? My other favourites were two shirts my mother made for me – the swirly-patterned black and gold “tiger shirt” and the corduroy zippered jacket.
    Do you recall my brown corduroy pants and desert boots? Or, as a friend remarked, whiff-whiff pants and sand-shoes.
    Good times!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But of course, and you arriving in the refec, cigarette in mouth, satchel and The Australian under your arm. Desert books, corduroy trousers and the tiger shirt. 😄


  2. Looking at your fashions was like a romp through some of the women’s magazines of the day! My teen years were pretty boring. It wasn’t until I hit my 20s that things got interesting. Of course there were politics all the way through my life, but in a personal way – boring. And I never had a bare midriff either. Maybe it was being in Detroit instead of warmer climes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh don’t say yawn to me… living to 2022 I’ve seen so many things come about. The 70’s were the best and I still have a long maxi dress hiding in my drawer. I’m sure the daughter won’t see the heirloom in it… snd out it’ll go! The fashions have changed so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I made a maxi about 1973 as I’m wearing it when DD2 was a baby. I really loved it and meant to include a photo here…probably was the change from the mini, after all fashions have to change quickly or how would businesses make money.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah yes, I can imagine but we still had to have our hems so they touched the ground when we knelt down. No minis at school for us. Remember having to bend your knees and enter so carefully when getting into a car? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m loving your whole series.. especially the fashions… Thankfully, I don’t think any photos of my orange crimplene pants suit exist… I still have a collection of ball gowns, etc. I can’t imagine daughter or granddaughter would be at all interested in them. I made some, some I bought. They are mostly classic styles.
    I do remember one of my uncles being horrified when I wore a white mini dress with black spots and an almost bare back.. just a strip to cover the bra. He thought I should wear a t shirt underneath it.. no chance!
    I made most of my clothes, also some for Mum, then I made most of our children’s clothes…from baby to teenage…and quite a few for friends…some for for the grandchildren as well. Great memories..
    Peter… your paisley shirt was, well.. quite memorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You made me laugh with the story about the semi-backless dress. Seems we both did a lot of sewing back in the day. I have no idea what happened to some of my ball gowns though I still have my Deb frock…memories that have disappeared. Did I pass them on, or did mum? The hazards of moving.

      Liked by 1 person

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