1973 Plain Turkey - booklet printed by the Mount Isa Writers' Workshop written by 'Denise'.
Soon after the 'plane was air-borne the hostess brought a carry-cot for my baby.
I was eighteen, my baby a fortnight old and this was my first flight.
On the way to Mount Isa the hostess broke my thoughts by announcing that we were about to land in Longreach, and for everyone to fasten their seat belt.
I struggled with mine but couldn't clip it, panicked and flew into the vacant seat behind me, where the man next to me soon had it fastened.
The air-hostess came along, gave me an odd look and said,
"I'm sorry, but you'll have to nurse your baby while we land."
Good heavens! It'd forgotten Susan.
As the 'plane taxied to a stop, I could see my husband Terry waiting, with a huge smile on his face.
I felt terribly impatient to be out, but also shy.
So began our new life.
Terry's sister Gwen, and her husband Jerry lived in Mount Isa, in a one roomed, brick cottage at the back of their allotment.
For the present we were to live in their partly built brick house at the front.
A large house, it had one room completed with cement floor, louvres and a door.
Our possessions consisted of a bed, a second-hand low-boy, and a cupboard made by Terry, of boxes.
This cupboard had no doors and held all our china and cutlery.
A new electric fry-pan stood an another fracture box and was our sole means of cooking at the time.
I became quite proficient at cooking with it, and one night, we even had a guest for dinner, despite the fact that we had no table and chairs.
A cloth had to be spread over the end of our bed and meals eaten there.
Ironing too was done on the bed although it proved a bit low for this purpose.
When we had visitors our bed was used as a divan.
Terry had joined the Soaring Club when he'd first arrived in Mount Isa, and the club members were now our main friends.
Our friends arrived carrying percolators, coffee and cups.
They came down the stony, unfinished hall, calling "Loud knocking noises!"
Then there would be a mad rush for the best end of the bed - the one with pillows.
In the afternoons, I would take two ports into one of the unfinished rooms on the shady side of the house and stand Susan's bed on top of them so she could get any breeze.
The first time Jerry saw me in the hallway, with a port in each hand, his eyes opened wide and he asked
"Are you leaving Terry?".
I seemed to spend half my days washing in very primitive conditions, bore water, no washing machine, tubs that plugs didn't fit and had to be stuffed with newspaper, and a single, very temperamental clothesline.
We had no water inside, and now when I think of it, I still wish I'd dug out the spinifex, which grew under the outside tap, where I managed to kick it whenever I went out for water.
Our shower too was fairly primitive.
It was a tin shed at the back of Gwen and Jerry's with a curtain for a door.
In winter when the curtain flapped and had to be held with pegs, the shower room was rather cold.
A chip-heater stood outside and one of us had to feed the monster while the other showered.
One night while Terry was doing his chore for me, his friends arrived and stood talking while he stoked.
When they first arrived, he forgot me altogether and the water was freezing.
After a couple of yells from me Terry started to stoke and talk, and kept stoking and stoking and stoking, as they got into quite a discussion on the theory of flight.
We didn't have a fridge and used Gwen and Jerry's.
They kept a weird assortment in their fridge, make-up, after-shave lotion and ointment as well as food.
Terry and I would argue about whose turn it was to take the butter back until it was a dripping mess.
The flies were an ever-present nuisance as we had no screens.
When we had stew cooking the smell of it nearly drove the flies mad.
They would hover in a cloud above where the stew bubbled, safe under a Pyrex lid.
Jerry would invariably walk up the hall saying, "Something smells good," and then when he reached the door-way, would stand transfixed saying, "Jeez! Look at the flies!".
Terry bought a second-hand car and decided to teach me to drive and this led to trouble.
When Terry had learned as a young boy, he had sat up in bed practising gear changing.
He wanted me to practise the same way, while he made appropriate engine noises.
I felt ridiculous and refused.
Later I did learn and get my licence with no trouble.
The first day I had my licence I had to stop for petrol and pulled in with such a flourish that I nearly knocked the pump over.
The lady at the petrol station asked if I was all right and would I like her daughter-in-law to drive me home.
Quite a dampening to my pride that was, after just passing my test!
After a year of life in Mount Isa, we went back to Brisbane for holidays.
We found our friends in the city, living an ordered sort of life, and at the end of our holiday, we were pleased to return to our carefree lifestyle in 'The Isa'.
Written by 'Denise' a member of Plain Turkey - Mount Isa Writers Workshop in 1973.
Researched by Kim-Maree Burton www.kimmareeburton.com`
Drawing by Trinidad Kreutz.