[Editor: These items are extracts from the “Cousin Cassie’s Letter to Women” section, published in Gundagai Independent (Gundagai, NSW), 21 January 1937.]
Cousin Cassie’s Letter to Women
The ingenuity of those who think out new Christmas gifts each year is amazing. A girl’s aunt, an English woman, was leaving England this January to visit Australia. Her Christmas gift arrived to the girl, Madeline, in time for Christmas Day. It was a small gramophone record. Madeline was not wildly thrilled — gramophones are “also rans” to-day.
The title was “A Personal Message to You.” On playing the record the girl was amazed to hear her aunt’s voice, “Hello, Madeline, Merry Xmas.” The record went on to the tune of the aunt’s voice giving personal messages and information.
We have since discovered that these recordings of one’s own voice were very popular Continental Xmas gifts.
A very much travelled girl, who recently returned from a soujourn in a country town — not so very far from, Gundagai — was appalled by what she described as the essential narrow-mindedness and ignorance of the town in which she stayed. Having visited many small rural places both in England and on the Continent, she was appalled by this New South Wales country town which lacked the wideness of outlook one would associate with the wide spaces of Australia.
I am afraid that I agree with her. In most country towns there is a very big lack — a lack of humanity. Is it that life flows slowly, that activity and bustle being absent the innate energy finds an outlet in the tongue, to the detriment of one’s neighbours?
I can honestly say that every country town I have visited I have been overwhelmed by the gossip that has bombarbed my ears in less than a day after my arrival. Why talk of people, why not of things? Of books, or art, of the thousand and one beauties that appear in the surrounding country. Life is crammed full with interests that the majority of people fail to find.
The greatest service a mother can render to her children is to fill their lives with these interests, to pause at the glory of the sunset, to watch the lengthening shadows on the river bank — to be in complete harmony with nature and those who would interpret nature. In such a way a sanity, a humanity, will pervade their lives, and whatever place they chose as their home.
Sydney, in summer time, is featuring many bare legs. It is quite orthodox to dress in a very becoming and costly frock and go gloved but stockingless to one’s appointments. One wonders what the stocking manufacturers think of it!
Yours, COUSIN CASSIE.
Gundagai Independent (Gundagai, NSW), 21 January 1937, p. 3
The first item included herein is only tangentially connected with Australia; it has primarily been included here as a matter of historical interest. Prior to tape recorders and digital recorders, personalised gramophone records were available; for example, one is used near the end of the English movie Brighton Rock (1948).
See: “Brighton Rock (1948 film)”, Wikipedia
also ran = (also spelt: also-ran) someone or something which is out of date or unfashionable; a person or animal who does not win a race; a person or animal who does not come first, second, or third in a race, competition, or contest; a contestant who loses (or is likely to lose) a competition, contest, event, or race; someone of little interest, importance, or significance (plural: also rans, also-rans)
the Continent = (in a British context or from a British viewpoint) the continent of Europe (i.e. excluding the British Isles)
gramophone = a machine which reproduces sounds from an audio recording by using a needle or stylus on a revolving cylinder or disc; an early name for a record player
[Editor: Changed “gramaphone” to “gramophone”; “gramaphones” to “gramophones”; “of thinks” to “of things”; “a humanity” to “a humanity,” (added a comma).]
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]