Sunday, April 3, 2011

On the road to Pottsville . . . .

Not many people in Australia would have heard the name Pottsville, nor would they have had any idea “where on earth” it was. I was one of those, until December 1972 when we met our then future son in law, Bob Hardy, who drove up to Cairns to introduce himself to us, and a few days later was getting engaged to our eldest daughter, Sonja.

Pottsville (New South Wales Australia) is about a 30 minute drive south from the Queensland/NSW border. It is a quiet coastal town with excellent beaches. The natural surrounding beauty of Pottsville is spectacular, set at the mouth of a creek with long, uninterrupted beaches. You can enjoy the breathtaking coastline, and in-land sub-tropical rainforests.

Bob grew up in Pottsville and he reminisces that in his youth it was a laidback lifestyle, and all one could do was to fish, laze at the beach or engage in sport. When we visited Pottsville for the first time in 1973 there were only about 2 dozen houses and a few small shops. Calling it a two horse village would have been more appropriate than to call it a “town.” Click on map to enlarge!

Pottsville today, is not a quaint little village anymore; it woke up from its slumber quite some time ago and is now a modern tourist town, though the laid-back ambience has been retained. One can blink and sneeze now to one’s heart content – without having to worry about driving past Pottsville and not noticing it. I hope that you enjoy my amusing little story.Werner

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On the road to Pottsville – something extraordinary happened!
When we were in Brisbane for Bob & Sonja’s wedding, Stella, Bob’s mother, (see picture) invited us to come down to Pottsville NSW and stay a few days as her guests, while Bob and Sonja were on their honeymoon in Tasmania. Until we met Bob, we never knew that Pottsville existed. Bob had fond memories of Pottsville; it was the place where he grew up. Pottsville in those days, was only a tiny speck in the beautiful landscape of northern New South Wales, and Bob gave us strict instructions, not to sneeze or blink when we reach the outskirts of his old village – “Otherwise,” he said, “you’ll miss Pottsville and drive past it”.
We made a gallant effort and refrained from sneezing or blinking as soon as we crossed the border into New South Wales. We had no trouble finding the tiny village of Pottsville – and indeed, there were only about as many houses as I had fingers on my two hands - and perhaps a couple of toes.
Although we had our own car, Bob insisted that we take his car to drive to Pottsville. We were not sure why – but we could only assume that he thought, in case we get lost, his car will find Pottsville. However, since I had never driven a car with an automatic transmission before; this was the deciding factor for me to take Bob’s car.

As soon as we were on our way from Holland
Park, where Bob & Sonja (then) lived, we noticed that every car that overtook us tooted their horn, and passengers looked at us - smiled and waved. We were overwhelmed by this “southern” friendliness and had always thought that such a thing was an endemic characteristic only North Queenslanders possessed. We off course reciprocated, true to our North Queensland tradition – and waved and smiled back at our “admirers”.

This effusive friendliness made us so ecstatic that we were just about to glow. We wondered why nothing like this had happened on our long journey from Cairns to Brisbane.
This exuberant friendliness of our “fellow travellers” came to an end when we reached Pottsville - the end of our journey. A touch of sadness came over us, the tooting, the waving and the smiles had stopped. For a fleeting moment we wondered if we should have driven on and continued with this wonderful experience.

In the end, it wasn’t difficult to find Stella’s little house, she heard us pull up and met us in the street. We couldn’t tell Stella quick enough about the wonderful experience we had along the way. When we opened the car boot to take out our luggage, the mystery about the cheerful car passengers driving past was solved. On the back of Bob’s car was written in big white letters: Just Married!"

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The moral of this story: If you want to be recognised by your fellow travellers – write the magic two words on your car boot – “Just married!”
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PS. I should also mention that when we visited Bob’s mother (August 1973) it was winter in Australia. Since we live in the tropics and we have eternal summer, with winter day temperatures fluctuating between a comfortable 24 and 28 Celsius above zero. In Pottsville, however, the night temperature came down to 15 degrees Celsius above zero, which was for us extremely cold.

So, Stella had to give us an electric blanked for the bed - and that is the reason we are still alive today and never go south in winter. – W.
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My thought for today; - Werner
Cheerfulness greases the axles of the world. Anon


Jock Reid said...

A very nice and amusing story, Werner, and as you say it is a far different town to which I first went there in my Model A, Ford, many years ago.

Wendy B. said...

Wow, what an amusing story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Unfortunately, nowadays, the friendliness of fellow road travelers is not what it used to be way back in the 70s, haste and speed has taken over.

Beverley said...

You wouldn't recognize Pottsville now. It's no longer a little village; it's a thriving community and house prices and trebled over the past few years. Hastings Point has had some major expensive development. It's quite a trendy place (and expensive) these days.