Memoir #2: 11 Church Street

7/11 Church Street - about 1955

The people responsible for house numbers confused me at our second house. I am certain it was 11 Church Street, Parramatta. But apparently it had earlier been number 7. How these house numbering officials imagined that there could be six building sites between Boundary Road and our house tests credulity. I am sure that I could pace along to the corner in fewer than 50 steps. Where were these six buildings?

On the corner was the grocery where Mum did most of her shopping. It was a convenience store simply because it was convenient. I remember it being tiny, and since I was myself quite tiny then, it must have been Lilliputian. The counters were high of course, and Mrs Kerfoops who owned the shop, lived upstairs. If there was a Mr Kerfoops, I don’t recall noticing him. And there were certainly no little Kerfoopsettes because they would have played in our back yard like every other child on the strip.

So Mrs Kerfoops lived over her shop at Number 1 Church Street, I suppose.

Next door to the grocer was Col Crothers who was famous as a motor cycle racer. I knew this because he sold motor cycles and had pictures of himself holding big silver cups on the walls of his showroom. Of course, these might have been at venues no more illustrious than club meetings in Parramatta Park, but I was easily impressed and took any indication of fame without question.

Now I will allow that Mr Crothers’ showroom may have extended over two building blocks but if so, they were contained in a single building. The Crothers family lived upstairs. There was a Mrs Crothers and at least two daughters who soon were playing in our back yard, but only with my sisters, an alienation I don’t recall regretting except when I was unfilially excluded from the younger pair’s games of Doctors and Nurses which seemed to involve too much secret girls’ business.

So it is possible, although I assert unlikely, that Crothers Motor Cycle Emporium was located at 3-5 Church Street. Next came a house, soon to be demolished to make way for the expansion of Crothers Motor Cycles into Crothers Used Cars. And that would have been number 7.

But here you see my problem with the house numbering. Originally our house was number 7, not this soon-to-be-demolished-and-turned-into-a-car-yard place. It must have really been number 5. That makes sense right?

#1 Kerfoops Grocery Store
#3 Crothers Motor Cycle
#5 House soon to be a Car Yard
#7 Our place.

But hey, by the time we took up residence, it was 11 Church Street, and that was a matter of law. Or town planning at least.

Now I need to make a small, but relevant correction. I described number 7 or number 11 (as you will) Church Street as Our Place. In due course it thus became, but at the time of our upwardly mobile relocation from suburban Merrylands to swanky Parramatta the property  belonged to my great grandfather, Walter Pegler. We just moved in with him.

And thereby hangs a further tale.


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