Five Ways to Remember: Frederick Castledine

Wep’s father, Frederick Castledine Pidgeon,c.1912. Fred was a stained glass artisan and glazier and an accomplished landscape painter.

When you’re a small child and all you ever see in the house is knees and a tablecloth, and the big key which locks a door, what do you remember? What do the chokos growing wild around the lanes; the new fangled Studebaker depot down past the old horse drawn McCaffery’s? Motorcars spoiling our pitch on Glenmore Rd.

You know I dreamt up that these “Studies” had even killed our dog Sandy. But this was not so. It is just that so many cars are about now, I project a hatred.

Once, I remember my father coming down the steps, right down to the bottom of the house. I suppose he had finished work and was coming home to the area where the dining room and kitchen hung out. Perhaps to where under the steps leading to the salon de resistance was a grimy little poke hole in which one put brooms and mops and a hand clipper for cutting the meagre grass of our back lawn – or to tidy up the always overgrown wilderness of 6’ x 3” which covered father in lot 702A at Bronte and looked so wildy and beautifully, as the winds from the sea and the extra salty south.

Of course I have no memory of Frederick Castledine’s internment. A box in a house with a father in it.

Twenty seven years later at or on, the same site I learnt to hate funerals and all the bullshit and beatification which comes with the mothballs and glossy white gloves.

Fred Pidgeon, c.1912

Wep’s father, Frederick Castledine Pidgeon, passed away June 12th,  1913 when Wep was only four years old. Wep retained the memory of seeing his father in his coffin, laid out in the front room of the family home at 290 Glenmore Road and suffered from claustrophobia for the rest of his life as a consequence. Bill hated funerals, subconsciously perhaps from the trauma of his father’s death at a young age but reinforced  as he says, approximately twenty seven years later at the time of his mother’s funeral in August 1941.


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