My wife and I have known Geoff (known to all Fanstorians as Sankey) for more than forty years. We first met when 'Geofferson' (the nickname I gave him back in the 70's) was involved in Youth For Christ in Rockdale and later Hurstville. I still refer to him by that name and we remain the best of friends.
We came to know Geoff because of his gift for music either playing piano or organ for many years. However, we were unaware for quite a while that he was not only a creative musician but also a writer of prose and poetry.
Here now is Geoff's life story with all its hills and valleys, happiness and sadness. It is just one of five books he has written, including Christmas carols, spiritual and comic works, a collection of poetry, as well as essays on various themes from his school days.
He hails from the Ryde area of North Western Sydney, New South Wales in Australia. For more than 30 years he has lived with his wife, Louise on the eastern side of the City of Penrith, also in New South Wales, Australia.
I hope you will enjoy reading Geoff's eventful life story. He has overcome many personal challenges to produce it.
|Author Notes||So grateful to my longtime friends Ross and Yvonne (pictured) for their contribution.|
This is the story of my entry into the world and even though I was more than 60 years of age before I started writing about all this, it is the journey through my life up until 66 years of age.
For those of you from other than Australia, you may find differences in expressions and grammar and spelling to what you are customarily used to.
Being born and bred Australian, I speak British English. After all British English preceded anything else other lands might have spoken, derived from original British English.
Even here in Australia, we have taken liberties from time to time, from our language. For example, Aussie slang or "strine" departs from correct English a lot of times.
I have appreciated all the help I have had in fixing things in this book. Making things clearer, at times. However, from different parts of the world, there will always be a different interpretation of how I say things in this book. As you read, please bear all the foregoing in mind.
Finally, let me say, this is not a fictional novel. We have not sought to titillate, entertain or thrill in the pages of this book. If anything we have written in here has encouraged you or helped you in some way, then that is our intent in bringing this to you.
Names of any persons still living at the time of writing have been changed.
Mrs Tammy Fraser, the wife of a former Australian Prime Minister, has a favourite saying until recently I credited to her.
I now know it belongs to the famous novelist, George Bernard Shaw.
He once said:
"Life wasn't meant to be easy."
You will see in this book, evidence of how true this saying can be.
Thanks for coming along on the ride.
This is the introduction to my book of my life.
Photo is a recent one of me and my sweetheart of 32 years, 30 of which have been spent in a wonderful fulfilling marriage, as at March 14th, 2017.
Someone in my family once said, when I told them I was going to write a book someday about my life -
"Who would want to read about your life?"
My Sister-in-law gave me a book - 'Workshops for People Writing Biographies" and the author of the book said, and I quote…loved this.
"Everyone's story is interesting to someone!" That has really encouraged me.
I believe my ancestors were Nomadic people. Not cavemen or anything like that... They just liked moving around a fair bit, could not really settle anywhere for any length of time.
My sister was the eldest and my eldest brother came along 16 months later. I had the feeling for a long time that my dad would have preferred they neither have my elder brother nor me. The reason for my conclusions is the fact that there were only problems between my parents after the second child. I can’t say for sure, but I think Dad started drinking and being out late at night with ‘the boys’ after my elder brother was born. For whatever reasons. I am sure he had his excuses.
I was born in a Northern Suburb Private Hospital, in March 1951. The fourth child, and third son. My entrance into the world necessitated my family's finding a larger house. (No... I wasn't the size, then, that I am now.) Our family had been living in Greenwich, a suburb on the North side of Sydney Harbour, in a 2 bedroomed house.
My 2 elder brothers had shared the sunroom; while my sister, the eldest child, occupied the second bedroom.
My accommodation was planned, depending on a couple of things:
1. If I turned out being a girl, I would share my sister’s bedroom. Or
2. I would share the sunroom with my elder brother.
My father, quite clever with his hands, had organized the fourth bedroom in the attic, for the eldest brother. Richard, said eldest brother, fell off the ladder, as he climbed out of the attic, one day. So the attic/bedroom number 4 idea was abandoned. Hence the need for a bigger abode.
Mum and Dad had been looking at some land in the Ryde - Eastwood area, in the North - Western suburbs of Sydney. They managed to buy a few blocks of land at a reasonable price. Dad was intending to build houses on most of these blocks "on spec.*" Mum had set her heart on a hill-top block, with views all the way to the city, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge*, 8 miles South-East of our block.
They built our new house, on the hilltop block in Bridge Road*, get the hint? There were very few neighbours close by. Across from the house were wide expanses of a paddock. My maternal grandfather had helped my father develop the block of land on which he built our home. I am not sure if Grandfather Joe actually got to see us move into the new house, as he died when I was only 5 months old.
Our house was a very large dwelling with four bedrooms. The kitchen was equipped with the most "mod cons" for that era, including the best electric appliances for their time. The kitchen design included stainless steel benches, a real showpiece for the neighbours. There were spacious areas of polished wooden floors, also covered in part with equally polished rubber linoleum. We boys had a great time in our socks sliding up and down the smooth, well-maintained floors.
One of the big let-downs was the unavailability of bricks due to WWII, which had not all that long before ceased. As a result, my Dad had to build our house in Fibro. These days there is a big "to do" over these forties and fifties homes built in Fibro. Reason being they are now recognized as a source of Mesothelioma* or Asbestosis. A kind of cancerous disease brought about by the asbestos in fibro and other similar products.
Mesothelioma (or, more precisely, Malignant Mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers ...Asbestos - Mesothelium* (See Wikipedia)
With all the mod cons and so on, there was a bit of a downside to the property. The top driveway never got completed to the (at one-time gravel) road. Actually, the bottom of our top driveway and the gravel road looked exactly the same. The bottom drive was the same from the property to the ‘road’. Added to this, the inner drive, including the garage floor, was never finished off properly until the early ’70s. We also replaced the old wooden garage doors with "Roll-a-Doors" at that time too.
It was a pity such a modern house had to be located, (as above) on one of the worst gravel roads in the Southern Hemisphere. It was a very long street. Also, one of the last in the area to be completely kerbed and sealed, in the early '60s.
Eventually, we even had the bus service running past our front door, which would never have been so, in the road's former condition. Then the road went from having the deepest potholes in the Southern Hemisphere to later on, in the 1980s having the potholes inverted to become "Speed Humps."
In my early days, I had a turn in my left eye, corrected by Dr Bradley. Sadly, now I am older, the muscle that was adjusted on the left eye has deteriorated with age, to the point that the current eye specialist does not want to touch it as he feels it would make no difference.
So after all these years now, for one thing, I have finally figured out I need to make sure when being photographed, I look with the left eye at the camera, and both eyes then line up properly. If I look with the right eye, then the left eye goes off out in the paddock somewhere, hehe. I should add here as well that I have a separate vision in each eye. There is no meeting or combining of the eyesight from both eyes, and what they are seeing. Hence double vision.
As I was sitting here, writing a while back, I was also transferring some wonderful Theatre Organ music, from some old cassettes. Suddenly, along came "The Pride Of Erin" waltz - and the memories came flooding back, of being a small boy, in our large lounge room of our new house. Of playing the (then) big old "78rpm" records, of the same name, and dancing around the lounge room, by myself. I know my Mum and Dad were in those days the centre of attention on the dance floor as top Ballroom dancers. In happier times I know they went out a lot. My guess is; to dancing events.
I have always been restless and inquisitive. I recall this as far back as Pre-school at Lane Cove. Mum would take me in the mornings and I would ride the tram in the afternoon with my Grandmother to her old terrace house on Falcon Street in Crows' Nest. Even then at 3 years old, when all the other children slept on their canvas stretchers, I would lay awake for what seemed like hours. Knowing as I have since 1990 I have Sleep Apnoea*, it is possible I did sleep in the afternoons. I was informed in one of my sleep tests, many years after this time we are speaking of, in my condition now diagnosed much later, I was probably sleeping anyway, even though I did not think so. We deal with *Sleep Apnoea much later in this book.
I learned my inquisitive nature could get me in trouble at that young age, namely, a fractured skull. Our car was a Peugeot Station Wagon with "forward- opening" doors. I came to understand from a recently deceased friend in America, they were labelled "suicide doors" for a reason. I appreciate learning that term as it is very appropriate.
I had seen others open and close them whilst the car was moving, when the door was not closed properly. So I figured I could do the same, but the wind got hold of the car door and pulled me out with it. I do, to this day, still remember grabbing the handle to re-close the door. For years I had it in my mind the incident happened close to our home. I was wrong. It apparently happened in close proximity to where I ended up going to school about 4 years later. It was outside a Newsagent's shop and General store. (Now a part of the church next door, used as a Child Minding Centre.) I know from my Mum I was concussed and not aware of what actually happened to me. But I ended up in a hospital with friar's balsam or somesuch all over my head.
I had plenty of kids to play with in my younger days. There was a family next door, of five children. I spent a lot of time with the eldest, a girl named Susan. She was almost 18 months younger than I. We learned a lot about each other over the first few years together, even as young as we were, then.
I know I liked her a lot. They say you always hurt the ones you love. I found I was continually saying the wrong thing and making her cry. I had to try and cover it up somehow as I knew that would get me in big trouble with her Mother, or mine.
Quite often the call would come from Susan's Mother "Susan, it's 5 o'clock...time you were home!" So the end of another happy or upsetting (for her) time together. I think she enjoyed playing anyway. She always came back.
I am not sure what the home life was like next door, then. Seeing the girl I played with most was the eldest, I gather she had a lot of responsibility looking after her younger siblings.
Her brother (second eldest in the family) was still sucking his thumb at 9 or 10 years of age. Goodness knows why? I never saw any abuse or bruises or anything on the kids. So I can't for sure say they got beatings or anything, apart from regular discipline.
This large family provided instant playmates. We even got some of them to come to Sunday School with us over time. Amongst our other escapades, we all enjoyed a strange phenomenon out front.
In between our 2 houses, was a great big ant-hill. One time we actually stuck some "tuppenny bungers" in the hill and blew it to smithereens. I guess you can tell why 'bungers' and that sort of thing are not allowed now. At least the ants are thankful.
Those were trusting times, when kids could stay out playing till about 5 pm in the afternoon, without fear of some pervert or some kidnapper coming along to lift your kids and take them away. But there was a kidnapping later on, in the street around from us. So even in "them" days, the criminal element was not far away.
One of my trials, as a youngster, was some draconian dieting foisted on me by some rather questionable medical advisors. This meant I was restricted on what I could eat. For many, many years potatoes were omitted from my diet. Later; finding out that I should have included potato for energy and general wellbeing.
Mum had this saying she made up. I was allowed to have some delicacy of food or snack "instead of, and not as well as," something else. She often tried to hide such delights as chocolate biscuits from me. But being the clever fellow I was, I usually found them ...thinking if I just had one, or two, she would not notice. She, of course, eventually found out.
I forget if I got the feather duster or the fly swat, as punishment. maybe both of them, alternately, all for my own good, of course. I think the polisher's strap my siblings all copped previously, had broken. I don't blame Mum for her 'draconian' ways. She only did what she thought was right for the times.
There was another favourite cry of my Mum, especially when one of us was in the bathroom for too long...
"Geoffrey (or Joe)...you've been in that shower for 'HALF A' NOUR!' " I think Mum was a budding writer/ poet even then!
My sister got married at 15 years of age, I was 5 then. She had a little baby boy, not all that long after whom they named John. We (young John and I) became good friends, he was almost like a younger brother. It was a bit of an anomaly, being an uncle in those days at less than 6 years of age. Dad had converted the back end of our house to make a flat for my sister, and her new family. (This also brought an end to our 'sock-skating area' on the big long, polished hallway.)
The flat comprised one bedroom, which had been my sister's room, anyway. Mum's sewing room was converted into a kitchenette. A door was placed in the new wall; between the flat and the rest of the house.
My Family: Dad..the Late Jack Moore b:26-12-1918. d:28-1-2003.
Mum: The Late Margaret Moore b:16-10-1918. d: 28-5-2005.
Sister b. 25-05-41 Brother Richard b. 16-01-43 d. January 2009.
Brother b.28-05-47 Myself b. 27-03-51. Grandfather Joe Smyth (Mum's dad) assisted with development of the land He died when I was 5 months old in 1951.
Location 98 Bridge Road Ryde, NSW Australia.
Picture List: Top: A recently acquired "For Sale Sign" for the house in Greenwich Second Left:I never met my Maternal Grandfather. Here he is on the grader. One of his favourite sayings was: 'What'll we do, or go fishing?" My Nanna, his widow said. Second Centre: Wasn't I cute? My first baby picture. Second and Third Right: House in early stage and completed. Fourth Left:Dad and Mum and me with the "suicide" doors. I believe this was taken when I was 5...2 years after I fell out of it. Fourth Right: Grandma Moore, my paternal grandmother.
On spec" means Dad built the houses on Speculation of a handsome profit at resale - sadly that never happened. *Trams - yes, we had trams in 1954 and still had them even as late as 1961-I was 10 when they went off - and now they are all coming back on again 50 years later!
When I was around 2 or 3, Dad had bought some land in the new area (then) of Vincentia, (formerly known as South Huskisson) in between Huskisson and Jervis Bay. It was 120 miles to the South of Sydney, on the Coast. There was, and still is now, a Naval Base nearby. He began building what came to be known, in the family, as the "Weekender." Mainly because he was building it...on weekends. It was a fibro dwelling, back in the days before all the current worry of "Asbestosis" and the accompanying fatal illness associated with discarded fibro. We talked more on this in the previous chapter.
Back in those days, we had no 'town' power or sewer on that property. Power was provided by a generator, set up by my dad, who was an electrical contractor as well as an all around, very clever and creative fellow. I do remember, prior to the generator installation, all our lighting was done by kerosene lamps. Our garbage and sanitary wastes were buried all over the yard, deep down in the black sand.
I still remember some favourite things about "Moore Park"* as we called the complete property, Sleeping on a low bed in the kitchen, was one of them. The kerosene light that powered the old fridge, underneath, was my "Night Light," for my comfort. I think that was one of the reasons I slept in the kitchen. Another favourite I also loved, was Mum's "Weekender" Soup. It was made from vegetables and pieces of beef stewed slowly in one of those old "pressure cookers." We could get nearly a week out of one pot of "Weekender" Soup. The "Rosella" company came out with a weekender soup - but I reckon they pinched the recipe from my Mum. (*The name Moore Park was also a take-off of Sydney's Moore Park in our capital's Eastern Suburbs.)
I also enjoyed eventually learning to ride a 20" bike on the beach, including the necessary falls and grease on the legs that go with the territory. Funny how 20" bikes came into vogue years later with the newer, more trendy tag of BMX. One more pastime I loved, was doing my music theory exercises on the sand. The idea was to draw the staves for treble and bass. Then write in the letters to usually make up words that contained the letters of notes on the piano. The next thing I would do is draw notes on the appropriate lines or in the spaces to go with the letters.
Dad had made us a "park" or playground on the property. We had a swing and a "Whirly-Jigger" thing made from a tree stump with a galvanised steel pipe down the middle. On top of the stump, cooking fat was spread around the pipe. The cross pole (to ride on) was shaved underneath in the centre, to slide on the stump. Then seats made out of old rubber inner-tubes would be fixed on either end to sit on. Someone would push the tree-pole around. I was small, then; and I don't remember riding on the "Whirly" myself.
Another creation of Dad's with help from all of us was a raft. I am not aware of it ever being put into service. I think Dad was making it so we could get across the "Moonah Moonah" Creek even at high tide to transport supplies. The creek was only down the road from our Weekender and, at that time, we depended on the low tide to be able to wade across the creek to the main town, then, of Huskisson - to get things that were not brought to the house such as milk and sometimes, fruit and vegetables. Before the new bridge was built in the sixties, access to the main town, by road, involved a 6-mile round trip.
The bath water was drawn up from a bore, underground. We also had tank water, used mainly for cooking, drinking and of course that all-important regular "cuppa." Dad had set up 2 x 44-gallon drums, mounted on the side of the house. Both had an extension through the wall to taps fitted on the inside over the bath. One of the drums had space underneath, where a fire would be lit in the late afternoon to provide hot water for our baths. On one occasion, the fire that was to heat the water, flared up suddenly, nearly burning the house down.
I remember one day we were all out in the rowboat fishing. I thought I was doing really well, as Dad and my brothers kept telling me to pull in my line, and I was always rewarded with a good catch. As Dad would say "Cocko, pull in your line!" "Cocko" was my nickname. I never knew where that originated - perhaps a shortening of my middle name "Colin?"( I found out later they would get my line and put their catches on, drop the line back in, with a little tug, and you can guess the rest.) Such fun! Such deception!
Our block of land was situated on one side of the, then, gravel road. It was officially known as Elizabeth Drive, a very rough road, though. Across the road from our property, was a vacant sandy block of land. This led, through a cutting to the beach's sand hills.
One day a pulley was connected to another boat, an inboard motor type vessel. The idea was to pull the boat up the beach to the trailer. All of a sudden, the cable snapped. Then the pulley in the middle flew off and hit my dad in the shoulder. I was too little to understand what happened after that. I was just aware that it was something bad, and he was hurt. Dad had already broken his back once, falling off a roof in his electrical contracting business. He would have had to be taken to Nowra Base Hospital quite some distance north from where we were at that time.
There are many tales to tell about sitting on the creek bank and so on. One day I was sitting on the creek shore in the sand, and my older brother, Joe disappeared. Next thing, he calls me, and looking around I saw, about 15 feet away, this great big cow.
I am sure the old cow was pretty harmless, but to a small boy, well - the big horns and all was a bit scary. I know my brother had a good laugh about it all later. Another thing about sitting on the sand was the ever-present Bull Ants. These were big and black and had a bite like you wouldn't want to know. Probably 3 or 4 times the size of regular little ants. Never mind the sandflies. Sigh!
I enjoyed, around Christmas time, wading across the "Moonah Moonah" Creek, during low tide. A local attraction at those times was the C.S.S.M.* (*Children's Special Services Beach Missions) on the Huskisson bank side of the creek. Today, 50 years later, those are still run all over Australia. It was like Vacation Bible School, I guess. A time, over several days, of singing stories and crafts.
Many years before, there had been a wooden bridge across the creek. It must have been washed away. It was not until the mid to late 60's that a new bridge was re-erected there. At times there were bushfires, not all that far away. The area was very 'rural' and, in those days, mostly undeveloped bush. We were fortunate the fires never got near the house.
My sister was not all that keen to be at the weekender. She was in her mid-teens, and it was not considered then as the kids today would call it "cool!" It was mainly me, Richard and Joe and Mum and Dad got down to the weekender as often as we could. Neighbours the Taylors, Tennyson's and the Spiers were good friends there.
On one of our stays at the weekender, possibly towards the end of our time there, we visited a local Aboriginal Mission at Wreck Bay. Friends of mum from Marsfield Mission mentioned later, were involved there. It was run by a Scottish couple, with really broad accents, so we could hardly understand their speech. Many years later, we would spend some time in Huskisson, across the creek from Vincentia. We had a loan of a house, there, which had been owned by the Biggs family who ran the Wreck Bay Mission, all those years past.
My brother and his wife, and our Mum and I stayed there, prior to Mum going overseas as a Missionary. During that time we visited Point Perpendicular, a rocky point across the bay from our beach. These days it is only opened at occasional intervals for special events.
I loved our weekender. I have many, many lovely memories of us as a family down in Vincentia. Sadly we quit going there after mum and dad broke up before I was 8 years old. My maternal grandmother had also bought a block of land in the area, so we should have had access to that to continue our happy times. (Mum had been given the deeds to that property, but in a sneaky way the deeds ended up back in the step grandfather's hands, and Mum was not interested in a part of the proceeds of the sale later, following grandmother's death.)
Nanna, unfortunately, died "Intestate" (without a will) and the property she owned was sold and the proceeds divided up between Mum's brothers, and Nanna's second husband, Harold. We need to all make sure we have a will done before it is too late. The land in that area became very valuable, so the lady who bought Dad's blocks from him 'for a song'* in the breakup, would have done quite well in further reselling of the same, later on.
Now; more on my music lessons. At 65 years of age, at the time of writing this, I can still remember climbing up onto the piano stool at the age of 3yrs to play simple 2 and 3 finger chords. I was one of those kids who you could recognise as being a future performer. I think you can tell this when a child tries to play the keyboard instrument without banging indiscriminately on the keys.
My parents realised I would probably become successful on the piano and at 4 years old I began music lessons. It would appear my musical ability came from both sides of our family. Dad could belt out a tune on the piano and Mum was gifted with the Harmonica. I also remember in my very young days, Dad often would sing the song "The Yellow Rose of Texas".
I looked it up just recently and it seems it came from a varied background. Either as a popular song in the War days between Mexico and the U.S.. or later on it became a kind of a Nursery rhyme for the kids and in the mid-fifties overtook "Rock Around The Clock" as a hit on the then pop charts. I think this last is why my Dad used to sing it a lot then as it went with my early years in time.
It has not been easy, for me or my Mum. I'm sure if I had applied myself much more to my music studies I would have become a professional pianist. Even a Concert Pianist, which is what Mother wanted. But who does what their parents want, aye?!
My Piano teacher was Mrs Faulkner. in Lane Cove. A long way from where we lived then, but I think my sister was already taking lessons with either Mrs Faulkner or quite possibly her husband - being much older than me. She had been with the Faulkner family long before we moved from Greenwich. The suburb was a lot closer to Lane Cove than Ryde, where we moved about 6 months after I was born.
Mum had been so pleased with my progress and what I was doing. However, on this particular day, she said to Mrs Faulkner:
"I haven't heard that piece before!" Boy! Did I get a hiding when we got home! Can't remember if it was the fly swat or the hard end of the feather duster, but I know Mum made a good impression on my legs, or my behind that day. I think Mrs Faulkner was going to retire after my Second Grade Exams, so we needed to find a new teacher, preferably closer to home.
Picture List. Top Left: L to R -Me (3yrs); my sister(13) and our Dad at the official back door of the weekender. The 'front door' faced just bush at that time.
Top Middle: Our row boat with me at the oars, on land anyway. If you look real hard you can see the end of Point Perpendicular on the top right of the picture, showing how far away out to sea it was; Top Right: Me and my 'catch' ho-hum;
Second Left and Middle: Me doing my music theory on the beach;
Second Right: A later photo down the side of the cliff of Point Perpendicular;
Third Left: Fr L to R My brother Joe, me, cousin Jan, neighbour Carolyn my eldest brother, Richard (also hot on Carolyn back then) and others on our own 'whirly-jigger,' in 'Moore Park' at the weekender; Fourth Left:Wreck Bay Aboriginal Mission with me and the Bishops and the Bigges in the photo;
Fourth Right: Mum and Joe from the back viewing our beach from Point Perpendicular; Fifth Left: Moona Moona Creek today; Fifth Right: View across the bridge over Moona Moona Creek built in 1966, 7 years after dad left us.
We had a black cat when I was quite small. Timmy came with us from the house in Greenwich, so I am sure he was older than I. My sister, who was almost ten when I was born, liked to dress Timmy up in doll’s clothes and take him for rides in the old cane pram we had. People would start to look in at the beautiful baby, and be shocked that it was our cat in there, instead.
Tim got a bit old and started to leave his "stuff" in the wrong places, so it was decided it was time for him to go. Dad put him to rest, as I later learned, out in the back garden. I was in contact with the people who bought our house at Ryde in 1986, and the man mentioned some animal remains he found out in the garden next to the laundry and outside loo. I suggested it was most likely Timmy’s remains, discovered nearly 60 years after his "passing."
After Timmy the cat, we got a cattle dog, my brother Joe called Jippy. After a while Jippy got pregnant. So along came a little chubby bundle. A smaller version of his mother, a puppy I called "Toby." After "Uncle Toby’s Oats," one of our favourite breakfasts. Not a lot was done with Toby, I know I loved playing with him. Before long he caught "Distemper" and died. I did miss him but for some reason, no one explained what had happened to him. I am not really clear how I felt about it all then, as we had other issues we were dealing with at the time, of my Dad's "getting restless" and subsequently leaving us.
Toby's burial place was built over by later housing development many years ago across the road from our house, in the paddock that was, back then.
We enjoyed many lovely trips away, as a family, in my early days. Another special trip was to the Hills in Barmedman. Barmedman is in the Central West of New South Wales. I know we had a few holidays with the Hills. Sadly dad moves away. Mum and me at home. J until he is sent off to Boarding School in Bathurst. Richard decides to follow Dad up North to Qld. On the Eastern side of Australia and in the First State.
My Dad grew up in the area and was good friends with Merv Hill, the owner of this property.
I remember some strange things about the Hill property. One was a strange 'outhouse' where the facility was called "a disolvenator!" Not sure if it was just a glorified pan over a pit, otherwise known as a "Pit toilet." I reckon the old song "Redback on the Toilet Seat" or "Seven Old ladies Got Stuck In The Lavatory" or some such, would go well here.
Thanks to my sister who had this amongst some old prints that I, later, had converted. She says this was one of my happiest photos and I believe she was right.
Thinking back to times as a young boy, I still have pleasant memories even now, at almost 66, of precious times with my wider family. I know my mother had a lot of illnesses, but no one talks about them much, because, as my mother-in-law believes - if you talk about these things they will happen; or some such other crazy notion.
Many of my very young days were spent with my mum's mother, Nanna as we called her. I know I often tagged along with her to the “Harbord Digger's Club” or "Torch - Bearers." (Legacy*) These adventures could have been because Mum was off at some doctor, or something - having some kind of treatment. Nanna taught me a lot of card games which I cannot remember now like Cribbage and so on. Sometimes we would play Dominoes or some other game she had. She was very good at keeping me amused.
Mum and I were always "going into town" - (our capital city, Sydney) when I was very small. One of the reasons was my many doctor's appointments. One trip we made, quite frequently, into "town" entailed a visit to the eye specialist. As a very small boy, I had had a correction of a "turn" in my left eye, which needed regular observation.
Just near the ophthalmologist, was the big department store, called David Jones (still there, and very recently celebrated another milestone.) It was a real treat to go for a ham and mustard sandwich and a chocolate milkshake at "DJ's"... I still like the same all these years later. See the "Geoffossary" at the end of this book explaining some queer terms I have come up with in relation to milkshakes and other strange ideas.
It has taken me almost "three score years" as the bible calls the age of Sixty, to figure something out! I now realise why it was, back in my young days, I used to get especially sore feet, following my mum around the big city. Have a look sometime, at a little child following his or her mum or dad around. For every step a Mother takes...the kid is taking two steps, at least!
At the back of the Bridge Road property, was a combined Workshop and Playroom complex. I still remember running the Hornby Large Gauge wind up railway from one end of the playroom to the other. Dad, eventually, converted it all to living space, for my Mother's youngest brother and his wife and young children.
All these alterations and conversions were able to be let out for more income for our living expenses, due to the fact my father did not want to support us after he left us in 1959. The Government, initially, would not pay my Mother a Single Mother's (or 'Deserted Wives' as it was known then) pension without her taking my Father to court. He made sure that would not happen, with threats to her well-being if she did. More of this unfolds, later.
Television or TV was very new in those days. Television commenced in Australia in 1956. Black and White of course. One Public Channel and 2 other Commercial ones for some years before a third started up, and the studios for the newest one were a lot closer to where we lived.
It commenced in our street in three other houses before we finally got one, ourselves. I remember visiting Mc Crae's down the road on the opposite side to us, first. Then a little bit later the neighbour next to the McCrae's got one. There was one more house we visited to watch the afternoon children's shows before we finally had our own.
Not all that long after my father left us, there were rumblings of discontent from my eldest brother. He and my Dad were really good mates. Richard was 8 years older than me and I guess a typical teenager. One night at the tea table Mum decided we would not have the tv on during dinner.It ended up being very argufying (argumentative)between Mum and my brother, over the tv.
"Richard, we will not have the television on during tea time!" Mum stated quite strongly.
"Why can't we have it on, Mum?" said Richard.
Of course, Mum's usual response was....wait for it...
"Because I said so; and for no other reason!"
Following this, there was a kind of 'dance' or fight I guess, between my Mum and my eldest brother.
These days I know we are guilty of eating in front of the TV for both lunch and Dinner. Tsk, tsk. I guess one excuse is we are more comfortable in our recliners. maybe an 'oldies' privilege, ha!
I don't think it was all that long after, my brother moved up to Queensland to live with our Dad. My sister had already moved into a flat of her own with her growing son, and my other brother was on the verge of being sent off to boarding school in the Central West of our state. So it was going to be just Mum and me for some years after that.
After my old music teacher's retirement, I needed a new music teacher. Unfortunately, we had no vehicle at that time, so I had to catch a bus that ran in close proximity to the new teacher, then walk the rest of the way to her place in Edgar St, Eastwood. After the lesson I was able to get another bus that ran close to the school (Eastwood Heights), I attended - on those piano tuition days. I stayed with the new teacher for 2 years.
Then one day I made the mistake of telling her I might be moving to another teacher. So when I turned up the next week for my lesson she said...
"Sorry I have already placed someone in your spot in my schedule." ... I seem to remember we spent an inordinate amount of time talking in the lesson with her, instead of learning. That is why I was going to move. It was a good thing.
When I was 10 years of age, I received a new kind of instrument. I can't remember where it came from, but I was given a medium-sized Piano Accordion. I think it was a 48 bass instrument. I wish I had kept it, as it quite possibly would have been considered antique. I know it was quite old. I did not take all that long to figure out how to play it.
Again, all by myself. In the faint recesses of memory, I think I may have joined with the Mouth Organ band at church, on my new Accordion. I was also about this time as well, acting as a relief pianist in the Primary Department of Sunday School. Mrs Armstead, an elderly lady who was the regular pianist could sometimes not come due to illness.
As we were renting out parts of our property, a neighbour "dobbed" us into council for leasing out, as they claimed, unsuitable premises. They had been in trouble for renting out a disused chicken coop and had a go at putting Mum into the authorities for renting out our back converted flat.
Fortunately, the council regulations had recently been changed to allow 'dual occupancy' on a property. With this in mind, the ordinance inspector was satisfied there were suitable facilities for the back tenants for washing etc. So no charges were laid. It was a pity I didn't do as well, many years later, with Council, on another issue.
As I grew older, Mum would give me a list of things to get down at the local General store, which also included the greengrocer. The Italian owner of the store was always so helpful. He would add the prices of all the veggies, and so on, to my shopping list, and when I got home, I would count out the change back to Mum, from the money she had given me for the shopping. I doubt many kids of less than teenage years could do the same thing now, and be safe.
The shop owner's Persian cat was the Mum of our next furry fellow. Seems his Persian Queen got involved with a Manx male from around the corner from the shop. We knew both animal owners of course. Enter a Persian/Manx cross with a lovely Persian fur coat and a stump of a tail from his father.
We called him "Pinnochio"...Pinny for short, due to the queer tail he had. I wonder if he might have been considered the runt of the litter, but then other kittens would have had the same tail methinks. Perhaps the others were females, and I know my Mum could not afford the greater cost of spaying a female kitten. I loved Pinny very much. He was such an affectionate cat. You could never pat him or stroke him too many times. He loved to be loved. He was never cross with anyone.
Sadly, some tenants we had also owned a funny looking long haired wolf kind of dog. It had caught the 'Mange' disease. They lived in our main house whilst we lived up the back. Anyway, poor Pinny caught the disease from the dog. We tried all sorts of treatments for him including some sort of greasy natural ointment someone recommended. But it was no use, and we thought it was kinder to put Pinny down. We were all heart-broken, as not only was he a loveable cat, he was a good mouse catcher as well.
Photo Titles: Top Left: Me on the banks of the Hill's creek;
Top Right: A better picture of our car with the "suicide" doors - traversing Hill's flooded creek.
Second Left: Picture of 'The Dissolventator'- see notes below;Second MIddle: Me adrift in the middle of the flooded creek.Out of view is one of the Hill boys 'Skinny' tall lanky and of course 'skinny' teasing me;
Second Right:Me supervising the catching of Yabbies or Crayfish in the creek;
Third Left: Me and old Timmy that came with us from Greenwich;
Third Middle:Nanna at the back with me, a bit older, and my childhood sweetheart, Wendy from next door;Third Right: My brother Richard some time after early mentions in here, with a Jippy look alike and his own cat;Fourth Left and Middle:Pinny, the lovable fluffy Persian/Manx, then me and Joe playing with him in the garden. It has been a real joy, just today, all these many years later, to be in contact with the son of our greengrocer I mentioned earlier from whom we got "Pinny."
About the 'Disolvenator' (see picture)
This formidable swirling toilet was an Australian product, designed for use in unsewered areas, and available from hardware retailers from the 1930s to the 1970s. Called the Hygeia Dissolvenator, it consists of a toilet pan mounted on a cylindrical tank. When the lid of the seat was lifted a geared mechanism rotated the material in the tank. Broken up by this mechanical action and disinfected by caustic crystals that were added each week, the resulting sterile solution could be discharged into the soil. The rotating action of the tank was the reason this toilet was popularly called 'the chocolate wheel'. The manufacturer's advertisements claimed that Hygeia Dissolvenators were odourless, but many country people recall that they were anything but.
HERE!Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial
I attended Kindergarten in the Big School at Marsfield Public. I feel ancient as I write this because the old school where I began my learning (and it was very old, even before I was enrolled there) has now been demolished and I haven't been to see what they have replaced it with yet. I am still aware at this time, more than 40 years later, that I went through a confused stage at the end of kindergarten; or maybe I just dreamed it. But it comes to my mind that at that time I didn't really know where I belonged.
Maybe it's because, after my first year at Marsfield, I transferred to Eastwood Heights Public school. This was a new school. Conveniently located near the site of the Electrical and Toy store my parents were, later, to open. As I think back to the confusion of the time; some other considerations may be necessary. Perhaps it was due to the perceived difficulties (seen or felt, as a very young person) at home. Insecurity, or bad feelings before the eventual departure of my father.
There were the everyday routines of a primary school we all took part in. For example, each day we had our required free milk. Unfortunately, at times the delivered milk was not left in a suitable location. By the time we were to have our compulsory portion, it had begun to sour or become quite warm. Ways were thought up to get those more unwilling of us to drink the commanded milk, even sometimes in its very unhealthy condition. Someone came up with flavoured straws, Strawberry or Chocolate, that made it better for a lot of us.
Every day there was marching. Led by Mr. Dureen, or “Derringer”, as he became known; the music man I am guessing. I seem to remember getting to play the drum for the marching at one time.
One of the most outstanding things about my time at that school was, firstly, I got the cane for the first time in third class, (or Year 3 for the present day).
I got the cane because a couple of us boys were doing up our shoes after a sporting event but our crime was, we were sitting on the step at the end of the girls' toilet block. You know those double ended toilet blocks where the gate on one end is locked and so on. Well, the excuse the old teacher gave for giving me the cane, and no-one else, was that I was too slow coming up to see him when I was told. The fact is I WAS SCARED!
In my younger years, and even as an adult I suffered Pneumonia several times. On one of the earliest occasions, we were staying with my Aunty Stella and Uncle Harold Barry, in Yass, in rural N.S.W. It was decided the best thing would be for my Mum and me to fly home to Sydney from Canberra, our Federal Capital. This was the nearest place from which we could be flown home. It transpired, there was some deep discussion as to the viability of flying me home.
After much discussion and consultation with Medical personnel, the final decision was made to permit us on the aircraft to fly home.
When I was about 10 years old, (in Fourth Class at school) my elder brother, Joe and I, got to go and stay with our maternal Grandmother (“Nanna” as we called her) and Step-Grandfather, Harold up at ‘Haddon Rig’ Sheep Farm. We stayed for 10 or 14 days.
The trip out to Warren was, firstly on the Dubbo Mail train. Then Rail Motor from Dubbo to Nevertire Station. Unlike our return trip, we will talk about, this one was uneventful. We had a terrific time with Nanna and Harold (Step Grandfather, and that’s another story, for one day, down the track).
Every day we had fresh lamb cutlets roasted on the fuel stove, followed by bread and dripping. It was lovely. My brother found a canoe made from a few 44-gallon drums welded together. He figured out how to make a sail, and we went sailing on the creek in the middle of the property. Joe was around 14 years old at the time. I was the doting little brother. I still think back to some lovely times we had together. There is a whole lot more we could say, but in another book probably.
The time came for us to return home. It was the end of the school holidays and the Dubbo Mail night train was packed to the hilt. Adults and children were returning to the city after the holidays. My brother, being an adventurous type, found us a “dog box” cabin, unoccupied IN FIRST CLASS! So we settled down and went to sleep. Several hours later the conductor came through, put on the light, and said:
“Two Boys For Sydney, right?” Then turned out the light.
So off back to sleep we went. Sometime later. the light came on, again. This time, it was the Ticket Inspector! Ascertaining we were wrongfully ensconced in a First Class Cabin, we were hunted out! Back in those days, there were, of course, smoking cabins on the trains. We spent the rest of the uncomfortable night’s journey sitting up wedged between several smokers in Second Class.
I don't know if Mr O'Dwyer was still the headmaster when I was in 5th class (Year 5, a year later) but that year I got the cane in larger amounts and more often. 11 times, to be precise. I remember one time I got caned was for "insulting a friend of Mr D." The 'friend' was on a radio programme we were all listening to, in a class entitled "Adventures in Music". I forget what the speaker was saying but I twiddled my finger around my ear as maybe I did not understand what the fellow was saying. Mr Dureen turned around at that very moment. So whack! Just one cut of the cane but it did hurt.
He was a clever, very artistic fellow, but strange, and probably one of the reasons the cane got banned in most or all Government schools later. He also knew at the time I was a student of Pianoforte, and by that time I was doing probably my Second Grade under the old AMEB (Music Examinations Board). Maybe there was a bit of personality conflict as well, seeing we were both "artistic" I guess.
To the teacher's credit, he did organise a lot of musicals where students performed in end-of-year concerts. I also remember my maternal grandmother (Nanna), as an expert seamstress, creating a lot of costumes for the different concerts I performed in under Mr Dureen and some others.
I have learned in recent years that I was not the only one on the end of Mr. Dureen's cane. It would appear on this new insight to "Derringer's" antics; he spread his caning favours amongst many of the boys in his classes. The girls did not miss out either. I don't know if any of them actually got the cane but he was good at detentions and similar punishments for sometimes very trivial offences.
"Derringer" as we nicknamed him, was also especially mean to kids who were a bit different, as I was and I know at least one of the girls was, due to some handicaps we had, even though our problems were not dealt with or treated in 'them' days.
On a funny (?) side, this particular girl I am speaking of told me fairly recently that at one time she committed some misdemeanour (in his estimation, anyhow). She or someone else organized some pillows to be placed inside the classroom piano. So when "Derringer" went to play it, of course, it would not work. I don't know if he ever found out who did it.
One wonders if Derringer was of German extraction, an immigrant from the more 'perfect race' of the time less than 20 years after WWII. In those days we did not belt up teachers or bully them or threaten their very lives as we hear happens in schools in the 21st Century.
My private music tuition took a new turn after the parting of the ways with Miss Yelton I soon started with Mr Allen Holloway in Cheltenham, which involved a bus to the train station in Eastwood, then train for 2 Stations North, followed by a moderate walk to his place. He was the best teacher I ever had.
Another happening during 5th class was the Myuna Bay Fitness Camp. We had about ten days away from home and out of school. It was a Boys' Camp up on the North Coast of our state. It was an interesting affair and in some ways an example of downright child abuse.
We slept in some old tram cars set up on the campgrounds, that had come off the line that year, on the closure of the tram service in our city. I don't know if we could say that was unsuitable sleeping accommodation - I did not mind. We did a lot of interesting things there. I remember each night having sing-a-longs. One of the songs I remember is fairly well known from wartime or scouts. It was called "The Quarter Master's Store."
My Mum and my next door neighbour playmate and childhood sweetheart, I guess, came on visitor's day to see if I was still alive.
The particular incident I am thinking was some kind of abuse was the day a group of us boys were made to STRIP; in the outdoors! Then we were herded into the bathroom/toilet area starkers and hosed off with cold water. I can't remember if the showers had hot and cold water either. Maybe they thought our cleanliness left something to be desired, but I did feel what they did to us that day, might today be considered child abuse.
Funny thing is, I tried recently to find out from some of the other boys, now fathers and grandfathers even, if they remembered this incident. Wondering if it was a dream...or nightmare, perhaps? I could not get any agreement from anyone.
In 6th Class, I was blessed to have as my teacher Mr Les Cheetham. whom, I was told, passed away in his 90's recently. He was also the headmaster. He was a lovely man and so kind to me in a year that had more than a few traumas for me, including one of the two ops I had at Sydney Hospital in 1963, then the latter in my last year of High School in 1967.
I know I enjoyed one particular event in that last year of Primary or Middle School. It was the end of year concert where we did a special production around A.B. (Banjo) Patterson's "Bush Christening" Poem. I played the "Praiste" complete with my not-really-authentic Irish. It was fun, and still to this day I get a bit of a smile thinking about that night. (Check the Link to my reading of the Poem in Author's Notes below.)
I was not a very sporty type of person. I participated in some sports in primary school, even though later on it became more apparent that my health was unsuited to any kind of energetic pursuits. This became more marked towards the end of Primary School.
One last thing about the end of the Middle or Primary School era. All of us had thought we would all go to Ryde High School in Small's Road Ryde. I felt like I was a 'cert' as I only lived about 600 metres north-west of the school. However, the majority who did not elect to go to a Girl's or Boy's High School were sent to North Ryde High, later re-named 'Peter Board' High. In passing, the latter of these 2 has since been demolished and the former, my old school, is now being considered for remodelling and re-opening as either a Middle or High School. Ryde High had, for a time, been utilized as a teacher training centre. As a much later addition, it now appears the school will be rebuilt as a new primary or even combined primary and High School due to the increased population in the area.
Mum's Mum, Nanna as we called her, lived with us for a while. She eventually took up with Harold Shervey, not a good decision. Later they moved up to a sheep farm. Nanna did most of the hard work there. School was a bit confusing as after I start Dad moves on. Just me and Mum at home with the Tenants. Photo Notes: Top Left:Marsfield Kindergarten in 1956 I am in front 3rd from the right in my spiffy bow tie; Top Right: Fifth Class with "Derringer" , I am third from the right on the second bottom row; Second Left:"The Man From Moores" Dad made the special helmet out of a metal cullender, the light on top was powered by a 9volt battery bound up in electrical tape with 2 metal plates that, when pressed together in my hand, made the light come on. Microphone made from a hand held shower. Ear pieces from Ajax powder cleanser tin cut in halves.Second Centre:Me at the door of my camp lodging, an old tram, now off line....after trams were removed from our city streets in 1961.Second Right: My Nanna and Step Grandfather we were with at Haddon Rig (with apologies for the quality as this was taken from their actual wedding photo, with all their guests);Third Left: More recent photo of George Faulkner with my wife Louise when we met him at Haddon Rig, a year or two ago. He was 5 when my brother and I were there;Third Right: Aerial picture of the Creek we sailed on in our made up-yacht.Fourth Left: Sixth Class with Mr Cheetham a wonderful, caring, good teacher. Fourth Right: Crossing the creek a year or two ago with my wife; The last photo is of the Air N.S.W. aircraft I was flown home, quite ill in, from Canberra at a young age.
In Ecclesiastes in the bible it says "There is nothing new under the sun!" How true this is for our trams. More than 50 years after they were scrapped and burned to cinders, even some only a year old...'Light Rail' or trams have now returned to Sydney CBD streets. Hope you enjoy the audio of my reading of "Bush Christening on Radio Station 2GB in 1984.
ClickHERE Select No 2.
I started Sunday School in the Beginners Dept from age 3 or 4, maybe on and off, at first. My mother commenced at the church when I was 8, which meant more regular attendance for both of us to 'Marsfield* Mission' for a number of years now known as "*M... Community Church" - recently celebrating its 80th Anniversary.
During my time at 'Marsy' as the church was affectionately known, I think the longest serving pastor was Mr Stan Gray. Stan was the first married Pastor, after many years of single men in the pastorate. I won't get into the wisdom or not, of single men as pastors but in the old movie "How Green Was My Valley," Mr Gryffyd was certainly an example of how it was under single men in the pastorate.
In another chapter, I may have mentioned my Mother's gift of playing the harmonica or mouth organ. Stan Gray was also gifted in that as well. During Pastor Gray's time with us, he was instrumental in the formation of the Marsfield Mission Mouth Organ Band. My Mum was really in her element as she had won Eisteddfods etc on the harmonica as a girl.
In my early days at Marsy, there was the MM Boy's Club. We had exercises and then went away to camps and so on. During the times we had a car after Dad left us Mum would often be the taxi driver for the old ladies from local aged care facilities, to and from our church.
I remember one day we were coming up Epping Road and sitting at the corner of Epping Rd and Wicks Road, waiting at the Traffic Lights. We had the old Cavanough sisters in the back. All of a sudden, out of the blue, from over in the back seat came "Green!" From one of the old ladies to indicate the lights had changed. Many of the old folk were a delight, even with some of their strange ways.
Miss Violet Sullivan had been a Missionary in the South Sea Islands. She was also an author of several Bible Study books one series called "Bible Study Made Easy." I did a search for this but it is no longer available. My brother Joe was her gardener and lawn "manicurist." Many's the time I remember Miss Sullivan calling Joe on the phone to come and do her lawn. We felt as though she was the ship's Captain with her binoculars, looking out her kitchen window and shock horror... noticing a brave blade of grass that was daring to push its head up on the horizon...then it was time to get Joe on the job, once again.
I really enjoyed something that happened only yesterday (now back in 2014 as I wrote this.) I was taken back to these times we speak of in this very chapter. I had the real joy of catching up with some very old friends. A brother and sister I knew from when I was about 10.
Back in those days, we all used to go to the Katoomba Christian Convention together at Easter and just after Christmas, each year. Katoomba is located in our Blue Mountains to the West of us. As a child, of course, I was a lot further away from the mountains then, East of where my wife and I live today. It was so lovely seeing Bev and Malcolm after so long, yesterday.
The period, I think, when I had reached my "spiritual 'high' " in my life: (if one can put measurements on such things), was around 1973, some years after we are talking about, now. It was at this time I began to take a leadership role in the church I had been attending since I was a young boy. We mentioned my music involvement before. You see, the church of which I was a member for all those years, had a "Non-Denominational" bent.
You may ask...
"What is a Non-Denominational Church?" Or what isn't it?
This "non-denominational" bent dictated that there had to always be an impartial view to anything smacking of "denominationalism" if there is such a word.
As my Dad would have said "I'll give you 'a fer instance!' " Due to "Marsy" having come from, originally, a combined congregation of formerly Methodist and Baptist folk, some special conditions were laid down in the "rules and regulations" at the formation stage. The constitution of the church more or less stated that any pastor appointed to the church, should not preach on the subject of "Baptism". I think the view was that if they allowed baptism* at the church it would cause people to question the "Non-Denominationalism" of the church. I feel there was a genuine concern that if such a thing as Believer's Baptism was allowed to take place at the church, then they would also have to allow sprinkling (or christening) to be a part of the programme.
Just as an aside, here; (Tangent ok, hehe)I'm amazed at many film scriptwriters' interpretations of Jesus "going down into the water" when he was baptised by John The Baptist. Only this last Easter I have been astonished at the scene, in King of Kings where Jesus is portrayed as standing in the Jordan River and John the Baptist has in his hand, a container (presumably with water in it) supposedly to sprinkle Jesus!
*baptism ie either infant sprinkling or adult immersion.
Dad has now left us and we are struggling on our own.No such thing as Single Mother's Pensions in those days. Not at the start anyway.Picture Titles:Top - is me (at about 9;and my childhood friend Wendy at 8,(now, as we write, a Grandmother) and my Nanna at the back. Second left is me about 10; Second Right: Me with the boys at a Boy's club camp; Third Left: Pastor and Mrs Gray;
Third Right: The Yearly Sunday School Anniversary Choir.
I recently learned of some of the crazy rules in deciding to send all these kids who lived further away from North Ryde High than I did to that school which was pretty new. I started at the older Ryde High. I understand the year after the decision above was made, kids from our old Primary School were, again, being directed back to *Ryde High.
The school was the first of its particular design to be built, and several others followed that same design. The funny thing was the steps in that school to the second level classrooms always seemed to have scaffolding mounted under them as there was a question as to their remaining stable for any length of time. I even heard that it might have been, as I mentioned in chapter 1 about my Dad's 'spec' building of houses, in the order of 'speculation' itself seeing it was a 'first' in the design specifications.
Word has it that it was later plagued by the dreaded Asbestos dilemma as well. The buildings, now under another use, are still standing so I don't know what they did about the rumoured Asbestos. Even funnier is the newer school the North Ryde/Peter Board High was the first to be demolished.
Every morning we would assemble in the quadrangle for 'Assembly.' For the first three months of each of the four years I was there, we would hear our dear Deputy Headmaster Mr Rice - complete with a hand over eyes to shield them from the Eastern sun, make the following announcement:
"........and we appreciate your cooperation in this 'diff-i-cult' period." (Emphasis deliberate. as that was exactly how he said it each time and for all of the first three months of each of my four years there.)
Actually, I probably had more to do with Mr Rice over my four years there than any other teacher. In my first year, he was our English teacher. Then during PE, I was exempt due to the aforementioned deafness in my left ear. Reason being there was a concern that if I got hit on the right side of my head I may lose the hearing in that ear as well. So no contact sports for me and during PE I would go to Mr Rice's office and do errands for him instead.
In my early days of High School, (Second Form or Year 8 they call it now,) I learned our English teacher had some kittens she wanted to give away. Miss Smith gave me a little black kitten with very sharp claws. He got named "Sagitta" not sure of the spelling, it was the Latin for "arrow." I was doing Latin at the time. I don't know why, as I wasn't going to be a priest; or a horticulturist; or a doctor.
I only had "Saggy" for a short time. I remember one day the next door's kids came looking for me. They told me Saggy had 'gone down the drain!' Seems Saggy was an adventurous sort of cat, even as a small guy. I followed the kids down the front to the guttering on our road. Reaching down into the culvert I felt little Saggy and was able to lift him out. Unfortunately, sometime later, I believe Saggy might have gone adventuring down that culvert again. The problem might have been at that time, if it was raining, he could have very well been washed off his feet and sucked down the drain, literally. We were all upset again.
In my early teens, I went, on several occasions, down to Melbourne, Victoria, our Southern State. I was travelling down, on the overnight “Spirit of Progress” Train, to stay with my sister. I remember what a very smooth and well-sprung train it was, (thanks to the Victorian State Railways, to whom the 'S. o P.' belonged.) This was very early days of the new Standard Gauge rail between our two major cities. This had removed the cumbersome practice of changing trains at our southern border town of Albury. As a matter of fact, prior to this, there were cases of trains being lifted up off their bogeys in Stanard Gauge(New South Wales), and reset on Wide Gauge (Victoria) at the border.
On many occasions, I remember not being able to get to sleep on the train due to a continual racket caused by Commandos who were heading back to their bases in Victoria after some “R and R” in Sydney. I am guessing, now as I look back, if I was a bit bored or unable to sleep I would spend a lot of time going up and down the train, till I got too tired.
One night, during my stay in Melbourne at my sister’s place, it appears I had my first episode of Sleep Walking. All I remember was waking up out on the balcony of the Fourth Floor Apartment. I must have disturbed my sister from her sleep. She asked me...
"What are you doing?" I said,
"I was looking for John." My Nephew, John, about 9 at the time, was, of course, sound asleep in his bed.
In my High School years, I mostly hung around with the same group of three other fellows. Mainly because, especially from Second Form (Year 8) and onwards, we shared the Special Music Class or the majority of us did, anyway. Seeing I was and still am a bit 'different' I was the brunt of the jokes and jibes and general ridicule. So I either put up with these guys or I was alone. Sometimes I did not mind that either.
You see, back in those days, it was weird to be without a Dad in your family. These days the reverse is the norm and you might be considered weird if you do have a Mum and Dad in this Century. I will not, in this tome, get into the children that have 2 Mums or 2 Dads. I don't mean own parent and Step-parent either.
I had a great bunch of teachers in High School. There were a number of compassionate teachers as well. I had times, especially at the end of the week, when I was extra tired (from the, as yet undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea, I venture to add)...So Some of the teachers especially Mrs Irwin. the Science Mistress, from memory, would allow me to go to the Sick Bay for a lie-down.
There were some really dumb teachers as well, especially Mr Doyle whom we had for History in Year 8 or Second Form, I think. He would come into the room and say...
"Well, class; you know where you are up to in your books, carry on!" Then he would lean back in his chair and read the newspaper.
To this day I don't know why I passed History in the Fourth Form (Year 10 for you modern folks) School Certificate, but Doyle had absolutely no part in that pass for sure.
Start of High School Years. Also start of strict diet. But I had my ways.*Pictures are of,
Top Left: First Form Class 1c (1964) -I am 2nd in from right, on the third row. The pale looking guy. Being really restricted in my diet. Not the best for a teen-ager.
Middle Left: The school magazine. I got a couple of entries in there over time. One of them has been reproduced here in FS.
Bottom Left: Second Form class 2b. I am Second in from the left on the 2nd row.
Top Right: Buffet car (I probably spent a lot of time there, hehe)of "Spirit of Progress" Train to Melbourne.
Middle Right: Family shot of: Back L to R My brother Joe and then my Sister, Deanne; Front L to R: Me, Nanna, Nephew John and our cousin Robyn. Most likely on Harbord Beach in the early '60s; Bottom Right: The modern day units at Rathdowne Street, Melbourne. The units on the left of the picture are the original flats in the story, no trams in the old days, a lot more flashy, today.
Making my way through High School. A lot of great teachers. I was a bit of a loner with a small group of "friends??" I had been exempted from Phys Ed due to hearing problems. My mum was worried that seeing I only had hearing on one side, any concussion in contact sport might make me lose hearing altogether.
The big event in my life during Third Form was the visit of my yet unseen father (for the previous six years, at least). It raised a whole lot of hopes in my heart and mind, at the time, Mostly that perhaps he was coming home, FOR GOOD! Not so!
It was a heart-rending, and tearful further parting, as dad left. He had visited for about an hour. I guess the only good thing that came out of his visit was his support and payment for my big trip to Tasmania, about the middle of the year. I think he and mum must have talked about this plan, privately, somehow, as his visit was not all that much earlier than the actual trip.
The Tasmanian holiday was on the occasion of the National Christian Endeavour Convention, held in Launceston, the number 2 city of Tasmania - our southern island state, off the mainland. On the day of departure, my sister picked me up, and together with her 2 children and 2 others she was caring for, that day took me into the city airline Terminal. From there the coach transported us to the airport, where we boarded a plane for the 3 hour trip to Launceston.
We broke the flight in Melbourne, Victoria, our Southern mainland State. The purpose of the break was to pick up more for the Convention, as the flight was a special charter for the group. We were to spend a week, or it might have been ten days in Launceston. A long time ago now, hard to sort it out in my mind. This included morning meetings most days and afternoon tours around the nearby areas of Launceston.
At that time in Launceston, there were trolley buses in the streets. Some years before, the trams had ceased in Sydney. where I understand we also had trolleybuses at one time, but I never saw them as they were mainly operating in our southern suburbs. I lived on the north side. There was a time they operated concurrently with the trams in Sydney. Another thing I remember about the time in Tasmania, was the extreme cold IN MAY! Our Winter did not commence until June. Also, it was much milder on the mainland, seeing Tasmania was a lot closer to Antarctica than we folks on the Eastern seaboard of the mainland.
Each morning at our billet family, the Dell's home, in Penquite Road, Newstead, we awoke to quite cold conditions. These included quarter inch thick ice on Mr Dell's motor car windows. They would take us to the meetings each day. Then we would go off on our planned afternoon tour. Returning for an evening meal and meeting each night.
There was a mystery tour one afternoon, turned out to be to the Cataract Gorge. What amazed me was the afternoon tea on offer, that day. Ice creams and soft drinks, or soda as they are called in the USA. I would have thought it might have been more appropriate to provide us with Buns and Cocoa or Hot Chocolate!
At the end of the convention, there was to be a major venture. It was to be a rail tour on the Tasman Limited train. It would be an 11-hour trip, one way, to Hobart, the Capital of Tasmania. History bears out the wrong decision I made not to take part in that trip. It was not all that long after, the Tasman Limited ceased regular passenger trips to Hobart. Today the trip only occurs on special occasions and is now run by a volunteer group. Most of the public rail services ceased in Tasmania sometime after that visit we made.
I cashed in my tickets and stayed in Launceston to see one of the first runs of "Sound Of Music" with Julie Andrews, in Australia. I guess you know I remember that surrendered Tasman Limited trip, now, all those years ago, every time I see 'Sound of Music.' After this, it was back to school again.
It must have been some time after Dad's visit to us, he wrote to my Mum and invited us to all come up to North Queensland to live in Townsville with him. This correspondence and some interesting angles on it will be referred to later on, in this book.
In the Music Class, there were only 5 of us. We were all pretty good at music. For some reason, Miss Thomas decided we all should only attempt the 'Credit' level exam in the School Certificate. We had no ability to change her recommendation. So what happens? All five of us finished the Exam in half the allotted 2 hours. We all passed at Credit Level. All that would have been needed for the Advanced level would be to write a couple of Essays on a couple of Composers. I forget who they were, now but pretty sure they were composers we knew a lot about.
More on the Music Class. By early Third Form, It became known to the other *Music Master (also a sometimes Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, back then) - that I had what is known as 'Perfect Pitch.' So he often sent word to me to come down to the Assembly hall to assist in tuning up our School Orchestra. *Mr. L. B., I was pretty sure - had designs on me becoming a conductor...not a bus conductor ok.
He had arranged for me to take Violin lessons with Miss Thomas and a gaggle of girls. I don't know if I quit because of all the girls in the class. They were mostly all 'good lookers' as well. However, I was not, at that time, of a mind to think of the fairer sex as being approachable. Let me assert here, I was not 'gay.'
There is more information on my 'physical situation' in reference to the ladies, in later chapters. I now know Mr B's plan was to get me learning Violin with the possibility of being part of an orchestra someday, even First Violinist in the Orchestra, who ultimately became second only to the Conductor in position, in the orchestra.Not 'Perfect Pitching' anymore, now, sadly.
Even though my hearing deteriorated, later on, it was not realised way back then, that there was absolutely no hope of my becoming a conductor of an orchestra. With the good hearing on only one side at that time, I could not get the proper balance right across any orchestra.
I did have the option during that last year to take a 'Bursary' Exam. This would have, had I been successful, provided funding from our Commonwealth Government for me to continue on to the last two Senior years of High School. Due to the operation, I was to have, it could not be planned suitably. I could have taken the exam in Hospital, or at home. But we did not know when I was going to be in the Hospital or when I would be recovering at home afterwards.
In the photo of my fourth and final year of high school, I was not too long out of the hospital, from my second operation. Hence looking a bit sickly. I was also not sleeping well for many years with a sleeping disorder we never knew about till many years later. I had a kind teacher who used to allow me to absent myself to the sick bay on most Friday afternoons.
Quite honestly I was not really keen to do those extra years, even had I done the bursary exam and been successful. My excuse being, it would not be fair on Mum to support me another two years at a school. As of several years back, (now speaking in 2016) our high schoolers no longer have the option to leave after Year 10, anymore. They must go all the way to Year 12.
On my last day of High School and Schooling in general, on 'Muck Up' Day, Miss Thomas wrote on my shirt 'THE LOST CHORD'... she was probably right in many ways, but definitely NOT as far as music was concerned in those days.
On the private music side; I got right through to Fifth Grade with my last music teacher, the same year I did my Final Exams at High School. (1967.) Sadly, Mr Hunter, whom I really liked a lot got a transfer through the Education Department (he was also a Maths teacher.) He was moved all the way out West to rural Orange. So that was the end of my tuition in Piano for another year or so.
In more recent times there have been various discussions on the history of Ryde High, on Social Networks. Following are some titbits of discussions about different things concerning our old 'Alma Mater'
Discussion on Facebook with another old RHS student.... their comments
I did attend the 85 Silver Jubilee and some have said Ryde closed the year after now you have suggested it was still open in 87??
We were the last Year 12 through the joint I believe- they were sure glad to see us finish high school!!!!
My reply: "Were they starting to as the expression was in the old Hotel* movie when the offer to sell was not accepted..."CLOSE THE PLANT DOWN" around you?
My comment re our "school mag"...."Does anyone remember the 'Amity' Magazine*?' I was not sure if it came out each year? We got to make contributions to it. It was presented very nicely. Not sure if it was done each year? " There was no response.
"Anyone remember the scaffolding under the stairs for years and years?" No comment.
Names have been changed to protect the individuals referred to. Pictures list: Top Left: Form 3b I am in the third row and second in from the right; Top Middle: My first bulky knit jumper I would take to Tasmania also. I loved that jumper; Top Right: My Dad this photo was taken 2 yrs after his visit. Second Left: Plan of Australia showing the location of Tasmania, our Island State; Second Middle: My sister and my nephew and niece with two kids my sister was looking after that day - at the City Airline Terminal preparing to get me on the coach for the Tasmania trip. Notice the posh Car Coat I was wearing that day. I had to get down to 8 stone, (112lbs) to earn that coat from Mum; Second Right: Map of Tasmania - Launceston, Tasmania's Second City on the map, near the top of the island and about 3/4 the way across; Third Left: Form 4b, my final year of school I am on the second row from the front and second from the right. I don't know what happened to the photo's quality.
Interesting info on the Music teacher I mentioned Mr Leonard Burtenshaw.
I am thankful to God for His enabling and provision of my gift of music to be an encouragement to others as well as a source of employment at various times in my life. Some famous people come across my path...Billy Blinkhorn, Herman and His Hermits, Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent...the flower people time, Vietnam war, Americans on R & R. Putting this up, again, even though already "All Time Best" for an FS friend who is writing about her retail job days.
Pictures: Top Left: Old Queen Victoria Building where JSJ was situated, just to the right of the end of this picture.Top Right: Me on the organ at J Stanley Johnston (my first job in 1968) I was 17.Second Left:Just one of the celebrity Groups I was to meet in my 14 month at JSJ, namely Herman and his Hermits from Britain; Others I met included Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent back then;
Second Right: A much younger "Smiling Billy Blinkhorn" Country singer who saved me when I fell down the stairs at JSJ;Third Left: The newer, renovated QVB in the last few years; Third Right: The long hair hippy style of the late sixties in Sydney opposite the GPO and also on the new (at that time) Martin Plaza- formerly Place with vehicular access.
*Read about Non-Accountants and Non-Smoker's Milkshakes in my 'Geoffossary' at the end of the book. The Queen Victoria Building has now been renovated and there are no stores on the outside of the building as far as I know these days. They are all inside what was the old QVB market building.
In March 1969, I decided to fly out to Parkes in the West, on a Club 25* ticket on "East-West" Airlines. From there my father would pick me up and drive us both back to his pub he was leasing in Forbes. At some time prior to this, I had met Dad in the city when he was down for some reason. That was when he suggested I come out for a holiday in Forbes, ostensibly to also meet Maude.
This was to be my first meeting with my father's de facto, Iris or Maude as she was known. Dad had lived with her pretty well since he left us when I was 8 years old. I know his judgement was way off, and I don't know if she had a lot of money or something. Maude's sister Joyce and her husband lived with them as well.
Dad and Colin were partners in the pub. Dad was the working end and Colin was the handler of the money. I have mentioned before, my Mum always said dad was clever with his hands but hopeless in business. He lost money on just about anything he ever took on. I think Colin had his "hand in the till" as well.
I really liked Colin's wife, Joyce, also Maude's sister. She was the one that took me to a Housie* night at the local Ambulance Station. It was a fundraising event for the Station. Joyce could manage ten cards of her own and a couple of mine at the same time. Some of the old regulars got a bit upset that this young upstart from the city came in and relieved them of $10 for the night. I believe I was around 3 weeks shy of 18 yrs of age...technically an illegal participant at Housie that night.
It was a traumatic time when I got home to Mum, after the 2 or 3 week holiday with my father whom I had not been so 'up close and personal' with for the previous 8 years. Except for the time, we mentioned when he came and visited at home and subsequently supported my trip to Tasmania. Or the one or two times we had lunch together when I worked in the city. I just went into her arms and cried, as I felt like it had been such a change after all that time.
It was not all that long after the holiday, I began to look for work closer to home. I finally managed to get a clerical job, in July 1969 at York Air conditioning in Gladesville, much closer to our home than going into the city.
Picture Details:Top Left: A pic of an East West Airlines plane of the type I flew on in 1969. Top Right: We flew over the Warragamba dam in Western Sydney, the main water supply for all of Sydney back then;approximately 40 miles West. The Dam had only been operational for 9 years at the time of the photo. Apologies for quality of photo it is a converted slide to print.
Second Left: The old Post Office Pub taken at the time I was there in 1969. Second Right: Notice the modifications and updating of the same pub when Louise and I visited a year or two ago. Third left: The burned out Ambulance Station in Forbes taken same time as our recent visit. It was in full swing back in 1969. Arson is understood to be the reason for the destruction. Long story.
*Club 25 was a cheaper ticket for under 25 year olds, with the East West Airlines, back then.
*Housie is a lot like Bingo.
Around the 1970's I was involved in the music programme for Youth For Christ, a 'Para-Church Group' that held rallies once a month, over in Rockdale, initially - then Hurstville later on. YFC ran these Rallies for young people in the Southern region of Sydney. A friend named George, and I, provided the music. We used to have a great time together as he played the organ and I accompanied on piano. (I was mostly drowned out by George's playing on the organ!)
On the way to the rallies in George's car, we would call into a music store in the City to pick up an organ on loan. George did repairs and stuff for the store, so he was well known to them. The music store we would go to is the now superseded "Elvy's Pianos" in Sydney. (Then swallowed up by the Brash's organisation that, I think of late, has been swallowed up by someone or something else.) We would drive into town on Saturday afternoon to pick up the organ from the store.
While we were at "Elvy's", we would each get on the organ and piano and have a "jam session" for a short time. George (pictured) died a little while ago and the news of his passing brought back a lot of wonderful memories of some good times together picking up and returning the organ from Elvy's and so on.
The seventies was an interesting period, in many ways, for me, as far as church and the activities there. We had a great youth group, which I was still a part of, even in my 20's. One outing we went on, accompanied by my best friend Jim, staying with his Aunt and Uncle who were my Pastor and wife.
We were on our way home after a wonderful time at Whale Beach, the second most northern suburban beach from Sydney. Pastor Gray knew I wanted a photo of Whale Beach from a strategic spot above the beach with a tremendous view.
We drove up the hill and he turned in at the road where I knew was the best vantage point for the photo. I got out and took the photo you will see above. THEN: He needed to reverse backwards into a driveway, on a hill, to turn the vehicle around. Pastor Gray began to drive forward, AND THE BRAKES FAILED.
"Hang on a minute," he said.
We were so glad he was an experienced bus driver prior to coming to our church. I am sure God helped him to manoeuvre the vehicle the best way he could, to prevent us going over the steep downward slope on the other side of that driveway. Fortunately, the brakes 'took hold' in time.
One of my tasks at Marsy was the printing of the church Monthly News. I would go down to one of the founding member's home where the duplicator was, to do the printing. Miss Doris Rainbow was living there. One day she asked me, or rather pointedly stated....
"I hope you're not becoming 'enamoured' with that Metropolitan Baptist, are you?"
I replied, not really understanding her expression 'enamoured' but I found out later my response was correct...
"I don't know if I'm becoming 'enamoured', Miss Rainbow, but I like going there!"
Sometime prior to this discussion with Miss Rainbow, a number of us in the 'Mission' as we were then, felt we needed to follow Christ's example and be Scripturally baptised. As Marsy did not perform baptism by Immersion or any other kind, it was arranged with a visiting preacher, that 11 of us would be baptised at Pennant Hills Baptist Church, on a Sunday afternoon. I can remember the exhilarating feeling as I came up out of the baptismal waters. The sense that God's Hand was most definitely on me. I can honestly say, that from that day forward, I really began to grow in the things of God.
I was also leading the "Young People's Christian Endeavour." We were about to take on a new pastor, an Irishman. I initially liked Willy Roberts. He brought some new life into the church. However, as new pastors always do, he wanted to make some changes. When a new man comes into an established church, he should be very careful in whichever ways he begins to 'rock boats,' or make changes.
He had begun a new Youth programme of a Sunday afternoon. This would have been ok if he had been considerate enough to liaise with me, re the change. I found out about the change in a 'backhanded' kind of way. Numbers were dropping off from my C.E. Group. I soon ascertained what was happening. As it turned out, his new plan was not such a bad deal. I had been interested in another church's meetings, so this left me free to move on, eventually.
"You know; I can't understand why an engine driver isn't afraid of the monster he's in charge of..." Quote from a story called "Trains" from an old 78rpm record we had, years ago. I think the above statement can be easily associated with the title of this chapter: whether it's a bus or a church.
To some people, the expression 'church' refers to a building; and this can be taken to also infer that our God whom we worship, and serve: is limited to that building. This can be further illustrated by the behaviour of individuals. Inside this building, supposedly, where God is, as it would seem to most folk, we become pious and worshipful.
Outside; it is an entirely different story. Hence my interpretation of the place God occupies in all, or a large percentage of our minds, and should be hearts ...oh, I'm terribly sorry, He should be in the church, shouldn't He?! While I leave that for the reader to sort out, I want to summarise how I personally see "the church". (I might add, here, I am sure I don't have this opinion, exclusively).
The 'church' is, in truth, the called out assembly of believers, or the "ecclesia". This means the members or adherents of a group set up for the purpose, making up the assembly or church. The church is not merely a building, as some would have us believe. We meet to worship in a building called a 'church' but the PEOPLE MAKE UP THE CHURCH!...
God is not limited to the inside of a church building. He is
OMNISCIENT all knowing
OMNIPOTENT all powerful
present at all times.
So you see we cannot keep God shut up in a building. We don't have a "monopoly" on God. His knowledge is far and above anything we can understand. I think for us to have any kind of relationship with God we need to understand these things first of all.
You know, not even Satan the Arch Deceiver, Father of Lies, Angel of Light, Prince of Darkness, Author of Confusion,Old Slew Foot or the Devil or Lucifer, however, you want to name him, can be 'all- knowing, all powerful', although he does have power over young and old men and women, who don't know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
He does this even with God's people. I had just recently (at the time of writing this, some years ago) been shocked to hear of a very godly friend who had a very successful ministry and, it appears, had fallen into grievous sin. It shows that Satan with all his wiles wants to keep people from going on with the Lord and affect the lives of those who have been influenced in the past for good in the opposite direction. This tends to happen because we constantly look up to men instead of keeping our eyes on God.
Following all this, we had a big to do about trying to bring in Scriptural baptism, not long before I left that church. The fact is, Baptism by immersion is a Scriptural doctrine. Christ Himself was baptised by Immersion. Not as the movie producers in some cases try to make out being sprinkled as I stated, above... one movie did it right with Jesus Baptism - "Greatest Story Ever Told!" I believe it is!
The only reason we Independent Baptists (that I have now been affiliated with since 1974) call ourselves Baptist is because Baptist Doctrine is the closest to which we hold. We are probably, more Non-Denom, but as you can see that might confuse some, seeing there are differences on Scriptural Baptism.
There are those who teach that Baptism is necessary to Salvation (Church of Christ and so on.) It is the "Baptismal Regeneration" doctrine, but then I say... how about the Thief on the Cross? When Christ said "This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise" Weren't no water' to baptise the repentant thief huh!
Baptism does not save, neither does the Eucharist or communion or Church membership or large donations or Last Rites ...
Here follows a poem I wrote some time ago entitled
"What Would You Do With Him?"
Baptism doesn't save one
And neither does 'Last Rites'
His Body and Blood took flight.
Over two thousand years ago
Our Saviour's sinless blood
Paid for all our sin and shame
Both now, and since the 'Flood'
His sacrifice made once for all,
Sufficient to the day
On Calvary's cross, our Saviour died
He now lives I'm pleased to say.
Some day He's coming back again
To rule a thousand years
But in the meantime Rapture comes
Will you be left in tears?
Are you relying on good works,
Or offerings in the plate?
You need to call on Jesus, NOW!
Before it gets too late.
Pictures: Top left: George Hughes, best photo I could find of him;Top Right: George with back to us on the organ at YFC; Second left: Making my speech at my 21st;Second Right:Ross, Wendy and Robyn my next door neighbours at my 21st;Third Left:My first car with the silly flowers;Third Right:The Christian Endeavour Group I led for a short time.Fourth Left Whale Beach scene; Fourth Right: Some old marsy friends at my 60th Afternoon tea here at home in 2011.
The Uniting Church and the old Methodist denominationare one and the same here in Australia
"We interrupt this programme to bring you an important announcement!" I felt like I needed to do that... I, like everyone I know and you know, always looked forward to the day I would have a license to drive a car. This was only out-done by the overwhelming desire to have my own vehicle.
However, the vehicle is not much good without the license huh! I was a late starter in many ways. Voice did not break till after 17. I was also not fortunate (or I WAS smart not to, maybe) enough at the age of 16 years and 9 months, as it was then, to get a Learners' Permit. I got mine at the age of 18 years and following this, I embarked on a quest to obtain my "P's." (Provisional License.) In the event, this "tome" becomes an "International Best Seller" I should explain that, in Australia, back in my younger days, your first twelve months of licensed driving was spent subjected to the restriction of your speed limited to 90 kph - 80mph then; unless it is indicated as less.) and displaying your "Red 'P' " plate front and back.
Similarly in the 21st Century but a lot more restrictions. I won't get into the horrific Compulsory Third Party Insurance slug under 30's in age, have to pay, today, to get on the road.
I began to learn to drive, mostly done with a driving school. I got my license after some more lessons with a second driving school. It was also at this time on September the 8th 1970, my eldest brother acquired for me, my very first car - a little "Triumph Herald Coupe" -1961 model. If you are a "Heartbeat" British TV show watcher you would have seen the Sedan version of the same car, quite frequently, owned by the policeman's heart-throb, the doctor.
I was very dependent on my (now deceased) brother Richard, to help me out with mechanical problems. After all, it was he who got me my first car. We spent many a weekend tuning up the little car and it wasn't long before I took delivery, from him, of the Triumph. It didn't look all that exciting but it was one of the easiest cars to drive. It also only cost me the princely sum of $AU160 including registration.
Eat your heart out, all you speed fiends. Actually, my foray into Triumph Herald coupes and sedans (at least three of them) only cost me around $AU400. One of the very few problems with the car was if you had a front-end collision with something or someone no matter how slight, there was a strong possibility of damaging the forward opening bonnet couplings beyond repair.
I didn't mind the 2-hour drive down to my brother's place at Bargo, 60 miles/100kms south of my home in Ryde, every now and then to do something else to the little car and before you say...
"how come it took so long?"'..., Don't forget we didn't have the Freeway or the Motorway (M7 as of about 5 years ago now)...back then. So it was a picturesque drive down the winding Hume Highway. Now, more than 40 years later - the New M7 saves another 20 minutes of Driving. Not so much fun these days, as sadly no reason to do the trips anymore.
I didn't do many trips of any great distance but I loved that little car. So easy to handle for a novice driver, too. However, the limit of distance for my first 3 cars, was actually about 60 miles or 100klms one way then after some maintenance, I could drive home the other 100klms, safely, thanks to my big brother's expertise.
In the first Triumph, (Pictured) the North Coast was appealing to me in those days because the church's Youth Group would go up to a place called "Lutanda", a youth camp in Toukley area. (Now known many years later as "Camp Toukley".)The area of my travels in my first car was bounded by Katoomba in the Blue Mountains (2 hours west of Sydney), Bargo in the South and Toukley on the North coast. This was because I couldn't be sure of getting back home, safely, if I ventured further out. Sigh!
During my time with the Southside *YFC (*Youth For Christ), we organised a walkathon between Rockdale and Gunnamatta Bay Park in Cronulla. Because I was already a bit of a chubby person and not fond of long walks - added to which I was the proud owner of my very first car dubbed "Colin Moore's Bomb*" with the number plate CMB 389, (my middle name is Colin)anyway, for all the aforesaid reasons, I became a mobile checkpoint for the walkathon. I think this was the only notoriety my little car gained in its relatively short stay with me.
I bought two more Triumphs after this. One of which cost me a negligent driving charge and a distinct possibility of being put in gaol. I bought it for $20 for parts, but, of course, at that price, you immediately realise it was unregistered and uninsured for personal injury.(CTP mentioned earlier). The policeman who pulled me up, having driven, very carefully two-thirds of the way home, threatened to put me in the clink if he caught me driving it again! I joined the other members of my family who have at various times fallen foul of the law for many and various reasons.
The $AU20 car looked similar to the grey and white sedan in the picture. That was a car being prepared for our mother. The sandstone blocks in that picture present an interesting, but eventually sad story. Richard would bring back a load of these blocks from South Australia when he had no backloading. The plan was to build a decent abode on their property, from the wonderful sandstone. This would replace the run-down shack they lived in for many years. It would have been good, had not his wife up and sold the property complete with these stored up sandstone blocks, during one of his times away, for work. Fortunately, he did have another store of these blocks, up at our Dad's Opal Settlement in Grawin, in the North West of our state. He did get to see a stone hut built up there later on. (We may get a picture of it, later).
So; after the nefarious activity of the utterly offensive and penalty producing nature, came another little Triumph. This time, of Ivory colour. This Triumph was famous for the lack of brake shoes. (Not Richard's fault...just slack maintenance on my part!) I had been using this car for a little time, during which I met Lorna.
We went out together for four months or so, and in those days, the fellow always paid for the night out. It probably would have been wiser to spend some of the money on new brake shoes. (No Disc Brakes back then!) In hindsight, I think one of her reasons, if asked, for giving me away would have been the numerous occasions when we could hear 'metal to metal', on the application of the brakes! Richard was unavailable at this time, being on his "Round Australia" Caravanning (Uncle Sam readers call them "Motor Homes" ) - tour! Or perhaps on the "Redex" Trial in the VW Bug. (Get you some photos later, perhaps.)
We already mentioned the (No 3.) $20 "spare parts" Triumph. Probably cost a lot more after I paid the Fine! Last, in my acquisitions of "Triumphs" well "Triumph Heralds" Came the "RED TERROR!"
Photos: Top Left: The original Triumph "Colin Moore's Bomb" CMB389
Top Right: Mum's Triumph and Richard's Sandstone sold off with property in his absence.
MIddle: Razorback Range pre M7 days.
Bottom Left: Red Terror can't see mangled front end.
Bottom Right: Mum and Richard (Coach Driver)on Tour.
Now 18 years of age, I was becoming tired of the long trips into town, using two buses, every day, so I started looking around for another position closer to home. I cannot remember how I managed to get an interview for my next job. I had been working five and a half days per week and all I can think of is; I must have taken a "sickie" on the day.
*Tech stands for TAFE or Technical and Further Education. ~shackeIled is a play on the old lady's name. I do really enjoy the reviews and advice from other members of Fan Story and I do hope you will all continue along with me into this more recently re-edited chapter.
The picture is of the house I grew up in. Had a FanArt picture but it disappeared.
1970 was the year I started with another new employer. Now 19 yrs of age. (At this stage I was back in town, again, sigh!) It was a very old, and famous stationer called W C Penfold's Store.
Now, as we launch into this part of my story, I'm wondering if the lawyers and legal eagles are getting out their knives for me. Alas, the fact is, as a zoom forward... WCP finally closed down, and its place was taken in stationery supply by the big Officeworks stationery group. So no worries there.
Firstly, let me say, at the outset; Penfold's was a very good company to work for, in the time I was employed there. They were very good to their staff in a time of need. At one stage, I was ill with pneumonia and had already used most of my sick leave. The company, very graciously, sent wages home for the fortnight I was off sick. I will always be grateful for their generosity.
At the time of my application for employment at Penfold's, my first point of contact was the Floor Manager. This person turned out, to me, to be a very complex identity but more on that subject, later. On the first visit, inquiring about the position advertised, the "floor manager" spent about an hour going through shop procedure with me. Then when I commenced with the company, there was another two-hour session, with him.
It was a session on product knowledge and rules of service, before being let loose on the shop floor. The "old fashioned-ness" of the place was accentuated by the using of "Mr or Mrs or Miss so and so" when speaking to staff, even in the presence of staff only. As a matter of fact, the old British show "Are You Being Served - Grace Brothers" on the television brings back some very strong memories of those days, in more ways than one. For starters, I wonder if they thought I was "Gay", as was almost everyone else there- the male staff, anyway...
In thinking back to my employment at "York Air Conditioning" previously, it was a really good lead-up to this job. Especially being a stationery store, dealing with a lot of the same thing I had done at the former job.
In the early days of my time at Penfold's, in 1970, I was "Called Up" for National Service. My ball had been selected from the "lottery".This was similar to the American Draft, and at the time was to get young men to train for service in the War in Vietnam. I failed the Medical in any case. But then, had I qualified medically, I am still not sure I would have actually ended up in Vietnam as the then Labor Government (Americans read Demoncrap or DEMONRAT equivalent) - abolished Conscription (National Service.) The place where the Medical examination was carried out was the "Grace Building" then leased to the Dept of Veteran's Affairs, and where I was to work some years later - a strange coincidence.
An aspect I found quite difficult, was standing up all day. I know most retail stores require staff to be on their feet throughout the day's trading but this floor was hard concrete. I had a few visits to the Podiatrist or Chiropodist as they were then called, during my time at "Pitfalls" as I liked to call them. (As it was located in Pitt St., in the City)
Unfortunately, I never understood the usefulness or method of application of the "Arch Supports*" the podiatrist supplied to me as they were known back then, for inside my shoes. To be quite honest, I don't think he instructed me properly on their use, either. I am now a permanent wearer of not just "Arch Supports" anymore; but now the new name and new, technologically designed shoe insert known these days, as "Orthotics."
It was during my employment at Penfold's' I became more interested in the minds of people and their idiosyncrasies. Someone accused me, at one time, of visually undressing a customer with my eyes, when I was serving her in the shop. I couldn't tell if she was flirting with me, or accusing me of sexual harassment, but we never got any further. Although I must say; I had my favourite customers, usually young office girls that got me going.
So at least my hormones, it would appear, were working ok - to a point anyway, in those days. Just as well my eyes were in better shape then than now, as the eyes seem to do more looking in the different directions - these days, literally, than they did back then. (Due to the old corrected 'turn' operated on as a child, wearing out.) The Ophthalmologist these days says I am too old to do another muscle correction.
It certainly was a great honour from time to time, to meet, and even be the one to actually serve some famous people. One of these was Jerry Lewis. I don't know what he was doing in Sydney. Maybe I knew better back in those days, but I have forgotten, now. Man! That guy must have bathed in "Brut" deodorant! Maybe the company was one of his sponsors? It certainly drew a crowd from all over the several floors of the store. Nice being the almost centre of attention at that time. Should have got an autograph.
Another famous personality was Sandy Scott. He was a well-known singer, here in Australia for many years. I actually almost got to deal with him twice, at Penfolds. The first time, I served him, he wanted to pay by cheque. The store policy dictated that to accept cheques, I had to go upstairs, and get it authorised by one of the managers.
The next time Sandy Scott came in, to another section. He again wanted to pay by cheque. When the assistant wanted to get the cheque verified, he started to throw up his arms impatiently, looking over to me, to help him. I just had to say,
"Sorry, sir, that is a company procedure. Anytime someone wants to pay by cheque we have to get it authorised."
Bankcards were very new in those days, similar to today's Mastercard and Visa, or even American Express. Amex was probably around long before any of these others anyway.
I can still remember, a fellow who worked in the upstairs storeroom. The uniqueness of this chap was the "atmosphere," that surrounded him. (I certainly could not insult the word by calling it "ambience?!") I was not aware if he had a problem with it, but after this guy passed you, you could count to five and then this "cyclone" of body odour, foot odour, bad breath and any other pongs or "atmospheres" you could imagine, would swiftly almost knock you off your feet. Another fellow used to like putting a different colour through his hair (what was left of it), each week. We ended up running a competition to see who could guess what colour his hair was going to be the next week.
The floor manager guy I mentioned earlier was really dedicated to his work. So much so, on the job he watched you like a hawk, was very serious with you at all times, and didn't miss a thing. However, off the job (at lunchtime), he was quite good-natured and sociable towards you. Sort of a "Jekyll and Hyde" make-up, if you will. In more recent times, I have been reminded of him again, in the person, would you believe, of our Local Federal member, Mr Chris Bowen - who is actually my old boss's Nephew, pretty sure! The Local member's father worked for the railway - I remember his Uncle, probably, talking about his brother working on the railway. Go figure!
There was a fellow who was the window dresser and "would-be-boss person". Every time you would say...
"see you later" he would return with...
"not if I see you first". And one of his other favourite expressions in response to...
"excuse me", was...
"I did when I first saw you". Groan! The truth be known, you probably smelled him before you saw him, anyway. Seeing he was a very heavy smoker. I think smokers also lose their sense of smell, in some cases, as well as their taste*. More on this, again as promised earlier, in my "*Geoffossary" at the end of this book.
As far as the women in the store went, cutting it really short, their "grapevine" would make "Peyton Place" & "Harper Valley PTA" look like Sunday school, with their tongues. I know there were a lot of "cliques" around the store in the different departments. I am sure many staff were the source of, particularly, the women's breakfasts. I got on with most of the women there ok.
I still remember the great event of stocktaking every year. We had to count every pen nib (script, calligraphy etc.) - every sheet of carbon paper - do we still have that around? And I'm sure some of the stock we were counting had been in the store since it opened in 1830 or so... (just kidding!)
The shop was on the Ground and Basement levels of a 15 storey building at 88 Pitt St Sydney and one of the big events I can remember, from the "Penfold’s" days, was the time when the sewerage system, for the entire building, collapsed and we ended up with about 3 inches of raw sewage running throughout the "Office Systems" section, in the basement of the store. Pew! Staff members were offered overtime to stay and help clean it up; needless to say, I didn't accept the offer.
Towards the end of my time at Penfold’s, I began to be trusted with more responsibility. I was allocated the position of "Register checker". This entailed starting early before all the rest of the staff arrived. I would go around to each of the banks of registers to record the numbers on the counters of each machine. Most of the register "banks" had six drawers underneath including below them, six ‘counters’ of numbers to record each transaction made on each of the six sections of each register bank. We are speaking of an era prior to check out operators and self-serve aisles and strictly "over the counter" personal service. No computer controlled, barcode scanning registers in those days.
The early start and finish were a big help especially travelling all the way in from the north-western suburbs, as I was every day I worked. I think management knew I was getting restless and in fact, I had already found the new job I was moving to closer to home again at the Macquarie University. They offered me a Departmental Manager position in one of their soon to open suburban stores, closer to my home. I had already set my heart on the job at the University and turned this very nice offer down.
I decided to put this up again as another FS favourite writer has written about her working life in Retail. This is another of the retail jobs that I thought related to my FS friend as well.
Here is an interesting piece I first saw at Penfold's. (In the pictures as well.)...I have only ever seen this at one other place, here in my local area, when I was getting our car windows, at the time, tinted.
What is a Customer?
A customer is the most important person in your
Whether dealing with him/her personally face to
face, or on the telephone.
A customer is not dependent on us. We are
dependent on him/her.
A customer is not an interruption to our
business. He/she is a part of it.
We are not doing the customer a favour by
helping them, they are doing us the favour of
coming to us to fulfill their needs.
A customer is not there to match wits with or
argue with. No one ever won an argument with a customer.
A customer brings his/her needs to us; and it is
our job to satisfy that need to mutual profit.
A customer is a person who pays our wages and
they are the source of future growth and
We all owe our total allegiance to the customer
whether on the telephone or face or face over
Our purpose is the fulfillment of the
customer's needs to the best of our ability.
Characters of this chapter include: Neil: the window dresser.
Ian: the 'ambience' provider from the store room.
Al Bowen: the floor manager
Phyllis: the head of the"Grapevine."
Gerald: The multi-coloured hair purveyor.
And of course the customers.
Now an index to all the pictures:
Top Left:Picture is of the W.C. Penfold's Horse and Cart that used to go around the City area delivering Stationery and Office requisites. This is a very old picture. Top Right: The "What Is A Customer" Poster;Second Left: The one and only Jerry Lewis, whom I got to serve at Penfold's one day; Third Left: Sandy Scott a famous, back then Singer well known to Australians of my era. I also got to serve him at Penfold's too. Third Right: "Irrational Roast" Coffee. Mostly available for our morning and afternoon tea or 'coffee??' breaks at Penfold's. I re-named it, the real name is supposed to be "INTERNATIONAL Roast"...far from it.
The "Red Terror" as it was known, was a later model than my (No 2) car, and I loved the red colour. I came to be known as the "red terror," myself, in my "new" car. These days it's obvious I'm a lot older as I have no hesitation in accusing owners of red cars as being "speed bums," and pushy drivers! Maybe I should add a poem/song I wrote about those types to this book, hmm?
The first was at the age of 20, and just after I had obtained my black license. ie...I was off my "P" plates, Thank goodness for that!
I was driving along the dreaded Parramatta Road, Sydney, one day. The road was slippery and greasy because of recent rain. I was just coming up to where the (now closed down) "Keith Lord's Discounts" store was on Parramatta Road, when I, while attempting to stop, on what was a greasy, wet surface - slid into the back of a stationary vehicle, and it hit another, and it hit another and so on, at a set of traffic lights.
Fortunately, I had Third party property damage insurance on my vehicle. However, I feel quite sure the little Triumph's front end took most of the damage. It was a real dilemma for one shocked "Red Terror" Triumph owner to decide what to do with the little car. I remember talking to Mum on the public phone, at the scene, saying...
"I don't want the embarrassment of the neighbours seeing this crumpled up little bomb being towed into the driveway." But, well, that's what we did, and I eventually got over it.
I forget how much I paid, but I believe the car was immobile at the time. Anyway, Richard got it on the road for me and the bonnet had been re-sprayed; but never really finished off...you know, cutting back and so on of the paintwork. As I think about it, it probably ended up in the same circumstances at the end of its time with me as it was when I took ownership of it....smashed, GROAN!!
One of the last escapades I undertook, in the "Red Terror", after it had its new bonnet fitted, was an attempt to travel all the way to Grawin, in the North West of our State, from our home at Ryde. The trip was going to be 500miles, almost 1000 km's, one way to the Opal fields, where my Dad lived, at the time.
I had to struggle with heaps of bugs of every description plastering themselves on the windscreen (did not have a decent window washer and 'Bars Bugs' to help at that time!). Added to this was a shonky catch on the forward opening bonnet of the car. There I was: moving with great difficulty down the main street of Dubbo, right on sunset; looking straight into the "not-set-enough-sun!" Together with the problems of a bugged windscreen and occasional obstruction of view by rising bonnet. I haven't even mentioned, yet, that I was experiencing the death throes of an engine starved for fuel because of a faulty fuel line.
I think you've worked out, by now, I DIDN'T make it to Grawin. I must admit, however, the little car did well to make it half way! Fortunately, the car collapsed right outside my Aunt's house. I travelled the farthest in the "Red Terror" than I had in any others of my 'Triumph Heralds.' I made it to Dubbo and return. (After a couple of days while we waited for parts for the petrol pump!) Approximately 500 miles or almost 850 km round trip.
This was the year my Mum was to go overseas to Eritrea as a Missionary-Bookkeeper. She took a "Fear of Flying" course in preparation for the long flight to Africa. A weird thing happened, after having stopped over in Perth in our Western State to meet some Mission supporters. As she began the flight across the Indian Ocean, she noticed the staff pulling up the carpet in the aisle. Following this, they all observed the aircraft jettisoning fuel!
Due to some engine trouble, they had to turn around and head back to Perth airport. What a scare for a person who had already had a fear of flying not all that long ago! Everything worked out and she got to Mauritius, the first overnight stop, ok.
I was blessed to have many good friends who looked after me and fed me and did my washing. It was after Mum left I decided to be very naughty and get into a Hire Purchase agreement for a new car.
|Author Notes||First picture is my sadly mangled "Red Terror" and final Triumph. Second picture is my dear old Mum and me at the airport as she is about to depart for about 2 years across to the other side of the world.|
In my early 20's I did some trips with my brother Richard, who was Number 1 Interstate Driver for Miles Furniture in Sydney, a Lounge Suite Manufacturer. I had the privilege of several trips with Richard:
One to Brisbane (Capital City of our Northern State of Queensland)...in the middle of a Transport Strike in that state.
One to Melbourne, (Capital City of our Southern State of Victoria.) ...and another to Adelaide (Capital City of our
Southern Central State of South Australia)... via the Hay Plains.
On the trip to Queensland, we stopped at Glen Innes overnight. We left a carton of Strawberry Milk at the back of the Prime Mover on the deck outside. In the morning it was frozen solid. Unfortunately, we could not wash our faces in the pools of clean water on the road as they were frozen solid! On arrival in Brisbane, due to the transport strike in Queensland, we were only allowed to unload the shipment of furniture then unable to do anything else.
I should add here a couple of things. Firstly, my brother somehow got out of membership of the TWU*, for a major part of his driving career. He forgot to re-join once. They sent him a reminder, just once. He never replied and never heard from them again.
Another rather funny story he told me, one day during one of our trips was the following:
From time to time he would pick up hitchhikers. After a while, seeing he liked mostly being on his own for hours and hours, he would get tired of their company. He had this little trick he would play on the unsuspecting passenger. He would be driving along and occasionally close ONE EYE. It was the eye the passenger could see. After a while, he would tell the passenger he needed to stop in the next town, and if they wanted to continue along with him to be ready to go later on. They never came back. Hehe.
On the single trip I did to Melbourne with Richard, we parked overnight near the depot in Footscray. This was where he was to unload, the next day. We had arrived quite late, well after the company was closed for the night. We would sleep in the trailer, with furniture packing as our mattress. More of those were used as a blanket. Quite comfortable, actually. The packing was used to keep the furniture safe on the trip. Next morning, on rising, only one place to wash. namely in the pools of water left in the parking area, from overnight rain.
Later that morning, we went for a hot breakfast in a cottage, which included Hot Milk Coffee and ample lashings of egg and bacon; at a place that must have been a regular "trucker's" haunt.
The big trip I did with Richard; was to Adelaide. Via the Hay Plains. There was some truck trouble on that trip and a delay in Balranald - while we waited for a part to come from wherever to help us on our way in the Bedford prime mover (pictured) at that time. Adelaide was my first time alone, 900 miles from home. Richard had dropped me off in the middle of Adelaide and made plans to pick me up again a week later on his return from Sydney.
What an interesting week. Each day I went on trips around Adelaide and up to Mt Lofty. One day I took a Pioneer coach tour to Victor Harbour. I think that was my most spectacular trip. Another day I got on the tram from the city to Glenelg.
I was glad to have a safe place to stay as a young single fellow for that time. My lodging was at the Women's Christian Temperance Union 'Willard' Guest House at $AU2.00 per night. It was a very "temperate" place including archaic plumbing in the bathroom and a bed you needed a ladder to get into and out of FROM THE INSIDE!! Hehe! (That sinking feeling.) For $2.00 a night including meals; excellent value, in 1973.
At the end of that week, Richard picked me up. On the way back, across the Hay Plains on a big stretch of straight highway, it was exciting to be holding the steering wheel of Richard's truck. He was making a "roll-your-own" or "tailor-made" smoke, and I was "minding" 14 tons, or more (tonnes) these days in metric weights and measures of furniture behind us, while he rolled it. At a later part of the journey, getting closer to home, we were coming down towards Jugiong, NSW, in the middle of the night.
It was very foggy, and the passenger (me) was packing it (a little scared) and it must have shown on my face..due to the apparent hazards of the fog, to my mind. Richard, of course, accustomed to being alone, also totally comfortable with the fog, all of a sudden freaked out and slammed on the brakes!!
"GET OUT!" he shouted. I was scared. I really thought Richard was going to chuck me out in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night!!
Richard tended to be pretty dramatic at times and you believed him when he said some things. As a small child, I remember him hiding in the bathroom at home and as I would come around the corner to the bathroom, he would dive out and scare the wits out of me! This is the same person who had gone berserk, it seemed in the truck that night. I am glad he didn't leave me out there in the never-never.
The year after the trip with Richard, to Adelaide - I flew over to Perth in Western Australia. I had been saving for this trip for a long time. It was booked through the old 'Grace Brothers Travel' and cost the 'princely' sum - for that time, any way of $AU256. Most, even basic holidays, these days, cost heaps more. The value was terrific. It included return airfare from Sydney; 7 nights accommodation at a pretty swish Hotel, in Perth, the Capital of Western Australia; Unlimited Pioneer Coach Tours for the Seven Days. Breakfast cost extra at $AU1.85 a day - a lot of money in those days. I had been upgraded from the Park Towers Motel to the Gateway Inn, so the only difference was extra for Breakfast.
I went on tours most days to outlying areas that were within a day's journey. However, I got tired so I just "vegetated" in my room some days, or went looking around the city area. I wanted to take a taxi up to King's Park, one day. So off we went up there. Then the kind taxi driver actually turned off his meter so I could get up on a lookout to survey the park from higher up. My only disappointment was; I had a filter on my "Olympus Trip 35" Camera that actually ruined a lot of the photos because some days were a bit grey, rendering the particular "Daylight" filter on the camera I was using, totally useless.
I had a fabulous time that week. The only let down was getting home. They had trouble with our aircraft and we got delayed so long that, by the time we finally took off, due to work time regulations for airline staff we were put down in Adelaide for another night. I should have let the organizers choose my accommodation for the night as the hotel I named as it was the only one I knew, (Grosvenor) had me in a little tiny pokey single room. In my pictures, you have seen the style of my accommodation in Perth so you would understand my disappointment.
|Author Notes||*TWU-Transport Workers' Union.Picture Index: Top Left: The Miles truck in which I travelled with Richard, now deceased, on this first trip to Adelaide, and later to Melbourne and Brisbane. and some links; Top Right: A trucker's stop, where we had the most delicious breakfast I have ever experienced. Second Left: On The Hay Plains in Southern NSW. "90 miles" of flat, straight, fortunately, sealed, road; Second Right: Mt Lofty or 'The Adelaide Hills' Sundial; Third left: The old Adelaide to Glenelg Tram. Glenelg was on the Southern Coast; Third Right: Standing on the overpass across the Kwinana Freeway in Perth, Western Australia; Fourth Left: A more recent view of the City of Perth in W.A. from King's Park; Fourth Right: The Swan River reclamation in 1973, with new freeways running over it. Also taken from King's park. Sadly the day I went up to King's park was dull and overcast and unfortunately, I had a "Daylight" filter on my old Olympus Trip 35 camera. It messed up all my photos. I guess you don't use a 'Daylight filter' in overcast conditions. Sigh. Fifth left: Me in the luxurious Gateway Inn room in Perth, 73. Fifth Right: Ansett Airlines 727 aircraft. For my flight back to Sydney. Sadly Ansett is no more.|
With the encouragement of my big brother and Chief Mechanic, I decided to lash out at a Brand New Car. I had been looking at this car for months and months, and in those days, even though it was only $AUD2,370 'on the road' I was on about $AUD60 per week and the Monthly payment was slightly more than equalling the weekly wage. For those times a lot of money. My only disappointment was I could not get the tan interior trim I wanted. But I loved the car and for months after I didn't even remove all the plastic protective covering from off the door trim and so on, inside.
The new car's very first long-distance trip was my second attempt - to visit my father at Grawin Opal Fields - again, 500 miles North West from our home in Sydney. I would drive as far as Dubbo and stop overnight with my Aunt and Uncle again. Then next morning proceed West to Walgett.
I had been instructed that after leaving Walgett, the last main town - I would go about 10 km's west of the town, and then hit the dirt road. Back in those days, there was no such thing as it is, now. Today, 40 years post story setting - they are now blessed with an "All Weather" Road from Walgett, to as far as the Grawin Opal Field Settlement. Not forgetting the odd floods that came through. For example, turning what was known as "Rotten Plains" into "Rotten LAKE!"
My further instructions, as well, were to watch for the famous "fridge"....on the left-hand side. This was the 'turn-off' into the Opal Field Settlement. Well, you guessed it; I MISSED THE FRIDGE!
I continued on for what seemed an eternity looking for the, now missed, "Fridge!" As already stated, at the commencement of this chapter,... In those days, after only 1 inch or whatever centimetres of rain, one was usually in trouble on the Grawin Road. This proved to also be my sad undoing. I was in BIG trouble!
I got bogged up to the axles in black sand, in my brand new car - on Grawin Road in the late afternoon. I was tired and hungry and distressed - as I had no idea where I was. Reminding you all of the earlier comments - Grawin Road was made up, then, of three types of 'soil?'
a) Red Clay. b)Black Sand and c)Loose Gravel in places - especially on bends in the road. - That's another story, for some other time.
Now, back to the scene:
The flies were having a field day, as were the mosquitoes. I was blowing the new car's little horn, praying, blowing the horn some more...I really thought I was going to be sleeping out there for the night.
Finally, a single Land Rover driver appeared after what seemed like hours. Thankfully, with a sly grin on his face; he connected his winch cable to the front axle and pulled me clear of the mud, setting me straight on where "The Fridge" was actually located. I learned much later, that hardly ANYONE goes that far along that road and I was very lucky. But! I believe God was watching over me, that day. It was He who had decided I was to "Go No Further!*" or I would have, eventually, ended up in our Northern State of Queensland.
I had a good time with my dad. Even had a go at climbing down into one of his opal mines, and had a go on the jackhammer, with old Jack (my Dad) nearby. I would have descended, then later climbed either the forty-foot ladder or the seventy foot one.
Maude was still in residence. She was the only negative element to my stay. You will have read about my first stay with my dad and Maude at the Post Office Pub in Forbes, and my first time staying with my Dad since he left us eight years previously. More unfolds on that later. Suffice to say I knew what to expect at this meeting with my father's lady friend.
On the way back from the famous "Go No Further" visit to my Dad at Grawin, I visited the Warrumbungles National Park. It was located in between Coonamble and Coonabarabran. Also, the home of the Siding Springs Observatory, most recently put under threat, in 2013 by some severe Bushfires - most likely deliberately lit!
I found a place to stay for a week in a private Caravan with the use of the house facilities included in the very small, negotiated tariff. My Hosts' farm was right on the boundary of the National Park. On arrival, I noticed my brand new Mazda had been "baptized" in the boot. Dad had given me a whole lot of bottles of his "home brewed" Ginger Beer. Sadly, most of them exploded in the boot. I cleaned it all out, somehow??
I went with the farmer's son, one day, on his specially re-modelled Isuzu Colt Bellet, for a wild pig shoot. I then witnessed the loading of the product onto the back of his "modified vehicle" and, later on, the 'de-hairing' of said pig and clean up to be sent to the place for processing and curing.
I only did one big hike up and over Belougery Split Rock. It was a hot, sunny November day. I got roasted from the sun, and from the heat radiating off the rock, as well. Not forgetting the encouragement, due to lack of head-covering back then, of the recently (2016) removed Squamous Cell Carcinoma, more than 40 years later, from my head. I will never forgive the ranger who assured me there was water available on the rock. I was pretty naive to expect same, admittedly. Very gratefully, I accepted a can of soft drink from some other hikers, up there. It was quite a climb, but I did do some movie making, on the rock. I may have been unable to visit the Observatory, but it was an interesting week, overall.
The first photo is Grawin Road, in its original mode; Next is the ordinarily 'Rotten Plains,' but, on this occasion after 1 inch of rain..."Rotten Lake" I did not take this photo as I was lucky not to be there at the time. Notice the sealed road so you know a newer photo than the first of the road/time of the story. But it still verifies the temperament of the weather, at different times. Second picture: My brother Richard and his wife, Norma with the MISSED Fridge! Indicating the turnoff to the Grawin Opal Settlement. Next: In regards to *Go No Further comment the first three letters of the rego plate were G-N-F...I called it Geoff's new Flier ha. Here is 'GNF' after it was pulled out of the mud. Next: Some early pictures of Dad's 'digs' or dwelling, about the time I was there, too. A lot more buildings were added later. Maude spent a lot of time in the 'van'; Next: The view down the shaft of either forty or seventy feet; Next just to prove it a shot up the shaft, probably seventy this one; Next: Dad on the Jackhammer; Next Me on jackhammer with Jack watching; Next: the Belougery Split Rock in the Warrumbungles National Park, that I climbed. Pretty sure I took this photo; Lastly: Thanks to National Parks and Wildlife Service for the picture of The "Breadknife" near the Belougery Split Rock.
Now here is some rather rough, old Super 8 movie done by me, the amateur back at the time of this chapter.
Visit to Grawin staying with my Dad in 1974
Visiting the Warrumbungles- 1974
Lastly a link to Siding Spring Observatory in the Warrumbungles National Park.
I had, yet again, become tired of travelling to the city for work. I guess the fact that the previous employer, in Gladesville, nearer home, in Ryde, had redunded me out, made me nervous about "spreading my wings" looking for a new position, again.
Maybe "Penfolds" management was sensing my need to move, and this brought about their offer of a "soon to be" promotion. However, after scanning the "Positions Vacant", in the Sydney Morning Herald, our major newspaper, again, I was successful in getting a job and learning a new skill at Macquarie University, at North Ryde. Being only 5 minutes in my new car from home, was the extra bonus. My new position was as a projectionist assistant in the Centre for Advancement of Teaching- part of the School of Education at Macquarie University, in North Ryde.
This position began at a time when I was reaching a new peak in my spiritual life. If it wasn't a peak, well, it was a period in my life when I began to take more notice of things of a spiritual nature. So over time - although I really enjoyed the time at Macquarie - I had to decide how far I was to go there.
One of the men with whom I worked, Charles, was a Sunday school superintendent in his private life. He had a fair way to travel to work from Hurstville, in our Southern suburbs, from the opposite end of our metropolitan area, as we were working in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. A knowledgeable person, in things electrical and film, Charles and I became good friends over time. Although we may not have agreed on all things pertaining to scripture and "denominationalism," I felt he was supportive of me, as a fellow believer. Near the end of my tenure at Macquarie, it was he that advised me I should have been trained in more aspects of the job, there.
He shared, confidentially, that I was supposed to be taught how to operate the old 35mm Cinema Projectors and the single 70mm projector they had, then, in the Macquarie Theatre. The boss had said, mostly unbeknown to me, of course - I was too short. You should have seen him - we were about the same height.
However, it was a general opinion amongst other staff, that he (my manager) did not want to share all the overtime he got from running movies in the theatre at night, with some lesser mortal. I guess it never really concerned me, at that time, as I was not aware until Charles told me, how it should have been.
My boss was the one, also, that smoked like a chimney and as someone claimed "changed the flavour of the yucky Ryde area water" by consuming tonnes of the old "Vincents APC's". (Headache powders...later withdrawn from sale as a known carcinogen.)
Alas, as a result of many nights working in this theatre, as in many others, previous to this, he became very dependent on the said cigarettes and Vincent's powders, to keep him awake.
One of the other inconsistencies about the man was that he was the local union branch president as well as my boss. In the NSW Public Service, which Macquarie University was funded under and the overall employer of all staff, it was considered necessary to join the relevant Union. I am not sure it was compulsory, and up to this time, I had never been a member of a Trade Union. I think I joined to keep relationships "sweet" in the workplace.
The "conflict of interest" if you like, of my boss, also being the local branch president may not appear to you to have been a problem. However, as a result of a certain issue of staff parking in the university carpark, it caused quite a deal of confusion for me. You see, the union branch had voted to refuse to pay the parking fee the university wanted us to pay - we were told to write a letter to the Bursar of the Uni, refusing to pay it.
At a subsequent meeting, they changed the branch direction from "writing to the Bursar", to "sending the letters of refusal to pay through the branch secretary" - not individually by us to the Bursar. My boss had me set down to work, at the time of the subsequent meeting and did not tell me about the change.
So I, dutifully, sent the letter of refusal to the Bursar. As a result, I was called down to the Bursar's office in the company of my boss/branch president. I even asked him...
"In which capacity are you accompanying me?" - but I got no response. Fortunately, it didn't work out too bad, after all, but it certainly left a bad taste in my mouth about unions for a while.
When I worked at Mac Uni, the Red Cross brought the Blood Bank Bus, with all its equipment into the big E7 building. I loved donating blood, back in those days but these days I am on so many meds I doubt the blood bank would be interested. They started on my right arm, that day at the Uni. The thing is, I am left handed and they had a real job getting flow from my right arm. I then suggested they go to my left arm and all was ok.
Sometime after this, I went to donate in Parramatta, opposite the Tax Office Building in George Street, in the early '90s, where I then worked. However, as above, all my drugs and stuff I was already on, precluded me giving that day too.
I learned a lot about "campus culture", or university lifestyle, in my time at Macquarie. The outside world has absolutely no understanding of some of the things that go on in the University realm. Unless of course, you have been either a staff member or a student there. We even had our famous "Occupation Of The Vice Chancellor's Office" by the students, in my time there.*
The most enjoyable thing I had to do, happened only a relatively short time before I left the university to start bible college. I think back to this as being my favourite time at Mac U. I got to do the "lighting controls" for the "Dramac Review". My job was to follow along with and carry out the programme's changes of lighting settings right through the shows. Fortunately, I got out of the initial manual setup of the lights which involved getting up on the catwalk- about twenty to thirty feet or more above the seats. I had an enormous fear of heights!
Macquarie students would put on the "Review", every year - but I had the honour of being a part of it, just that once! This was a play highly satirical of whatever issue, or event of renown, at the time, they wanted to send up. Maybe we could draw some comparisons between the 'Dramac' Reviews and Gilbert and Sullivan Operas. A satire of Government and whatever.
The year I worked in conjunction with the review a lot of the music was from "ABBA"! I really had a great time, "doing the lights": the temptation being, not to leave for bible college. Guessing there would have been many other opportunities to do this work, later. There was, however, an over-riding consideration -- at that time, anyway.
On a number of occasions, during my time at Macquarie, there would be material I had to run (on 16mm film) for lectures which, quite strongly conflicted with my newly adopted spiritual position. Some of the "Behavioural Science" material quite seriously went in opposites to my beliefs. I suppose that was good in one way-- at least I had to think about where I stood on a lot of the issues presented. However, only being in the session to run the movies, I couldn't really judge whether current thought, at the time, would agree or disagree with these philosophies.
I could have, till fairly recently probably recited, completely, "B.F. Skinner's Behaviour Theory in Practice"; "Reinforcement Therapy" and "The Attica Prison Riot!" I ran them for lectures so many times. As a matter of fact, I would have run some of these programmes 35 to 50 times, for different groups over the three years I was employed at the university.
During the breaks at the end of terms and yearly shut-downs, we were often involved in pulling communication and video cables, underground, from one end of the university to the other. Apart from that, and some Summer Schools run for different Departments where our services were required -- there was quite a bit of free time during the summer shut down.
It was during this period in 1975, I wrote three of my now, four "Christian" Christmas carols. I sent them to a publisher in Sydney - and had them returned, in a week! I also sent them to three publishers in the USA and got much the same response from two of them. The third one, John T Benson in Nashville, Tennessee, (now known as just 'Benson's) was the only publisher to give me some advice on how to get my work published, or accepted for publication. My "Really Truly Christmas Carols" are here on Fanstory for anyone interested.
There were some Christian Student Groups on Campus. One of these was the "Student Life" Movement, a group run by the "Lay Institute For Evangelism," an arm of Campus Crusades For Christ Founded by Bill Bright. I got involved with this group and went to a camp with them during one of the Uni breaks. I went also as the Camp projectionist, with equipment on loan from our Department. We ran "Ben Hur" in Cinemascope (Wide Screen)on 16 mm with an Anamorphic lens for the 'Wide Screen effect" and a screen made from a large sheet across the dining room. I was reminded only recently, that I also gained a "nickname" at the camp.
The Bible studies were led by a Lance McClintock and most of the students were equipped with "JB Phillips" Translations of the Bible. During one of the studies Lance commented on a point he was making saying that the part we were looking at "literally meant" such and such! I forget what passage we were in, but I looked at my KJV translation and shouted...
"Hey, that is exactly what my bible says!" So from that time onwards for the rest of the camp, I became known as the "KJV" man!
I went off to sleep on a number of occasions while running the movies in the Theatres and lecture halls. I know one day during my snoozing, it turned out I had selected a WRONG SIZED take-up reel. So here is the movie running along. Me snoozing and, on waking, seeing the 'taken up' film still nicely in line. But way over the limit of the take-up reel, I had chosen. Perhaps I proceeded to the end of the movie or we stopped the film. So long ago...I was behind the screen in a rear projection lecture theatre, so the class or lecturer had absolutely no idea of the crisis occurring in my "projection room."
Here is another job change and an introduction to my Music writing. Here is a Link to a Wikipedia article about Macquarie University, if interested. It has come a long way since my time there - nearer the time it was first opened...
I need to advise that names have been changed, mostly, to protect the innocent and the guilty, likewise.
Personalities of this chapter: The manager and head projectionist and Union Boss
Charles assistant manager and all round good bloke.
Bob the Bursar.
All the lecturers and Students
ClickHERE!Macquarie University, North Ryde.Pleased to now advise the music is working on all the carols click on the second link in each chapter.
Here is my book of "Really Truly Christian Christmas Carols" here on FS.
ClickHERE! for my 'Really Truly Christian Christmas Carols Book'
The picture is the very first Carol I wrote during breaks at the University in 1975.(First page.)
Here is a pretty crook Super 8 movie I did of Mac Uni back when I was working there ie related to this chapter and time. Sorry for the poor quality 40 years old.
What an appropriate chapter name. Next on the feline scene, came "Sox." Aptly named for his white paws, a grey tabby cat. I forget where he came from, but "Sox" managed to survive quite a few years. Unlike any cat I had previously, Sox was a real temperamental one. You could have him on your lap and stroke him for a while. However, there had to come a time when he had absolutely enough attention or affection.
You would feel his body stiffen up, at a certain point. Any attempt to stroke, anymore, after that, got you a sharp bite on the wrist or something. To his credit, his bite never broke the skin and if you had, for example, a bulky knit sweater on, his teeth never even made it to your skin. But you got the message. I think he was a good hunter of mice too.
Over the years of Mum renting out the back flat, we were approached by many different people. On one occasion we were asked to help out a Spanish couple who were to work with Gospel Recordings, a local mission that made records of Gospel Messages in all kinds of languages. They moved in up the back. All went well until one time, there was a complaint.
It seems they had met one of our harmless "under house residents." namely one of the many Blue Tongue Lizards, which had lived under the back flat for years. Many of them prior to the new tenant's residence above them.These people were frightened of them.
The father said...
"I have a gun, and next time I see him, I will shoot him!" We told him,
"If you shoot any of our Blue Tongue Lizards, we might just shoot you!"
We heard no more about it.
One time we actually saw one of our lizard friends with only 3 out of the usual 4 feet. We imagined he may have been "amputated" by Sox or any of our other feline residents over the years.
I left home to live in a flat out here in the west. Later, I brought Sox out to Werrington with me. I had tied him up in a box with plenty of holes to breathe. Good old Sox even got out of the box before I had made it out of our driveway. For the entire drive of about 45 minutes, I had one frightened cat clawing me and walking around me, as I was trying to drive. We made it out to my flat.
I have to confess, I was not good company for him. I was working for myself and spent a lot of hours away from home. I don't actually know what happened to him in the end. Maybe he walked all the way back to Ryde again or found some other more considerate person to love him and feed him. The place I lived in for 2 years, is actually pretty close to where we have our home, now, as a matter of fact, we only bought this place 5 years later. (IN 1987.)
...Now back to the story...
Another event which occurred early in 1977, was a Sinus operation. I came out of that looking like someone had beaten me up. Complete with black eyes and a nose three times its normal size. It was in preparation for some further exploratory ear surgery the following year.
I commenced Bible College on February 7th, 1977. My faith was rewarded in leaving my secure position at Mac Uni, in that I was only at college for one week before I gained a casual position, teaching organ at a music studio, in Hornsby, an outer Northern suburb of Sydney. I had not actually taught organ before this time, although I had been playing an old organ (of the pedal - bellows kind), and later electronic, for twelve years at that time.
College was four half-days a week- so that left me weekday afternoons and Saturdays for work. I have always been grateful to Bob - the man who gave me the opportunity to teach at his studio. It was to assist me later on to work as my own boss full-time for more than 4 years.
As happens sometimes, I became fond of one of my students at the studio.
Everybody remembers the butterflies they had when they wanted to ask a girl to go out for the first time. I was a late bloomer in the dating stakes. The first time I asked someone out was at the ripe old age of 19 years. It followed there were many more attempts until, at the age of 26 years old, when I thought I had arrived? Cutting a rather involved story short, after 3 months going together we were at the "getting very serious" stage.
Then things took a wobble - I had gained the impression this girl was interested in me and wanted to get into a permanent relationship. How wrong I was! It transpired she had been going with some other fellow at the same time as me. Because of the other situation, she got herself into trouble during the period we were seeing each other. When I learned about the concurrent relationship, I discontinued seeing the girl.
Of course, there was the resulting void in my heart; you know that "let down" feeling one has when a relationship fizzles out, that awful sense of loss; and the bubble bursts. It was better, though, things happened when they did, instead of a few months further on. After this little episode, I had begun to be a "doubting Thomas" - and to think God had forsaken me. But He had not. He was just making me wait for the right one, much later.
During my time studying and learning in the mornings, and teaching in the afternoons, from February 1977 to October that year, things were going fairly well for me. At one stage Bob, my part-time employer, asked me to leave college, and go into partnership with him. As you can imagine - I was surprised and shocked!
You see, I was teaching in the studio during the week, and helping out in the music shop on Saturday mornings. I even had my own key to the shop for a little while. However, I turned down the offer of a partnership, and events, later on, proved it to be a good decision.
There was a time when either Bob or one of his kids was ill, on a day during college holidays. (I would always get extra work when College was out). On this particular day, I arrived at the shop to start work and there was no-one there. I rang Bob's home number and his wife brought the shop key over.
I was to open the shop and manage it until lunch time. I was instructed what to do with the takings from the morning (about $AUD60). I did as I was told and when the other person turned up to relieve me, I left. Well - you wouldn't believe it, the money went missing. After all the trust Bob had invested in me, this happened! It really put a sour note into what had been a wonderful relationship between myself and Bob. I never found out what happened to the money. I know I didn't take it!
A while after this, some of the teachers were talking about asking for a pay rise from Bob. We all agreed to speak to him about it, but when it came to the crunch, I was left "holding the baby", so to speak! They all backed out on our agreement - so Bob said I either had to put up with the current pay or go. I must have been pretty confident or wanted to "save face", as the Chinese people say - so...I went!
From September 1977 and onwards, I was driving out to Penrith, on the Western fringe of the Sydney Metropolitan area, on Wednesday afternoons, and then again on Sunday mornings. This was to play the piano, for the services of the (then) Berean Baptist Church. (Now known as Nepean Baptist).
This expanded later to travelling out on Friday afternoons, staying with the Simpson family, in Mulgoa, nicknamed "Outer Mongolia" by one of our Missionaries - who I helped with the Youth group back then, until after the AM and PM church services, on Sunday. Following the evening service I would drive back to the family home in Sydney -a distance of approximately 30 miles or 54kms.
I had become friendly with the chemist near the studios in Hornsby, who was wanting his girls to learn piano. We didn't have pianos in the store, apart from some second-hand ones in the studio, across the road. I asked Bob if we had a piano to sell them, but he said "No."
Another man I knew, used to re-build, and re-condition old pianos, with his father. I was at their place one day when I mentioned the chemist was looking for a second-hand piano. He said I could sell them the one he had in his lounge room. Seeing I had already asked Bob about a piano from the studio, and been refused, I took it that I could offer this one to my prospective clients.
Oh boy! Did I get myself into trouble with Bob. He wanted me to put the piano in his shop and whack on another few hundred dollars profit for the shop! But my new client and I had already agreed on a price; so I couldn't have done it, even if I wanted to.
After the break-up with Bob over the pay issue, I had begun teaching under my own banner. I would advertise for clients to teach in their own homes, after college, during the week, in Sydney. As well as those, I would do some teaching in the *Mulgoa/Wallacia area of Penrith on Friday afternoons and Saturdays.
I think Bob still liked me - because after giving up teaching for him, he agreed to me being an "agent" for the store and even paid for business cards for me - in my "newly Registered" business name "Moore Music Services" with his name on the bottom for referral of prospective buyers.
The following is one of my first advertisements I ran in the Mulgoa Gazette for my new teaching service and consultancy....
LEARN TO PLAY THE PIANO OR ORGAN IN YOUR OWN HOME ...
Our newest advertiser, Geoff Moore, (pictured), will be teaching
modern organ and classical piano in the Mulgoa District to all ages
and his rates for lessons are very reasonable.
PIANO AND ORGAN TEACHER
IN YOUR OWN HOME
TUITION IN MODERN ORGAN AND CLASSICAL PIANO
Along with the ad, the editor ran a little background story on me.
"Geoff presently teaches at a Sydney Studio, being well-qualified after
his 23 years experience on piano and 13 years playing the organ.
If you have tried to teach yourself to play the organ, and feel you need
assistance, Geoff is only too happy to help.
He is familiar with most brands of organ and will also advise anyone if you are contemplating the purchase of a piano, organ or another musical instrument.He will also prepare students, if they wish, for the lower grades of A.M.E.B. Music Examinations."
As a result of the sale of the piano to the Chemist in Hornsby, the vendor of the piano gave me another piano he and his Dad had been working on, but not completed. It played ok, and my Dad had wanted a piano, not necessarily in mint condition. He asked me how much for it, I said $AUD150, and he bought it off me.
My brother the truck driver, came along to the friend's place and loaded the piano on a trailer. Sadly, that dear old piano, that was in a not-all-that-bad condition, sat down the back of my brother's place, in neither secure nor weather-proof conditions. I did get to see the piano in its final setting, eventually, at the Opal Fields. However, it was a shade of its former self, by then.
In early 1978, I had to be admitted for some Exploratory Ear Surgery in St David’s Hospital, Eastwood. The previous year’s Sinus operation or ‘Ceptoplasty’ with the 'beaten up look including black eyes, was in preparation for this time.
Picture Index:Top Left: New kitten, Sox & me.Top Middle:Sox out o' the box;Top Right Sox in the soup, checking out what was left of Mum's "Weekender" Soup. She always made these pressure cooker delights, especially in the Winter. By the way Aussie readers we had Weekender Soup before the Rosella canning company did;Second Left: A portion of my Moore Music Services business card Bob kindly supplied; Second Right:Sox on the prowl;Third left and right: some pictures of like creatures, the Blue Tongue Lizards that shared our company at home. They were completely harmless, to humans anyway.
Fourth Left:Sox Investigations; Fourth Right: Sox over the fence at dusk, one night.
Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
During my single year at bible college, I fell foul of the health department ordinances of our local council.
Mum had a bunch of rubbish she wanted me to get rid of at the local Garbage Dump one day. I would pass it on my way back from my job in Hornsby at the Music Studios.
Unfortunately, I was not aware of the “Winter” operating hours of the Council Dump, and I was too late. In hindsight, I should have chucked the rubbish over the front gates onto the Council dump property. Maybe I wouldn’t have done so badly, then.
I saw another collection of bags of rubbish, at the side of the road just around from the Dump gates so I put mine there, too. WRONG THING TO DO!
(I probably got the blame for the whole lot!)
Sometime later, there came a knock at the front door. I was not home at the time so Mum answered it. A council ranger was at the door with a bunch of letters retrieved from the bag of rubbish I had illegally deposited with the other stuff.
He proceeded to read some of the letters out loud to Mum, and she knew, from his reading, the letters had been written to me. I must have discarded them. I did not know these letters were amongst the other plant cuttings and stuff.
She informed the ranger I would be home later and to come back then. He did, and proceeded with me, in the same manner as he had done with my mother, before. I then said to him “What do I have to do about the matter?”
He told me, and I arranged an appointment with the Health Surveyor at the Council. Later on, the meeting at Council went along similar lines and I do believe all these people were looking for some kind of “payola,” or "graft?" to sweep stuff under the carpet or some such.
The matter of a Littering Charge against me was listed in Ryde Court, and, due to my low income, I was able to have the services of the "Public Solicitor’s Office" free of charge. Satan was loving all this – poor old bible college student caught littering and so on. Anyway, I got off with the minimum fine, of $AU89.
Sometime later, I learned of another person “falling foul' of Mr Stevens*, the greasy pawed Council Ranger. This time for sweeping the public path outside a Department store in West Ryde, and letting the sweepings go into the kerb and guttering of the main street. He got his paw greased, that time, with some credit on the particular Department Store. I guess with this story I am trying to point out the graft and corruption that goes on even in local government. Never mind in the "higher echelons" of power.
|Author Notes||I had this true story in another of my books. However, I decided, with some encouragement from friends to insert it in here. Picture is Ryde Court the location of my hearing for the Littering Charge. *Not the real name of the council ranger.|
Stars of this chapter. the many landlords and friends including:
Jeff and family in East Blaxland.
Fred and Cheryl.
Wendy and Bob in Cambridge Park
The Mobile Home picture now showing is an original I was given by Nick (scruffy Herbert) in Britain, for which I am most thankful.
Initially, in my early period of part-time dwelling in the City of Penrith, I joined "The Liberal Party." Back in those days, I had the mistaken idea that I could make a difference in the world if I became involved in our conservative political party. In America to be "liberal" is to be on the Left side of politics. Also in America, to be Republican is to be Conservative in politics. It is as much in reverse "Up Over" as it is "Down Under."
In America, you drive on (joking ok)...the wrong side of the road and your water goes down the drain in the opposite direction, being North of the Equator, of course. Added to this, descriptions of political preferences mean exactly the opposite of what they mean "Down Under." The Republicans in Australia are the lefties or "Demoncrap" brand of society, The Australian Labor Party. Basically controlled by the Trade Union Movement. More recently there has been a much larger representation of the Trade Union movement in the members of the Upper and Lower Houses. On the other side of the coin, opposite to Uncle Sam, the "Liberal Party" in Australia is the Conservative group. Gets confusing, doesn't it?
One main difference with Australian conservative parties to have power in Government is the fact that they need a "coalition"...which is mainly with the other conservative group known as the National Party. The Nationals are mostly made up of rural members, including farmers and country folks. Formerly known for many years as the Country Party, the Liberals and the Nationals have had a pretty good relationship for some time. If one looks back in Australian history, one can see there were some difficulties between the two in the past.
I had, sometime prior to this, in Sydney, become a part of the "Young Liberals." I did not last long in that group, as I found out as a "teetotaller" (non-drinker) I was not really welcome. Each event that was held always included consumption of the devil's liquor. I was most disgusted to find out if I wanted something "soft" to drink at these functions, then I jolly well had to supply it, myself.
Following the unsatisfactory exposure to the Young Liberals. It was to be another 5 or 6 years before I joined the actual party, as above. Later on return to the family home in North Ryde, I would join the North Ryde Branch of the party, during the divided time between living in our home in that area and my part-time accommodation in Penrith.
The good thing about the North Ryde Branch was, I got to "press the flesh" a lot with our later to be Prime Minister, John Howard, also our local member. Some of you reading this, in the USA, may remember his name as the speaker at a conference in a Hotel not too far away from the Pentagon, on that sad, horrible day, much later, in September 2001, the 911 horror.
I remained a member of the Liberal Party, until around 1987, when I resigned. I was still a conservative voter, however, I had come to realise, in later years, the only way for a man or woman to change, is not by his political alliances, but by a change in his or her heart. By the working of God's Holy Spirit. That can only happen when we accept what Christ did, on Calvary, for us once and for all, over 2000 years ago.
More recently I was asked to be a candidate for our local State seat for the Christian Democratic Party. As its name states it was of more of a religious bent. Sadly, my health had deteriorated and I could not conscientiously get involved as I knew I could not do much with my limitations. In any case, once again as with any other party, I could not agree with the compromises needed to achieve anything in politics. Especially from a so-called "Christian" Political party that has aligned itself with all kinds of religious denominations and faiths. All this to gain some kind of presence in the Federal or State parliaments of our land.
Illustrating differences between Northern and Southern hemispheres |
Click HERE! for the Youtube on Equatorial differences
Picture is Sir Henry Parkes the Father of Federation in Australia.(Framed and a bust of same.) Until 1901, Australia was a collection of six separate states and 2 Territories. We became a Nation in 1901.
When I moved out to Penrith, more permanently, in the late part of 1977, I also got interested in becoming a Distributor of AMWAY products. It was good, in some ways, as I could also get my music clients to buy the products from me. I also inherited a former distributor's customer base, when he moved up to Queensland.
I did quite well at it for a while. But as I now know for sure, the company was just another "get rich quick thing" and quite definitely "Pyramid Selling" even though many of the "more successful" claim it was not so.
Pyramid selling involves the "grassroots" distributors working very hard and sponsoring as many successful other distributors as they can, to push them "up the ladder." You "get up the ladder" from your sponsored distributor's purchases. Should they be ambitious and get more folks sponsored by them, who subsequently buy and sell the product, then up you go. The thing is, though... the lower level's hard work always pushes the Direct Distributor's (the top of "the ladder")level and subsequent bonus up even further, so they get even better bonuses at the end of the month.
A couple of things happened to me later on, to really decide me against continuing in this facade of "getting rich." Firstly, there was a time when I had been quite successful, to attain almost nine per cent bonus level. (This would mean I would be paid $AUD100 bonus.) None of my "downlines" I had sponsored had achieved even the three per cent level on which they would get a proportionate bonus (around $AUD30 from my supposedly $AUD100.
The fact was, I was only thirty points, or approximately $AUD30 something off the nine per cent bonus - but the Direct Distributor never told me, to give me the opportunity to buy up to that level! While I got a Six per cent bonus, the Direct distributor got all of the remaining nearly nine per cent included in their own bonus. I felt this was quite unreasonable and downright dishonest.
The other thing that got me annoyed, relating to AMWAY, was something that happened at the time of the car fire, in 1982,(a subject dealt with, in a later chapter.) I had some AMWAY product unpaid for, that was lost in that fire. I owed the Upline Direct Distributor $AUD50 for the products. They drove me nuts demanding payment for the products. So much so I quit doing the AMWAY business.
Doreen, the wife of a guy we called the "Mosman Mumbler" got her $AU50 when I got the car insurance. Her husband Joe the Mosman Mumbler, called that because at all his "inspirational" or maybe "perspirational"... speeches, we could never understand him as he never opened his mouth! I was not the only one that could not understand him, neither did the hearing folks!
At that particular meeting at "Snake*" and Faye's place, I was to meet Jim and Barb Watson. Many years later I met Jim and Barb again at our church and it took a few minutes to figure out where I knew them from previously. It turned out I had met them at the AMWAY Meeting all those years before. Small world, ha.
Lastly, I had arranged to give my remaining stock to the local Direct Distributor, for a small amount to help with outstanding debts. They were supposed to come, and pick me up at the railway station. I had no car as you will see later in the book. I got to the station (Richmond I think) and no one turned up! I rang the house and no answer. The result was getting on the next train back home, still with all the stuff on hand.
One chap I visited for music lessons, had Multiple Sclerosis and I was asked to try and help him on his keyboard. His wife was a real strange lady, and I sometimes wonder if it was she who caused her husband to become ill. She had some extreme mood swings, perhaps, as I learned much later of Bi-Polar Disorder, this could have been her problem as well. Sometimes she would get quite angry at him even in front of visitors, such as myself. Other times she could be very pleasant on my visits.
Another student I had, was a senior gentleman, named Tom. We used to rotate between my teaching him and, at other times, giving them an organ concert. Some weeks, we did this when he was not up to learning. It was on one of these occasions I learned his wife Joyce had been a patient at the Chelmsford Hospital, somewhere around the inner western suburbs of Sydney. They specialized in a controversial treatment known as Deep Sleep Therapy*, eventually outlawed in our state, I believe. it involved treatment with, sometimes, barbiturates and other drugs, applying the treatments while the patient was in a state of very deep sleep, for varying periods of time. Their purpose was to mostly deal with psychiatric problems. Check the Link in Author Notes below for Deep Sleep Therapy.
There was also another young man, named Bradley, who had caught Viral Pneumonia while an inpatient at one of our big Children's hospitals, at a very young age. At this particular time we speak of, his mother called my answering service and asked if I could help him with some organ lessons. Bradley was a special case. Reason being, the Viral Pneumonia had also resulted in some Gangrene and the necessary amputation of one leg, below his knee. He had a prosthetic limb applied.
Bradley had also suffered hemiplegia on his right side. This meant I had to teach him to play with his left hand and left (prosthetic) leg. Bradley and I had some good times together. He would now be over 50 years of age, but at the time I worked with him, he was 15 years old. I had kept in touch with him and his mother, who now live on the other side of the country, as often as I could, for some years.
The local children loved Bradley, as he was a very happy young man, in spite of all his problems. He loved to play games with the local kids. You see, Bradley had remained quite innocent, and rather immature even as a developing teenager, in every other way. Sadly, I believe his father, a policeman, rejected Bradley because of his disability. His parents had broken up some years earlier. I agreed with his mother, many years ago, that something should have been done to bring a case for compensation by the hospital. A lot of Bradley's problems were directly related to poor nursing supervision and treatment in the hospital, as a small child.
I had another little sideline, from about 1979, for only a couple of months, as it turned out. An old church friend put me in touch with a guy who was opening up a music store in St Marys. The arrangement was that I could keep my music students, with the outcome, of course - of them buying a piano or organ from Burt.
As I said above, this did not last and resulted in me losing some really good friends, out of some things that were claimed to have been said by myself, which were lies on Burt's part. Included were things the boss told these friends would happen to me if they did not buy the organ from him. He still off-loaded me, within two months anyway.
I know he had plans for one of his two employees. (The other employee was a pretty, as well as a young girl who was also an excellent performer.) He wanted, and I secretly thought it was me he wanted - one of us, to go up to Scone and run another shop up there. Scone is out in the middle of nowhere. I certainly was not interested as I had my church and my clients all around the local area.
I think this was why he got rid of me. Another reason to offload me was; he had gone from paying rent of $AUD99 per week in a small shop in St Mary's to paying $AUD700 per week for a shop 7 times the size in the "Hills Shopping Centre" located in Seven Hills, on the edge of a much wealthier area. It was from there I got the boot. I think he had extremely high aspirations of big sales in that place. I made some suggestions of extra things he could put in the shop to sell (from my previous experience in several music businesses,) but nothing was acted upon. I don't know how long he lasted there.
Not all that long after Burt Hogan sacked me from the job at his music store, I picked up the next job at Grace Brothers Department Store, in Parramatta, a very large city in the West of Greater Sydney. We talk more about that job a bit later on.
At one time, I did a combined concert, of my organ students and my niece's dancing students. It was held in the Melrose Hall on the Great Western Highway, in Emu Plains, just below our Blue Mountains, in my state. It ended up being more dancing performances than my organ students. However, we did raise some money for the "Save The Children" Fund.
I was engaged at another home, closer to my family residence in Ryde-Eastwood. The Dad was a bit tight. He wanted me to teach both his young daughters, six and eight years old respectively, in the same half hour. I have always found it is a far better policy in music teaching, to be a "one-on-one" situation.
I recently renewed contact with the older of these two girls, who is now a Mum herself, of a growing family. It pleased me to learn from her, at this more recent time she counted it a good time of learning in music on those occasions, even in our particularly difficult setting. The good thing about our time as it transpired for her sister, was that it started her on the track of actually going "right through" and attaining a teaching degree in piano, herself. Of that, I am very proud, having been the start of something greater for her.
In later years, after marriage, I was to do some music teaching in our home, as well as working full-time in the Public Service. Sometimes, I would feel like I was just a convenience for parents to leave their children with me for an afternoon, while they went shopping. Sort of a "Child Minding" session, if you will.
Sadly, in one case, I had a girl who was really promising and appearing to have a real talent for music. The problem being; her parents were not prepared to buy her a piano to practice on at home. I had offered to obtain one for around $AUD500 in reasonable enough condition for her to make a start anyway. Unfortunately, that never worked out and we did not continue the lessons.
As I continued teaching music in people's homes, mostly piano and organ, it was amazing the number of times I also took on the "mantle" of an amateur psychologist. I would often listen to the student tell about their problems at home or at school. A couple of times I was asked to help disabled people to learn, causing me to re-think ways, different to the usual processes, in getting them to learn to play.
My wife and I recently, yet again, viewed a favourite old movie “My Fair Lady,” starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison and some other well-known actors. It was during the viewing I realized I had to add some more to this chapter, regarding the enormous number of Musicals’ numbers I had taught my students over the years.
These included well-known songs from as above “My Fair Lady” and “Sound of Music” and many others. Even more modern tunes from “Abba” and the “Beatles.”
One important thing I learned from my years of teaching; it was better to make "friends of clients," than to make "clients of friends."
To assist my American readers in understanding the different values of the Australian dollar ($AUD in this chapter) to its "Greenback" or American equivalent, it needs to be understood the variation in our Aussie dollar to Uncle Sam's dollar can go from between mid 70c to sometimes even 80c AUD on a really good day, to the "Greenback." I still remember, back closer to the time when we changed from Sterling currency to Decimal, (1966) our comparative amount to the $US was 85c...and that was a long time ago.
For a little bit of history, I have included a "Youtube" of a Jingle that was made to help with our change from Sterling to Decimal Currency in Australia.
Click HERE! for the February 1966 Currency Change in Australia Jingle
For the article on Deep Sleep Therapy
Click HERE! for the article on Deep Sleep Therapy
* the 3% bonus level of AMWAY Product sales in the month was equivalent to around $AUD200.00.
In this chapter, I mentioned a fellow with the name of Snake...I never knew his actual name...and while I have changed a lot of the names in this story I have left the name we knew Snake by, in it.The picture on left: Me 'spruiking" the 'Amway' gospel?? The soft soapin' preacher about SOAP ha. Top Right: Me and my Sunday School Class in 1977.
Bottom Right: The "Berean Singers" including myself in my pink tie. Never been able to find that, again. I loved it.
Top Picture is me with the Supermarket Manager, Jim on the occasion of GB's Parramatta 50th Anniversary.Spruikers* are promoters of products and sections of stores. Not so prevalent in the new Century. On the day of the fire, the police were very understanding and the 'fireys' did a good job too. There was only one Television newsgroup at the scene and I now have the video of the interview I gave them way back then. Sadly the news bulletin is copyright, but I share just a preview of one photo they gave me. *APS - Australian Public Service. (Government)
I wrote a song about now non-existent, Grace Brothers. It got as far as the Board, but alas no further. Here is the Link to the song.
My Dad left us when I was 8. I will never understand what my father saw in Maudie (Iris was her real name), the barmaid he hung around with for years. Dad had the pub in Forbes, in the late 60’s and Maude was living with him then, too. The holiday I went on, the year or two after Dad visited us at home, was my very first meeting with her.
I returned home from that very first time away, a teenager (almost 18) with my Dad. It was like some kind of reality check. Here I was, back with my Mum who had cared for me all the years when Dad was away from us. As I stood there hugging Mum - I bawled my eyes out!
Sometime later Dad pulled up stakes again, and they had a time at Oberon, a cold uninviting place, in the Winter, and its only fame being Sapphires. The next move was to Grawin Opal Fields. You can see that my Dad was always looking for that elusive “Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow.” There was a yarn, (or True story?? Not sure) - they would tell, about the opal miner putting his drill through a $AUD50,000 Black Opal, just under the surface. They say he ended up getting about $AUD5,000 for the opal pieces but I don’t know if that was true or not!
When I would visit up at Grawin, Maudie was always continually complaining about Dad not taking her anywhere. You have heard the saying, “any old barn looks better with a bit of paint on it” well, sorry, Maudie could lippy and powder herself up, as much as she liked; she was still as ugly as ever and had the voice of a banshee, to go with it. She was also a chronic chain-smoker, to boot. We all know how smoking can make even young girls look like 80 by the time they are 30. Yeah I know, I was prejudiced against her.
After Maudie, it came to Joyce. (Not the Joyce, sister of Iris from the Pub days.) Talk about "chalk and cheese" - she was almost totally opposite to Iris (Maudie!) Cutting a long story short, Joyce’s big problem was, she was “too tidy” for Dad. We, the sons of Dad, needed someone like Joyce.
Moving forward, to the early 80’s - post-Maudie, and post-Joyce; to a time of Dad expressing interest in getting back together with my Mum. This is after more than 20 years apart, and Mum never stopping loving Dad in spite of his wanderings with other women as above. I still don’t really know why Dad wanted to get back together with Mum.
The Mission society Mum had gone out with, to Africa, for the second time, had encouraged her to divorce Dad. As they, maybe rightly or wrongly, said it was a bit silly asking his permission to leave the country (as required by law in this country) – having been apart for so long, but still legally married. So she divorced Dad back in the mid-Seventies.
I am doing a collection of my Mum’s “Megoirs,” as they will be called, from her Mission days, as well as later after she and my father were rejoined in Matrimony. There is more on that issue, for later. Only to summarise and say - there were objections to the re-marriage, from other members of my family either vocally, or behind their backs.
I think the reason my siblings were against it was a kind of ‘control’ my eldest brother and my sister, (eldest of all of us) especially, enjoyed over my Dad. Mum had all sorts of ‘flack’ against the reunion, from her “Christian friends.” They wanted to dig out the "unequally yoked" scripture, and it amazed me, these folks, who insisted on using Modern Perversions of the Bible, in a lot of cases - were so particular, as Modern Perversions were probably not so particular about real rules of marriage. So these "do-gooders" trot out the "unequal yoke" scriptures, when in fact, it was not going to be an "unequal yoke" at all.
God does not recognise divorce. On that point, me and Rome (RCC) agree; if on absolutely nothing else. In God’s eyes, they were still one flesh. Ok. Dad wandered, and sowed some wild oats – no, there was no other progeny, thank God, from his extra-marital affairs. And Mum would have been quite within her rights to divorce him for his infidelity. But it was up to her if she wanted to forgive the old "so and so", and as I said, she still loved our father goodness knows why. Maybe it was all a part of God’s plan, to see Dad, eventually come to Himself, as we believe he did some weeks before he died.
All this is to bring us to the subject I want to discuss, now.
Dad and Mum got re-married, as I said - but he was still my father, and there was no change in him, from the reprobate who left us in 1959. My Mother knew him better than anyone else did, but she was prepared to take him back, even in spite of all that. The following scriptures are an introduction, to where I wish to go, in this story of my life, and my view of my family...
Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
The following is a fresh new piece of info I only just received off Facebook today, from a dear preacher friend, (on 17th Nov 2013). I thought this was a good addition here.
"Because, one does not inherit righteousness from their earthly parent, but they do inherit THEIR DEPRAVED NATURE AT BIRTH – and if GOD doesn’t intervene they go to a devil’s hell like these did."
My comment to the friend's post: My family is so full of evil and sin and debauchery. But all these have been under the sound of the gospel some even claiming salvation but then living in sin. The parents of these claiming salvation and living in sin also!...In at least one case.
All the above is to illustrate how far down a pecking order sin in a family, can go. I shared in some chapters way back, we are not sure whether illicit lifestyles in my family may have started with my paternal Grandfather, but it certainly spread through most levels of my family, to the "third and fourth generations" as the verses above say.
I don't know how far along it was, into Mum and Dad’s new, reunited, relationship. However...
The occasion, was an Easter Weekend gathering, up at Grawin, with Dad and Mum hosting all those of the family, who wanted to take part. I am no aware, completely who, or how many, attended.
I do know my sister and her son, my Nephew, James, and his girlfriend, whom he later married, fortunately, were there. Mum had commented to Dad in the privacy of their own bedroom, that she was not happy about (my Nephew) sleeping with his girlfriend, that weekend. I have been helped with a brief snippet of a Youtube file of Charlie Rich's "When We get Behind Closed Doors." (Check the Author's notes below.) Here are some of the words.
"When we get behind closed doors,
Then you let your hair hang down,
And there's no one else around
And no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors!"
My Mother believed, as I thought most couples, also, would have believed, that anything discussed in the privacy of one’s bedroom with one’s husband or wife... Should remain within that bedroom. I wanted a scripture from the bible to cover this, and the best one I could come up with is the following:
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
I guess you are all saying, ”ok what’s the point?” My point, as I explained, above, is; my Father had not changed. He delighted in sharing with the number 1 child in his life, my sister, what my Mother had said IN PRIVATE! One wonders just how ‘fair dinkum’ as we say in Australia, or ‘genuine’ his promise was to my Mother as they again were joined in marriage. He did not respect Mum’s wishes, and again, was looking to be right in there with all the other reprobates, all tools of Satan, against Mum.
I am glad I was not there, for whatever reason. I also have to wonder; what, really, was his true, deep, reason for asking Mum to take him back. I think it was the fact of getting older, and wanting someone to look after him in his final years. This terrible thing at Grawin was the beginning of the end of their new relationship. It was sometime in mid 80’s Dad had his massive stroke and ended up in a hospital for quite a while.
The Photo at the head of this chapter, is Mum and Dad at their re-marriage, in our family home at Ryde in early 1980's
Thanks to barking dog for helping to find this.
The term'Megoirs' is not a typo it is what I will call my Mum's memoirs when they are done.
I had worked in the private sector as an employee, and also a self-employed person, for a time. I had been searching for full-time employment, again, from 1981, after more than 4 years working for myself. In August 1983, after all my efforts to gain full-time employment, I was successful in my appointment to the Australian Public Service.
I commenced in Section A Companies of the Tax Office. It was, at the time, located in the Centrepoint building in the middle of the capital city, Sydney.
Due to privacy and security, I can't say much about the kind of work I did in that area. However, one important thing that one of my fellow workers attempted needs to be mentioned.
He was married to a Filipina woman. I believe in those days and even now there were and still are a lot of attempts to get Aussie fellas to marry Phillipino women. The total point of the exercise is so they can get into the country. Sometimes when the women are successful in "tying the knot" with an Aussie bloke, they subsequently dump their man once they have secured Australian citizenship.
I know Nate Fogg* was hoping he could be successful in getting me interested in marrying one of these women for the above reasons. One wonders, even now, what sort of "cash consideration" he would have received for his "match-making?"
Fortunately, nothing ever came of it and only a couple of years after this God brought the right one along for me right here in "Down Under" land.
During my time at Tax, I was given a new kitten. He came from a home near the church I was attending in Dundas Valley, Sydney, at the time. He was a reject from a litter of purebred Persians. As it turned out he was exactly the same, except for his, this time, long fluffy tail - as Pinny, from years before. Same colour, same loveable nature. A full Persian - he was chucked out of the litter for some unknown reason by his mother, a Queen Chinchilla cat. So you guessed it - enter "Pinny II." I only had him for a short time. Just long enough to get him de-sexed, then somehow he disappeared.
Once again I was heart-broken. Some months "post-Pinny II", a girl with whom I worked in the Tax Office offered me another kitten. I felt like I was being unfaithful to Pinny II's memory, to even consider another cat. The new kitten would be my first female and a lovely Tortoiseshell one. So "Mitty" and I got on really well. The one who had given me the new kitten was also a Veterinary Student and arranged at the appropriate time for "Mitty" to be de-sexed at a reduced rate. Seeing the females cost a lot more than male cats to be spayed.
Prior to moving back home to Ryde, I purchased a little blue budgerigar I called "Bluey." Mum and I shared him. You could always tell whom "Bluey" was mimicking with his chatter. There was a distinct difference between my voice copies and Mum's voice copies he was doing. He gained quite a repertoire of sayings between the two of us.
I only had "Blue" for a short time and one weekend I went up north to Queensland to visit some old friends. I was gone for about a week. On my return, Mum sat me down, very gently. I was imagining something really tragic had occurred, and I was right. It was also during the time my Dad was in Coorabel Rehabilitation Hospital recovering from his first big stroke.
Mum put her hand on my shoulder and leaning down she quietly shared that "Bluey" had passed away. I don't know if it got too hot or what happened. However, I believe he lived a normal length of time for budgerigars in a normal environment.
I may have still had "Bluey" the budgie by the time "Mitty" came along. Sometime after Mitty came home and we all got settled, she also disappeared. I had heard there was a Greyhound trainer in the area, who may have been picking up stray cats, or cats he could nab, somehow.
He was, I understand, most probably using the kitties to "blood" the greyhounds for racing purposes. I had no proof of this, and I hoped I was wrong about my suspicions. Maybe both Pinny II and Mitty ended up down that culvert in our gutters as old Saggy might have been lost in, all those years before.
From the time I commenced work in the Tax Office in August 1983, I actively sought promotion, because back in those days, I was still a confident, enthusiastic, new public servant. After 14 applications, and only 1 interview for promotions within the Office, and 5 applications to, and 3 interviews for other areas of the public service, I had 2 offers of promotion from 2 different Departments. I elected to accept the promotion to Concord Hospital as it was a lot closer to where I lived. Later on, I was to realize it had been God's design for me to choose the Concord Hospital promotion.
For a time I was also involved in politics. Out of the blue, I had a kind of a breakdown. Perhaps a delayed reaction to the shock of my car fire, from a couple of years before but I am still not sure what caused this event.
Following the breakdown, I still went to work. However, apart from that, I quit political involvement and I quit the church. This went on for about six weeks or so. Here is what happened in that "dropping out" time.
I began to listen to a radio programme very late on Friday and Saturday nights. It was from Midnight to 5 am, on one of Sydney's oldest Radio Stations, 2GB. The programme was hosted by Jim Wiltshire, brother of Brian Wiltshire, a long-time announcer on 2GB, whose programme preceded Jim's on the 2 nights. I was hooked on "The Night Club" show, as it was called.
There were segments where listeners would call in on the "Open Line" to participate in quizzes and so on that Jim was running. In my "hooked" condition, I became one of his most frequent callers. Sometime along the way, it was decided to invite the top callers, individually, to go into the city, and be a "Guest of Honour" on Jim's programme. I was "tickled pink" to be invited to the show as I had always had visions of getting on the radio one day.
During the week before I was to "appear" on Jim's show, his producer rang me at work and asked me about my life and my working history and so on. I had some idea from listening to previous shows, what they had in mind to do with my information.
It would be in a segment known as "In The Limelight" where the Guest of Honour's story was interwoven into a skit or play to be read by the host and the guest during the show. With some very funny outcomes. Especially as I decided to go to air in the play - "cold turkey" I guess you could call it or "unseen." Meaning I had not pre-read the script before going LIVE on the airwaves with Jim.
I was picked up from home by a taxi, at around 11 pm on the said night, and driven into the city, 8 miles South East from my home. I had gathered some funny records and some poetry to play or read, in the session. These included "The Goon Show", and songs like "The Purple People Eater", and my favourite artists at the time, "The Carpenters." The entire programme was recorded and I have always been glad to have that recording. Unfortunately, some of the Files I have now created from that recording, other than the 'Biby's Epitaph' are too large to include in this Chapter. I had a link to an old website where the recording of the show could be heard. Sadly that has now gone but I will eventually be getting up a new place for these to be heard once more.
As a result of appearing on the "Night Club" programme, I later had the opportunity as a volunteer to read newspapers on the air, for "Radio Print Handicapped - 2RPH"- for a few months, on Sundays, also during the break from church and so on. We had to go in and get the Sunday Papers, and cut them up into the news articles, to be read on the programme. This was a voluntary activity, and for the listening pleasure of the blind in our city.
It was really funny at times, reading the articles on the air, as you would get the odd article that might seem queer or humorous due to the content of the article, but you were not permitted to show any emotion in the reading. A couple of times, the announcer had to take charge and move over to my co-reader to carry on as I dissolved in laughter - off the air of course.
I still had aspirations of being upgraded to "Announcer" at RPH but sadly that never eventuated. I did have some fans who called the station and I have only just realized while writing this, they would have been "print handicapped" ie blind, so if something could have come of it, they would never have known how ugly I really was, haha.
Midi file is me reading a poem by 'Mr Anonymous' in cockney rhyme style from Arnold Silcock's collection of his 'Verse and Worse' Book on the Night Club Programme.
Pictures: "That was then, this is now" Left My brother Joe and I, with old Pinny; Right: Myself with PinnyII, nearly 20 years later.
N. F. the name has been changed* was the guy who tried to match me up.
One of the last big trips I took alone before I married, was a "Nu-Rail Pass" Three Borders, Rail journey. I should call this a "compendium" of trips, as they were certainly quite a few in number. This was in 1984, in the early days of Mum and Dad's re-marriage. It was also just before I met my sweetheart, whom I would later marry.
I had organized all the trips I wanted to do, in advance, to the Northern, Southern and Western Borders of New South Wales, on my First Class, Fortnight's length, all State Lines, Rail Pass - for then, the princely sum of $AU99.00. In greenbacks probably equivalent back then to $70 something American dollars.
My good friend Jim, at that time working for the railway, very kindly filed all my plans away on the Railway Mainframe - until such times as I was ready to start on my many journeys.
Train trip 1: Albury, in the South on the XPT. I picked up the "Southern Aurora" later that night in Albury, coming from Melbourne, some hours later for the night trip in a "Sleeper" back to Central station, Sydney.
I have not listed in order, as to when I actually took these trips, but they were fun for a train nut like me. I do know that on one of the returns to Sydney Central Station I was in a bit of a pickle. I was worried about connecting with another train going out that morning, and thankfully most of the connections worked out ok.
On this particular morning, dear Jim, that had done all the hard work setting up all my trips, was waiting for me, at Central, to see how I was doing. Poor guy, I was so "tunnel-visioned" on moving on, to the next train in time, I pretty well ignored him! I am glad he actually worked close by and had not come to greet me from some great distance!
Another trip I did, was out to Broken Hill on the "Alice" (obviously heading to Alice Springs at that time.)..but which no longer exists, these days. It was an overnight trip also. I spent the day looking around Broken Hill, and late that night picked up the "Indian Pacific," by that time nearly 3 days into its return trip coming across Australia, from our Western State to Sydney in the East.
I had sleeping berths on the overnight trains at an additional cost ($AU30 a time). On the return to Sydney from Broken Hill, I found suddenly, sometime after I had alighted from the train, I had left my fairly new hearing aid on the train! I was not a pensioner in those days, as I am now, and that hearing aid had cost A LOT OF MONEY! I went to the Station Master at Town Hall Station and asked if they could help me. They contacted the yard where the train I had just left, was being serviced ready to go out again.
Fortunately, they located my hearing aid in the berth I had occupied. I got on the suburban train and went out to Macdonaldtown station, adjacent to the railway yards. I was supposed to walk across all the lines, to meet up with the foreman and pick up my aid. As I was looking around to see where to get off the platform; there was the fellow coming across the lines to meet me and hand me the hearing aid. I was so grateful.
I would have liked to go on the fairly new, then, XPT North to Murwillumbah, but I think I was limited for time so that never happened. I know I did some coach trips to Queensland to visit friends up there but that was not part of this particular series of trips.
I know the last trip I took on my "pass" was West to Moree, where I picked up the State Rail Coach over to Lightning Ridge. I was picked up at Lighting Ridge by my newly reunited parents from Grawin, where they were resident for the time being. I stayed a few days there before returning to Sydney, at the end of my fortnight's travel around our State.
In addition to all this, my wife recently recovered an old postcard I wrote to my mum and dad, during the trip up North. It covers most of the trips as a whole and was written the day after my birthday, in 1985. Actually, six months before I met the one whom I was to eventually marry.
And now, the reproduced postcard.
"Dear Ma and Pa,
Well, here I am! Having a super time just "railing" all over the place. The trip to Broken Hill was great. Went down a mine, saw the city sights. I also played the piano on the train for all the oldies, they loved it! I told a lady at my table it was my birthday, she mentioned it to the waiter, who was an Italian bloke and he got the entire Dining Car to sing "Happy Birthday" to me! Wasn't that nice?
It was a pity I didn't have a "walkie talkie" with me last night as a goods train was broken down just outside Eastwood Station* and we had to wait for an hour for it to be moved over to let us through. (We lived close to Eastwood at the time* and I am pretty sure they were home that night.) The trip was a bit rough and I didn't get much sleep. Probably make up for it tonight on the way back on the 'Indian Pacific' back to Sydney.
I go out on the 'XPT' south to Albury, day after tomorrow, just after 12 noon.
See you on Thursday, April 4th.
*Nurail Pass was the opportunity to travel First Class on all our State lines in New South Wales, over a fortnight. Sleeping Berths on some services were at an additional cost. ** Eastwood was the closest Station to the family home in Ryde-Eastwood area. * Large was the nickname given me by my elder bro J. Now the photos: Top Left: Just getting back from another trip.
Top Right: A double exposure, sorry. But sometimes accidents are good. This is a historical photo as there are now no rail services on the Central Western Orange Line; Second Left: Arriving on the "Alice" now no longer running, at Broken Hill Station; Second Right: Postcard of Broken Hill with some evidence of where I went on my day in the City.
Third Left: View over Broken Hill from the station; Third Right: Looking down the side of the stainless steel rail cars. Fourth Left: The "Indian Pacific" Cross country train from Perth in Western Australia to Sydney in the East. My transport home to Sydney from Broken Hill; Fourth Right: Station List returning from Broken Hill to Central station in Sydney.Fifth Left: The now non-existent "Southern Aurora" from Melbourne in our southern State of Victoria, on which I returned from Albury to Sydney, overnight; Fifth Right: The XPT our newest form (back at the time of writing ) of Interurban and Interstate high-speed rail transport. I travelled on similar to Albury, and to and from Moree in the far West of NSW, after which I took a road coach to my parents, and returned the same way.
Great changes, and some new happenings just around the corner. Some of the things I had hoped, one day might be a reality for me, about to unfold. I had been keen to get a job closer to home -- back in the Ryde area.
In November 1984, aged 33, I commenced in the Post Audit Area of the Out Patients' Department, at Concord Hospital, as a Clerical Assistant Grade 2. I was a lot older than most others I worked with. Some had been career Public Servants, never having other jobs as I had since I commenced full-time employment aged almost 17, in 1968. At that time the hospital was administered by the Commonwealth Government and mostly a War Veteran's Hospital. I found out a little while after I was confirmed in the position why I had so easily gained the job.
There were many "Clerical Assistant Grade 1's" on "higher duties" at the Hospital. Some had been on Higher Duties for ages and never bothered to actually apply to promote to the higher grade. Some were even on "Higher Duties" as much as two grades above their gazetted positions. The grade of Clerical Assistant was the lowest of grades of a clerk, at the time of writing. My new Clerical Assistant duties included processing of files for the Out - Patient Clinics. I would deliver files according to a schedule of patient appointments in particular clinics.
After working in the Post Audit area, for a while I was upgraded and started in more of an actual Auditing position. My higher grade function was to check for tests that needed to be done for patients before their Admission to the hospital. I am pleased to say I only made one error or rather missed an error already made in the clinics by the nurses, which caused a bit of inconvenience to a patient.
Sometime after this, I got the opportunity to move down to the Staff Development area of the Hospital. This was my favourite position working with some really nice people, except for one or two. One of these was a bit of a trouble-maker; the other one taught me a new concept - "personal spaces" and so on.
I never really violated any of her personal spaces, and it was interesting to note that some of the words of my song you will see a bit later - applied to this woman..in the "Not what you know, but who you know" department. Stick around for my song.
I had been successful in starting a group for hearing impaired staff at the Tax Office, so I thought about doing the same at Concord Hospital (as mentioned previously, then part of Department of Veterans' Affairs).
I inquired about the possibility, with someone from Personnel in Branch Office, in Sydney and they told me there was some talk of getting a similar group up and running, there. I then ran a notice in the "Hospital Staff News", and was rewarded with ONE reply!
With the help of my single respondent, we began to contact various persons, known to be hearing impaired staff in the hospital. My helper had been at the hospital for quite some time and had an idea of those people who could be interested in attending, if approached, personally.
This resulted in a few more staff members coming along, and this group of people began to join up with other staff in Branch Office, in the City; to begin what was later to be called H I V E (ie...Hearing Impaired Veterans' affairs Employees' ) Group.
Due to a change in my classification from Clerical Assistant to Clerical Administrative, I had to transfer to Branch Office of Veteran's Affairs in the city.
|Author Notes||At the time of writing Clerical Grades were Clerical Assistant Grades 1 to approximately 4. Clerical Administrative Grade 1 and up. These all changed later. Post Audit area in Outpatients was responsible for checking Patient files before admissions to hospital of all patients, to make sure all tests required prior to their admission were carried out. Initially, I was just the file "deliverer and picker-upper"...later to be promoted to examining files, then even later transferred to the Staff Development area.Picture is a combo of Repatriation General Hospital Concord NSW.|
I came to Concord Hospital in November 1984. My initial position involved transporting patient's files to and from Out Patient Clinics around the hospital. It was during these deliveries to clinics I met Nurse S.G., the Clinic Nurse assisting the doctors in Ward 10, the Endocrinology Clinic. The lady had seen me plodding along with my trolley of files, noticing how miserable and depressed I looked. Because of her, or by a fluke of nature or more like God's arrangement I met the man that was to change my life, completely. He was a professor and an authority on Endocrinology* in Australia.
Looking back to 1960, there had been Medical examinations of a lot of us boys in my school. It was found through this examination, I suffered a problem in my reproductive area. My mum was made aware of this and found a Dr JB G. who was a General Practitioner or MD in Chatswood, one of our Northern Suburbs. He was treating me for a lack of male hormone or Hypogonadism.
His treatment did not work so I was referred to Sydney Hospital where I met Dr K. I recently learned this man was not as we thought back in those days, an expert on Endocrinology, but merely a Physician.
It kind of adds weight to the term "practising" as doctors. Endocrinology did not become the science it is today until many years later. I underwent surgery in 1963, then later in 1967 to correct the problem. I was assured (prior to the removal operation) at that time, aged 16, I would still be fertile enough, to be a part of the reproduction process. Sadly, we learned, much later - it could not be so. It was a real thrill, a few years ago, to be presented with a copy of my first admission file to Sydney Hospital for the surgery in 1963 referred to above. (Thanks to Prof C.)
For years I had suffered a mysterious, sad travel through my life. Especially around puberty and afterwards, unexplainable sudden emotional outbursts and tears for no apparent reason. I had no idea what I needed, to help me with my problems. There were "do-gooders" who tried to counsel me and had me at one time blaming my parents for everything. Some of these were in church circles, too. Thankfully, I never got into drugs or over-use of alcohol, as an addition to my problem or a "solution" to same...
Professor C. put me on to some outstanding treatment. He commenced with a monthly injection of "Sustanon." This would be administered by my local doctor. After even only a couple of these injections I began to notice a difference in myself, my feelings my outlook and so on. I even began, at last, to be interested in females! The treatment would later change to hormone pellets being inserted in my lower abdomen, every 6 months. This was replaced in later years with a single injection. Initially, the injection was every 12 weeks. After a trial, it was decided to increase the frequency of the injection to 1 every 10 weeks. As I have grown older, there was a concern of heart attacks due to the frequency of the injection, henceforth it is now prescribed for intervals of 11 weeks. As I write there have been no problems with the current regime.
The earlier treatment and history all occurred behind the scenes of my regular work schedule. As Carson Robison, I think it was, said on the old "Trains" record, years ago:
"Well, folks! That's all, back to the asylum!"
|Author Notes||*Endocrinology deals with our Gland System. All the glands in our bodies are controlled by the Pituitary Gland. I had a low-acting Pituitary. This, amongst other things, affected my reproductive system. The photo is Changing eyes from Schatzling thanks.|
Part of my duties in the Out-Patients area was getting typing done for patient's files. I frequently dealt with the temporary supervisor of the Out-Patients Typing Pool who mostly managed an area called the Discharge Typing Pool over in the Medical Records building. Having seen my notice about starting meetings for hearing impaired staff she mentioned it to a girl in her section.
This young lady was hearing impaired as part of her Cerebral Palsy. After the supervisor (who already knew who I was) had been encouraging her to get in touch with me about these meetings for a while, she did!
Louise was a "Rubella" baby. She was 3 months in her Mum's womb when her mother contracted German Measles. Unfortunately, in those days, there was no preventative medicine, as exists now for young women to protect against Rubella and other things before getting pregnant.
I know that God had brought her into my life, as a matter of fact, He planned it a long time before. Even with the success in getting the job at Concord Hospital. Another miracle!
The eventual meeting with Louise was God-ordained, His design, unbeknownst to me on much earlier times when I was still very young.
My mother used to visit people at the "Royal Ryde Homes" known as the "Home for Incurables." I got to go with Mum a few times, and meet some of the wonderful people, with whom she did Bible Studies. These people were all twisted up in their bodies, from various conditions but still bright and alert in their minds. One of the ladies had dived into a swimming pool on the shallow end at a much younger age, I am guessing and broken her neck.
I know that meeting these folks was preparation for this time, much later, of meeting Louise. In the previous eight years, there had been attempts by friends to organize blind dates and so on but to no avail. Bachelorhood continued.
A comment by a pastor, a couple of years before this time, confirmed how God would bring us together. When I asked him:
"When is God going to bring the right one along, for me?" He answered and said ...
"Maybe you will lead her to the Lord yourself!" How true and profound that was to be! At that later time, the pastor's comment, years before, went along with some thoughts I had in visiting these folks at "Weemala" at Royal Ryde Homes, in those many years past. God was showing me He knew I would finally find real happiness with someone who was "out of the ordinary." Perhaps a single mother with children. Or someone with a handicap. He was preparing me, even YEARS before I would meet this special person. He had picked us out for each other.
I called her on the phone that day and I suggested to Louise; as I came to know her later, we have lunch to talk about the meetings. (I had absolutely no malicious or romantic intentions, at that time) and she agreed. On the arranged day I went down to the cafeteria. Just near the entrance to the cafeteria, stood a slight, bespectacled girl with brown straight hair. I had seen this girl on my travels around the hospital (doing my rounds with files, etc.) I had also noticed her walking style, with her crutches.
Even before we started talking, I had already taken a liking to Louise. We had lunch and I talked about this group for Hearing Impaired staff I was trying to get set up.
I was also still having treatment with the Endocrinology professor. When I told him about meeting Louise all he said was...
"Ask her out! Ask her out!"
In some mysterious way, things progressed to the point of my ringing Louise on the phone, at home. Visiting her at her parents' home and sometime later, we had our first date. Boy, what a fun date that was! We went to see "Back to the Future" that was showing at the old Astra Cinema in Parramatta, now the Greater Union Cinema complex. The funny bit wasn't going to see the movie but what happened, during the show! I WENT TO SLEEP, on our first date! It was so embarrassing when I found out I had gone to sleep.
My going to sleep in the pictures must have been forgiven because we continued to see each other, both at work during the lunch break. (Wow! Some of those lunch breaks nearly broke up good relationships with our bosses,) as well as visiting her at her parents' home. It was through Louise I learned that it really doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, BUT IT'S THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS. The extra benefit in all this was that she was then and still is after, now more than 32 years of marriage, a good looker!
We spent so many wonderful times, in the beginning, sitting on the log in the grounds at the back of the "Medical Records" building at the hospital. At the time we met, we were both quite unhappy with our lot in life. Louise's brother with whom she had been close, married a few months previously. This, after also losing her beloved companion, her dog "Teena", had compounded her unhappiness. My situation was not much better.
Some months prior to this, I had given up church activities for a period of six weeks; as well as my involvement in politics. A kind of breakdown had occurred. However, I had continued my work duties normally (in a strained sort of fashion). I think my near breakdown, plus, undiagnosed (at that time,) other problems, contributed to some forgetfulness at work, as well. I remember one day at work, by this time in the Staff Development area, I had forgotten to set up a training room for a session.
Many lunchtimes were spent talking about our lives, on that log. Even though Louise still claims I was pushy in the beginning, I was quite happy for things to move along in an orderly fashion. After a few months of seeing each other, I was keen to "go steady" with Louise. I took her out to an Italian Restaurant not too far away from where we worked that fateful Friday night. After the wonderful meal, I asked her to "go steady" with me.
I had asked quite a few friends around the place to pray that night that God's will would be done and Louise would agree if it was His will. The new relationship coming as it did, so many years after my previous non-adventure in the lovelorn stakes, made me determined not to lose my heart again, too quickly. As it turned out, she said...
"No," to my request. I was crushed. But seeing I was trusting the Lord to work things out, I was sort of happy though disappointed, to leave it in His Hands.
The following Monday, I got a call on the internal phone at work.
"Louise here, would you like to have lunch?" After falling off the chair in shock, I replied in a half disgruntled tone,
"Ok, see you, at the Cafeteria at 12:30 pm." We met outside the cafeteria and went to our table. I looked at her, all lit up like a Christmas tree and said:
"What's the matter with you?"
She replied with a giggle and big grin...
"I changed my mind!"
In a discussion with a family friend recently, I was reminded of the one time I tried to get Louise into the surf at North Curl Curl, one of our North Coast beaches, not too far away. It was "fun" getting the (ordinary) wheelchair across the sand, then handling her in the water with all her sunblock on. She was so slippperrryyyy! We didn't attempt it again!
A couple of good things about my time at the hospital were:
1. Meeting the Endocrinologist and…
2. Meeting the girl I would marry not all that long after I moved back into the city with work.
|Author Notes||First Picture (Top Left)is our very first photo together, others as we meandered along.|
Some months later, we announced to her parents that we wanted to get married.
Well! Everything "hit the fan" as they say! Louise's mother burst out with:
"Who's going to look after the children?" (We later consoled poor Mother- in- law to be with the news that there would be no children.) - We had learned not all that long after we got serious that I could not give Louise any children.
Some time later we heard that Louise's mum had called my mum in a real panic!
"Margaret!" She cried,
"They're talking about getting married!"
Mum-in-law-to-be expecting my mum to be horrified and to be aghast, shocked and all the other terms of horror, my mum just replied...
"Isn't that terrific!"
I guess, to Louise's mum it must have looked even shorter in time between our meeting and our announcement of marriage. However, she did not realize just how much we were seeing each other every day, pretty well, at work.
Following all this Louise's mum being the good Catholic mother she was, began to scheme to try and break us up.
Firstly, it was organized for us to have pre-marriage counselling with a Nun if you please! Then later we attended a pre-marriage course in Parramatta at the Catholic church. Finally, we learned there was a Catholic priest who did some work with the Deaf, as were we, both. (As a matter of fact, many years later as I write all this...Louise now hears better than I do!)
We agreed to go and see him. That was a "fizzer" as Barry (the priest's name) could see that we were much in love, and knew what we wanted to do. He even offered to marry us, himself! Even in a non-catholic setting! We assured him we were ok with our own arrangements, but he was great and made no attempt to interfere. Really! What do Nuns and Priests know about marriage?
We met in August 1985, and then we got engaged on March 26th (in between our birthdays, 25 and 27 March of the same year.)
it was a lovely night at the now non-existent "Casserole Kitchen" in Eastwood, not far from Louise's parents' home. My Mum, Louise, her family and I were all present. We were to be married at St Alban's, in Epping on the 14th of March,1987.
Louise and her Mum had been looking for suitable places for us to start our own home. They eventually found this flat, part of a whole house in which we would occupy the front section. Three weeks prior to our marriage, I moved into the flat, on my own, at Guildford in the South West of Sydney. One night I was coming down the street towards the flat, and I saw some loud arguing and so on going on out in the street. I managed to get into the flat, unscathed, and left the lights off.
Then the noise got closer until I realized the source of the noise was coming from behind, in the adjoining flat. It got louder, and I heard a woman screaming. I then decided to call the police. Seems someone else already had the same idea and beat me to it. I eventually saw, through the almost closed blinds, the police arrive and remove one or two persons from the scene. What a great start, in the place we were to spend our first six months together, prior to the purchase of our home.
|Author Notes||Pictures: 1.Geoff and Louise on our engagement night.2. Casserole Kitchen "match box cover."|
Along came the wedding day, a grey old cloudy morning. My friend Jim (the Best Man), called in to pick me up to take me over to his place for lunch, and help me get ready. Jim and I arrived at the church and met with Rev Feltham who would officiate, with my Mentor Pastor, Dr. Marsden. who was to do the Bible readings and Prayers for us. We would have loved him to preach, but ah well.
We had wanted the choir from a favourite church to sing for our wedding. Back in those days, I was not really certain as to why they were not available. Both the soloist and I believed they did not want to tarnish their "Independent Baptist" status by singing in an Anglican church...and this church was what is known in America as "Episcopalian" or "High Anglican"...almost Catholic! It now has come to my notice the reason (well one of, anyway)we could not get the choir. It just happened that on the very same day we were to marry, another young couple who were graduating from our bible college were also to be married at Rev Marsden's church. This was the reason I could not get the choir for our wedding. There could have been some other reasons as well but we got the best in Mrs. Brady as our soloist.
Nancy Brady's beautiful rendition of Psalm 27 "The Lord is My Light and My Salvation", was lovely. Here is the text of Psalms 27:
Psalms 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalms 27:2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Psalms 27:3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
Psalms 27:4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
Psalms 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Psalms 27:6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
Psalms 27:7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
Psalms 27:8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
Psalms 27:9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
Psalms 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.
Psalms 27:11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
Psalms 27:12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
Psalms 27:13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Psalms 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
This song is a great melody and great words and I am sure the actual text of the song differed slightly to the Scripture, as printed here.
(See Author Notes for a Male Choir singing the Psalm.)
I only just learned the following additional 'behind the scenes' information, very recently, about the soloist and the organist discussion etc., on the wedding day, as at December 2014.
Nancy (soloist) speaking:
"I only practiced with the organist the morning of the wedding. He asked me if I had the song approved by the church and I said I supposed you had taken care of that." "Why?" I said. He said:
"it wasn't the kind of music they usually sang there," and I giggled and said:
"it isn't the kind of music I sing either."
"We were poles apart of course." she continues, "I think he was trying to say that their music was much more 'high church'. We decided it would be better at that stage to 'ask forgiveness than permission' so we just went on with it," she said.
"When I started to sing, the pastor" (Rev Feltham) "was walking off the platform and he whirled around and looked up at me and stared for a few seconds. I don't know what he was thinking - Either 'Wow what a voice,' or 'how in the world did they get by with that song.' " she said.
Nancy continues filling me in about this previously unknown, to us anyway, aspect to our wedding ceremony...
"Either way it was fun, and I would like to have given him a little wave but I was way too nervous. See, you just never know what is going on behind the scenes of the best-laid plans. Thanks for the memory," she concluded.
Mum-in-law did not like the selection of the song - mainly because she did not know it. She wanted some well-known identity to come and sing some romantic, non-emotional - (contradiction here, I know) - "top - of - the - charts" hit, or something. For us, it was the story of our courtship and all the dramas we had with Louise's family. A bonus for me was, mainly - being married, and (secondly) a Pipe Organ officiating - a life-long wish of mine. And... firstly...MOST IMPORTANT; marrying lovely Louise, who while handicapped and so on - is a bright, smart, and clever girl whom God gave me the privilege of leading to Himself a couple of years, almost, before we married.
St Alban's Epping had a big step or two up to the dais at the front of the Sanctuary, where the newly-weds normally signed the register in the presence of the congregation. Due to our unique situation, it was arranged that on exiting the aisle after we were "hitched" we moved into the vestry of the church to sign the register, hence doing away with the need to get up on the dais, which would be impossible even in those days when Louise was a lot more "nifty" on her feet. While we signed, the congregation moved out to the front of the church to greet us as we re-appeared.
A fulfillment of a "prophecy," ho-hum; of later "Dr" H.G.'s from back in the early 80's, when I asked him back in those days
"when will the Lord send the right one along for me?"He replied:
"Maybe the Lord will have you lead the right one to Him, yourself!!"
How prophetic was that, huh! And how absolutely precious those wonderful words...only about 5 or 6 years before she actually walked the aisle to me. Probably the only good thing Bro H. G. ever said, in all the time I worked with him...but that's another story for someplace else as well.
I guess you could say his blue and white "Style-Rite" type shoes, and his "neatly-sprayed-in-place" hair and lovely blue suit, got me in for a while. ( I wonder if he bought the shoes from "Radar" O' Reilly..on the M*A*S*H set. Hehe!)
I was pleased that my Dad was over his initial stroke, enough to attend our Wedding and that Mum, somehow - managed to get my entire family, to attend, as well! ( I was not sure right up to the big day my whole family would be there!) Our wedding day was a joyous occasion, 180 people turned up to see us married, and we had a reception of 112 guests.
Following the reception we drove over to Louise's folks' house, to drop off her Mum's car and pick up Louise's own car. We remember the sense of real freedom we both felt, as we drove away from her parents', and her most recent home of 13 years, for the last time.
We then drove to the Airport Hilton Hotel for our wedding night. Next morning we transferred to the Airport in a Microbus and left Louise's car at the Hotel, to be later picked up by her Dad.
We enjoyed a wonderful Honeymoon in Coolangatta in Queensland, after which we were picked up by Louise's Mum, at the Airport on return. We went back to her parents' home for tea, after which we drove over to our flat.
We were blessed, not all that long after getting settled in the flat together, to get some nice neighbours in the back flat, behind us, after the drama I had before our wedding day, there. Fred and Jane became friends, and we kept in touch for a long time afterwards.
One little story I would like to share, of our early "homemaking" days, I still remember the time I did overtime at work and my dear Louise put the plate of food over a saucepan of boiling water to keep it warm for me, till I got home. Trouble is by the time I got home, I had to send a search party out to find all the shrivelled up veggies etc on the plate!
Those were the days. Hehe! Fortunately, when we moved into our house, we had more room, so we were able to finally get the rest of our wedding gifts organized; including a lovely Convection Microwave oven! How nice to still be getting wedding pressies, 6 months after the event - AND No more plates of food shrivelling up over boiling water!
The following is a story I feel is good to share regarding our courtship days during which I never knew all the trials Louise went through, at home, in our times of getting to know each other. I think what I will say below explains that some more...
In the earlier days of our marriage, one day, I was working on the 'beast', the computer. During my typing, I'd become aware of a CD playing where Louise was sitting, knitting. It leads back to a time long before she met me when she used to sit alone for hours listening to pop music.
The reason I mention this, is, that after I had been listening for a while, it came to my mind that she may have been upset by the CD's tunes. The reason for her upset was the reminder of lonely times she had had, back then, at the times of originally listening to these CDs.
Even though I couldn't see her (she was in the lounge room and I was in the study) it turned out, talking to her a little time later, I was right.
Theses pictures are our favourite wedding shots Top is signing the register in the Vestry. Second is after "mad" Helen, a family friend bathed us in Confetti. Sorry for the error on top. I had a wrong tune on here before, so at least that is now gone. Here is a 10 Minute Youtube section of our wedding. Hope you enjoy this. We had no idea this was done until some time after...we were glad we did not know.
In my new Clerical Administrative Class 1 level, I was placed in the "Treatment Section" in the Branch Office Building in the city, at the start. Also known as "Grace Building," formerly the first big department store building for, as its name indicated - "Grace Brothers" now long gone from the retail sector - and leased to the Government for "99 years."
There was no air conditioning, so in the summer it got really hot in the building, and the fact that you could not close any of the windows properly did not matter. In the winter, brrr! An entirely different scenario where we all froze to death with the cold winds blowing freely through those darn windows, which we could not close to bless ourselves. I recently recovered some notes I had written in my frustration about my new position. Here they are, kindly re-typed for me by my dear wife ...
"Geoff's work Complaints. - My comments relating to work reports from Garry Chapman, A. Bollocks & M. Saltine. (Names changed to protect the guilty.)
Firstly, I agree with a common statement made by all three of the above, in that I find this position too demanding and no matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to cope with it. Even if it may appear to be backstabbing on one hand and back scratching on the other, I have found that my problems have been multiplied in the presence of certain supervisors.
Mr Chapman during his tenure made a habit of talking loudly about "Ministerials" regarding the "travel expenses" area. We were never told whether it was considered to be the examiners' fault or if the client was making claims outside their eligibility to do so. Also, Mr Chapman could have gone to the clerk covering that particular breakup and spoken privately with them to avoid total embarrassment, right across the section."
"I had tried to organize my work more and get the easier claims done to build up my output but the slow work has to be done and cannot continually be put aside. I was exempt from answering phones but because of recent staff shortages I still end up having to answer them."
"At one stage, Mr Chapman made what I consider to be a threat, if not personally, then generally to the Travel Expenses area that Donald Norfolk had said that a clerk's position had to be abolished. I took this personally hard. I don't consider Mr Chapman's statistics on travel expenses claims to be altogether relevant to my case."
"I was told that I should do at least 20 claims per day, and I attempted to do this. As has been alluded to in the reports, I do have difficulty with noise being distracting and in the "open space" nature of our floor, every noise from one end of the building to the other can be heard. Plus of course, the deafening truck and traffic noises from one of the busiest intersections in the city, compounded by the lack of sealed windows. Working conditions in this area are quite difficult, and the lack of oxygen can tend to make one daydream and slow down work."
If you want to breathe you have to freeze (or wear an overcoat) if you want to be warm you must suffocate for lack of air.
"Some supervisors seem to have a better understanding of the problems of hearing impaired than others. I think all supervisors of hearing impaired should be compelled to take some sort of course of familiarization with the problems involved."
"I agree with Ms Saltine's comment, and I appreciate her encouragement. I also feel that I could do a better job in an area such as public relations counter work or computer work. I appreciate the opportunity to answer these reports and I wish to state that I want to do a fair day's work in a job suitable to my abilities, which apparently do not include the criteria of the current position."
"I feel as though I am being put upon, trodden down, being treated very unreasonably because I am slow in my work. It seems that when I am off sick either no one does any of my work and it piles up, or if someone does it they get all the easy claims to do and I get all the troublesome. As an example, I recently made a point of telling the supervisor that I felt that work inflow was not being monitored fully, in that when the incoming work is assembled when the physio's don't put a 'TF12*' on the accounts, there is no way of knowing whether there are 5 accounts/approvals etc. or 25 a/cs - approvals to each voucher number. Therefore, the system of measuring the incoming and out-going work was not realistic."
"So now apparently, (I haven't been able to see any myself), the workflow is being adjusted to the required 5 a/c to Voucher etc., and my helper is whizzing through like a "Bondi*" on new claims. I heard someone in our area say a while ago that you can't keep up with the work by following the procedure, you have to take shortcuts."
"Why should I be penalized for being slow when I am following procedure, checking eligibility, and Physio Approvals etc. on the computer, writing letters to physio's, and telling them what we will be paying etc, and handling JP* services and phone inquiries? I was a Justice of the Peace back in those days, being constantly called to the front desk to witness signatures on forms. I was accused of spending too much time on the phone and daydreaming. However, I don't spend any more time on the phone than other people do talking to other staff members - the argument is,
'but they get their work done' - I wonder!! I know I can't work and talk. I'm sure many others are like me."
"Many years ago, it was claimed we should be able to enjoy our work - I would enjoy my work if I could be allowed to get at it and on with it without feeling pressurized, either real or imaginary - I'm at a stage now where my self-esteem is at an all-time low, and if it wasn't for the fact that I have a lovely wife who I know loves me, I would have had a nervous breakdown by now. It isn't just a matter of not enjoying my work at present, but actually feeling threatened by my work and all (or most) of those associated with it. We do not deserve the amount of pressure we are experiencing at this time."
"I hope that this little note gets to the right place at the right time -- I am not a nut or mental case. I am (still) a sane human being who is trying to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. Please help me before I go completely down in a heap. Yours sincerely,
G. MOORE JP"
Looking back I am not sure this ever got passed on to the relevant authorities but it probably did me good writing it all out, anyway.
As you will see in my song below, I talk about the after-effects of the operations too. (Medical matters) later on. Not long after I returned to work I got a transfer to another section where they dealt with "Hospital Maintenance" entailing payment of costs for Veteran's Treatment, etc - in Private Hospitals. I had a really good supervisor over there, named Betty.
I wrote a poem/song about my time in the Department Of Veteran's Affairs. Lyrics follow, below. The MP3 for the tune to "It's Not What You Know, But Who You Know" is at the head of the Chapter. You will need to Press the "Forward Arrow" to replay the tune for each verse, the complete verses file is too large for inclusion here.
Verse 1 and Chorus
It's not what you know
But who you know that counts
If you've got it all up there
It don't matter an ounce.
In the Public Service,
that's the way it goes,
it's Not WHAT;
BUT WHO you know!
2. There's a guy calls himself "Hitler,'
He's got it in for you.
If you wanna feel a bit "littler",
He'll make sure that you do.
3. Since I've been in the "Tower"
I've learned a thing or two,
If you're feeling like a sower;
"Kev's circle's" there for you.
4. And Then there's *E.E.O.
or More like EE-OW!
If management won't apply it,
Then I just don't know how?
5.Morale in Veterans' Affairs
Is at an all-time low
You say, "HEY WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT?"
Been there I ought to know.
Chorus (this verse only)...
In the DVA that's the way it goes,
It's not "what", but "who" you know!
6.I'm sick of being treated
Just like a little twit
Between the "Candy" and "Heaven"
I just can't make a hit.
Ever since I had my oppo's
I've been Looked at like a "nong,"
So now then...
Here is my song.
It was from the job in Aetna Tower I got a transfer back to Tax, initially in Parramatta. When I was leaving Branch Office in the City, a dear friend and fellow worker wrote the following in my Farewell Card. I will always treasure this...a bit of a steal of some of another famous poet's words - I forget their name or the other poem's name. Some of the terms you may not understand, as they refer to several of the systems we used in the office for different operations, back then. ...Farewell To Geoff by Warren Burke.(Not real name)
The Time has come,
Bill B has said;
To speak of many things.
Of Scribes and rats,
Of Sycophants and bores.
Of PARS and FAS and floppy discs,
And all the things you'll miss
Suffice to "sai"
We'll miss you too,
So here's to "sai" "G'dai."
I loved his (Bill's) Anglo-Indian attempt at "Aussie Lingo" or "Strine."
Australian English and usage of the same is different from American English. The picture is the, now, Grace Hotel that was once the location of the Repatriation Branch Office, later to be known as Department Of Veterans' Affairs.
TF12's were vouchers attached to bundles of claims. JP ... Different in Australia to the Justice of the Peace office in America. "Whizzing through like a 'Bondi'..." refers to a saying here regarding the speed of some of our old trams we had up till 1961. Funny thing is, as the saying goes...history is now repeating itself and "Light Rail" or in old terms trams are returning to Sydney Streets. If you are a new visitor I highly recommend reading the last 2 chapters.
Early in our marriage, as you can see from the enclosed note, in the previous chapter, I was having stress problems at work. I began to get really bad headaches. My local doctor referred me to a Psychiatrist in the Northern Suburbs to see if he could help me. To cut a long story short, after several sessions with him it was proposed I could do either of 2 things.
Firstly; I could have an extensive psychological test which would cost A LOT OF MONEY - none of which would be refundable from Private Medical Insurance I still had at that time or Medicare.
Secondly; I could have a CT Scan, fully paid for by Medical Insurance or Medicare. So we went for the second option and wouldn't you know it!? The Scan revealed a Hydrocephalus Condition. (Fluid on the brain). Following is some background to this discovery.
When I was born, the doctors noted excessive fluid - evidenced by my big head. Still have that, not from pride or anything ok. My father was given the option to have the fluid released. However, they cautioned him that the release of the fluid could cause brain damage, being just a baby and all. Dad was assured that if the fluid was left alone, over time it would dissipate by itself. He elected to leave things alone.
To clarify things, I need to point out something. My Dad would not have known about the ensuing problem, as he left us when I was 8. We had no father-son relationship as when he finally asked Mum back into his life, I was in my 30's. Mum told me what happened when I was born about them not releasing the fluid. She was shocked it all stayed for 30 something years.
My mum was initially embarrassed when the Psychiatrist I was seeing, wanted to speak to her about my history. I began to have the aforementioned stress headaches, and the CT Scans revealed the fluid still present, plus deterioration of brain cells, due to the presence of the fluid. Something I will be forever disappointed in was the fact that the Sydney Adventist Hospital Imaging Department*, instead of contacting me and asking...
"would you like your Scan slides back?" THREW THEM OUT in a clean up some years after I had them done. So now, I have no evidence of the original Hydrocephalus condition. I still have the telling ridge on the back of my head from the said condition.
I am pleased, as we come through for the umpteenth review of this and one other chapter of this "life story" I am now able to share the letter or most of the letter from the Neurosurgeon to the Psychiatrist who had referred me.
"Thank you for the opportunity to review Mr Geoffrey Moore and thank you for your detailed letter which covers most of the story, and to which there is really little I can add.
I agree he has long-standing hydrocephalus and undoubtedly this is related to an aqueduct obstruction as the 4th ventricle is not grossly dilated. The change in behaviour and change in his performance at work, and his headaches, I think is all very suggestive that the balance of his hydrocephalus is possibly breaking down, and I think that in itself would be sufficient to lean towards advising that a shunt is inserted. The other problem that needs to be considered is that if there are only intermittent episodes of pressure change, ageing processes and atrophy may well begin to be evidenced, and possibly a shunt might help in this way.
I have told him I would lean towards doing it - I have told him what the operation involves and also that there is not any great risk in surgery except for the fact that occasionally shunts block. I think he is happy to go ahead with this..."
So, in 1988 I was admitted to the *SAH to have a shunt placed for drainage of the fluid.
Firstly they inserted the shunt, a tube from the side of my head (internally, of course, down to the heart chamber. I believe this is known as a Cerebral shunt of an Atrial kind. I subsequently experienced a Staph infection that is common in hospitals, but of course, hospitals never admit responsibility for the infection. So the first shunt had to be removed which meant, instead of about a week in the hospital, I was there for 16 days.
As you will note above, the hospital was a Seventh Day Adventist establishment. SDA's being mostly Vegetarian, my specialist had forgotten to sign me up for a MEAT diet, during my time there. For the first couple of meals, I was subjected to the regular Vegetarian Cuisine. The first main meal, I received was something looking like a large rissole. It LOOKED delicious. Turned out it was a combination of desiccated mushrooms and something-or-other else! I love mushrooms in the right settings, but this time, yuck! Anyhow, after that, I went onto their version of a 'meat' diet, which, I have to say, wasn't all that much better.
So after the first episode at Sydney Adventist Hospital, I went home to recover and return to work for another couple of weeks. Then I was to be re-admitted to the hospital again to have the current Peritoneal shunt placed on my left side. Contrary to the other shunt, this one drained the fluids to my stomach to be released with all body fluids. In 2015, I only had one scare of a possible blockage of the shunt, which fortunately was ruled out by the Local doctor's diagnosis of a Virus with similar symptoms.
Following one of the operations, in the Post Op Ward, my Mother attempted, without success - to call me out of the Anaesthetic. After her attempt, my wife of only 1 year called me and I began to wake up - straight away! How about that, huh? When I returned to work after the first unsuccessful operation, having been shaved on one side of my head for that shunt to be inserted, someone gave me a funny look and said...
"What happened to you?" I just said...
"I had a "BRAIN TRANSPLANT!" I think they believed me!
A year after all this, in 1989 - we were watching a television News programme when we learned of something called "Sleep Apnea." It is a condition where the sleeping person snores. If they cease snoring in sleep it is quite possible they have CEASED breathing! There can be many episodes, during one night of snoring, stopping snoring/breathing, waking up, then back to sleep and the whole thing is repeated. My wife realized I was doing the same in my sleep. We arranged for an appointment with a "Sleep Clinic" in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital at Camperdown, inner Sydney. I was very honoured to be one of the earliest patients for the Sleep Test. On that occasion, I met the man (Professor Sullivan)who discovered the disease.
They did something that night, in 1990, they don't always do - namely, they put me on the CPAP* machine, for the very first test. *Continuous Positive Airways Pressure. I had put my hand up for overtime at work on the coming Saturday (the next day after the test) and I was able to do a good half day's work, because the night before I had, it seemed 'died and gone to heaven in the best sleep I had enjoyed for 39 years!
In more recent times, more than 20 years after we first met, I got to meet prof Sullivan again.
I was to have another Sleep Test, in order to qualify for Government assistance for a new CPAP machine. He just happened to be there, that day with a Japanese TV crew for some programmes they were recording, regarding Sleep Disorders in Japan. We both got a bit of a thrill seeing each other again after all those years.
In 1987, the year I married Louise, I needed a new Eye Specialist. A Doctor was recommended in Parramatta, so I went to see him a couple of times. To cut a long story short, I got a prescription from him for new glasses. Funny thing is, something came up sometime later that proved the ineptitude of the rather ancient Specialist. I had consulted this eye specialist again, at the end of the '80s.
In the early 90's we flew over to Perth for a holiday. When we landed, we picked up the rental car we were to use for the next couple of weeks or more. As I began to drive the car, I had the sense of a bug or something flying in front of my right eye. The problem was not something outside my eyes it was things floating around INSIDE my eye! Worst of it all was - the right eye in those days was my strong eye.
So there I was trying to drive a six-cylinder Ford sedan, I was not used to, using my left eye mainly. Boy, we were in a mess, and I had the hosts of our accommodation in Perth, in the car with us. It was the beginning of what later was diagnosed as a "Detached Retina."
When we got back to Sydney, I saw my local doctor and got a referral to a NEW (for me anyway) Ophthalmologist in Penrith. It turned out the old eye doctor should have seen the "floaties" (an indication of a Detached Retina) in my right eye when I had seen him again in the early '90s. The new Ophthalmologist then referred me to a "Retinal Specialist" at Concord Hospital where I ended up having two operations under LOCAL Anaesthetic if you please! with a break of a month or so in between.
This involved THREE injections of a Local Anaesthetic around the right eye. The FIRST was frightening. You were lying on the operating table and this big needle was coming at you. Fortunately, I think I had the pre-med needle to deaden things a bit. After the first injection, the other two weren't as much of a drama.
Then while the surgeon is operating, remember I am WIDE AWAKE and I had this cover over most of my face - he and the theatre staff are talking about our famous National Horse Race, the "Melbourne Cup." Hmmm! As I said earlier the worst thing about this operation is I had to come back and have it done again.
It turned out there was some fluid behind the right eye and the specialist needed to go in again. It was one thing to go through the trauma of those injections...but Then to come back and have them again WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT'S COMING! Phew!
A few years later I had Gallstones, but due to problems related to the collapsed lung during the ops at Sydney Adventist Hospital, the doctor was loath to remove my Gall Bladder. So instead I have had to behave myself since, with the fat intake. It still amazes me how just about every American has not had their Gall Bladders out, with the amount of Fried or KFC Fried Chicken you all consume each year.
It was not all that long after this, I was diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetic. As a younger person, for many years I had Low Blood Sugar or Hypoglycaemia. Even then, I was promised that one day I would probably go Diabetic. It happened in 2006. I thought I was managing it pretty well, except for a secretive report from my Ophthalmologist (eye specialist) who picked up in my eye test that things weren't so good, to the GP- GOOD IDEA! The doctor was looking at putting me on something else if my "HBA1c" as we call them - blood sugar readings didn't improve. Thankfully, unlike the later sleep doctor threatened, NOT straight onto Insulin, as he said there are a lot more options before Insulin. Following the 'riot act' from the GP, I had now repented, taking things more seriously. I had lost a lot of weight, but we later found out - for the wrong reasons.
The medical history story did not end, here. There is more in another "tome" later. All mainly due to age, they say.
Pictures: Left:Cerebral Shunt illustration (courtesy Wikipedia) Right: Me in one of my earliest "Starwars," hehe CPAP*... *Continuous Positive Airways Pressure - Masks|
Wikipedia Article about my Shunt/s...The First was an Atrial shunt on my right side, then later Peritoneal (to stomach) on my left side and still there nearly 33 years later.
My apologies for the increased length of this chapter but I felt the addition of the recently acquired letter between the two doctors was worth adding. Something to be said for malingering on publishing at times!
In more recent times, something else has started, originally thought of as possible "Meniere's Disease". This involved Fluid in the Middle Ear. This would cause dizziness and in the extreme, some vomiting. I had some testing done, and even the Neurological Specialist could not put his finger on my problem.
However, in the last couple of weeks, on talking to the GP again, a question he put to me, decided the final diagnosis. It turns out my problem is "Vertigo", to do with balance and so on. It is a relief to finally have a conclusion, albeit unable to cure. But at least we know where we are going. For a time it seemed the attacks, minor or major, could have been in some way related to warmer weather and higher humidity. I say this because when we moved into mid-April, 2014 in Australia, the Vertigo had appeared to have ceased! Alas; this has turned out not so, too.
As I shared a letter in the last chapter, recently discovered, I now wish to add some of another later piece of information from another Neurosurgeon much more recently than the first one. This has also answered a lot of my questions about why I am continually burdened by one medical thing after another.
These, too, are parts of a letter to my now-retired Ear Nose and Throat Specialist from the neurosurgeon to whom he had referred me, from my patient file the ENT gave me at my last appointment with him. Some snippets from the letter follow.
"Thank you for your note regarding Mr Moore whom I saw with his wife on 15 April 2013 regarding his episodic vertigo.
Over the last 12 months, Geoffrey has had maybe half a dozen episodes of acute vertigo with vomiting which begin with pressure in his ears and fortunately only last one to two hours. He has seen (retired ENT) and had some vestibular function studies which were slightly abnormal but don't really help very much.
Geoffrey is deaf and it is tempting to link his current vertigo to his hearing loss, but I can't imagine there is a connection. It looks to me as though Geoffrey wasn't really put together properly. (Wow!) He was born with a large head, and clearly, there were questions as to whether his hydrocephalus should be drained acutely or not. He was also deaf on the left side and had left facial palsy, which are all still quite obvious. His left hand is smaller than his right. At some point, he started to go deaf on the right side as well and now wears an aid on both sides with imperfect results. In 1988, when he was in his thirties, he had some tension headaches and someone thought it was a good idea to shunt his hydrocephalus. This had a placebo effect of abolishing his headaches, but of course, his ventricles have remained exactly the same size every since. The only thing that could be said about the ventriculo-peritoneal shunt was that it became infected and he spent, altogether, a month in the SAN Hospital and was lucky to survive by the sounds of it."
As a more recent discovery on Vertigo, I now have been informed, in this year of 2017, it is directly related to the Hydrocephalus I was born with and mentioned previously. I now know the possibly alternates of three causes for vertigo in my case anyway. The Hydrocephalus (Fluid on the Brain I wrote of in the last chapter) The Middle ear problem...I am now off the Doxycyclin tables I was on for that... and lastly the increase in calcification in the neck around the Carotid Artery. Another load off my mind to have this additional information.
On further editing, I now also mention something we wrote on in another of my "tomes." Added to all the above I have also been diagnosed as having "Adrenaline Insufficiency." This has occurred from a fall off in the pituitary gland's provision of "cortisol" to my Adrenal Gland. This is also attributed in some measure to aging. As we have written elsewhere I now have to take another steroid called Hydrocortisone to make up for the shortage of cortisol from my glands.
This also entails the wearing of a "Medic Alert" medallion at all times. Should I vomit or have diarrhoea, the Hydrocortisone is lost from my body and I need to be taken to hospital, immediately for injection of the steroid.
I want to share a couple more of my ideas.
Over the years of many medico's and many hospital admissions and so on, I have come to realize there are 2 main kinds of doctors around. Firstly, there is the "Hippocratic Oath" Doctor, concerned only for the continuing health and welfare of his or her patient.
Secondly, the "Account Doctor", mainly ruled by the bottom line of his/her bank balance sheet. It gets complicated when you have a doctor who is of the Hippocratic Oath kind married to one that is of the Account/Bottom-line kind. We were patients of both of them.
The "A" Doctor was always in a rush to get the patients through as quickly as possible and no time for a short talk or discussion. I think she treated us ok and we got over whatever maladies we were "consulting," or "flying by her ear" about.
The "H.O." Doctor, whom we still see, fortunately; has almost always had time for a chat or discussion about any of many varied subjects. He has also been one not in too much of a hurry to prescribe a drug unless he had been absolutely sure that was the best way to go for us. I felt that a lot of the times the chat or discussion we would have with him became also therapeutic as well.
As it has turned out, the Account Doctor side has now retired.
|Author Notes||The picture is a cartoon I got from somewhere. Describing mind-blowing thoughts I guess. Once again, apologies for another extended length chapter due to the recently discovered letter being included.|
At the then Berean Baptist Church here in Penrith, I was assisting in various ways including Sunday School. During this period the aforementioned Pastor Gilbert. and his wife returned to the USA on Furlough. We were short on transport for the Sunday School kids and Pastor Gilbert. had bought this ancient VW Kombi Van. I learned later, and too late he had intended only using it to transport his own furniture and other stuff in. One Sunday after they had gone back to the States, I used his old Kombi to pick up some boys for Sunday School.
There was a main street running straight down the hill across the highway from where our, now Church building is located. In those days we met in a Hall right in the City of Penrith. I had dropped off the boys at their homes after Sunday School and I was driving the Van down Maxwell Street, empty. Back in those days, there was virtually NOTHING in Maxwell Street. Just ONE LONELY STOP SIGN. For some stupid reason, it was facing the traffic in Maxwell Street, a long straight, major road. Evan St was coming in at a T intersection. Unfortunately, I missed the Stop sign and hit a vehicle coming in from Evan Street. I got out, and spoke to the lady and said it would be ok, and the insurance would cover her damages, and I gave her my details as required by law. Shock horror; I get a phone call from her insurer to inform me the Kombi Van had NO insurance. I would have been more than happy to pay the "Excess" of about $AUD120 if the vehicle was insured. But, I had to get a loan to pay the $AUD550 damage to the lady's car.
At the time I was still a Bible College Student on very low casual wages. I was relieved to be DEBT FREE when I entered Bible College, and I think getting the loan was the catalyst that led to further debt and so on, this incident having been a long time before matters you read elsewhere in this book. To cut a long story short, an eventual meeting of the church members agreed to pay half of my cost - a long time after the incident, I have to add. And only after cutting off a sort of gratuity they paid me each month, seeing I was driving out to the church to help, twice a week. I had been prepared to pay off the loan myself as long as I was getting some help from the church, but when it stopped, was the time I felt I had to say something about the uninsured vehicle accident cost. I was most grateful that our current Pastor actually put things right 12 years later and had the church repay me the remaining $AUD250. It was not my fault the vehicle I had driven on the church's behalf was uninsured. This had caused real bitterness in my own heart against the former pastor, but I eventually forgave him.
I had an occasion, one time, to be practicing a song with a "Pastor" and, not his own wife but another "Pastor's" wife. The "Pastor" had been in the Bible College when I was, he graduated, I didn't. I turned around to speak to him about the song I said...
"Patrick you remember this song?...." The other Pastor's wife begins to upbraid me with...
"PASTOR!" She was chiding me for addressing the guy by his first name. Although we were in a School environment, at the time - there was no-one else around and this woman, I believe was "usurping authority" I thought, hehe, over me. It really got to me, and I left the room, visibly upset. "Pastor Patrick" came down the stairs to me, outside and literally crying (remember, at that time, I still had untreated hormone problems) and instead of trying to comfort me; he insisted that the woman was right in correcting me and that I should defer, (or "kowtow" if you like), to his "Authority!" In talking about this "authority usurper"...
I still remember the story someone told me about the time a new Mum came into the church and offered her "A *NURSE!" of her baby. OK, Amurrikuns calm down! Remember this is in Australia. It seems no matter how long American Missionaries are in my country, they still don't get completely familiar with our differences in English terminology.
I guess I should not proceed to talk about this "Pastor's" yet another one not the one I referred to earlier - unfaithfulness to his wife and disqualification from the ministry. This woman I speak of above, (you know the one who wanted to push the "authority button") for many years would "sing" oh me! It would appear Pastor's wives take it upon themselves to sing - ie "he-do-de-preachin' she-be-de-singer and organist," or whatever. This one could never really hold a note, properly. Also, a difficult one to work with, as her accompanist, as I was a number of times, and I was a lot more gracious in "them" days and put up with a lot more.
We have this awful tendency to put up with "Joyful Noises" in churches that are supposed to be honouring to God. Another thing is - soloists forever choosing a piece to sing that is way out of their range. I know my more recent pastor who was for many years a wonderful Welsh singer, today misses my accompaniment. I was fortunate, as I mentioned way back, to have "perfect pitch" and I also played by ear. This enabled me to play at a pitch most suitable for the voice of the soloist I was accompanying on Piano or organ.
One fabulous story I must not deny my readers was a wedding I played for at our church more than 20 years ago. We, recently, were just watching a movie and I was reminded of this. I had been playing the pre-wedding music for nearly an hour and the Bride had still not arrived. Then someone came in and announced:
"The Bride will be late due to a car accident en route to the service holding her up." Up till that time, the mood in the church had become pretty sombre as people were worried about what was going on. ...
Straight after the announcement, I launched into that great song from "My Fair Lady"..."Get Me To the Church On Time" and it broke the ice! People started laughing, then everyone just got talking again. Every time I see that couple, (even though they have not been at our church, for a long time, now) we all remember that day.
* Nurse in Australia DOES NOT MEAN Breastfeed as it does amongst other things such as regular care and Nursing of patients etc, in Uncle Sam ok! Reminding my American readers, again, we speak British English here. British English preceded American English or whatever by centuries. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.
Thanks to gdbush for the "Green Light" photo old Coachhouse lantern I felt like it explains the light being snuffed out by controlling, uncaring, selfish people, today.
A "Senior's Luncheon" has been held, once a month, at our church, for some years now. We were NOT interested in attending for a number of reasons. We were getting "pestered" to attend that function and it took a long time to convince organizers we were JUST NOT INTERESTED.
Over a period of 9 years, we hosted, in our home, a Bible Study for the women. My wife decided she wanted to discontinue that here at home, for a number of reasons. One of those being that we were about to have some big renovations done to our house, making our place not suitable to entertain visitors for quite some time. One sad portion of this Bible Study time was some attitudes of the women.
People would arrive in their cars out front, early. Maybe they did not want to interrupt our dessert after the main meal? Louise has always felt left out of things. She never had enough opportunity for fellowship with other women. So the ladies arrived early and were waiting for the pastor’s wife to turn up.
Unfortunately, they did not come up to the house and give my wife the opportunity to join in some good conversation. We could have wondered - was the early arrival and sitting in their cars a time of gossip they did not want my wife to be a part of? We have mentioned in other places how folks have always treated my wife as some kind of "retard" because she is now confined to her wheelchair. This is totally untrue. She has much she could contribute to a conversation if the women would allow her to do so.
I mention these two issues above for a particular reason. There are those in churches and other places, who want to "control" everyone and everything. I know I talked about similar issues from way back before I married my wife but in this same church. Different pastors and so on back then.
The Christmas party was held for the Bible Study group at a Restaurant in our city. Louise was invited, even though she had quit the study, some months before. A certain individual had been harassing my wife about coming back to the bible study and it was upsetting her. So I quietly took the lady aside before the dinner (I was not attending as it was a ladies' evening) and asked her NOT to bring up about Louise coming back to Bible study, again. (The person had been pestering Louise about it, more than once, prior to this occasion.)
The next couple of days later I got a call from the woman's husband (you know, the Administrator) - to tear strips off us for speaking to his wife as I had done, and upsetting HER! Unfortunately, I had the phone on Speaker and Louise heard every word of the tirade. Afterwards, we got it all again by e-mail. Louise got on my computer and replied to the angry man's e-mail, telling him she heard every word of his call. These people had also been haranguing us about attending the Senior's luncheon. no matter how many times we said we were not interested.
To add insult to injury, at a wedding sometime later, it was our "luck?" to be seated near these people. It was all repeated as above again! I ended up having words with her husband on the side. More from another quarter, (from people who were no longer a part of our church - and totally out of the "loop" on local matters) - suffice to say, added discomfort for both of us. As a result, we left the reception early, after apologies to the Bride's Mother. Somehow only one person saw all that went on and came out after us to comfort us. The pastor did not notice, even though he was at an adjacent table, with his back to it all. We understood his unawareness as he was having some family crises, himself, at the time.
About four months later, the pastor came to visit us at home, on other matters. It all came out, then. He agreed it was 'Harassment' we had suffered. He encouraged us to report to him if there was any more of these happenings from the same direction. I say it was more like bullying, rather than just 'harassment!
There is something we have noticed over the years in churches:
Firstly; You can tell when someone has had it with a church, and are planning on moving on to someplace else. They gradually begin to move further and further back in the seats of the sanctuary, each time they come to the services.
Secondly; People who are about to leave us, tend to start "cutting us off" and not keeping in touch, or not desiring our interaction and so on. I am not sure if it is a "set-in-stone" practice - to make the parting eventually easier. However, I have noticed it with a number of couples who were eventually moving on, for whatever reasons. We, up till very recently, should have joined them on the back row, ha!
Sadly, due to worsening hearing problems, at the age of 60 and also concentration problems, I had to step down from the music function in our church quite some years back, now. (Six years ago as I come through here, again, on edit.) I miss playing. I also have to bite my tongue on better hearing days, when the instruments are out of tune. Added to this, to be fair to the musicians, if I am having a "bad hearing day" I have to suffer in silence as, due to loss of hearing - even the most "in-tune" instrument gets warped off key, due to blockages or whatever, on my end.
It took several attempts to get the pastor to agree to let me retire from the church music. He was, and still remained for many years, one of those that will not take NO for an answer. I finally had to write him a letter explaining my situation and take my wife to the meeting with him to back me up. Even after I stepped down I still had folks in the church asking:
"When are you playing again?" It was distressing because I really loved playing, but it was not physically possible, anymore.
On a later occasion, the pastor and his wife had returned from Long Service Leave, overseas, and, on this particular Sunday, we were short on musicians. The Church Administrator, another person that would not take No for an answer, asked if I would play that morning. I got up to the organ and I was a real case! I felt my blood pressure going through the roof and I knew my face was as RED as a beetroot. Not anger, just frustration combined with an extremely nervous state. I think I got through the ordeal, but when I sat down for the preaching my wife knew that was most definitely the LAST time I would play.
I finally asked the pastor to run a story in the church bulletin explaining my retirement after 50 years of being involved in Church Music, having as you know been playing since I was 10 years old. When she saw what he had written the pastor's wife sang out:
"I didn't know you were 60!" When it was made known more volunteers were needed for the music people all said:
"But we can't play like YOU!" I just said, "well if you had done it for 16 years, in this church, or altogether, for a lot longer - you would get better at it." Amazingly now, I notice most of the time, there is no problem getting someone to play these days.
We had a great time when the Barnes's were with us. They had something really special about them. perhaps it was due to their eldest son being handicapped and themselves being more loving to my wife in her situation. I want to quote something I read on Facebook only today, thanks to another dear old preacher friend.
"Great service tonight. Love the W's. Not many groups know how to follow the Holy Ghost. Their songs lined up with my message. The altars were busy. Thank you, Lord."
This statement from my old friend reminded me of something Pastor Barnes. used to let me do for the services in which I accompanied on the organ. (Back in my better-hearing days, of course!)He allowed me to choose the hymns for each particular service I was playing for. I sensed the Holy Spirit's leading in my choices as most of the time, they went right in with whatever pastor Barnes was preaching on. He never told me, beforehand what his sermon's subject was to be.
It was so sad they had to move on for a number of reasons.
Then the Hollands came. They were great for about ten years. He really should have got someone in to help, back then, with his health and stuff, the way things were. I guess the only good time we had from about 2004 through to 2007, was when the Collins family, later to be Missionaries to Romania were assisting in the Ministry, here.
The old pastor Gilbert from way back, for some reason, has cut me off. Mainly, I think, since their last visit here. I guess they were shocked that hardly anyone from their time is around anymore. For so long he was keen for me to keep in touch and tell him what was going on, but now nothing.
There have now been a lot of changes including the arrival of the new Assistant Pastor and his family. They have made a tremendous difference in the church, already. Now, February 2016, has arrived, and the new pastor has now taken over. Today was his first service as the pastor, and we are already noticing more changes, today. How exciting!
Readers may have gathered we have been on the fringe at our church for many years, wanting something better but it was not available. We know now the Lord wanted us to stay as He had this blessing coming for us eventually.
It was our earnest prayer that the old pastor, no longer in charge and still hanging around, might soon move on. In recent times he had been 'protesting' different things the new pastor was doing that he did not approve of. Not that it was really any of his business, anymore. I learned a particular denomination has a rule. It is that when a new pastor takes over a church, then the old pastor should move on and let the new man carry on without any interference.
God answered our prayers and the old pastor was "called" to a church in our southern State. He and his wife have now sold up here and bought another place down near their daughter and her husband. He has taken up as pastor of the smaller church, there, where he won’t have the enormous responsibility he had at our church. One of the reasons the former pastor left, as he stated himself one Sunday was that in his poor state of health, he could no longer carry out the "full functions" of a pastorate.
It is so unfortunate in the choice of pastors that we either get good teachers/preachers or good pastors. We can't seem to get a good "all-around" leader who fulfills the need of "pastor" and "preacher/teacher." I guess one of the reasons is probably the fact that in the congregation, too many times, people just want to "warm the pews" and not take leadership in the various ministries to relieve the church head to actually be more all-encompassing in the full functions of a pastor and teacher.
A Loop System picks up the signal from the pulpit mike and brings it straight to the coils in specially fitted hearing aids worn by deaf and hearing impaired folks. My left hearing aid had the needed coil for years, but it was never activated till more recently.
The photo is of Louise and me with a dear friend, having been at our church a long time ago, now a Mum of grown daughters, and living in a country region of our state. This was taken recently, at the former Pastor's Retirement service.
Names have been changed to protect the innocent or guilty hehe.
I've just been thinking, comparing my father to Moses, and the Children of Israel. They disobeyed God and wandered around in the wilderness. He disobeyed God in leaving his family in 1959, and after that, he wandered all over the place, living in Queensland, Forbes, Oberon, and then Grawin.
Prior to that - goodness knows where else. Maybe old Dick, my paternal Grandfather, was a bushranger too!
We visited my Aunty Lorna, (Dad's younger Sister), a few years ago. It was, yet again - a "learning" experience we are glad to have had.
During the visit, it occurred to me while we talked about how Dad, many years before, had asked my Mum to bring my brother and me up to Queensland to live. Whether with him or near him we don't know. I remember the photos of the University in Townsville for my elder brother and a school for me, he had sent with the letter.
But as I think about it more now - I believe Dad wrote that letter on the quiet without his lady friend's knowledge (Maude, at the time.) When Mum replied - and we know she did for sure - her letter "somehow disappeared" - so Dad never received it.
We learned from Aunty Lorna that day, Dad had told her what he had done and that Mum (he thought, and told my Aunty,) had not replied. I do wonder if God somehow intervened in these things. As I have said someplace else, I believe I grew more in the things of God because Dad was not with us than I would have - had he still been here at home.
When I was 14, Dad came to visit. It was a traumatic time and a time of a lot of tears (on my part). Because I really thought then (or hoped in my heart of hearts,) Dad was coming home for good after 6 years away.
However, as above it was for the best. At that time, he and Mum discussed a trip I wanted to go on in the following year, to Launceston in our southern island state of Tasmania. It would be my first time so far away from home, on my own. Dad paid for that trip, for me.
I remember a couple of years later, going on another trip, on my own again, out to Forbes, where dad was running a hotel. That was the time, 3 weeks short of 18 years of age, I won a "Housie" Game, at the local Ambulance Station - with the help of Dad's partner's wife, Joyce. Joyce was a real sleuth at managing multiple rows of "Housie" Cards, as well as mine.
I also remember Dad's White cockatoo, named Bill, who was a really good talker. Bill could put one over you anytime and make out what a great friend he was but put your finger, as I did, in his cage and - OUCH! So much for the friendship.
Of course, I still remember, as well, the return home and being very emotional with Mum - a kind of "reality check" I guess.
Now, I want to move on to my Grandparents. They are an interesting story all on their own. I won't talk about Dad's father again as I never really knew him all that well.
Mum's dad was working on the trams and buses, for the NSW Government. He also assisted my father with the development of our land, prior to the construction of our house in Ryde. As a bit of a "tangent" - here's a little story about my Mum's folks' courtship and eventual marriage.
As I look back in my maternal grandmother's history, Nanna we called her, had been adamant she wanted to be married in her beloved Presbyterian Church. My future granddad wanted it to be in the Catholic Church, so they parted for a year until they could not stand being apart any longer, and he agreed to a "Pressie" Wedding.
After they were married and over time, Granddad would occasionally sneak off to Mass.
One day, some Nuns came to the door, asking:
"Are there any Catholics in the house?" Mum and her brothers all piped up:
“Yes, Daddy's a Catholic!" I fear Granddad was in big trouble at the local Catholic Church that:
1. He had not married there and:
2. He did not have his wife and children in tow for the Mass.
Nanna would arrange meals all neat and so on and was a good cook! The only time I remember her failing in her cooking expertise was when she made some stewed Rhubarb, omitting the necessary stewed apple component. So we had very sweet Rhubarb JAM and Ice Cream or custard that night. I know I have had a sweet tooth all my life but NOT THAT SWEET!! Sigh!
Grandma, (Dad's Mum) and our Nanna were worlds apart, personality-wise. Nana appeared as prim and proper and had at times expressed that good old adage -
"Children should be seen and not heard".
In more recent times, we were made aware again, of that saying, on the "Anne of Green Gables" Mini-series as spoken by old Mrs Harris.
Funny thing is; my wife's Uncle and also her Grandmother had a passion for using that expression too.
One other thing I remember about Nana was being a great believer in "home cures." I remember when I fell off my bike, one day; Nana decided it should be treated with kerosene which she put on the gravel-rash wound. She then covered it with gauze and a bandage.
The result was next day, inflammation of the area of course. Another of Nanna's "medicines" was for my regular upper respiratory tract infections. The answer, in her opinion, was a Rum Olive Oil and Honey concoction. I can't remember how successful that was in curing my ailment.
Grandma, as I am now told, was the real "higher-up" person from an elite background. It seems she rebelled against that scene and put on a new "lower class" persona. She was not rough, or anything and I know I got on a lot better with Grandma than I did with Nana. I think Nanna worried a lot more.
I have fond memories of staying with Grandma when she lived in Orange in our Central West. I used to have a little bed in her bedroom and I remember the old lace-up corsets she wore. I also remember some of Grandma's sayings such as:
"Fight on, Fight on! I hate peace."
"There you are; get outside of that" when she served the food.
I believe another remark attributed to her, in reference to the parentage of one or other of us was,
"you bore the bugger!" As I shared, I remember a lot of other stuff not fit to print here as well! Something else I recently learned, from Aunty Lorna (Dad's sister), was that opposite to Nanna, who was notably a "girl person"; Grandma was most decidedly a "boy" person. And that went all the way down through her 3 boys, including my Dad and through to the Grandsons, as well.
Aunty Lorna, and my other Aunty Gladys; were quite ticked off about their brothers' higher considerations. Particularly, when the family tin mine was sold and the boys got a far greater share of the resulting funds. Of course, my Dad and his brothers also, did more of the work in the Mine too; but oh well! Sadly as we continue this book, Aunty Lorna has recently passed away, in January 2017.
Most of what I remember of all this, apart from my actual experiences of them either came from Nanna or Grandma directly. or was passed on to me from someone down the line. Now....more "Outlaw" tales ahead. -
The picture is my Dad with Ben Hall's grave...the Dead bushranger with the live bushranger (back in 1968)...he said it; not me! Dad's with old Ben Hall now...I hope not!
We visited Ben Hall's grave last year (2012 at the time of writing). It now has a fence around it. Still maintained beautifully but it must have been interfered with, hence the fence, now. Funny how we Australians as maybe other Nations do, too, worship our criminals. Here below is a Wikipedia Link about Ben Hall, not one of our worst Bush rangers according to the article.
*SNIVES is a sarcastic term referring to "St Ives" a Northern well-to-do suburb of Sydney, our Capital, 30 miles East of us.~ *Mrs Bouquet and "~Keeping Up Appearances" refers to the same name show a BBC Production that I am told is not seen in Uncle Sam land, sadly.
Now for (Louise's) siblings and in-law stories and secrets finally revealed.
We had to learn early in our marriage, that we were never going to have a "one on one" relationship with Louise’s family. It seems Mother-in-law (and maybe Father-in-law) couldn’t stand being alone on their holidays or any other occasions. They always wanted to go or be with somebody! This also carries on to their offspring. They can't entertain without having Mummy and Daddy on hand! Not sure if it was the siblings' design, or just Louise's parents needing to always be "in charge."
In the early days of my wife’s elder brother’s being a new parent, we discovered we were never going to be able to spend time with her brother’s family without mum and dad-in-law tagging along. I mean did they think, seeing we could not have children of our own, we might be considering kidnapping our nephews or nieces?
We had arranged to go over to the south side of Sydney to visit with the new twin nieces at their home. We had mistakenly thought we would be just having time with them and Louise's brother and sister-in-law. Not so. We all get settled playing with the little girls when not too long later, my wife’s mother turns up.
On another occasion, we had thought we were going to her other brother’s place for afternoon tea - just the four of us. I am not sure their first child was on the scene at that time.
We were sitting around talking and we thought well, where’s the afternoon tea? We then are informed that again, Mother-in-law and Father in law were bringing the afternoon tea.
I also remember in our early married years there always seemed to be a family gathering for something or other and it was always a big “do” with the whole family. Including the requisite alcohol - we don't drink. I guess too, because of our hearing problems we did prefer more of the single-family thing.
Louise’s and my birthdays being very close - the family always wanted to put on a do for our birthdays. It was nice but we eventually started planning our holidays to cover the period of our birthdays and our Wedding Anniversary in the period March 14th through to March 27th.
This meant that if the family wanted to set up a gathering, around our birthdays it had to be before we went away or after we returned. None of the family gatherings took place or very rarely were held at a place suitable for us. We were the ones who always had to travel the farthest to get to the “do’s.”
This entailed usually, Louise having to drive us home at night - as I cannot drive after dark. Some kind of "night-blindness" where on-coming headlights were, and still are, a bother to me. I only recently learned that my sister, ten years my senior also suffers the same problem.
For about the first three years of our marriage at least; Louise’s parents were very "clingy" and insisted on coming out to visit us frequently. As our pastor expressed it...
"They haven’t had 'the leaving!' " As in Matthew 19:5(KJV) "…for this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh." I can’t get used to the idea that parents in a lot of cases seem to always think of their children, even as grown men and women, as still their "liddle bybies!" (Slang expression deliberate.)
Thankfully, things have improved A LOT in the last 23 years. We have each other so in that respect, we are not lonely. However, Louise's family now basically don't want to know us; except for Christmas time. To Louise's younger brother's credit, he does call in when he has work in the area.
The older brother, however, is a "*SNIVES SNOB" and up until more recent times has not darkened our "Westies" door for at least 15 years now. Correction! They are improving this last year or so. We did pray more recently for the Lord to bring some family to us…and He has answered our prayers.
Sadly, we believe the “*SNIVES” young man and young women (nephew and nieces) are probably tarred with the same brush. The eldest (of Louise's) nieces (twins) will turn 23 in December.
Louise was actually a Great Aunt by marriage before she became an Aunt in her own right. But no one calls anyone aunty or uncle these days do they? We have never been really allowed to be aunty and uncle to any of her nephews and nieces. The SNIVES nephew and nieces consider their Great Aunt (their Mother's Aunt) to be more Aunty, than their aunty Louise (their Dad's Sister).
I hear there is a move for kids to not even respect their own parents even in younger years. Unexpectedly, we did have another visit from the "*SNIVES" brother and sister-in-law just last weekend. It is still hard to figure out just why they wanted to come for the visit.
Ostensibly, the visit was to take the opportunity to check out all the Family History work Louise had been doing for some months. Louise's sister-in-law has learned very well, the "Mrs. Bouquet*" art of "gushing" over things Louise is showing her. When we know full well it is merely a performance worthy of an academy award or some such.
The sister- in- law is the daughter my wife's parents always wanted. It was evident the moment she came into Louise's brother's life. A daughter to replace the poor, handicapped Louise who if given half a chance could have shown them all, much sooner than now, just how capable and clever she always was.
These two, sister-in-law and her (Louise's) Mother are great at "~keeping up appearances". A sort of' ingenuousness or fake performance. I think that is why Louise and I have got on so well as we accept each other as we are and were. No pretending or "pomp and circumstance" by or to either of us.
I have recently learned from Louise, something I sort of suspected but not really sure of. Being the suspicious way her father watched me at every family gathering. It seems I am being watched in case I should happen to get a successful conversation with any of the grandchildren in regards to their eternal souls. There was no other way we could figure that out. I am sure if we asked Louise’s father why he did that, he would not even realize he was actually doing it. Or if he did he would not admit it.
We believe it is the working of Satan using the father-in-law to pose interference if the opportunity arose. Of course, my father-in-law does not realize his daughter (Louise) is watching him too!
Another more recent happening has been the opening up of revelations of things, till now unknown, about Louise's paternal grandmother. It seems "Nin" so named as she would not countenance being called "Grandma" or "Nana" as that would make her much older, so she thought. The truth as it all comes out now, many years after her passing, is that "Nin" was known to change her age as it suited her.
We were recently informed by Louise's Aunt that during "Nin's" time in the Nursing Home prior to her passing on, a birth certificate was found inside the piano, revealing "Nin" was indeed much older than even her current husband was aware and thereby hangs the tail. I know I have quoted the scripture someplace else in this tome, But again I quote Deuteronomy Chapter 5:9 and 10.
"You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,"
We have seen evidence of "Nin's" personality and things we never understood coming down through Louise's Dad. Some similar behaviours.
Whenever Louise's folks are expected for a visit there is always that mad clean up before they come. Probably part of the inherited genes from her Mum's "Keeping Up Appearances" as well. It was a real kick for us to learn some time ago that Louise's younger brother and his wife actually do the same thing when expecting their folks to visit! We are not alone in that idea it seems.
Now, much later, coming through here again, I had to wonder why I was being held back from adding more to this chapter.
Sadly, one of these nieces as stated before whom we never really were allowed to get to know, at the age of 25, has committed suicide. she suffered an eating disorder for whatever reason. Adding to all the secrecy of Louise's family, the grandmother, Louise's mum, hoped against hope Louise would not learn the truth of the facts of the niece's passing. Apart from the fact, as one of only 2 of the girl's aunts, she had the right to know.
Louise's younger brother came over to talk to Louise about their niece's passing. Only because of Louise's questioning and insistence, was she able to get to the truth of how her niece died. I was having my afternoon nap, probably a good thing, so they could talk and cry without my interference, in private.
Sometime later, Louise's mother called and they talked about the niece's passing. Imagine grandmother's shock to learn that Louise actually knew the whole story and the fact of her niece's suicide. Another fact meant to be kept from the girl's Aunt. I figure their aim is to "protect" Louise from being upset more by knowing the truth. Again just another example of always treating Louise like she is still a little child and not a 57-year-old woman.
I guess on my side we were not absolved from secrets either. However, honesty must build a better relationship and create more trust in families.
|Author Notes||Picture is Louise's full family (including me)at her niece 's wedding(see the wedded couple in the centre) in June 2016.|
There is a whole lot extra can be written about the folks last days. It all started with my Dad's major stroke. Amazingly, he recovered from that enough to attend his youngest son's (my) Wedding, in March 1987. Mum and Dad, from the early 80's had spent their re-united matrimonial years in the beginning, between Mum's place in Ryde, then later in Bargo, in her replacement property, after she sold the Ryde house - and Grawin in the North West of our state.
Later on, Dad was in and out of Nursing Homes and hospitals over a period of time, being looked after by nursing staff or by my eldest brother Richard. My sister also had a big part in their care when they both ended up in the Nursing Home. Dad, it would seem, would have preferred to spend his dying days up on the 'field'. However, it turned out not to be.
We all did as much as we could to visit Dad, initially, then Mum, at the Nursing Home. I will not try to make excuses, however, in Louise's and my situation, it was quite difficult to manage - visiting more than once every couple of months or so. The Nursing Home was not "down the street" or in the next suburb. It was about 60 miles or 100 km each way distant. Added to this was the particularly unkind roads we had to travel due to a lot of heavy traffic that made it about an hour and twenty minutes trip each way.
We often joked and said that one day long after Mum and Dad are gone, the authorities will come up with some new "you-beaut*" as we say here, freeway or something that will cut the trip in half. Wouldn't you know it! Not long after both parents had passed on - along came the M7 - a new tollway joining up our M4 Freeway with the Southern Main Interstate Highway 31, the Hume Highway. This ran all the way to Melbourne, the capital of our Southern State, Victoria. The new Motorway cut twenty minutes each way off the old trip.
One day I visited Dad in the Nursing Home. As it happened, Mum was a lot better in those days (at that time, also resident at the NH) but she had gone on a bus trip with other residents of the NH.
Dad was alone, so I was able to have that time with just the two of us. We had prayed for my Dad’s salvation, for over 40 years. On this day I had a list of salvation verses, I had prepared some time prior to the day. First I asked him:
"Dad, would you like to be in Heaven with me and Mum someday?"- HE SMILED AND SAID...
"YES!!" (Mum had been saved in 1959 when I was 8, and not long after led me to Christ.)
A week or so after the visit with Dad, my sister called in, and she asked me:
"Did you read some Bible verses to Dad?" Now if you know my sister and what she was like - I had to decide, real quick; would I be honest and admit I had done what she asked? Or should I lie for my own protection! Praise God He gave me the Grace AND COURAGE to admit I had done it! Her reply was, "I wish you hadn't, as Dad doesn't like it!"
I KNOW WHO DID NOT LIKE WHAT I DID! And it wasn't Dad.
Below are the scriptures I shared with my father on that special day.
DAD'S VERSES (Quoted from King James Version of the Bible - ie "olde" British English.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him, and he with me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Dad passed away some weeks after that - and before the service Deanne (sister) said -
"I hope we don't get 'bible-bashed' today!" After the service, I asked her,
"Did we get as you were afraid we would?"
"NO, IT WAS A LOVELY SERVICE!" I know why it was a lovely service as right at the end the preacher told us Dad had come to Christ THREE WEEKS BEFORE HE DIED! I wondered how long after I shared those Scriptures with him that was, hm!
At 3 am the morning Dad passed away in the Nursing Home, I woke up here at home - at that exact time. A very eerie feeling, when I later found out that fact.
And Now...about Death and dying...
Hey! Wait a minute I'm not dead yet! Well, we know that; it's just that we want to discuss a few things here before we proceed. `cause you see when you think about it; it's hard to work out what will be the cause of the er...the END! Yes, that awful word.
However, I must say this: it could be more of an awful word to some than it is to others. We will go into this big question in more detail later in this chapter. The problem I want to discuss right now is: …I wonder how I will pass from this life? What will be the principal cause of my demise?
I mean, let's look at it realistically. My father had a number of strokes...these are the big ones because he had also had many smaller ones which may not have caused as much damage. Then there's my mother; who had several thromboses as well as suffering high blood pressure for quite a few years. I can't remember what caused my grandparents deaths, on both sides. My grandmother on my mother's side had a gall bladder operation only a short time comparatively before she died. However, there was a question in our minds, at least, as to why she died; even to this day. She had been a determined sort of person, of strong stock. Somehow, after the operation, she went down quite quickly. I suppose we could make all sorts of guesses as to why this happened. I can't accept that the operation was the only cause, though.
Just for a commercial break, here:
I cannot for the life (pardon the pun) of me understand why, when someone dies as a result of a break in; murder or domestic violence of the family kind; everyone says "oh so-and-so was a nice person" etc. Maybe it's their way of making small talk. Because I guess in the case of a break-in whether the victim was a nice person or not would make no difference to the would-be thief. Perhaps it's the media's fault for interviewing all and sundry in the hope of getting a scoop!
OR PERHAPS FOLKS ARE JUST BLAMING GOD (who until this very moment, they never believed in any way!)
People throughout their lives are repeatedly challenged by their need to get right with God. The problem is: quite often they will say to themselves,
"I'll wait until I've had my fun and I get old and then I'll get right with God."
The trouble is: someone may break in and murder you; or some mad driver may wipe you out on the highway - before you have a chance to "make peace with God.". Then! ....It's too late! After all - We are always just one heartbeat away from Eternity.
Sharing a few of the struggles in dealing with the decline in my parents' lives. Thanks to my brother or his wife for the picture of my Dad and Mum with the Grandkids from Bodalla on the South Coast of our State. Taken in our backyard at the family home in Ryde, in the 80's. Mum sold this house in 1986 for $AUD101,999, and it recently sold again after a LOT of renovation by the new owers for....wait for it...$AUD1.9M. For Americans benefit the exchange back then might have been based on our dollar in Aussie being equal to around 80c $USD.
*you-beaut...is one example of Aussie expression, we recently learned trying to be abolished by the more politically correct linguisticians...meaning grouse or even great!
This chapter is about our travels throughout our married life up to our retirement. Travels post-1997 are in another chapter. The photo is of our Australian Map Tea towel hanging. originally we did not have all the hatpins from both our trips to Western Australia. But it was good getting some more from Tourist information Centres later on by phone...some were even sent free-of-charge, by some of the very kind staff of these establishments.
I do apologize for the shortness of this chapter. As explained in the body of this chapter my wife originally wrote about our holidays. That collection of our trip stories was in her, sadly, now non-existent account. We may in time get them up in here, someday.
|Author Notes||Photo is of Jim and Nadia on the left with us at a club for dinner. They were being difficult and would not let us get them both together with us so I fixed it hehe!|
Louise and I had been working in a couple of different areas of the Australian Tax Office, in our final years of employment. I had obtained a transfer back to Tax in 1989 in the then Sales Tax Branch*, Parramatta, and then I fought for 18 months through our union to get Louise a transfer to the same office. Quite a long story there but then this is my story, not my wife's.
An attempt was made by my dear wife, in 1991, to organize a "Surprise" birthday party for my 40th, here at home. As the photo shows, I had been lounging around in a tee shirt and shorts. Try as she may, Louise was unsuccessful in getting me to dress up. We were expecting my mother that day. Imagine my surprise when our friend Gerard (pictured with me top left, above) turned up. Then Louise's parents arrived. I was starting to realize what Louise had done. My mum arrived after Louise's folks, as she had the farthest to come. It was a lovely celebration. I felt very special that day.
In 1994 we both managed to get placed in the new Penrith ATO, for the time being still located in Parramatta. Soon after we all moved out to the new office in Penrith City CBD. Unfortunately, our work situations were totally different as far as congeniality of workmates.
My wife has always been treated unfairly by her family, our church and her work, prior to the move to Tax, for her. It was the same in her section in Penrith ATO. I was lucky to have a really great bunch of people with whom to work. Sadly, though my health was deteriorating and sometime later, Louise had an offer of a redundancy from work.
During my time in government employment, I had seen some - if not corruption, so much, perhaps gross favouritism. Especially concerning the speedy elevation of a new officer to a much higher position and pay. Maybe even her blonde hair and beautiful body helped, as well as her youth. I can't explain completely what compromises and, or favours this young lady may have had to make or give.
We just watched a movie again very recently called "Cassandra Crossing." In it, Burt Lancaster as the US representative for the "International Health Organization", has final advice for the Swiss Doctor. He warns her, in short, to keep everything to herself as to what he has done to "save the world" as such.
In the same way, my "Exit" Interview with my area director, was along the same lines. He praised my good job and so on, but I left the interview in no doubt that his compliments were a mite "loaded." That is, I was not to publicize a lot of the "goings-on" I had seen in the office, in especially the last almost 10 years. Here is a poem/song I wrote - performed at a meeting in the office, sometime before I left, by the way, regarding my time in the ATO*.
To the tune of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”
(Click on the Link at the head of the page.)
1. The Office is in the pooh again oh me oh my.
The Office is in the pooh again and I know why.
The poor old gov't has run out of funds,
while the pollies are having their coffee and buns
'N we'll all be better off when the Bureaucrats get the boot.
2. The Office has never got out of the muck, oh me oh my.
They're getting into a whole lot of 'truck' Do you know why?
The poor old ship has lost its rudder,
The system is bursting like old Bessie's udder
'N we'll all be better off when the Bureaucrats get the boot.
Some years before, our housing loan had been taken over by a family member. This got us a much lower rate of interest, and also the promise that if we ever needed to leave work, there was no problem with the remaining balance of the loan being repaid.
This was another case of "God Never Letting Go" and left us free to leave work. Louise with her redundancy and me to just resign. Louise had been on Disability before she started work in July 1979 so there would be no problem for her to go back on the Penson. For myself, doctors had said I should have been on government support all my life. I was glad I was a taxpayer for 28 years, though. No way could I have taken disability all my life.
However, it was still an act of faith leaving a secure Government job not knowing if I would qualify for a Disability Pension. Praise God I did. I had only done this sort of thing one other time when I left a secure position in a University's employ to go to Bible College in 1977. On August 14th, 1997 we both ended our working life. From then on we had more time to do some more travels.
Regarding the West Australian trips (1993 and the one below in 2000): Even though we did the two trips over there, and visited different parts of West Australia - we forgot to get our "Hat Pins" of the areas we visited, at the time. Recently we got a really good deal with our telephone and Internet provider company. This enabled me to call at no additional cost, other than local call fee, some of the tourist information centres of the areas we visited, in Western Australia. Sometimes kindly, on their part, we were given - FOR FREE -- some hatpins from the places we had visited. (See the Tea towel map in Chapter 25 - the other Trips chapter.)
We originally intended in the year 2000 during the time of the Sydney Olympics to go to America with a friend. She wanted company on the trip and I needed her help with Louise. Sadly, she could not get time off work so we had opted for a driving and train trip there and back to Western Australia, on the other side of our Nation.
On the trip in 2000, we took 2 weeks to get across the country and stayed in an assortment of motels and so on, en route. We had made the decision, long before that year when the Olympics would on in our City, to drive across Australia to Perth and the West Coast. It was our desire to get away from all the goings on at home during that time.
Crossing the border into South Australia we came into "Sherlock" a little town where we thought we would get some hamburgers for lunch. We had allowed for the half hour difference on crossing the border into Central Time and the Eastern States had already gone into Daylight Saving a month early that year. Fronting up to the counter I asked if we could have some hamburgers.
THEN IT HAPPENED... The lady said:
"We haven't got the griller on yet!" I suddenly realized my miscalculation of the time in the area. You see - South Australia or Central Time had NOT gone forward with the eastern states on this occasion as they normally would have, at other times during Daylight Saving. So we had to be satisfied with sandwiches that day. Sigh.
During the trip across Australia by car, we did do one bit of air travel... we drove 130 km each way on the William Creek Road from Coober Pedy to William Creek (a pretty rough road it was too...) then boarded a little, light aircraft for a flight, over Lake Eyre. At that time it was coming to the end of its rare flooding period and, sadly, we missed out on a lot of the wildlife that comes there when the lake Floods every 7-10 years or so.
Something else we mentioned to Louise's Dad when we got home, was the rough William Creek Rd portion, in the Mitsubishi Sedan, he was going to buy from us so we could purchase the Station Wagon we had until disposing of in 2018. He was shocked to learn, AFTER WE GOT HIS MONEY FOR THE CAR - that the William Creek Road from Coober to Lake Eyre, was classified, (we later found out); a 4WD Road! It figures after the horrifying run we had on it, BOTH WAYS!
We returned on board the "Indian Pacific" train with our car on the back of the train and a three-day trip. We were so lucky we did not do this a few years later as there was a crash or landslide I think it was, came down on the train as it was coming through the "Blue Mountains," almost home to the west of us here and our car would probably have been wiped out as that was where most of the damage occurred.
We continued our driving trips up till 2009, including in 2008 to Adelaide for a fellowship meeting of our associated churches. We asserted we would try to attend all the yearly meetings from then on except to Western Australia. Sadly, following that trip, we were in a lot of pain from all the driving and started to realize the driving trips were going to be winding down.
A year or two after this time, we really HAD to do some other trips but they were more stretched with more stops due to the above problems.
*ATO Australian Taxation Office. *Sales Tax was to close down and become a part of Withholding Taxes...which in more recent times has now become Goods and Services Tax or GST.
Index to our pictures: Top, L to R: Deaf friends I came to know at the Tax office and also Department of Veterans' Affairs. Still close with one of these, today;
Second Left: My work team at my farewell in 1997; Middle and Right: my 40th and 50th Birthdays; Third & Fourth: Our house in 1989;2009 and 2013, incl Louise doing the painting of the new panel replacing the old Window a/c;
Fifth Left: Louise and me at our friend J's place; Right: My ancestors...a picture of us taken at Australiana Village a year after we were married. Thought it was good as a Retirement pic.
If any readers are interested, here are some extra links into more detail in a poem I wrote about "Nolan's" mentioned in this chapter.
In my poem at the following link:
Top Right: The final family gathering at Grawin
Second Left: My Mum on the left and brother Richard with a Sunliner Coach. (sorry not good photo)
Second Right: My wife's Great, Great Grandfather's absent grave site at Toowong Cemetery, Queensland. The late Thomas Draper was the first of Louise's Dad's side to come to Australia, in the 1800's.
Bottom: An earlier picture of the late Uncle Jim and Aunty Mim.
Just wanting to share some of the things we have gone through, albeit some of the joys and sorrows of living. The good thing about it is if we allow God to get the victory over our problems, He gives us peace, even in those troubles, that He is there for us and will not let us remain defeated by them.
For a long time, Louise and I would go shopping together, and I would pull the front of the trolley, as Louise came along behind. When we had her previous power chair, we were able to get it into our station waggon, and she could drive it around the shopping centre. Some days if we wanted to do a 'big shop', at the main city centre, I would call ahead and book a "Gopher" (electric scooter) for myself and we made a pretty good team, without me getting worn out, walking.
The current power chair is too heavy to load into the Station Waggon, as we have to pull the thing apart to get it in, as well. Now we have to just go around with me pushing her in the manual chair, and I have to sit down for a break every now and then as I can't walk long distances. I said a few edits ago, we were expecting a new power chair. Sadly, the hoped-for ability to pack the new chair in our car never happened.
Another more recent change has been due to my vertigo attacks that have come up. I often used go on my "diabetic" walks from home to the local shop, and back. On occasion, Louise would accompany me in her power chair. I made arrangements to do exercises at the physiotherapists to compensate for the cessation of the walks due to the dizzy attacks that can come on unexpectedly. I am now pleased to confirm the attacks of vertigo have eased off. Now we are back to the accompanied walks with Louise riding along in her power chair on them.
We have to try and get out from time to time, as Louise can't stand being stuck at home all the time or eventually, she gets "cabin fever" - that feeling of wanting to crawl up a wall somewhere.
We have lived in our home for more than 26 years now. Neighbours around us have bought and sold, and come and gone. Sometimes we wonder if we might have some sort of a 'smell' or something. But we all know, in these days of marriage break-ups and upgrading for enlargement of the family, folks don't seem to stay in the one place for too long. In our situation, we don't have the freedom to 'pull up stakes' and move at will.
Our house has now become a "2-bedder" due to the "Ensuite" bathroom we had made for Louise, off our main bedroom. When the renovations commenced in 2006, we had to have one of those portable "conveniences" put next to our front door. Our bathroom being rendered unusable for several weeks. I am thankful to the organization that did the conversion of bedroom 3 to the Ensuite for Louise. Unlike most commercial plumbers and builders, they got the job done in the maximum time of only 3 weeks.
Something really funny happened, when it was found necessary to erect a ramp on the front of the "convenience" so Louise could get up into it as there was quite a step in. We had an old wardrobe we dismantled for disposal, a side of which became handy for the "ramp" up into the "loo." One of the men screwed some holes in the front of the "loo" to mount the ramp. Sadly, the unit was not suitable for Louise in the end as it was too much work for her getting in and out of it. Other arrangements were made for her.
After all the work was completed the unit was no longer needed. One of the guys began undoing the screws that had held the ramp onto the "loo."
Guess what happened? The screws had gone into the receptacle under the "loo" where all the "whatever" was stored. It was then decided to quickly replace all the screws back in the holes! I am not sure if the company from whom the "convenience" had been hired - ever found out what had been done by the worker!
If we had ever wanted to move anywhere else we would always have to do alterations to suit our special needs. Fact: It is better to stay where we are until the Lord calls us to our "Mansion in the sky."
We have been mostly lucky with the neighbours. The original neighbours on the lower side of us bought their house "off the plan*" back in the early eighties, They were here for the births of all three of their kids, we came around the time their daughter was born, their second child. Our house was the last and the largest of the group of homes built in 1982 all by the same Homes Group.
We are only the second owners of our house which we bought in 1987. We were very fortunate to have bought when we did as a couple of months after we moved in, the prices all went up and there was no way we could have afforded the place under the higher pricing. Once again God was in it all!
One of the big events in cooperation with all three adjoining neighbours was the wooden fence replacement.Termites or white ants, whatever you prefer to call them - had been having a field day with all the old wooden fences. We heard the later neighbours on our lower side had their book collection in their steel garden shed demolished by said termites.
I was entrusted by the 3 neighbours, to do all the research for quotes from the various suppliers and installers of steel fencing. I won't go into detail about some of the hassles we had with that.We are now currently in the same process with one of these neighbours again, to get a brick part-fence which has now fallen down, on our side as it had nowhere else to fall; removed and replaced again by steel fencing. This task is not as easy as before due to my health not being as good as the last time we did all this, ten years ago.
Quotes are in and we are just waiting for the neighbour to choose which one. (Both the same actually). Also for the rain to stop so the removal of the old fence can begin.
Now, lastly, a bit of fraud committed on us. We are now blessed with a fully air-conditioned home. In the summer we can keep comfortably cool and in winter nice cosy and warm in all parts of our house. I had been successful and very happy with the job done by Chris to install a Reverse Cycle Split System Inverter in my study. We planned to have Chris back again, a year later, to do the same in our bedroom. The thing we had been using in our bedroom for some years, was a rattly, noisy 3/4hp window kind, cooling only a/c.
Chris said he could get us a good price on a similar unit to the one we had him put in my study. So I sent him the $AU699.00. Then, it seems Chris had an accident and fell off a ladder. We had been promised we would get our money back when his dad could access his bank account. It has now gone more than 5 years since we transferred the money to Chris, and I know he is back working good and well again.
We doubt we will ever see the money again. The word "Gipsy" comes to mind.
As we entitled this chapter "Let Go and Let God" we believe it is all in God's hands. We are His People and we believe as we are faithful in our giving and service to Him as much as we are able as another scripture says in Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Reviewers have asked for definitions of the differences in our Dollars from "Up Over" to "Down Under"at the time of writing the Australian Dollar was equal to between 75c to 78c in $USD *Off the plan means they bought it even before it was actually built. *Skip Bins are iron bins of various sizes, carried on the back of trucks and lifted off to be filled at the homes, later to be picked up and taken away. *Whipper snipper is a slang expression for a lawn edging apparatus. Some are petrol or gasoline operated, some electric. The Pictures are "Let Go and let God", Louise coming along behind the trolley. I really wanted a manager to take a photo of me in front and Louise behind but they would not cooperate. The last photo is one of the new fences at back and the old brick fence on the right you will read about in the next chapter. (You can see the pavers on the ground on right from our old Garden shed as well.)
We have been most thankful for the "back door" neighbours who assist us with our lawn care and with house cleaning. We have known them now for close to 15 years. They seem to be the only ones not keen to move away from us.
A couple of the neighbours have dogs. On one side there is a Rottweiller and Chihuahua. At the back, is a Labrador (Meg) and a Ridgeback (Tommy.) Silly me had offered to take them for walks. I found out next door's daughter's boyfriend broke a leg, trying to take "Bear" the very placid, but still very strong Rottie for a walk one day. I was also informed I would suffer a similar fate if I tried to take Meg the fully grown Labrador for a walk. I have given up both of those plans. As an edit to this chapter, sadly "Bear" has gone to the neighbour's friend's home, ostensibly for security. However, if the thieves and robbers knew it "Bear" has to be the most placid Rottweiller I have ever known.
One very hot night, pre-air conditioning of our bedroom, we had our blinds and window open for any cool air that might happen to make itself known. About 1 am my wife turned over, to get more comfortable. As she did she saw a big fire burning in a "Skip*" bin across from us. It seems some scraps that were in the bin resulting from a renovation by the neighbour, was set alight by some kind of "incendiary" device. Flames were shooting meters into the air, from the bin.
We had our suspicions where the "device" came from, as well. We called the fire brigade and they came within about 10 minutes, and soon had the fire extinguished. They knocked on the front door but no one answered. I figured the neighbours might either have taken sleeping pills or had a good night out drinking the previous night.
We later learned the couple were sound asleep in their front bedroom, just behind the skip and the fire. They had no idea what had happened till they saw the burned out skip contents next morning.
We have been robbed a few times. One of those stories is in a later Chapter. The other time was when a "whipper-snipper*" was stolen from the old back shed which I admit was left unlocked by me! Another smaller infraction was when a whole bunch of neighbours including us, had their hose portions cut off.
We wondered if someone needed them for "bonging" as we were pretty sure at one time, down in the bottom streets in front of us, a regular drug cartel or some such was thriving. We used to see cars coming and going at the same time every week, in and out of the street opposite, which led to more streets further down with only very short spaces of time between the entry and exit.
I have always been inclined to be friendly with the neighbours. The current neighbours came a bit over twelve years ago and the kids were really friendly, initially. I took a shine to all the children ranging in age from (then) about 4 years to the eldest about 12.
The lady happened to confide in me sometime later the neighbour in their previous home had (she claimed) molested one of the boys. I guess you know that was the end of it for me. From that moment on I have kept my distance from her children. We know from the neighbour on our other side that this lady has been in the habit of "colourizing" the truth somewhat.
On a number of matters, she has been seen as an outright liar. The second youngest boy, now 17 I think, was the one when they came who was particularly keen to be friends. It pains me that he has had no idea after all this time why I have kept my distance. Goodness knows what tale his mother has told him about me.
We knew there were problems in the household as one night one of the girls took off down the road, to neighbours in the street in front of us, in her nightwear, to get some sort of assistance. This same girl, at nine years of age, was climbing out of the second level window and crawling across a pipe from the house to the garage in her panties one day in broad daylight.
I reported it to her mother but I am not sure what was done about that. Another reason I know things were not ok next door is the speed with which the eldest son and the 2 girls have moved out either to live with their father or flat together or with friends somewhere. I very rarely, if ever, see them coming to visit their mother.
Thanks to a very new friend in FS I now include the following:(This intro will be deleted in final editing.)
The previous owner of the Creepy Neighbours' house had a white metal see-through fence put around her property to keep her dog in. After the Creepy Neighbours moved in a car ran up on the street opposite in our T-intersection and messed up the fence as well as knocking over the steel light post in front. The "Creepies" wanted me to pay half the cost of replacing the fence. I refused as the lady who wanted to put it up excluded us from contributing seeing it was only to keep her dog in. We did not feel obligated to contribute on that basis.
We do have 3 large Pine trees dividing our properties that were there when we bought the house (a lot smaller then of course)...sadly some of them are dying and we have had several tree removers offering to come and take the dying one/s down.
On a more positive note with these particular neighbours. After all the troubles we have had with them over the years as outlined above. A really good thing happened over replacement of the old brick fence dividing our properties. We believe the old brick fence most likely preceded both our house and the 2-story one of these "Creepy Neighbours" you will read about in my enclosed poem. On another occasion, we found some old fibro pieces in our yard that may have belonged to a previous old house, where the 2-storey one now stands.
We are certain the old brick fence was probably there in the old house's time.Our house is the beginning of a newer estate, where the house we live in was the last of a group of homes all built by the same company in 1982.
Our former pastor visited one day and made the observation that despite a marked lean in the old brick fence, he claimed it might still stand for years.
Some two or three years later we heard this enormous bump. Our house shook from it. Lo and behold one old brick fence decided it had been sitting around on its ever-so-slight angle for long enough. Down it Came!
The "Creepy Neighbours" of our poem became much more amenable over replacement of the old fence. We came to an agreement a Skip Bin would be obtained by me. The neighbours volunteered to come over and carefully pick up all the old bricks, and load them, very symmetrically, I might add, into the skip bin to make the best use of the limited space it afforded.
We agreed on the fence provider and installer's quote and now we have a complete "Colorbond" fence surrounding our property. It took a kind of "spiritual suggestion" to get the creepies to finally pay their half of the fence cost, but they did, in the end.
*Skip Bins are iron bins of various sizes, carried on the back of trucks and lifted off to be filled at the homes, later to be picked up and taken away. *Whipper snipper is a slang expression for a lawn edging apparatus. Some are petrol or gasoline operated, some electric.
The picture Index: Top Left-Old Brick fence on the right of the picture.
Top Right and Second left Fallen Fence after some weeks with overgrowth of grass.
Second Right: Bricks removed. Left same tidied up. See the new fence in the Poem Link Below.
Here is a Poem I wrote here on Fanstory about the Creepy Neighbours, including the photo of the brand new Fence mentioned in this chapter.
A photo was used on the cover of a Church Directory recently, that had been taken back in 2007. (Not the one on here.) When my wife saw the photo she was immediately saddened as the photo was taken on the day before the early morning we were robbed in our home, while we slept.
I would often get up early in the mornings for one reason or another. The morning of the robbery I took care of the things we do when we first get up of a morning. Then I came into my study. I immediately noticed the cool air coming through the open window. I had committed the unfortunate non-action of leaving the window unlocked the night before. I had the distinct sense that whoever had been in the house had probably only just left before I came into the room, at around 4 am. I knew it was a young burglar because they had pulled up the inside blind on my window and not knowing how to activate the stopper to hold the blind up, tied the pulled down cord to the outside blind support.
I know they had bare feet as there was a very obvious footprint on a black stool I had in front of the window. (Forensics from the Police took three or four days to come and they were not interested in the footprint still evident on the stool even after all that time.) I had generously left a cash box on the kitchen counter OPEN with $AUD300 cash in it. That was an easy take. They also stole a precious sentimental handbag of my wife's from near the back door.
I had at the time, thought my gold watch a present from my wife on our 10th Anniversary had also been taken from the desk in the study.
We submitted our insurance claim which had to also include loss of my wife's set of car keys in her handbag. This meant the Insurance company had to also pay for the locks on our car to be changed. This was not done straight away and in those days the car was parked in a carport attached to the house and if the thief had half the mind and remembered the license plate number they could have scored a car as well from down at the shops one day.
The insurance company was very good to us. We did not get an equal monetary replacement for everything we claimed but the cost of new locks on the car and everything was covered.
Sometime later I was sitting at my desk talking to my computer technician who was here with me. I moved a sheet of paper and guess what! One Gold Watch sitting right there in front of me. Makes you all think how long did I leave bits of paper lying on my desk? So what to do? On one hand, I knew we never got back all we felt we were entitled to from the insurance company. So I am thinking..."Do I declare it?"
As a good Christian person, too, mind you. During the consideration of whether or not to declare, I got a call from a detective to tell me they had located a watch answering the description of my gold watch!
Bearing in mind the fact that my watch was sentimental as a gift from my wife, adding to which I knew I was obligated to repay the Insurance company the money they gave us for the "stolen" watch. So I declared to the detective, the watch had recently been recovered. I knew the Detective would report this to the Insurance company so I had to contact them and "fess up!" The next step was repaying the money they gave me for the missing watch. Having done all that, I then got a nice card in the mail from the Insurance company THANKING ME FOR MY HONESTY! You the reader and I now know just how close I was in NOT declaring the finding of my watch. I am glad I did though.
It took my wife especially, a long time to get over the invasion of our privacy because apart from everything else she slept on the side nearest our bedroom door which was just around from the study door the thief would have come and gone through to the kitchen area.
I still firmly believe even though everyone else says not true the young person who robbed us, was a neighbour or someone with whom we had dealings mowing our lawns or something, around that time - who had seen the cash box in the kitchen and so on. But we will never know.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Thanks to the photographer for the picture from Fan Art Review.
As you will have already picked up, Louise has been an extremely independent person for her 57 years. Taking this fact into consideration you would agree any obstacles to her continued independence and capability would come as a major shock.
This is the story of what has been going on with my wife, Louise, over almost the last three months. Some of this is in Diary Format. Names have been changed in most cases, but it is all true as to what happened to her and to me in this time.
May 3rd. Louise was finishing off in the bathroom and as she reached around, with her right arm...it happened! Louise had problems we had to get her off to hospital.
Even though Louise is now in a wheelchair most of the time she is still very dependent on both of her arms. Seeing she hurt herself she was unable to transfer from the chair to bed or to the car, or in the bathroom.During the initial period prior to her admission to hospital, we had assistance from our neighbour, from carers, and even paramedics, one day. Louise's Mother and I helped her, another day too.
After only a very short time, the carers ceased assisting her, due to concern with lifting Louise. Dear old Louise is dead weight and cannot assist anyone helping to lift her...they ceased coming.
May 6th I rang our GP and asked him what he thought the solution was...he said to get her to the hospital...
We were a bit hurt initially, at the suggestion but anyway we called the Ambulance and two wonderful paramedics came. They assessed her and agreed with the Doc's suggestion to take her to Hospital. We got out the back of the Ambulance and they found Louise was too heavy to lift on their own so they called 2 more paramedics who helped them get her into the Ambulance.
It was a hard decision but believe me, a good one. The paramedics were lovely (all four of them, considering their backs) to get her from her power chair here at home, onto the stretcher for the ambulance. One of the guys had to track me down later in the cafe at the hospital, where I was having lunch. Seems they left their bag here at our place and needed to get the house keys...trusting soul me, willingly gave them up, huh...so he came back to get their bag. Later I found him down in the Emergency area at the hospital and was able to get our keys back. The discussion went as follows:
Me: "Well, did you guys find our buried treasure while you were there?"(At our house.)
Paramedic:"Oh yeah! We invited some friends over to help clean out all the goodies!"
Later, on return home, everything was, of course, just as I had left it that morning, minus the paramedic's bag.
Nepean Hospital has been wonderful.
Fortunately, Louise had a direct contact number right from the start, in the "Short Stay" area and later at the other wards in which she was placed.
I had my very first night alone in 30 years, here in our home last night. It was strange, I tell you.
May 7th: Louise is settled in Nepean Hospital tonight. Doctor Gabriella is terrific. A Geriatrician has also seen my sweetheart. One thing one needs to remember is while a Geriatrician normally only works with over 65 - Louise's Cerebral Palsy makes her much older considering all the aspects of her problem. It was such a relief to now have her being cared for professionally. She hoped to see a Social Worker and an Occupational Therapist to see what could be done for her, here at home. We were thinking at this time and it did happen later, as you will see, we ended up with a Lifting Device supplied in our home for the occasions Louise needs to be lifted to save everyone's arms, backs, shoulders and all that.
On this day also, Louise got visits from our pastor and his wife as well as her folks and me of course. We had accepted it was a good idea she ended up at Nepean Hospital. The dramas could have continued a lot longer, had we not made the decision for her to be admitted there.
Off to bed all alone again for Night number 2.
8th May: She moved to a Geriatric Ward this arvo, after the sojourn in Short Stay area off Emergency since Saturday just gone.
9th May: It was surprising how quickly they were making plans for Louise...only to find much later these plans were not possible. She had been getting a lot of great help in Nepean Hospital. They were trying to get her on her feet again with a walker or “Pat Slide,” a smooth surface board that under normal circumstances would allow easy transfer of the patient from one place to another- say bed to stretcher or wheelchair to a lowered bed and so on. but that did not work out. Louise’s locking right knee precluded this possibility.
Many have suggested various options for Louise. Such as surgery or physiotherapy. Some claimed that surgery was the best way to go. Guess what we all forgot including me? Fortunately, Dr. Josh at Rehab had his finger on the obvious direction. What was that you ask? The Orthopaedic had also been pushing surgery. BUT ONE BIG THING WE ALL FORGOT IS: Louise has Cerebral Palsy and is very dependent on her arms...BECAUSE HER LEGS DON'T WORK!
9th May: The word came to me as I got into bed last night as to what the physio said about Louise. Seems she sprained her (now...corrected!!)right Rotator Cuff the physio said yesterday. Seeing she needs both arms for transferring from wheelchair to bed or whatever it is a real loss. All the prayers were appreciated. Later on, she ended up in Hospital a lot longer than first thought.
Mum-in-law brought 2 Chicken Satay meals to the hospital for me, on this day. So for the next few days, I was clucking like an old chook!
May 10th: Another small load of washing went out, in the freezing cold.
I want to thank Wanda Gosper, from church, and Louise's Mum for assistance with meals for me... Nary a day goes by I don't have some delicious fare to keep me away from the takeaway food places, mostly anyway. I knew I should have had a go at cooking something for myself, but I just got so tired after each day at the hospital and trying to keep up with the washing (thankfully with some help from Louise's Mum too)...never mind all the clothes waiting to be put away, sigh!
May 12th: I got up very early that morning, to get the bins out hehe...seeing I forgot to do it the night before!
We met the Occupational Therapist that morning. Hopefully, she would get a hoist (Lifting Device mentiolned earlier) sorted at Home for Louise. We are expecting a small version of those big lifts they use in hospitals, for here at home. Between the Physio's, Rheumatologists, OT’s and the Social worker, we were hoping things would be sorted to the most comfortable and suitable set up for Louise. As long as they realized her limitations and didn't push her too hard. Some physio’s in the past have been the kind that always thought they could "fix" Louise but that was not so. The current practice we have dealt with for years have been wonderful, just helping her to keep going with support for her back and so on with appropriate treatment.
May 13th: We were seen by the Rehab lady yesterday. I thought she was a bit abrupt but Louise did not mind her...foreign lady a bit hard to follow with my hearing problems. There was a bit of a waiting list for Rehab so they planned to start the rehab in the current ward soon, prior to moving her. The Rehab lady said it was good that Louise had a plan for us to get a converted vehicle to allow her power wheelchair in behind the steering wheel and that Louise WILL be able to do that eventually and not to give up on that idea! Yay!
As I was preparing this for my friends to read, later, we were offered financing of the Special Vehicle from someone at our church. What a blessing!
NOTE: This ended up not happening due to a LOT of problems. So as I come back to this none of us drives anymore.
12th May There was still some rehab to go. I decided to re-do the parking arrangement again. It was a long way to walk down to the Multi-Level parking station, where the office was for doing this task. I could not believe the number of times I needed to update the weekly parking and the hospital’s Shuttle Bus was not working...meaning a long walk to and from the parking station. I had previously got all tied up with the "official" way of renewing, which was a lot more confusing.
This involved filling out a form to prove I was visiting an Inpatient regularly. Then having to go to the Enquiry Counter at the Main Entrance to get it validated, then off to the Cashier to pay for the week’s parking ticket. Finally down to the Multi-Level car park office to get the weekly pass.
I was so pleased when the manager of the parking facilities said I could just go down there each week with my Pension Card and my License and get another week’s parking at the reduced rate. The only difference to that was every six weeks I was required to fill out the necessary Form to sign and prove that I was qualified for the discounted parking, being a relative of an Inpatient of the hospital.
May 13th: Louise had no internet at the hospital of course, YET. The move to Rehab Ward couldn't come soon enough. When I left, on the planned moving day, she was still in the old ward, even when I rang on arriving home. As it transpired, she moved at around 5:30 pm, I am glad I did not stick around as it would have been too dark for me to drive home. I have a problem with night-driving due to the headlights of oncoming vehicles in my eyes. I recently learned my sister, 10 years my senior, also has exactly the same problem.
|Author Notes||Pictures: Top: Ambulance sign, Second: paramedic (none of the officers who assisted Louise.) Bottom left: Kids who had been assisting Louise from our car at church...now missing her. Bottom Right: Louise's folks.|
More of the big change in Louise's and my lives for nearly 3 months between May and July 2017.
Louise had now been in Nepean Hospital for over a week. She hurt her Right Rotator Cuff almost ten days previous. Her folks have visited every couple of days and Pat and Sam, her brothers, both once up till this period and I had been there every day since she was admitted.
She is not getting a fair go at showering in the hospital. All three other women in her ward could have showers as often as they like. Originally she was supposed to get a shower every other day...it had now disintegrated to once a week because she was considered the "too hard basket" due to needing a couple of nurses to assist her...and she DID NOT WANT male ones assisting. As was her right, of course.
Unfortunately, there were two weird women in that ward. One was very loud and making everyone else uncomfortable. A third we will speak of, later.
I had spoken to Louise on the phone a little while after I got home. She said the noise got worse after I left that afternoon but her brother, Sam, her mum and dad were with her. It was pleasing to hear the crazy noisy one got moved elsewhere during the night so the other patients could sleep better! That was something, anyhow! We then needed our brothers and Sisters in the Lord’s prayers. There were plans to move Louise to Springwood, in the Blue Mountains. She had a choice of staying at Nepean but she needed to have 3 weeks complete rest. Apparently, the physiotherapy had stirred up her injury so they wanted her shoulder to heal over the planned three weeks, before starting anymore physiotherapy.
We were hoping she could stay at Nepean but not in the Geriatric Ward she came from to where she is now. I had been doing really well visiting her every day even at 14 km's each way travel. I could not see myself able to visit Louise every day as I have been, at (as we thought back then) twice the distance. It got worse later!
It is good to know we serve a God that can make these things possible. I didn't think the doctors concerned were aware of our location and the difficulty it would cause me and other visitors if she was moved further West. I also really didn't think, particularly the lady doctor realized what she was proposing. Both of these doctors were lovely people particularly Dr Josh, a lovely devout Jew, who was being supervised by the lady doctor (an Indian lady – also very nice.)
I came home that afternoon and had my tea or supper if you like and just "conked out" watching the TV. I don't believe I even saw the weather forecast…I was out to it. I woke around 40 minutes later. I was worn out from my daily visits. I had permission from Louise to sleep in the next morning. Our original contact with the Rehab Centre at Nepean (Rehab Doctor) came by yesterday with Josh her treating Doctor to check Louise’s right side. We were still in need of prayer. The way things were going it seemed, for the moment they couldn't do much more for Louise, and the doctor was saying Louise might have to put up with the Right Rotator cuff pain to a certain extent, permanently.
Good News! Louise got a Rehab bed sooner than we had hoped! Your prayers were appreciated. God is good! Yay!
When I left she was still in the old ward and even when I rang on arrival at home so I hoped she would be in the Rehab area in the morning. I learned later she actually moved at around 5:30 pm. My brother-in-law was there and assisted in moving her stuff over to the new ward. I had to leave earlier as I needed to get home before dark. I can't drive in the dark something to do with night blindness or headlight glare.
I would see her the next day. We talked on the phone that night.
Louise was in rehab, now. It was a lot further to my favourite place, the cafe, good or bad.
Another good thing about the planned move was there would be a whole new raft of Doctors and OT's and physios. However, we did like the Occupational Therapist and Physio, and some of the nurses in the Geriatric Ward.
The Lord had now placed Louise in a Rehab Ward with a bunch of lovely ladies. One has just turned 90 recently, the name of Maggie I found out today (Saturday.) Another is blind due to a stroke. Then another, recovering from a bowel operation gone wrong. We got to meet her daughter and her lovely little 5-month-old granddaughter today. I believed the Lord might have given Louise a lovely opportunity in this Ward. As it turned out we only scored a couple of continuing contacts from there for the future. I told the Blind lady about Florence Nightingale meeting the doctor and being introduced to Braille for the first time. More about the blind lady, later.
We Praise the Lord for answered prayer! Louise remained at Nepean Hospital, for the time being. She was now in contact online, thanks to her lovely brother Sam and her dad was involved, we learned later, in the purchase of an IPAD Tablet. I connected it to the power but forgot to turn the power point ON! We obviously got it working and I took a short extension lead for her, the next morning, as the power connection was too short for the outlet at the new ward. As we said back then...
"Watch out everyone! I know she will be restricted due to her shoulder injury but Louise is back online even from her hospital bed, in short spurts, I think."
We also met a young woman whom I was pretty sure I knew. She was a nurse there and she had been a pathology collector here in our home a long time ago, now she was also very pregnant, Louise said. Once again we met up with Dr Josh, one of Louise's doctors, as we said earlier, being a Jew, he wore his cap at all times. Such a lovely young man. I showed him a framed picture of the Holy City I managed to score at my in-law's place (they had chucked it) and I had framed. Louise received some lovely flowers, n the other ward.
Ah well! Dumb Geoff left the headlights on the whole day, at the hospital. Praise God for the NRMA. I still got home before dark praise the Lord as you already saw earlier, I needed that. I have an alarm on the lights but for some reason, I never heard it. I do have good and bad days with my hearing so that may have explained that. Bleah! I had thought it would be interesting to see if the car starts, here at home the next morning. It did.
It seemed there was a possibility of more help while Louise was away with our washing and stuff. I did the washing and hung out and bring it in but I was so tired from the regular visiting...the cleaning lady very kindly folded our clothes that afternoon and as it turned out the Home Care Service she came from allowed more hours for me to help with just folding clothes. Melanie was a real blessing for most of the weeks of Louise’s absence.
So tired all the time with daily visitation to the hospital. We were thinking there might be some changes coming but we did not know all the details. You remember at one stage there was the initial talk of Louise being moved to Springwood Hospital. At that time we were all opposed to it, for a number of reasons you read earlier.
We had appreciated everyone’s lovely cards and prayers for Louise. She was also thankful for all the visitors.
Ah well, praise the Lord! Another lot of washing up done. Louise would be pleased when she gets home to see hubby has been doing his apprenticeship in Dishwashing, on a fairly regular basis.
Hey! Talk about a blessing! The doorbell rang earlier and I thought it was one of our ladies from church with some meals for me. WRONG! It was a dear Bro from around the corner whom we call the “St Clair Mafia” because he was born in Sicily. Bro Dominic brought around a scrumptious dish from his dear wife, Lina. Can't wait to get into that. Ain't God good? That lovely old song comes to mind ..."The Lord is Good, tell it wherever you go…" the story about our bro from Sicily, is very interesting.
Bro Dominic has lived in our area longer than we have. One day the Jehovah Witnesses visited him. They left him with a King James Bible. I have never known since or even prior to his experience, the JW’s leaving KJV Bibles at homes. More likely it would have been a “New World Translation” with all of Charles Taze Russell’s* particular angles inserted. *CTR was the founder of the Watchtower Society or the JW’s.
Amazingly, Bro Dominic, on reading some of the King James Bible came to know Christ as his personal saviour right there in his home. We have been friends now for the best part of 25 years.
I just received another supply of food from our lady I mentioned above, from our Church. Wanda did not mind me going ahead and consuming my Sicilian bro's wife's offering before she arrived with her frozen goodies.
|Author Notes||Pictures: Top L to R Me; Louise's Elder brother; My Sis-in-law (my brother's wife); My sister - with Louise in the Geriatric Ward. Middle: Part of Nepean Hospital; Bottom Some of the flowers received in the Geriatric Ward.Please be aware all names except ours have been changed for their privacy, as these are all still living.|
Well folks, it was a good week this particular week. (Joking!) I wiped out both side view mirrors on our car. First one was on one of the uprights of the carport at home. The second messed-up one was from wrapping the back of the driver's side mirror around the ticket machine on exiting the West Car Park at the hospital. I asked folks to pray I could get replacements from the wreckers as the Dealers don't have new ones anymore, the car being 16 years "young." I have wondered for years how long it would take to wipe out both side view mirrors. After all, the vendor of our house and her daughter only had small vehicles and our carport is not all that wide! We should have been pulling the side view mirrors in before driving through, for years; ho-hum. Just in case you are wondering...one mirror was ok with no nice dress/ backing, the other was repaired with magic tape. I just hope I get them fixed before I get a defect* notice.
I did find a wrecker to check out and just needed a handy helper to go with me to get the parts off a wreck or two in Blacktown NSW Australia. I had the tools just not strong enough if any hard de-bolting was required. As a follow-up, a mate from Winston Hills came to help. Success! Managed to find the same model car wreck with the intact mirror I needed. No hard work, neither.
I had hoped I could get some guys to re-spray the new (er um replacement) side views to go with whatever is left of the original lovely metallic blue paint job on the car. Fortunately, we were able with the help of our dear back door neighbour AGAIN to get the original cover back on the driver's side mirror, thank God.
Louise was progressing in Rehab at Nepean Hospital.
They did an MRI after I left, back then, and it was quite painful for her, due to the angles they must have put her right arm and shoulder at. She needed painkillers after the MRI. We were hoping we could get some results from that soon and know where we were going from there. They had her in her wonderful supportive, special boots and standing the other day.
We found out later from the MRI she had then, that two muscles were torn. So the choice was surgery and losing the use of her right side for 2 months.
OR: Continual physio for 6 Months. We elected the second option but we needed the Lord to provide the funding for same either through Medicare or some other source. As it turned out later she got the physio in another place you will read about down the road.
Last night in her ward was a pretty traumatic time. The emergency alarm went off as one of the patients for various reasons caused quite a bit of discomfort to the other patients including Louise. The lights were on in the ward most of the night and Louise and the other 2 ladies did not get much sleep. The patient was moved elsewhere and replaced by a new lady.
I had been coping with assistance from Wanda at church and my Mum-in-law. I had to stop leaving the aircon on at home. I think sometimes I turned it off but for some reason, it was still on! Not good for the power bill! We were not at liberty to say too much, back then but there seemed to be a “Light at the end of the tunnel” for Louise and as my old mate, Jonathan Graindler said…
"Hopefully it is not a train."
I have been bombarded with suggestions, re treatment for Louise Moore. We had the option of surgery or physiotherapy. Many contacted me and said that surgery was the best way to go. Guess what we all forgot including me?
Fortunately, Dr. Josh at Rehab had his finger on the obvious direction. What is that you ask? The Orthopaedic was also pushing surgery. BUT ONE BIG THING WE ALL FORGOT IS: Louise has Cerebral Palsy and is very dependent on her arms...BECAUSE HER LEGS DON'T WORK!
Thanks to everyone for your lovely cards and prayers for Louise. She also appreciated all the visitors. Some of you were trying to call Louise and unfortunately missing her due to all the activity between physiotherapy, Rehab and other procedures. As to the above MRI, she got messed around with the times yesterday. Her eldest brother and his wife visited yesterday. (the picture is in the previous Chapter)They came a long way, so it was good they had a reasonable visit with Louise. Her mum and dad had been visiting every second day, except for one particular day they were unable to come. As for me, I was visiting every day. Some days I left early as she had someone else visiting and it gave me a break. I was missing church, as I knew Louise was also missing the lovely new friends she had made in recent days at church, too.
I was missing her like crazy even though I had seen her almost every day since she had been admitted to hospital. Tuesdays had become my "day off" for physiotherapy or doctor's visit and the helper coming to fold washing for me and do little cleaning jobs each week.
The staff were great and pretty well at beck and call as necessary most of the time. For the very first time, I would not get to visit my darling due to too much on for a particular day. I had Physiotherapy that morning then had to try and have some lunch then get back home for our cleaning lady that was also helping me fold up washing, in the afternoon.
We were getting assessed at home so they could set us up better for her. We hoped, eventually, to be getting a permanent "Lift" beside her bed so I could, or a carer could get her into the sling and lift/transfer to either the power chair or the commode chair for shower or toilet.
The latest on this was it may be later than sooner for the installation of the permanent hoist. In the mean time, we were to use a portable one. She will still be at the hospital for another couple of weeks.
Here we were, again. Saturday number 7, I have lost track of dates…sometime in June, possibly, at Nepean Hospital with my precious sweetheart. A total of 6 weeks. I got lucky with parking again that morning, yay! I had recently, once again, acquired Messaging ability on my Mobile phone which I had missed since Facebook discontinued the old Messaging format. Thanks to an old church friend now married and moved elsewhere.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. They would not let Louise come home until they knew she could manage and have the right support she needed. We had been praying we could raise the funds we need for the new vehicle that even if she is not driving it initially, we can still drive the Power chair up into it and have our own suitable transport. Initially, we were looking at Wheelchair Taxi's when Louise wanted to go out anywhere but then that is limited due to difficulty with the right shoulder anyway, re toilet and so on, anywhere else but here at home, with a hoist, as above.
We still believe God can heal if it is His will, and we still need your prayers. We were not sure how much longer she would be at Nepean Hospital. They still had to come and assess this house to see what measures have to be taken for her to cope with her living here and to what extent. I was pleased that the original attempts to get her out of the bed (ie the "account Doctors" and Admin) seemed to have passed, but I guess they can only do so much.
We were beginning to think an opposite corner of Louise’s room at the hospital has some kind of evil spirit in there. Every person that has occupied that space has been a real problem for the other patients. We were told by the nurses that corner was reserved for special patients who needed to be "watched" on a regular basis.
One of the ladies whom we had now become friends with, asked to be moved elsewhere as the latest woman ground her teeth during her sleep, keeping the hearing patients awake all night. Louise was glad she was deaf and can't hear the woman during the night, who is also weird. We miss her new friend who moved rooms due to the aforesaid new patient. We called in to visit Sandy, her name, and details were exchanged, so it looked good for a future friendship post hospital. As an extra later comment...The original noisy, strange woman followed Louise up to Springwood, later...but, in the end, she was moved to an outer ward, away from everyone. Sigh!
Nice getting an SMS from our back door neighbour checking on Louise and me. She offered me some Pumpkin Soup, enough, as it turned out for three of us including Louise as she had had some lousy pumpkin soup from the hospital another day. I confirmed with the staff I could use the microwave for Louise's Pumpkin soup on the weekend, We actually got to share it with our long time friend Greg whom we have known for more than 30 years and wanted to visit to see how Louise was going. He came armed with bread rolls buttered and some cake for afters. Yay! I know Louise enjoyed Karen's Pumpkin soup with the added enjoyment of sharing it with our friend. Her parents arriving later were most disappointed to miss out on the gathering and being the centre of attention. We enjoyed the special time with our old work mate.
I was waiting for my Endocrinology appointment across the road from Nepean Hospital, then I would return to Louise, afterwards.
Louise had a bonus on another day, visitor-wise. Me as always, except as I said for the one single. But she also had a visit and a bbq prepared off-site by her younger brother Sam and her big brother Pat who also attended the "sibling-and-husband-only" lunch in the garden behind NTG 1 (the rehab ward) at Nepean Hospital, followed by the re-adjusted "weekly" visit from her folks, then later Jane Watson, Candy Gosper and her Mum, Wanda.
I need to back track, slightly here.
Louise's parents were visiting up till recent times, every other day. She was getting quite stressed from the "too regular" visits. On speaking to our local doctor I suggested it was a "Nervous Dyspepsia" feeling she was experiencing, each time they were expected to visit. I know many reading this must wonder at my wife's feelings about her parents' constant visits. It would have been nice in normal circumstances where there is a wonderful relationship between the daughter and her folks. But this was not so! To summarize, there was too much of an element of "control," especially from her mother. It is too detailed to spend time here explaining why this was the case.
We consulted a Social Worker in the hospital about the matter. In short, she suggested Louise make the point with her folks that weekly visits were preferred. Her dad was far more supportive of her wishes. Besides; being a retired accountant, he would also prefer the saving of fuel for their car, reducing the visit frequency as they lived 30 miles, or 54kms East of the hospital. Hence the now weekly, rather than “every-other-day” visits. Don't worry, Mum-in-law tried her hardest to get around the new arrangement, several times.
|Author Notes||Pictures: Left: Louise with her parents at the hospital. Right: The "Lift" or Hoist we had delivered to our place before Louise came home.*Defect notices result from cars being found unroadworthy by the Inspection Stations for Car Registration in Australia, at least in most states anyway.|
On my way home from visiting Louise at Nepean Hospital, some days I would call in and visit one of our senior ladies from church, Betty Anderson. She would often be sitting on her verandah with her rather tame Magpies (breed of wild birds here in Australia) hanging around for a morsel of food from her. One particular day I said to the Lord...
"If Betty is sitting on her veranda today, I will call in to visit."
So there she was sitting right in front of me. I stopped and unfortunately, began to climb through her garden and across to the steps. Worse thing I could have done as the garden was full of ants! It took the removal of all my upper clothing and assistance from Betty and her son, also visiting her at the time, to remove all the "invaders!" As you can guess, I never went by that stupid route on subsequent visits, again.
I had tried to organize a bus ride from Coreen Avenue, Penrith to Nepean Hospital, Kingswood for when I was to put our car in for rego inspection at Cheap Cheap Tyres in Coreen Ave., soon. All I could see was a very short bus ride in the middle of a LOT OF WALKING on both ends! Sigh! It looked like a taxi job that day on both ends! I needed to drop off the car in the morning and pick it up that afternoon. Visiting Louise in between those times.
Praise God, our dear pastor picked me up early to take me to the hospital, from our Mechanic where I dropped off our car for the previously mentioned rego check and a major service, seeing the dear old car is now 16 years old and approaching the 130,000km mark. Later in the day, pastor graciously picked me up in the afternoon from the hospital to collect our car. (I saw, that night why I was so cold, waiting for the pastor that morning...they said it had been THREE Deg Celsius in Penrith that morning...I should have had another layer of warmth on, I forgot to add! Brrrr!!!)
At the hospital, in the Rehab area, where Louise now was, we had to be "let in and out" as they have "wanderers" in her Ward as well. I reckoned they could have arranged special "swipe" cards for regular visitors. The trouble is, something similar to the staff passes probably don't come set up for specific areas of the hospital. I guess they would not want visitors to the Rehab area to have "carte blanche" access to all the secure areas of the complete establishment!
Louise was being moved to Springwood Hospital on Wednesday. This, I thought back then, was going to bring an end to my daily visits to my darling. For my overseas friends, this would make it more than DOUBLE the distance for me to visit my darling. As the old Yellow Pages Business Phone Directory ad in Australia used to say - "NOT HAPPY JAN!!"
One of my special definitions; "Negligible Difference In Support#" for the wonderful #NDIS, a brand new scheme introduced by the previous Labor Government (very much like the Democrats in the USA gets the blame for this due to tightness in funding! MInd you, when it was introduced, had it become law then, we would have had money hanging from the rafters for support of especially Louise.
Sadly though, the new Conservative Government... forever focused on reducing the country's international debt, created by their predecessors, was also guilty of the restriction of funding. Never mind them (The Bottom Line Admin of Nepean Hospital) wanting to move Louise out of the bed in Rehab and put someone else in there.)
It had to be an interesting coincidence that on the news the same night the Government was trumpeting their achievement in getting NDiS fully rolled out in NSW (our state on the East Coast of Australia) as of yesterday! A queer coincidence, that.
They are trying to make out that Louise's Right Rotator Cuff injury is not related to her disability. She has had Cerebral Palsy from birth. For more than 50 years (she did not walk until she was 4yrs old and she ceased getting around on her crutches in any small measure in later years...pretty much 7 years ago.) My figures are probably not really accurate. The point is, NDIS is trying to make out the Right Rotator Cuff Injury IS NOT RELATED TO HER DISABILITY! Excuse me! She has had to use her arms for her mobility for these 50 or more years! Tell me why the Right Rotator Cuff injury is NOT related TO HER CEREBRAL PALSY?
Louise and I between us contributed to the Nation’s economy as taxpayers for a total of 46 years. The accountants in her family have claimed we have probably used up any equity we had in that, in these 20 years, this year, on Disability Pensions. However, as one of the leading nations in the world in this 21st Century, Australia is behaving more like a third world country more and more as the years go by. Not to forget the politicians who got a huge pay rise recently...Again!
Louise is coming along. The head doctor spoke to her and I got the feeling, originally, they were going do some more "aggressive" stuff soon that may just see her out of there perhaps sooner than we think. As a follow up to above: Re the proposed "more aggressive" physio...They did try the Slide Board in the Gymn (physio etc) but it was unsuccessful, because of her locking right knee. More explanation on request. Hence the need to move to Springwood.
Prior to this second plan of a move to Springwood Hospital, we were to have a discussion with the Registrar assisting the main rehab Doctor Josh, as to our needs, when and if Louise returns home. As Louise, herself had said, there would be a lot of changes here at home when she returned. We were thankful for prayers for this and other issues we expected to deal with, down the road.
We were waiting to see if there was any reaction to a Cortisone injection they gave her a day or so, previously. It was wonderful of Louise's brothers to organize a hair-cut for Louise from a lady coming all the way from Blacktown in the East.
Ah well only possibly one more day at Nepean Hospital on Wednesday with Louise, and the parking machine ate my weekly ticket that afternoon. I was glad to know they would make good for Wednesday parking as I would not be there after that. I had had a great arrangement for the entire period of Louise's hospitalization at Nepean Hospital. Parking was at an enormous cost under normal circumstances. However, being a Pensioner, I was able to secure, with some mucking around, initially, a discount on weekly parking. I would only pay $AUD21.00 per week for the nearly 10 weeks Louise was at the hospital.
I was getting tired from my daily visits to Louise. I thought I would be better off when she moved to Springwood and I cut back on daily visits. As it worked out, I did not cut back and only had the one day a week off on Tuesdays, still. I guess I have survived these almost 10 weeks so at least we are on the final bend in the road. Just pray the hoist gets approved in plenty of time. It is a must for her to come home.
It, at first, seemed Springwood would not be that much further for me. Checking the Odometer revealed it WAS 33 Kms each way which is more than twice the distance from home to Nepean.
Well, folks at officially 12:30pm....or about NOW, (looking back to then)…Louise was supposed to be transferred to Springwood Hospital for 3-4 weeks and if all goes well, back home after that! Just as well I did not wait around for them to do the transfer to Springwood. I left her at about 1:40 pm after we were told she would be picked up at 12:30 PM. Ho hum. She was NOT happy! She hates waiting around! I dropped all her stuff off at Springwood and came home.
She arrived up in Springwood three hours after they said she would be picked up.
I understood if all goes well there would not be the need for her to return to Nepean before she comes home after 3-4 weeks at Springwood. We originally hoped, in the meantime, we would get funding for the hoist to be built next to her bed here at home and we would have got into learning how to use it with help from carers. As it turned out we are still using the portable hoist and may still be for some time yet. Once we get the permanent hoist, I will learn how to use it and that will save funding for one carer as you need two carers at all times with the mobile hoist.
Ok folks! It was official! 33kms one way from home to Springwood Hospital. Certainly a lot further than 14kms to Penrith. However, with motorway and great highway all the way, it was not so bad. I thought I might change my tune when schools resumed, from their break, having to deal with School Zones and so on. Praise the Lord, the physio at Springwood we had spoken to, did some extra massage on Louise's back that she has been waiting on, for nearly 10 weeks. Prior to the Right Rotator Cuff injury which put her into the hospital back in May, she was getting fortnightly attention to her aching back. When she was admitted to Nepean Hospital they would only confine physio to her injury. Now, this was a real relief. Her back had been worse from sitting up in bed for all this time and not being able to get out often enough. Not to mention discomforting positions in bed.
Yet another day at Springwood Hospital. Driving up was a tad different with weekend drivers. Not too bad, I heard a hilarious story today about a Nurse preparing a patient's toothbrush for cleaning his teeth, with Metsal, a kind of mentholated cream for muscle relief.
His comment was:
"This is a bit warm!"
I met the other three ladies in Louise's Ward at Springwood Hospital. An elderly retired Dutch music teacher and I had a good talk seeing we had that in common. Another lady whose name was not the regular title she used had Shingles and was a rare bird. Towards the end of Louise's sojourn there I made the mistake of offering "Fanny" not her real name...some Singapore Orchids Louise's Mother had given her.
It was fortunate “Fanny” had a bad memory as we changed our minds and decided Louise would rather bring the Orchids home, being a gift from her Mum.
Louise was coming home on Monday There was, at first, a bit of a problem with carers. The Hoist had arrived at our home, my having been certified on the hoist operation at Springwood Hospital, that morning, not that I would be doing it alone anyway. I think watching them using it for more than 10 weeks I probably learned a lot too.
The difference in this one to the one I learned on at Springwood is the lever for opening and closing the legs. They talked about her being in Springwood for in 3-4 weeks, thankfully, it was less than 2 weeks in the end.
24 July 2017: Louise was being loaded into the Patient Transport from Springwood a few minutes ago! Praise God! Thanks for the prayers!
It became a bit of a culture shock for her, having been in the various hospitals for more than 2 months, altogether.
My Soul Mate, Help Meet, came home today! Well, a bit of a dramatic day. I was glad they did not end up as late as we might have thought they would be getting Louise home here. The guys were terrific getting her in on the "gurney" or whatever and transferring her to her very own bed. A little bit of emotion, being her first time back at home and disorientation and so on. One of our regular carers turned up in the morning after we had originally been informed we were NOT getting any carers, sadly Michelle was a bit early for Louise. Bonnie came in the afternoon and was a great help in various ways.
I did (I think so, anyway, hehe) a Spartan job on a large wash up early that morning. The day before, we had a drama with some of Louise's Meds. The Doctor at Springwood Hospital messed up badly which meant I had to go over to our GP quickly, to get more scripts written up, do a bit of a shop and get back here before Bonnie came in the arvo. Traffic was awful, due to schools coming out for the day. Last night, I got really tired and conked out as soon as my head hit the pillow, at around 8:30 pm. I woke up a couple of times during the night and finally arose at around 5:15 am. Louise had a pretty good sleep. She was still a little disorientated after 11 weeks away from home. Initially, having the sensation, on waking, of still being in the hospital.
We were not encouraging too many visits in the beginning. Louise has missed church over all these weeks, so much that as the Patient Transport passed under Northern Road overpass, down from the church she had a little cry, she told me having missed all the new friends at church all this time. However, we have greatly appreciated all the visitors and all the lovely caring cards and letters she has received, and all our church folks' prayers, over this long period away. Thanks, everyone. I have probably missed something and I may come back and add it later. We thought we would have to manage without a carer till tomorrow morning, early! So glad that was wrong. It will be a bit hard here for a while. I have been practising though, doing the washing up and washing clothes and stuff more hehe.
It is hard work with this change of life. I am definitely earning my Carer’s subsidy as I never have before. I am also getting a handle on the Hoist. We look forward to having the fixed one installed eventually.
Lastly, we are so pleased to be finally getting the Carers to come earlier in the morning for Louise’s rising and much later in the afternoon, getting her settled for the night. We had been putting up with most of the awful schedules, having just about got our favourite Carers sorted out.
Pictures:Top: Elderly church friend with her tame Magpie.
Second Louise getting her hair cut at Nepean Hospital Third: Louise finished the haircut.
Fourth: Springwood Hospital.
Fifth: Louise's Singapore Orchids...they lasted a couple of weeks at home!
On the 24th of July, Louise returned home after almost 3 months in either Nepean Hospital in Penrith or Springwood Hospital further west in our Blue Mountains. Changes have continued including the refining of the Carer personnel, their functions and duties to assist my wife and also myself in my care of Louise. We are now pretty well settled with our favourite Carers on a more regular basis.
As Louise awoke on 25th July, in her own bed at last she, just for a split second, had thought she was still in Springwood Hospital. She could not be blamed for thinking that way. After all, she had been gone from her "comfort zone" here at our home of more than 30 years, suddenly being thrust amongst strangers and strange places.
Her former independence had taken a real hit due to the right rotator cuff injury she sustained back in early May, that led to the almost 3 months away from home and in both the hospitals.
Part of all these changes was the fact she could no longer drive our car. As a matter of fact, she could have still driven the car, if she was able to get into and out of it. Sadly, no more. We had the long process of finding a wheelchair taxi driver with whom we could be confident to get us to appointments and church and other events and home again safely.
In Australia, you are hard-pressed to find an "Aussie-you-beaut" taxi driver. Especially in the wheelchair taxi realm. Initially, we had all kinds of people from many different nations pushing for our business on a regular basis. Some were quite arrogant and argumentative.
One Sunday we met an East Timorese chap to whom we took a liking. I think I was keen on the idea of taking him on as Australia did a lot to help East Timor gain their Independence from Indonesia.
I said to him:
"If you agree to confirm bookings by SMS (Texting) to my Mobile then we would like to use your service on a regular basis."
We made a booking for the following Sunday, to his Mobile by texting with no response. We then called the Wheelchair Taxi Booking service resulting in our first contact with the man we now use on a regular basis, or one of his (eventually) group of 8 other drivers.
I learned recently the term "multiculturalism" does not always mean a new immigrant will want to "assimilate" into his new country of choice. In the 40's and 50's here in Australia we had a large percentage of Greeks and Italians make their new home in our country. We also benefitted from the different cuisines and food choices.
This new taxi driver I will call Brad, turned out to be one of the most "assimilated" former Pakistani immigrants I have ever met. He really has embraced his new land. Added to this he has adopted a great attitude we encourage in this country of involving himself in the practice of building up "referred" business.
"How does one do this?" You might ask.
Referred business happens when a businessman or woman conducts themselves in such a way to make their customers and clients want to "spread the good news" about their great service or profession. Sadly, also in Australia, there are many who want to burden themselves with the high cost of more advertising as they continue to, as we say here "rip off" their customers, resulting in no further recommendations free of charge - free publicity.
We have now had over a year of "Brad" and his comrades' service getting us to where we want to go. I guess the old station wagon in the garage was feeling a bit lonely. However, I did use it sometimes when I need to go somewhere and Louise stays home. Later on, we sold the car to a Hippy guy, probably 50 years out of his time. I have become used to not driving anymore. More on this, soon.
It is pleasing to know Louise's right side has improved and she is actually resuming using that side more in her day to day activities. We are waiting for Government approval for conversion of a new or "pre-loved" vehicle that fulfills the requirements to allow Louise to drive up into it, in her power wheelchair so she can drive the vehicle from the chair. God has graciously provided the funding for that vehicle through a dear lady we know, as long as we can get the approval for the change to the vehicle that is needed and far too costly for ourselves to finance. Your prayers for the approval are appreciated.
As we come to the end of this "sidetrack" in my story, it is now approaching a year since this "change" in our lives occurred. Another change has come with the Carer situation to give me a break a couple of nights a week as the second carer. This change has caused Louise some deep sadness as it has brought back the awful memories of the original accident and some of the earliest great changes to our lives and her in particular.
On two out of three of her showering nights during the week a second carer will now assist Louise, allowing me some respite and to use up some funding that is still available, as we come to the end of her current NDIS* Plan.
I still remember from my various times of Government employment the need for particular funding of different sections of administration in the Public Service. maybe it is the same in all Governments around the world. It is a case of "use it, or lose it!" If funding is made available and for some reason is not used in the fiscal year, there is every chance the powers that be will decide... "you did not use up what we allocated in this last period, so we will cut back for the next period."
We are advised the situation is much the same with NDIS funding. If the money was made available for Louise for particular purposes in this current term, but not used then not only will it not be available in the new "plan" but it could very probably be reduced in it!
There is much dissatisfaction with the NDIS programme and many feel like it is very unfair as to who gets what. I made up a couple of definitions of the acronym as follows.
Negligible Difference In Support. Or a newer one...Nightmares Depression Insecurity and Sleeplessness. We had a lot more success with the former State funded ENABLE Programme that usually let you know how long before you would get the needed supply of equipment or service. NDIS is a Federally funded programme for all of Australia.
|Author Notes||Picture is the Wheelchair Taxi service vehicle we are hiring on a regular basis. *NDIS stands for National Disability Insurance Scheme funded by the Australian Government. Originally made law by the former ALP Government (read DEMONCRAP kind) now being hopelessly administered by the current "Conservative" Government.|
Sometimes it does not pay to be honest. Not that it is a matter of lying about things. It is just that we need to occasionally get our brain in gear before we open our mouths.You have read about all the recent dramas we have had with my wife and her hospitalization and so on.
Just when you think most of the dramas are over, this new kick from "big brother" gets applied.
I guess I don't have to say a whole lot as you can see the picture I have chosen. If it is puzzling you, the fact is, I lost my Driving License in February 2018.
I have been driving for nearly 50 years. In my early days, I had my accidents and traffic infringements. The last "infringement" I received was a speeding ticket more than 13 years ago, prior to the M7 opening and its linking to the M2 Motorway. Abbott Rd was the exit road from the M2.
Abbott Rd was 2 lanes each way, giving the expectation of a faster speed. However down one side of the road were 60km Speed signs, but they were not posted in the other direction. You guessed it! I was speeding 10kms over the signed speed posted ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD!
Louise got the ticket, as the car is registered to her. Firstly, I had to write to the old RTA* (Now RMS+) to assert I was the driver. They re-issued the ticket to me and I then wrote and explained why I was "speeding" as above. The powers that be looked at my record and seeing it was clear of any misdemeanours, they let me off.
Now, back to the future.
I had an eye test at the Ophthalmologist's rooms. He stated as I have known for years, my eyesight is bordering on ineligible to drive. He even said:
"Down the road, you need to have a cataract operation but not for some time."
Silly me goes to the Optician (where you get new spectacles made if needed) and she says the same thing as the eye specialist. She also suggests next time I see the Ophthalmologist I mention cataracts again.
It amazed me that months apart the cataract question should suddenly be brought forward, needing attention much sooner, in her opinion.
Now comes the big confession, totally unnecessary but being the Foot In Mouth Man I am, I went ahead and proceeded to insert said foot. I told the Optician I had double vision, which is true. My vision from the two eyes does not meet as most eyes do to form one image. If it had caused me problems for almost 50 years, how come I had not run off the road or had more accidents that I have ever had?
The fact is, I have only ever used my right eye, the stronger of the two, for driving. I can see with both eyes but to see through both I actually have to concentrate to look with both eyes, simultaneously. Having told the Optician and explained as above I only use the right eye for driving, I thought all was well and she took what I said with my assurances there was no problem. Oh, oh! Not so!
To back up a little, Louise and I both got letters from RMS+ for the doctor to fill out regarding our fitness to drive.
I got mine because of my Sleep Apnoea and Diabetes. Louise got hers for "neurological" reasons. Louise has Cerebral Palsy but has driven competently for years, with hand controls. No traffic infringements on her record.
Our doctor filled in our forms (did it on the computer) and sent them off. Sometime later, in the mail comes the request for me to do a driving test. I queried the doctor who assured me he gave me the "all-clear." It then hit me that someone else had got me into trouble. We still don't know who it was but we suspect it was the optician and my stupid confession.
It was a wet day on the day of my driving test. I was as nervous as a cat on hot bricks. To cut a long story really short, because of a whole lot of stupid things I did, my driver's license was withdrawn. One of the silliest was something I have never, ever done before...I breached the School Zone over the legal speed. There were other things, all, I believe due to my nervousness.
As you have been reading, Louise has not been in the car with me for more than 3 months now. I had become used to being alone all this time. I should not have bothered side-glancing at the instructor to see him wildly writing things on his board.
So now I am back on a Learner's License for six months. The instructor assures me if I pass the test in that time I can go back on my full license. This means I won't have to go through the Red "P's" and the Green "P's" all the youngsters must do.
It still amazes me that they took so much notice of a Medical Block put on my license, I suspect from the Optician who I think demanded the driving test, without officials considering my exemplary driving record for all this time.
This has put us in some real bother. I cannot drive without a licensed driver with me. I have to either get groceries delivered or my licensed friend to come with me to the shops. Louise, as you all know, from the story up till now, can still not get into or out of our car. So no licensed drivers available whenever I need them.
I know I am not dead but in a lot of ways, it feels like it. As this book draws to a close, hopefully, we will need to do a new edition someday with better news.
|Author Notes||CPAP is Continuous Positive Airways Pressure Machine explained in more detail earlier in this book.*RTA- Roads and Traffic Authority; +RMS- Roads and Marine ServicesThe picture is of my Licence to Drive I have had for more than 50 years and my recently "acquired??" Learner's "License"|
A sign I had pinned to my workstation, being a deaf person to a degree, anyway back then.
"STAY ON THE RIGHT,
AND BE RIGHT!
ON THE LEOFF!"
Cerebral haemorrhoid - something that you have when something or someone really gets you mad from your head to your toes.
You can't have your 'kayak' and eat at two!
Obnoxious alteration to well-known saying. No particular new meaning.
"I pig your pardon" alteration of the usual apology remark.
When I go into the Milk Bar I always ask for a:
"Non - Smoker's and Non-Accountant's" Milkshake.
My reason for the request is, firstly I believe a smoker cannot tell if there is flavouring in a milkshake or not. Or enough to taste. Most smokers don't taste anything except perhaps their nicotine in their smokes.
Secondly, seeing accountants are tight and mean...I want the Non-accountant's Milkshake with PLENTY OF MILK IN IT!
By the way, I hate how in Victoria our Southern state you actually have to request ice cream in your milkshake as it is not standard as it is in NSW... probably have to pay extra as well 'Down South!' Sigh!
Did you hear about the lift (Elevator for Uncle Sam folks) that won a Nobel Prize? When it arrived at the particular floor and its doors opened...there was... No Bell!
Maybe you heard about Toulouse-Lautrec? - He got lost on a hike..ie Lost his track er trek, ho-hum.
Then there was the fellow named Mr. Kruikshank...he had a Hip Replacement.
Another guy, Mr. Groundwater was a bit of a bore.
Crystal Bowel - this came about from a card my wife sent to thank someone for a wedding gift we received way back when. Louise has a tendency to get her "Mords Wixed up" and can sometimes put a wrong letter in where it is not warranted. And having been a medical typist for quite a long period of her working life, that naughty letter just put itself in there.
Funny thing is these days we both suffer from Diverticulosis, so in a real sense we both have 'Crystal Bowels!" Haha! Fortunately, we both have our own "conveniences" these days hehe. There is a poem alluding to that fact in this book, too.
Something I used to tell my music students.
How do you spell "can't"...Answer - T R Y.
"Divorce be with you!"
My version of the Star Wars "farewell" - "The Force Be With You!"
Argyfying...my word for serious argument or debate.
A more recent creation in "Geoffese".- Spagarama©G.C.Moore 2015.
In Fanstory we talk about spags as in errors and so on. I came up with this
special "all-encompassing' word for when there are heaps of spags!
"Encarrotsment" Special word for encouraging more reviews of our work in Fan Story. ie More member Dollars (carrots?) offered.
Well hear (here) we are at the end of my book. But as I said above not the end yet ho-hum. More idiosyncrasies to come I am sure. For those who still wonder...sankey and Geoffrey Moore are one and the same - me! OK!
The picture is of an Irish 'Rolling?' Pin we got from Cooma Jail in country N.S.W., Australia.
I also want to thank a dear friend for a long time - Ross, for the idea of the "Geoffossary" my special kind of "Glossary" of terms.
AlcreaAtor Litt Dear,
Asyraf N. Jamsari
Bob Hartson (Mastery)
Brett Matthew West
c_lucas (Charley Lucas)
country ranch writer
Far North Reader
Evelyn Fort Stewart
GWinterwin (George Winter)
James W. A.
Jacqueline M Franklin
Linda Rae rheabug
|Meia (Mark Alan Trimeloni:
Melissa Brown (MelB)
All-time longest associate
and FS buddy,now with our Saviour,
Mystic Angel 7777
Pat Lawrence (patcelaw)
STEPHEN A CARTER
Sheik S. Peer
Sandra du Plessis
Vijay Kumar V
|Author Notes||I have now shown all names as suggested by some of you to just make a general list of all Reviewers. I have managed to apply tables in here. Now happy with the tables set up, at last! I decided this was probably a good picture as to details enclosed. Forget where I originally got the picture.|
I have always been restless and inquisitive. I recall this as far back as Pre-school at Lane Cove. Mum would take me in the mornings and I would ride the tram in the afternoon with my Grandmother to her old terrace house on Falcon Street in Crows' Nest. Even then at 3 years old, when all the other children slept on their canvas stretchers, I would lay awake for what seemed like hours.
I learned my inquisitive nature could get me in trouble at that young age, namely, a fractured skull. Our car was a Peugeot Station Wagon with forward opening doors. I understand from a friend in America, they were labelled "suicide doors" for a reason. I appreciate learning that term as it is very appropriate.
I had seen others open and close them whilst the car was moving, when the door was not closed properly. So I figured I could do the same, but the wind got hold of the car door and pulled me out with it. I do, to this day, still remember grabbing the handle to re-close the door. For years I had it in my mind the incident happened closer to our home. I was wrong. It apparently happened closer to where I ended up going to school about 4 years later. It was outside a Newagent's shop and General store. I know from my Mum I was concussed and not aware of what actually happened to me. But I ended up in hospital with friar's balsam or somesuch all over my head.
I had plenty of kids to play with in my younger days. There was a family next door, of five children. I spent a lot of time with the eldest, a girl named Susan. She was almost 18 months younger than I. We learned a lot about each other over the first few years together, even as young as we were, then.
I know I liked her a lot. They say you always hurt the ones you love. I used to find I was continually saying the wrong thing and making her cry. I had to try and cover it up somehow as I knew that would get me in big trouble with her Mother, or mine.
Quite often the call would come from Susan's Mother "Susan, it's 5 o'clock...time you were home!" So the end of another happy or upsetting (for her) time together. I think she enjoyed playing anyway. She always came back.
I am not sure what the home life was like next door, then. Seeing the girl I played with mostly was the eldest, I gather she had a lot of responsibility looking after her younger siblings.
Her brother (second eldest in the family) was still sucking his thumb at 9 or 10 years of age. Goodness knows why? I never saw any abuse or bruises or anything on the kids. So I can't for sure say they got beatings or anything, apart from regular discipline.
This large family provided instant playmates. We even got some of them to come to Sunday School with us over time. Amongst our other escapades, we all enjoyed a strange phenomena out front.
In between our 2 houses,was a great big ant-hill. One time we actually stuck some "tuppenny bungers" in the hill and blew it to smitherines. I guess you can tell why 'bungers' and that sort of thing are not allowed now. At least the ants are thankful.
Those were trusting times, when kids could stay out playing till about 5pm in the afternoon, without fear of some pervert or some kidnapper coming along to lift your kids and take them away. But there was a kidnapping later on, in the street around from us. So even in "them" days, the criminal element was not far away.
One of my trials, as a youngster, was some draconian dieting foisted on me from some rather questionable medical advisors. This meant I was restricted on what I could eat. For many, many years potatoes were omitted from my diet. Later; finding out that I should have had potato for energy, and general wellbeing.
Mum had this saying she made up. I was allowed to have some delicacy of food or snack "instead of, and not as well as," something else. She often tried to hide such delights as chocolate biscuits from me. But being the clever fellow I was, I usually found them ...thinking if I just had one, or two, she would not notice. She, of course, eventually found out.
I forget if I got the feather duster or the fly swat, as punishment. All for my own good, of course. I think the polisher strap my siblings all copped, previously had broken. I don't blame Mum for her 'draconian' ways. She only did what she thought was right for the times.
More Favourite Sayings.
There was another favourite cry of my Mum, especially when one of us was in the bathroom for too long.... "Geoffrey (or Joe)...you've been in that shower for 'HALF A' NOUR!' " I think Mum was a budding writer/ poet even then!
End of our Sock Skating.
My sister got married at 15 years of age, I was 5 then. She had a little baby boy, not all that long after whom they named John. We (young John and I) became good friends, he was almost like a younger brother. It was a bit of an anomaly, being an Uncle in those days at only 6 years of age. Dad had converted the back end of our house to make a flat for my sister, and her new family. (This also brought an end to our 'sock-skating area' on the big long, polished hallway.)
The flat comprised one bedroom, which had been my sister's room, anyway, and Mum's sewing room, converted into a kitchenette. A door was placed in the new wall; between the flat and the rest of the house.
Moving along in my early days in our lovely big house. Reminding you all the chapter divisions may not be showing in the index in an ordered fashion. Can't be helped. 'Susan' is not my friend from next door's real name ok. She is a Grandmother these days.
Picture is me "The Man From Moore's" when I won first prize at a fancy dress. Helmet made from metal cullender some ajax cleaner ends and hand shower for microphone. In my right hand is some contacts taped and wired to a 9 volt battery, connected to a flashing light on the helmet operated by pressing the plates together; thanks to Dad the electrician.
When I was around 2 or 3, Dad had bought some land in the new area (then) of Vincentia, (formerly known as South Huskisson) in between Huskisson and Jervis Bay. It was 120 miles to the South of Sydney, on the Coast. There was, and still is now, a Naval Base nearby. He began building what came to be known, in the family, as the "Weekender." Mainly because he was building it...on weekends. Hehe. It was a fibro dwelling, back in the days before all the current worry of "Asbestosis" and the accompanying fatal illness associated with discarded fibro.
Back in those days we had no 'town' power, or sewer on that property. Power was provided from a generator, set up by my dad, who was an electrical contractor as well as an all around, very clever and creative fellow. I do remember, prior to the generator being installed, all our lighting was done by kerosene lamps. Our garbage and sanitary waste was buried all over the yard, deep down in the black sand.
I still remember some favourite things about "Moore Park"* as we called the complete property, Sleeping on a low bed in the kitchen, was one of them. The kerosene light that powered the old fridge, underneath, was my "Night Light!" for company. I think that was one of the reasons I slept in the kitchen. Another favourite I also loved, was Mum's 'Weekender' Soup. It was made from vegetables and pieces of beef stewed slowly in one of those old 'pressure cookers.' We could get nearly a week out of one pot of 'Weekender' Soup. The Rosella company came out with a 'weekender soup' - but I reckon they pinched the recipe from my Mum. (*The name Moore Park was also a take off of Sydney's Moore Park in our capital's Eastern Suburbs.)
I also enjoyed eventually learning to ride a 20" bike on the beach, including the necessary falls and grease on the legs that go with the territory. Funny how 20" bikes came into vogue years later with the newer, more trendy tag of BMX. One more pastime I loved, was doing my music theory exercises on the sand. Then idea was to draw the staves for treble and bass. Then write in the letters to usually make up words that contained the letters of notes on the piano. The next thing I would do is draw notes on the appropriate lines or in the spaces to go with the letters. (See photo in Part 1 of this chapter.)
Dad had made us a "park" or playground on the property. We had a swing and a "Whirly-Jigger" thing made from a tree stump with a galvanized steel pipe down the middle. On top of the stump cooking fat was spread around the pipe. The cross pole (to ride on) was shaved underneath in the centre, to slide on the stump. Then seats made out of old rubber inner-tubes would be fixed on either end to sit on. Someone would push the tree-pole around. I was small, then; and I don't remember riding on the "Whirly" myself.
Another creation of Dad's with help from all of us, was a raft. I can't remember if it ever got put into service. I think Dad was making it to get across the "Moonah Moonah" Creek even at high tide to transport supplies. The creek was only down the road from our Weekender and, at that time, we depended on the low tide to be able to wade across the creek to the main town, then, of Huskisson - to get things that were not brought to the house such as milk and sometimes, fruit and vegetables. Before the new bridge was built in the sixties, access to the main town, by road, involved a 6 mile round trip.
The bath water was from a bore underground. We also had tank water, used mainly for cooking, drinking and of course that all important regular "cuppa." Dad had set up 2 x 44 gallon drums, mounted on the side of the house. Both had an extension through the wall to taps fitted on the inside over the bath. One of the drums had a space underneath, where a fire would be lit in the late afternoon to provide hot water for our baths. On one occasion, the fire that was to heat the water, flared up suddenly, nearly burning the house down.
I remember one day we were all out in the row boat fishing. I thought I was doing really well, as Dad and my brothers kept telling me to pull in my line, and I was always rewarded with a good catch. As Dad would say "Cocko, pull in your line!" Cocko was my nickname. Never knew where that originated - perhaps a shortening of my middle name 'Colin?'(Found out later they would get my line and put their catches on, drop the line back in, with a little tug, and you can guess the rest.) Ho hum! Such fun! Such deception! He! He!
Our block of land was situated on one side of the, then, gravel road. It was officially known as Elizabeth Drive. Pretty rough, basic road, though. Across the road from our property, was a vacant sandy block of land. This led, through a cutting to the beach's sand hills.
One day a pulley was connected to the boat, an inboard motor type vessel. The idea was to pull the boat up the beach to the trailer. All of a sudden, the cable snapped. Then the pulley in the middle flew off and hit my dad in the shoulder. I was too little to understand what happened after that. I was just aware that it was something bad, and he was hurt. Dad had already broken his back once, falling off a roof in his electrical contracting business. I am guessing he might have had to be taken to Nowra Base Hospital quite a ways north from where we were at that time.
There are many tales to tell about sitting on the creek bank and so on. I still remember one day sitting on the creek shore in the sand, and my older brother, Joe disappeared. Next thing, he calls me, and looking around I saw, about 15 feet away, this great big cow.
I am sure the old cow was pretty harmless, but to a small boy well - the big horns and all was a bit scary. I know my brother had a good laugh about it all later. Another thing about sitting on the sand was the ever-present Bull Ants. These were big and black and had a bite like you wouldn't want to know. Probably 3 or 4 times the size of regular little ants. Never mind the sandflies. Sigh!
I enjoyed, around Christmas time, wading across the "Moonah Moonah" Creek, during low tide. A local attraction at those times was the CSSM (Children's Special Services Beach Missions) on the Huskisson bank side of the creek. Today, 50 years later, those are still run all over Australia. It was like Vacation Bible School, I guess. A time, over several days, of singing stories and crafts.
Many years before, there had been a wooden bridge across the creek. It must have been washed away. It was not until the mid to late 60's that a new bridge was re-erected there.
(In the published book there will be a lot more pictures.)
At times there were bush fires, not all that far away. The area being very 'rural' and, in those days, mostly undeveloped bush. We were fortunate the fires never got near the house.
I loved our weekender. I have many, many lovely memories of us as a family down in Vincentia. Sadly we quit going there after Mum and Dad broke up before I was 8 years old. My maternal Grandmother had also bought a block of land in the area, so we should have had access to that to continue our happy times. (Mum had been given the deeds to that property, but in a sneaky way the deeds ended up back in the Step Grandfather's hands, and Mum was not interested in a part of the proceeds of the sale later.)
Nanna unfortunately died 'Intestate' (without a will) and the property she owned was sold and the proceeds divided up between Mum's brothers, and Nanna's second husband, Harold. We need to all make sure we have a will done before it is too late. The land in that area became very valuable, so the lady who bought Dad's blocks from him 'for a song'* in the break up, would have done quite well in further reselling of the same, later on.
Second edit of a brand new split up of larger chapters for easier reading make sure you read both parts of each chapter ie Part 1 first..
Picture is the "Whirly Jigger Dad set up in "Moore Park!"
Working on new Acknowledgements List.
|4hisglory||abbasjoy||AlcreaAtor Litt Dear||allborn66||angelajfrank|
|Antoine Charlemaine||Anastasia Heathfield||Anniedawn||apky||Artasylum|
|B.Diehl||Barb Hensongispsaca||barbara.wilkey||barking dog||Ben Colder|
|Beth Shelby||BlueFlag||Bob Hartson (Mastery)||Bob Stanton||Brett Matthew West|
|chromeangel33||cinderbella(sandra)||Cindy Warren||CR Delport||Curly Gurly|
|cantrhymetoogood||c_lucas (Charley Lucas)||country ranch writer||candybarr||Caressa_08|
|davisr (Rhonda)||Dean Kuch||Debbie Pope||dejohnsrld (Debbie)||DanielEkine|
I have made the decision, for a whole lot of reasons I will share, to not attempt my Driving License again.
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