Friday, April 21, 2017

Uncommon, Unusual Books

It occurred to me recently, that it had been a while since I had read a book that I wrote over a decade ago about my earlier life, for the benefit of my offspring; and I wondered how much of it I’d remember having written – because now, at the age of 68, I’m aware of memory losses, or inefficiencies thereof.
Well, that exercise indeed proved that very diagnosis and I was reminded of plenty.  But then I thought about how it indeed had come to have even being written.  Here, memories work fine: -
Pam wanted to write a book about her early life and explains why so in her introduction, cut and pasted from the actual text file…



Over the years, various people have suggested to me that I should “write a book.” This was undoubtedly due to the very long letters that I used to hand-write and later type, on a regular basis to family and friends.  I didn’t take this suggestion seriously, as it seemed to me that I had nothing interesting to write about.
However, when a friend (Pat Dudley) mentioned to me that her daughters had given her a lovely Journal in which to write what it was like growing up in her day, it got me thinking that perhaps I should do something similar for my girls.
After a little deliberation, I commenced writing this on the 16th August, 2002.  I really thought that I would have “my story” completely finished within a few weeks.  I didn’t expect to be able to remember so much, and I have also discovered that one thought can lead on to another, and so it goes.
So for my two caring, wonderful daughters Sharon and Jeni and their families, I have tried to recall items, places and events etc. the best I can, and hope that the following pages give an insight into what it was like for me growing up in the 1950’s, 1960’s and until the mid 1970’s.  As with Eric’s story, I will stop mine with the arrival of Jeni.  In the future, if you wish to do so, you may have the opportunity to add your own stories.
So that’s Pammy’s Introduction, and I will say that while she refers to my book, I only began to write mine as a direct consequence of my beautiful Pammy writing hers.
The actual layout for both books came from my Aunty Margaret Lamb, who wrote a massive 11 volumes of her story – which she called ‘Kewp’, named after the 1920’s Kewpie Dolls that were popular then – and probably still are…
Aunty Margaret was married to my Uncle Arthur Lamb, who was my mother’s brother.  Margaret and Arthur had five brilliant boys (including a pair of identical twins) – their names are Trevor, Peter, John, Robert and Graham.  (Peter and John are the twins).  All of these men are highly Googleable!  So do yourself a favour…
I took a photo of our two books, properly printed on high quality paper and bound by Doncaster Bookbinders in Moorabbin, as were all of Auntie Margaret's Kewp volumes. 
Here's that photo…
Sadly, the photo-perspective of these books doesn't indicate their actual thicknesses - Pammy's is an impressive 2.8 cm thick, cover to cover, while mine is just touching 2.7 cm.

As you can probably see, Pammy’s book is called ‘Rambling Reminiscences of my Early Years’, and mine I called ‘A Past of Quaint Validity‘  (Pam had her name printed on the cover, mine didn’t – dunno why!)  Pam's book has 233 pages, mine has a measly 199. 
Pam and I went to quite a bit of trouble to write the text and Doncaster Bookbinders produced four beautifully bound sets of each pair – one pair for each of our girls, one pair for us (me, now sadly) and one pair to lend to interested family/friends.  Each contains a plethora of informative text and plenty of B/W and colour pictures.  (I only read Pam’s – again – yesterday and the tears built up like you wouldn’t believe.)  She was the best wife I could have wished for – always happy and smiling, beautiful, never complaining, loving and loved by everyone who knew her.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Facebook Picture

My eldest daughter Sharon (aka Shazzy or Shaz) recently sent me a message containing an attachment of a old picture she found somewhere on Facebook.  Here is that picture:

Shazzy reckoned that the lady with the cane bag standing to the left of the boot's toe is probably her mummy, Pammy; but as I received this message on my mobile phone whilst I was in town, I wasn't quite so sure - I hadn't seen Pammy without a walking aid for far too many years, as it turned out. (If you inspect the properties of the picture, you will see that I labelled it as 'Maybe Pammy'.)
It wasn't until I got home and downloaded the picture onto my PC that I soon realised that it was, indeed, my sweet Pammy.  Standing next to her, with her back turned, is 5yo Shazzy and Pammy is no doubt carefully watching our 3 to 4yo Jeni, playing somewhere behind the shoe, as only a truly caring mother would.
The year was round about 1980 and the venue was the Glenoyd Poultry Farm that used to exist between Cureton Ave and 7th Street, in Mildura.  It belonged to relatives of my friend and brass band colleague, Craig Beasy.
Jeni (our youngest daughter) commented that the girl waving from the shoe's upper window might be Ali Cupper - a thought which pleased me no end, because Ali is also a friend and colleague of mine.  Sadly, Ali is not quite so sure, but doesn't deny that it might well be her. She jokes that the stiff-armed wave looks more like a Hitler salute - maybe so, but as a child she would have had no such knowledge.  Poor Ali (or whoever it is), to have her arm reaching out over a relatively high window bar (relative to her shoulder height that is), it would be hard for her to have her arm any other way but straight. Maybe I'll never get to know who that girl really is, but the thought that I know most of the individuals appearing in this 'lost' picture, somehow pleases me.
Pammy would have been about 30-31yo and still some years away from being diagnosed with MS.  Indeed, she may have had no symptoms at all, way back then.  What the next 35 years would show is precisely the reason as to why I initially wrote this blog.
My love for her is absolutely undying...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Beautiful Wife

I am regularly challenged by others for the frequency of my visits to Pammy's gravesite.  Well, it took a long time, but I finally stopped going daily in order to be a: be in the presence of her remains and b: to keep the headstone clean (because the cremated remains are under a tree, one on which birds regularly visit(!) and now just go at weekends, for the same effect.

It is now coming up to two years since she died - and because of my undying love for her, I wanted a decent picture of her on my lounge-room wall, as to too few existed and they were all way too small.

This is the picture I had in mind...

That picture was taken by our daughter Sharon, when Pammy was temporally admitted to hospital in 2013 - about two years prior to her demise.
These two pictures are - a: of the wall space awaiting the picture...

and - b: now with the picture in place...

I will explain that my youngest daughter Jeni, suggested that I get the photo printed and framed by Kmart, because she used to work there and knew what they can do.  This is the LAST place I would have thought of, but indeed she was correct.  The photo was printed on A3 photo paper for just $14 and the frame (and glass), just $4.  However, I had the plain glass replaced with frosted glass (for just $10 extra) as from where I sat in the lounge, the room lights reflected on the plain glass making it difficult to see my beautiful Pammy - the frosted glass solved that!
I cannot get over my affection for her memory and this picture does wonders for me...
I am a happy chappy.