Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY (Part 28...1970s and beyond)

Last week I told about my daughter and her life so today I am telling about son Steven.  He was born on 24 September, 1957 and was quiet a delightful, though terribly shy, little boy.  He did quite well at school although I feel he could perhaps have done better.  I really think his shyness held him back a lot in many ways.

I've explained that he wanted to leave school after Year 10 and be apprenticed to a trade and he became a mechanical fitter after training at Midland Railways Workshops.   While he was there he decided he would buy himself a car so asked Phil and I if we would meet him at a car sales yard in Fremantle to look at a Ford XW he had his eye on.   This we did after we finished work one day, said we thought it was a good car to buy and I went guarantor for him so he could pay it off.  Steven had told us he had sat for and got his drivers's licence in Midland but for some reason asked me if I would drive this car of his home that night.  Steven's car was green just like this one:

He set off for work the next day and for weeks after that drove to and from work.  My son was never able to tell a lie and some weeks later he came to me and very seriously said he had something to tell me.  I was as little concerned as to what it may be about but was rather relieved when the story unfolded like this:  Steven had not got his licence on his first attempt as a young woman had walked straight out onto a crosswalk in front of him and he'd not enough time to stop.  Fortunately he avoided her but of course he should have been more cautious when approaching a pedestrian crossing.  Now he was telling me he had got his licence on his second attempt and proudly showed it to me.  To add to this story he told me had had actually been pulled up by a traffic cop one morning for doing a little over the speed limit but when he explained he was running late for work and how far he had to go (in those days it was approximately a 45 kilometre drive), the policeman let him off without asking to see his licence.  How lucky was that!!!

When Steve (he prefers that so will call him that from now on) finished his apprenticeship he got a job in South Hedland (about 17,000 km north of where we live) with a Newman Mining Company working on their railway equipment and after a short time was made a leading hand.  He told me one day they were working inland and the temperature in the shade was 50ºC (120ºF) but was such a dry heat you didn't really feel it.  I think I'd have felt it but then Steve always enjoys our hot summers.  He came home a couple of times to do courses they wanted him to attend and on one such occasion he received a telegram telling him he didn't have to do the course as they were on strike.  My son didn't believe in strikes so still did the course and then returned north to work.  Eventually he gave notice as he got sick and tired of the unions constantly wanting the workers to go on strike. "Mum", he said to me one day "the conditions up there are excellent and the pay is good.  There is no reason whatsoever for them to go on strike and I've had enough of it."

He then decided, with a few of his friends to try his luck in the Eastern States.  They were away for several months and finally ended up in Queensland.  He was very good and would write quite regularly but exactly what jobs he found to do I'm not sure but he had a very good time and eventually returned home to us again after seeing so much of our country.

Over the years he had several jobs and in some cases he was in charge of whatever it was they were doing.   He had a number of male friends and two girlfriends that we knew of, firstly Sarah and then Dianne whom he lived with for a number of years in rented houses and even in a very large caravan for several months.   While we were in New Zealand on our second trip, I received a call from him asking if I would go guarantor for him as he and Dianne wanted to buy a block of land in Samson and build a house.   They lived there for some time before deciding they would like to be married.  Arrangements were made with our help and their wedding day arrived.  It was 5th January, 1985 and terribly hot (about 40ºC...104ºF) and as you probably all know, I hate hot weather.

The civil ceremony took place in a large gazebo not far from the Swan River and nearby there was a large lake.  I think there being so much water around it kept the temperature down in that area as none of us felt the heat all that much.  The bride and groom relaxing on the lawn after the ceremony:

The wedding party on the lawn in front of the lake (left to right: Steven, Dianne, Margot, Stephen, Robyn and Paul):

Afterwards the wedding breakfast was held in a restaurant overlooking the Swan River.  There was of course the wedding cake (in front of the cake you can see the *bouquets of the three girl.  More about that below):

Steve and Di went on to have two children, a girl (in 1986) and a boy (in 1988) both of whom did very well at school and went on to university.  Their daughter was married last year but their son is still single and I believe living back at home with his folks.

Eventually the house they built in Samson became too small so after once again renting they built a much larger home in Kardinya, complete with heated swimming pool and outdoor spa.    This house they sold in 1998, rented once again and then purchased a five acre block on which they built a really beautiful home.  They are still living there.  Di has an excellent bank job and I think Steve at present is being a 'house husband' although he could possibly be back in the workforce.  He had an excellent job and I have no idea why he left it.

The reason I appear to be unsure is because my son decided, nearly 13 years ago, that he no longer wished to be associated with any of our family and not I, nor any of us, have seen or spoken to him since that day.  Although others may know the reason for his decision, I personally have no idea what brain storm he suddenly had to cause him to do this.   I am very fortunate that Di has kept in touch with me via email and occasionally sent me photos of their family, including the wedding photo of their daughter and her new husband.  I feel sad that she has to do this without Steve knowing and am grateful to her for keeping in touch.

Strangely enough we had all seen quite a lot of each other over a number of years and, athough at times Steve could be a tad difficult, we accepted him the way he was and tried not to let it interfere in any way with our friendship.  We would have family BBQs at our place, Karen's home and at Steve's home, and on one occasion Di and I went for a holiday at Dunsborough taking with us her little girl Jessica.  Di at that time was expecting their second child, James.

I have missed all of them very much, especially my two grandchildren,  and one day, when great-grandchildren eventually arrive, it will sadden me that I will not be there to see them or hold them.  I know that Steve's dad (Aubrey) also feels pain at the decision of his son but, like me, he's had to accept it as being part of life.  He and I have discussed it at length but without resolve.

I do know Steve and Di have had holidays in various parts of Australia and have actually bought a house in Tasmania, although I don't know exactly where it is.   Earlier this year I was pleased to hear that Di had a wonderful holiday in Europe which I think she thoroughly deserved as she works hard. 

To me this turn of events is a personal tragedy although ours apparently is not the only dysfunctional family in the world.   I continue to send birthday and Christmas cards and sent money to the two grandchildren until they were 21.  We receive similar greetings sent by Dianne on behalf of all of them.  I have written to Steve on several occasions but no response has ever been received.  One can always live in hope but that hope has slowly faded over the years.   Both myself and Steve's dad received letters from Jessica about 4 Christmases back but that has been the only communication from either grandchild although I have written to both of them several times.

 Since this occurred Phil and I have been extremely grateful that Karen and her hubby have been so wonderful and we have enjoyed their company and that of their four children over the years.  I feel sorry that her brother has also excluded her from his life and that of her family.  We were a small enough family to begin with and didn't really need it made even smaller.

Whether I should have told the above story I am not sure but I said when I began I'd not pull any punches and I don't see why I should do so in this instance.  I am not sure there is a lot more to tell about our life from the seventies onwards but will have a good think about it and consider whether to continue with "Telling it on Tuesday".  

*My mother was extremely ill in hospital at the time of Steve and Di's wedding and on the Sunday morning following the ceremony the newly married couple visited her in the hospital and Di gave her the wedding bouquet.   I thought this a lovely gesture on Di's part as mum was delighted and later on the Sunday afternoon when we visited mum she showed us the flowers.  My mum passed away in her sleep the following morning.  We often felt she 'hung on' so as not to spoil the wedding for Steven and Dianne.   Mum was like that, always very caring of others.


  1. Families are difficult animals often. Yes, you have missed out by not having Steve in your life, but I suspect he has missed out on a lot more. It is lovely that his wife maintains some contact at least.

    1. Thanks EC and you are right as I do feel Steve has missed out on much but perhaps, as yet, he's not realised he has.
      Altho' Di and I are only in touch a couple of times a year it is at least contact with that part of my family.

  2. Quite a sad tale this week Mimsie, lots of happy moments, but sad that Steve feels the need to keep you all out of his life. I wonder how he will feel about that when he is old and maybe alone? I'm glad that Di at least has kept in touch and sent you occasional photos.

    1. We all tend to feel he may become a lonely old man eventually and yet, perhaps that is what he wants.....no responsibility at all for him.

  3. Hari OM
    Oh Mimsie; I have been blessed with a family which has not faced such as this, however I have two very close sister-friends who both have brothers who have done precisely this. The only folk who will ever be able to attempt explanation will be the blokes themselves...

    Thank you for sharing it Mimsie. Hugs, YAM xx

    1. I doubt we will even have an explanation, at least not while we oldies are still on this earth. I am hoping that perhaps he and his sister will one day reunite but somehow I think she is over it so maybe not. xx

  4. It is too bad that your son has decided to make his life so much smaller. In doing so, he is also affecting his wife and children. I can't imagine how painful this must be, but I do appreciate your candor. The only thing we can do with people who have troubles, is to just love them. It's obvious that you love your son and his family. Bless you.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Susan. Yes, I will always love my son but not sure I like him all that much any more. They say distance lends enchantment but in this case it is becoming 'out of sight out of mind' which I know is sad.

  5. I feel very badly for you that you have lost touch with your son...families are tricky business indeed.

    1. I somehow feel Aussie families are somewhat different to those in the US but not sure about Canadians. Are you all very very close as families in the US appear to be? Not sure why it is but I know of many families who have the same problems as ours with Steve.