Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I am still reminiscing about people in my life and I am now thinking of your men with whom I was friends between ages 15 and 20. I really never liked boys when I was young and this is possibly because I always went to girls only schools and apart from my half-brother (nearly 21 years older than me and more like an uncle) I didn't know any boys at all. Even friends out of school were all girls.

As mentioned before our family went to Mandurah twice a year on holidays and when I had just turned 15 a young man (and his family) brought his yacht to Mandurah. The ANA Yacht Club had been thinking of holding a yachting regatta for sharpies in Mandurah Estuary at Easter each year and they wanted Gary to take his yacht (and crew of two) to try out Mandurah for them.

They were all staying at the boarding house we stayed at and Gary asked me would I like to go for a sail. Having hardly ever spoken to a boy in my life before or been in a yacht I said a very adamant 'NO' which I thought would be the end of the matter. My mother had other ideas and said if I wouldn't go for a sail, then she would. Not thinking this would be a good idea I said "OK I will go". That was the start of my love of yachting (I eventually owned my own VJ) and my relationship with Gary. He was a lovely young fellow (as were John and Ron...his crew) and we enjoyed many months of sailing and just hanging out together (movies, going for long walks) but he became far too serious for a girl of 15 so I stopped seeing him. He would visit my mum when I was out and eventually I began seeing him again for another six months but even at age 16 he was just too serious so again we split. I remember Gary very fondly and was distressed several years ago to hear he had had both legs amputated (due to diabetes) and eventually died in 2007 when he was 76. I hope until he became ill that he had a happy life. He deserved that.

P.S. to the above. The regatta for sharpies was held at Easter in Mandurah for quite a number of years and was a great success. When I was 17 I even took my little VJ down and had so much fun, even on the windiest days with lots of capsizes but it was wonderful.

I went out on occasional dates with a few different young men and of course knew lots of different people that my girlfriends and I met at the various dances we went to each week. We also used to dance when on holidays in Mandurah.

I had two more what you might call serious boyfriends one being Laurie (who worked for my brother). We went out for about a year but that relationship cooled (can't remember why now) and then I met Terry with whom I went out for another year but that wasn't really going anywhere and I was glad when he told me he had met another girl and would I meet with her. I did this and Mary was really lovely and she and Terry eventally married. Unfortunately Terry must have sufferd from depression because he committed suicide while quite young leaving Mary with two small children to care for.

Three months before my 19th birthday my mum saw the Department of Civil Aviation advertising for shorthand typists in Melbourne and she suggested I apply for a job with them. I had to sit the Commonwealth exam which was no problem so in October, 1950 I flew to Melbourne on a DC4 with a stopover at Parafield in Adelaide.

I worked with some lovely people at DCA and also lodged with some great folk at Shelbourne Lodge in South Yarra. I had gone on my own as my girlfriends' parents didn't like the idea of their daughters going so far from home when they were only 18 or 19. Things were very different back then from what they are today. I did go out with two young men over there....Jack and Laurie and they were very nice too but they were just casual friendships with nothing permanent likely. One young lad I worked with was Geoff and he used to talk to me about this girlfriend with whom he was always having problems; he was like a young brother to me. I do remember he followed Richmond in the VFL and I often wonder how his life turned out.

I returned to Perth in April 1951 with a return ticket to Melbourne which I could use whenever I chose to do so. Meeting friends again and being home was too much for me so I sent the ticket back and said I would not be returning to Melbourne. I often wonder what would have happened had I gone back. Would I perhaps have met up with Jack again (he and I did get on very well together) but this comes under the heading of What If? so no good even going there.

It was not very long after returning home that I met my first husband and we married in 1953. He had quite a few friends and unfortunately because of the interests etc he shared with them, he was less inclined to see many of my friends which I now very much regret. After he and I separated in 1966 I of course did not see his friends any more and my second husband, also newly divorced, having come from England in 1960 also lost friends so it was virtually just the two of us and my two children.

I have mentioned the friends I had over the years and how in later years nearly all of them have passed on. I still had some nice friends with whom I had worked and we kept in touch at Christmas and there were four of us that met 2 or 3 times a year for lunch. Ellen died in 2008, Val is not very well and is very occupied with her daughter's family so my only good friend now is Lois. She lives in Mandurah so we seldom see each other but do email each other and chat on the phone from time to time. She and her family have suffered two horrible tragedies over the past 15 months (the death of two of her grandsons) and I have given her what support I can and I think she is going to be OK. I am hoping to catch up with her again soon, perhaps lunch one day.

My one lifelong friend of course was Judy who died in February last year and I have talked about her before....the fun we had together and the laughs and I will always cherish her memories (the bad with the good) with so much pleasure. There is one other friend we now have. It is Richard, Judy's youngest son who came home from many years in New South Wales to help care for his mum. His 3 older siblings have treated him very shabbily since their mums's death and he often rings me for a chat, and hubby and I meet him for a lunch at a place where we met with Richard and Judy for lunch. I can't take his mother's place but like to feel I am there for him if he needs me.

Now there is just my dear old hubby and me....I guess we are a sort of Darby and Joan couple now. The family are always so busy in this rip, rush, tear world so we see much less of them now than in years gone by. They have their lives to lead and are now self-sufficient; we have had our lives which have been very good and we still have each other and I can only hope that continues on for some years to come. We help each other and look after each other and one would be lost without the other. I can't imagine an existence without my 'other' half.

I certainly have rambled on and on but it has been good for me to reminisce in this way as so many happy, happy memories have come flooding back to keep me company. I doubt anyone has read right through to the bottom of this post but, if you have, then thanks for doing that. I hope you too have happy memories of friends over the years.

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