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Two good people

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If my parents were still alive they would now both be 100 years of age.

They were products of working class, suburban, devout Methodist families.
Dad a printer by trade, and Mum a factory worker.

Their individual young dreams were probably irrevokably altered by the real depression of the 1930's,  and they deferred plans of marriage until after the second world war.

Dad enlisted in the air force and was a navigator on Beaufort bombers.  He later spoke little of these experiences, but I know he was posted to Winnipeg, Ceylon, Cairo and England.

His war was to leave him embittered and physically injured.
Yet he rightfully had great pride at having defended Australia from invasion.  Had it not been for him and all the other brave young Australian men and women, this blog would probably be written in Japanese, for there were political plans in place to sacrifice at least half of Australia to the Japanese should an invasion occur.

My Mum did what all the other women of that period did.  She kept the factories and the country operating in the absence of men at war.

War injuries and a quarrying accident ensured my Dad would have difficulty finding permanent post-war employment.  So many memories I have of my Dad involve me seeing him in a hospital bed.
He died at age 65.
Enduring inner peace and happiness having been denied him by the stupidity of war.

They raised me in an era when children were "seen but not heard".  
I was compliant.  Even when my Mum was ailing at age 80, I still felt I had no right, as her child, to ask about many events in her life.   
I retain numerous regrets about that, and resolved that my own children would not be deprived knowledge about my life, thoughts and philosophies.
That, in part, is a reason for the existence of GOF's scrap bucket.

I hope my Mum and Dad are in their heaven, and looking down upon the life of their boy, finding some pride amongst the disappointments,  thankfulness that he has not witnessed military conflict, and observing that he retains some principles of what is right,  moral, and good from their teaching and example.

Perhaps they might also understand my reasons for jettisoning organised religion as the vehicle for transporting these qualities with me through my life.

I thank them for providing this miraculous and wonderful gift of life.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

8 responses »

  1. I'm sure they are well pleased, GOF. My Dad never got to go to the war. He was was a tank sinker, and was told his services were required at home. I can remember him in the Volunteer Defence Corp. I can also remember him listening intently to the war news; convoys going through my home town; and VP day. He and my mother both died of cancer in 1991, both in their eighties. I think they were proud of me. I hope so.

  2. My granmother lost her first husband, who had been her childhood sweetheart in 1941, shot down over the Hook of Holland. She was only in her very early twenties. She joined the WAAF and that's where she met her second husband, my grandfather. He was posted all over the place and for a while after the war they lived in Germany. I've inherited her photos from the war, the photos of Jack, her first husband and the huge box of letters written by grandma and grandad to each other while he was stationed away, thousands of them, written once a day. We've not read them yet but one day we will. He died at 83 and she died a couple of years later. They are both missed.

  3. I think they would be so proud of the wonderful man you became. They obviously loved you a great deal.
    I know what you mean about not feeling that you can ask about certain aspects of their lives. My mother's family is lovely but they don't communicate openly with each other. I have always tried to be different with my own children…I think we are getting there.

  4. Thanks for your story Snowy. I have read with interest your own work history and thoughts on family following your journey back to the places of your childhood last year. I have no doubt your parents would be proud. They would also be proud of the wisdom you are now choosing to pass on to others.

  5. Thanks Vicola…..all these war stories just have terrible endings.My Mum typed out a lot of the letters that Dad wrote to her whilst he was posted overseas. They are however so heavily censored, both by what was allowed to be written by the war machine, and by what Mum deemed to be personal, that they are of limited value. They do however show how a good man can be so brainwashed into extreme hatred by military training.

  6. Thank you for the compliment FD. Globet will probably choke on her Weetbix if she reads it, but I hope I am getting better with age, for there were certainly many situations during my younger life which could have been managed with more maturity and better judgement.
    I also get the impression from your blog that your children are regularly informed of exactly how their Mum feels about the events in her life.;-)

  7. Only now has my youngest (now 2nd youngest) sister been tracking down the family history. In earlier days the family were very private about their history and it has taken some time to tease out the details.That is why I now have a new youngest sister I am very pleased to say.Both my Mum and Liz's Dad were subjected to the War. Mum in London and Opa on the docks in Holland. But for the hand of fate both could easily have not survived. I must follow your lead, GOF, and write up some of their adventures.

  8. Thanks Peter…how fantastic to find another sister. Extract as much information as you can from the older generations before it is too late. I now know that most of them are only too happy to sit down and discuss the past.


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