Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blast from the past

A few weeks ago I found a gift given to me by one of my students going back some 50 years ago.  Herby VanDongen was a pleasant lad and his father made these cuff links which Herby gave me.  I must confess that I have never owned a shirt which used cuff links and I’m guessing that most people these days would not know what cuff links are/were used for.
I thought I would look up Herby and find out what he has been doing over the past 50 years.  I found Herby in the White Pages and gave him a call.   He is a successful business owner running an agricultural machinery business.  I am going to visit his business this Friday.

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The coins used in the cuff links are a Sixpence and a Threepence.  In the days of non- decimal currency, such coins had names.  The sixpence was called a Zac and the threepence (thrupence) was called a Tray.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Goodbye Brian


My nephew Brian was aged 42 when he suddenly decided to take his own life in the backyard of his home in Mandurah.  His mother, Dorothy was visiting her daughter and husband in San Francisco when she heard the news. Dorothy, Katherine and Rick immediately flew back to Western Australia. The funeral service and wake was held last Wednesday.  It was a large funeral with Brian’s friends and relatives and Dorothy’s friends attending.   I am unsure about the background to this tragic event.  Brian’s wife Lilli, will be facing a difficult time.  

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Edison Phonograph 1911 model

I met my dear wife Joan in 1965 when I was posted to Bridgetown High School in the state’s south west. Joan was also on staff at BHS.  We were married in January 1966 and had 46 great years together.
Whilst sharing a house with two other male teachers in Bridgetown I found bits of what turned out to be an Edison Phonograph.  I realised that there were cosmetic parts missing and spent several months in my spare time rebuilding it and making missing parts.

I found a single, cylinder record and it was played regularly as a test for some of the repairs.   On completion of the project a student told me that his grandfather had some records and that I was welcome to them.  The lad brought in a large box containing 110 records in good condition.  I thanked his grandfather and still have the phonograph and the records. 

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video
A bit like me...old but still working

Friday, November 4, 2016

My dear Gay brother

I have just watched a 450th (?) re-run of a MASH episode about a gay soldier in the MASH unit.  It was quite emotional for me as my (our) brother was gay and lived a double life for quite few years before he came out.  His siblings, me, my sister and younger brother, all loved Robert.  He and we, knew he was different from an early age and I guess our parents also knew, but never acknowledged it because it certainly wasn’t kosher to do that back then.
Robert, joined the airforce and did a cooks course in NSW.  He graduated and after working at restaurants in NSW, applied for and won a posting as the chef for the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Rodan Cutler.  He worked there at Government House for a few years before moving to the United States, where he was for some time the chef at the oldest restaurant in the U.S., Fraunces Tavern in NY.

We visited Fraunces Tavern in 1990. Beautiful!


My brother died in our family lounge room surrounded by family and two friends from NY.  


I am sorry that some people will not understand this story.

Chicken Pox??


Our daughter Helen is off work due to a serious rash on her upper body and arms.  She went to her GP and he was unsure whether it is Chicken Pox or just some allergy.  Helen has had Chicken Pox before, but it is possible to contract it a second time.   Her pre-primary class has had seven kids away from class and she is unsure whether her rash is anything associated with something that is ‘going round’.    Vaccination is a problem with some parents and Helen would hate to be in the situation of spreading a potentially dangerous disease such as CP.   She will see what things look like at the start of next week before returning to work.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A bit too gaudy for me.


My daughter Helen and husband James recently visited France and Spain.  Looking at one of Helen’s photographs I was told the building pictured was designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.  He was a celebrated architect in his time for his theme park like buildings and colours.  See some of his work here.

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