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  • My parents went to primary school together, although they had few memories of each other - except for Mum's recollection of the first time they were thrown together.

    In Mum’s words “Let me tell you a story. I was 12 and Brian was 13. In those years St Joseph’s held a school ball every year. The teachers would march the boys into the playground and group them in a circle. Then they would march the girls into the playground and group them in an outer circle around the boys' circle. When the teachers said “Stop”- your partner for the ball was the boy you were standing beside. Yes, I ended up beside Brian (all red hair and freckles) and I said to the girl next to me “change places with me”, and she did! The rest is history.”

    I asked Dad once how he felt about that; did he feel hurt when our young mother had rejected him so obviously. He replied with a chuckle " At the time I couldn't care less!" - so typical of my Dad - he is a resilient man.

    Years later they had their first date at their friend Ronnie’s New Year’s Eve party in 1961. As Mum often said they were “on again off again” for a few years. Mum loved dancing and socialising and although she thought of Dad as her boyfriend she had other friends who would take her out. I remember my Grandfather telling us a story of Mum accepting invitations to go out with two young men - on the same night! My Grandfather was at the front door making excuses for her to one of the boys; something he felt uncomfortable about but I do believe he was also secretly proud of her. His eyes lit up every time he told us the story.

    One of Mum and Dad's "off again" times was after a party when Dad drank too much beer. Mum had been looking of him for a long time, she was ready to go home. She eventually found him when she saw this arm hanging out from under a table cloth - he had crashed out under the dining room table. She was furious and refused to speak to him for a few days. Dad made an appeal to my Grandparents "I think I have really blown it this time, what can I do to make it up to her". They advised him to give her time and maybe not drink so much beer.

    Dad finally proposed in the lounge room at Waite Ave, Balmain. Mum’s parents were overjoyed, they adored Dad. They used to say to him “just persevere; you will eventually wear her down”. They were right!
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