For my friends….
I am off to the USA and Canada for three and half weeks, with some definite plans and some very open windows of opportunity while I am away.
Departure from Perth for Salt Lake City: (Jul 25 – Jul 29)
I am leaving Perth at 5:55am on Wednesday 25 July 2012 – domestic to Sydney and then International to LAX. It’s a hoot – right after LAX, I fly to Salt Lake City.(SLC) According to the itinerary given to me by my travel agent, I actually leave for SLC thirty minutes before I have left SYD. Which means if the clock told the truth I would be flying 23 and one half hours between Sydney and LAX. In fact, it is actually only a fourteen hour trip and almost a full twenty four hours from PER to SLC.
So, my first social time in the ground is when I arrive in SLC at 16.01 (4 in the afternoon) on Wednesday 25th July 2012.
I am meeting great friends from Twitter and Facebook; going to a Neil Diamond concert; trading in my Amtrak voucher for a real train ticket and getting to know something about life in Salt Lake City.
Back to Florida (Jul 30 – Aug 2)
On Monday 30th July, it’s an early departure from SLC for Florida (via a short stop in Atlanta) and I arrive in Miami around 3:30pm. My plans are to do at tour of the Everglades – because I missed out on that last time. Otherwise, I am planning to just walk, take photos and meet good friends from my last trip to Miami a year ago.
and on to Burlington, NC. (Aug 3 and 4)
I have two and a half days before I fly out of Miami on Thur 2nd August at 4.30pm to stay with a good friend in Burlington,NC. It’s a short stop over in Altanta, before arriving just after 8:30 at Raleigh Durham.
Friday Aug 3 and Sat Aug 4 – who knows what we will get up to, with those Southern Ladies? LOL.
Pardon me boy, is this the Chattanooga Choo Choo? (Aug 5)
On Sun 5th, at 9:00am, it’s on the train, headed for New York. This time, I will get on at the front of the train, not the back! It’s a full twelve hour trip to New York but not arriving at JFK and taking two hours to get into town is an advantage. It will be just a short trip from Penn Station to my hotel!
New York! New New York! (Aug 5 – 7)
Into bed earlish on Sun 5th, with two whole days to wander around in New York on Monday and Tuesday – definitely must get to Central Park and it’s fabulous museums and galleries this time – or maybe the Bronx Z00. Not sure, yet -except that I am having lunch on one of those two days with an online friend of long standing – whom I have not yet in the offline world.
Canada calling….. (Aug 8 – 13)
Wed 8th August is my Mum and Dad’s anniversary – their 70th. Last time I was in Canada, last year, I was there on Mother’s Day. It’s early out of bed and out to JFK to fly up to Toronto to meet Colin and Pauline at lunch time and to stay for a nearly a week. There will be fishing and swimming up at the lake; walking on a glass platform around the top of a new building and, if I play my cards right, I will get to see the new Van Gogh exhibition in Toronto or / an meet a couple of writers in Toronto. Since I am leaving Toronto on Tue August 14, for San Francisco, at 6:30am (which means being at the airport around 4:00am), it will be taxi departure for sure!
Redwoods and bugs (Aug 14 – 16)
A San Francisco arrival at 10:30 on Tue Aug 14, I am hoping to go straight out of the city into the redwoods with some new Facebook friends (an opera singer and her etymologist husband) who have offered to show me some awesome ancient trees and bugs that live in and around them. Because I am leaving San Francisco on Thu Aug 16, at almost 7:00pm to come home to Australia, it means being at the airport by 4:00pm – so, there will not be time for much more sightseeing than seeing the sequoia. If that doesn’t fit their schedule, there is still a lot in San Francisco that I did not see last time.
I still call Australia home…. (Aug 16 – 18)
Flying out of San Francisco on Thur Aug 16 and headed for the International Date Line, I lose a day on the calendar in a trip that will take just over 24 hours to complete.
This time I have unlocked my phone from Telstra for the trip, so my usual mobile number will accept and send SMS messages (as long as I remember to turn off the roaming / browsing facility)
I have my iPad, which I can log on to hot spots and my Notebook – so I am more comfortable this time that my communications will be adequate with email, Facebook and Twitter.
Three and a half weeks is not long enough – but it is the best I can squeeze out of my schedule.
It’s going to be a great trip!
Another Fig Tree
One day, I met a friend of mine for lunch and we settled on meeting at the Cloisters in St George’s Terrace at the top of Mill Street. We stopped alongside the big Port Jackson Fig Tree at the entrance, to chat about how it was saved when the huge building behind it, Mt. Newman House, was constructed in the 1970’s.
The architects were Howlett & Bailey, my husband Robbie (better known as Growly Granddad to our readers) worked for Jeff Howlett as a construction supervisor on other projects and I remember Jeff telling us about how the tree was saved.
Designed in 1858, the Cloisters was built by convicts to be a school for the sons of well-to-do colonial settlers in Perth. There were not enough sons to make the school a long term success, although some of its famous students included John Forrest. It has been used as a school for girls, a training school for priests and a hostel for students at UWA. Its designer, Richard Roach Jewell has left a huge legacy of iconic buildings in Perth, besides the Cloisters. He was Chief Architect of the Town Hall, designed the Wesley Church and the beautiful Deanery next to St. George’s Cathedral. [Read more...]
All money received helps support the Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation and Rescue Center in Perth.
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After a short visit to the US, (to attend a financial planning conference) I flew to Canada to visit my two sons and the young ladies who became their wives. By then, all four of them had temporarily stopped roaming around the world and were living in Toronto. In the early hours of an 1994 Easter holiday morning, while a snowy blizzard howled outside, those words spilled easily from my heart and soul to write a poem and a story for my second son.
Pointed, painted Christmas stars,
flags of white marking off their boundaries.
Red-legged bellies span my early morning walk
with webs to catch my steaming breath. [Read more...]
The Hon. Colin Barnett, MEc, MLA,
Premier, Minister for State Development,
Government of Western Australia.
Dear Premier Barnett
Undoubtedly, you are aware of the critical state of our iconic black cockatoos and the loss of 100,000 hectares of bushland due to fires in the South West this summer. Today, logging has started in Warrup Forest near Bridgetown. This is a critical refuge for black cockatoos, numbats and so many other creatures; one of the few remaining areas where black cockatoos can feed on a natural diet.
The Hon. Bill Marmion, BE, MBA, MLA, Minister for Environment; Water is not available for meetings until February 16, 2012, to discuss placing any kind of ban on [Read more...]
Today, I met Merlin, a young red tailed cockatoo who is being nurtured as an education bird at the Kaarakin Cockatoo Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in the hills of Perth. Black Cockatoo Recovery Centre
It is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions when we wilfully allow our indigenous wildlife to be driven to starvation because of loss of habitat – drought, dieback, logging; bush fires and prescribed burning have brought our cockatoos to the brink of extinction. The competition for food in remaining habitat puts enormous pressure on those pockets of vegetation. It is critical any planned logging in the South West is immediately halted and retained as habitat areas and food sources for these iconic birds.
Within the metropolitan area, land clearing for residential areas needs to be drastically controlled so that known feeding areas for black cockatoos are preserved and integrated into landscape planning for new developments – industrial, suburban and Government infrastructure. Documenting some of the poor planning decisions being made by State and Local Councils helps the community understand how ignorance, greed and lazy public officials are putting the very existence of these incredible birds at risk. [Read more...]
Life’s Amazing Family Circle (continued)
Part one of this series of blog posts can be found here: Life’s Amazing Family Circle – Part 1
30 years after 1941, when my Mum and Dad had a typical wartime honeymoon of a single night before my Dad was shipped off into the RAAF on a troop train, my Aunty Rae and my Nana Nancarrow became part of my future life and the well-being of my children – in a way we have just shared – 41 years after the event.
On The Railways
Many of my Dad’s family worked in the railways: West Australian Government Railways (W.A.G.R.) and the Midland Railway of Western Australia (MRWA). This meant job security but many moves for the families as the men went from one railway station appointment to another, the children to one school after another and wives and mothers made the best they could of making new railway friends as they moved about. My Dad often says until the Nancarrow family arrived in the tiny wheatbelt town of Caron , there were not enough local children to warrant a school teacher being stationed there – but it soon changed with the brood Nana and Pop brought with them! Up until a couple of years ago, he would still go to school reunions with people from Caron and his old school teacher (Miss. Wilma Peacock, who married Bill Dawson the StationMaster at Caron and also Mukinbudin) used to come along too.
Nana and Pop moved all around the mid-West with the WAGR; from Mullewa (where they were married), to Day Dawn, Geraldton, Caron, Mukinbudin, Collie and other small towns. One brother (Teddy) went to work for the MRWA; his final posting was at Walkaway and Dad’s sister Phylis married into the Midland Railway company, too, when she became engaged to and later married Keith Milner. After many years in the railways, Nana and Pop lived their final working years in Middle Swan until my Dad’s brother “Rusty” (otherwise B. E. Nancarrow) bought a house in Homewood Street, Cloverdale, in which he, Nana and Pop could live after Pop’s retirement. My Granddad died from that home in February 1962, as did Uncle Rusty years later in June 1980 and my Nana – in 1988.
Rusty spent a lot of time working away from Perth, including being in the Snowy Mountains tunnelling with my Dad or working in the jungles of New Guinea and Malaysia, mining. In fact, three brothers, Blue (my Dad), Rusty and Jack were all working on the Snowy Mountains Scheme at the same time and for a time, they were each supervising a crew – so there was a Nancarrow in the same tunnel twenty four hours a day. Jack and Rusty were working there first and my Dad got a telegram: “Catch the first plane. Money for shit” and so, he too went to the Snowy to work. There was tremendous competition between the brothers and their crews, and earlier, working two on one shift and the third on another, they helped set a world record for hard rock tunnelling over a six day period. They were hard taskmasters – we are told.
Because Rusty was away so much, my Nana advertised for a married couple to come and share the house with them. She wanted the company and it was a relief for the family to have someone close on hand keeping an eye on both Pop and Nana – because by then, their family was spread across the country. Indeed, when the house was purchased, there were cows in the paddocks across the road – a dairy operated where the Belmont Forum was later built, so it really was quite an “out of town” location. The couple who came to share with Nana were George and Kathy Andrews – newly immigrated from Scotland; homeless, jobless and terribly homesick. They came to love her as if she was their own mother. Nana had a huge party to welcome them into her home and everyone who was within “cooee” came to meet George and Kathy. They became part of the family; shared celebrations of births, deaths and marriages and stayed with Nana Nancarrow for some years. While they were there, my Nana suffered a burst stomach ulcer and with her nursing experience, Kathy saved her life. We were all immensely grateful for her skill and for being there when she was needed – and Nana lived on to be 93, still in her own house in Cloverdale, to die on Anzac Day in 1988. She also helped nurse my Pop, who died Feb 1st 1962.
I remember going to visit Nana one day with my own Mum and Dad and I had my three young children with me before they came back to live with me, full time. Warren would not get out of the car. He was about six. When I finally coaxed him to tell me what was wrong, he said “No one can be that old and still be alive!” How his view has changed – now my Dad is already 93 and his Nana is 90. Another great-grandson is known to have gently stroked her arm and asked “Is that still skin, Nana, or is it leather now?”
With no children of their own, George and Kathy set out to adopt. They moved from living with Nana and bought their own home in Lockridge, then a new housing area being developed by the State Housing Commission. They were able to adopt two children: Michael and Julie. When Michael was only a few months old, Kathy had major surgery and Michael needed to be cared for until she recovered. It was my Aunty Rae and her husband Terry who took him in – and she says they both cried when they had to return him home to Kathy and George after a couple of months. He was a beautiful baby and they came to care for him a great deal. Nana regarded Michael and Julie as two more grandchildren – though how she kept up with all of them, I really do not know.
In mid-1971, my three children were returned to me by their father after a separation of several years and after being evicted from private housing (for being a single parent with kids!) I found myself living in Lockridge in a high density block of flats occupied by mostly single mothers with children – and very few of their parents working. After a few months as an Avon lady and selling more product than I could package and deliver, I quickly found a good position at Metro Motors in Morley. I needed someone I could trust to help me care for the children, especially after school and started asking around for a friendly “Aunt” or family who could help.
George and Kathy lived only a minute or two away in their new house; their adoptions were in progress and they were delighted to “take in” my three – to be supervised before and after school, because I was working from 8:30am to 5:00pm every day and every second Saturday morning as well. Since they were Nana’s great- grandchildren, it was all the more special for them, though Kathy would have done it anyway. Annette was only four and a half and had nearly a year to go before she could start school, so Kathy helped take care of her for the whole time while the boys were dropped off there before school and returned home to her house afterwards, until I could collect them after work.
It was a very special moment when Rae was visiting my Dad and me this week and happened to mention George and Kathy – to which I responded “Surely, that’s not the George and Kathy who looked after Annette and the boys when I went back to work?” In fact, it was and we were able to fill in a lot of blanks for each other about those years. The same day, we both phoned Kathy, (sadly George has now passed away,) and she still lives in the same house. I will be going to see her very soon and bring this amazing family circle even closer. I think I should take my Dad, too. What do think about that?
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(c) Lesley Dewar July 2012 to current.
The Youngest and the Oldest.
Today, my Dad’s youngest sister came to visit – to see her only surviving brother after his short stay in hospital last week. I am not allowed to call her Aunty Rae because she is only seven years old than me; she is 18 years his junior and he really is her “big brother”. We talked about family, places and people we have known or not. Rae had to remind my Dad that she will never remember living in Elvire Street in Midland – because she hadn’t even been born then!
My Dad (William James Nancarrow aka “Blue”) was born on 26 March 1918 at Nurse Lloyd’s Private Hospital in Coolgardie Street, Subiaco and an online search this afternoon at National Library of Australia – Digital Newspapers found a copies of notices posted in the three major newspapers of the day. Rae, his youngest sister, was born in January 1936 and she is the last of my Dad’s eleven brothers and sisters born to Nana (Ivy) and Pop (William George) Nancarrow, who were married on September 17, 1917 in Mullewa. Rae was born at K.E.M.H in Subiaco; my Nana made the journey from Mukinbudin for the confinement and birth.
Boys Doing A Man’s Job
In April, 1936 aged barely 18, Dad was awarded a trophy for his cycling exploits in Mukinbudin – along with his friend Jimmy Stewart and in 1937 after his 19th birthday, he left when Rae was just over one year old to go to work in Caron to work on Reid’s farm for a couple of months. They helped him get a job with the Farrell family on their property at Perenjori; he spent a season there seeding and after a few months, my Dad went to Cue to live with his Grandma and Granddad Ridley. In Cue, he spent time prospecting and dry blowing for gold with Granddad Ridley but he says they didn’t strike it rich! His spare time was taken up with cycling, football (where he was written up in the local paper as “Nancarrow has shown some improvement over his usual game” and cricket (with a career highest score of 78 not out).
In early 1938, he went to Beringarra Station to work for Mr & Mrs Wood, the station managers, as a station hand – and I smile when I think of my 15yo son, Colin, embarking on a similar career on Cherrabun Station in the Kimberley many years later. There is a difference though: my Dad went to work with the sheep side of farming on Beringarra while Colin dismisses them as “ground lice” and his work in the North West was fixing windmills and to help round up cattle that had been running wild for the previous year. I have never been to Beringarra Station and the closest I have been to Cherrabun was to find it on the map as a Greyhound bus sped me through the night from Kununurra to Broome – on the memorable day that St. Kilda and Collingwood drew in the AFL Grand Final.
Sporting Heroes Go To War
After a year on the station – much of it spent by himself camping out in the bush with only his horse, “Jimmy Boy” and his waterbag, with Mr. Wood coming by every couple of weeks with light supplies – Dad moved to Big Bell. Work was very scarce; hundreds of men were still unemployed as the depression was slowly receding and after three weeks of turning up every day outside the mine office along with other men, he was lucky enough to be selected – but not only because he was a skilled metalworker. His sporting ability was a key part of him getting his job – because the mine management was keen to see the Big Bell Football Team strengthened and go up against Cue, Reedys and Mt Magnet. In 1941, my Dad enlisted in the RAAF while still working in Big Bell; married my mother and left to go to Adelaide. It was a short honeymoon: they were married at 5:00pm on Friday in St. George’s Cathedral and Dad left on a troop train from Perth Central Station at 12:00noon the next day. My Nana, Nana Nancarrow, came down from Mukinbudin with Rae – then a little girl of five – to see him off. Nana went back Mukinbudin and my Mum went to stay with her own sister, Marian until she could sail to Adelaide under full wartime conditions, to be my Dad’s wife. Marian is now 99, my Mum is 90 and they are the only surviving children of their own family.
The Past Is The Future Is The Present
Tomorrow – I will tell you how, 30 years later in 1971, my Aunty Rae and my Nana Nancarrow were involved in a critical part of my life and that of my children – something that I only discovered today – 41 years after the event itself. Like Dr Who, we keep bumping into our future as we live each day, but without a sonic screwdriver, we neither recognise it nor change it,.
Over 70 years, I can see Life’s Amazing Family Circle at work. I just love the way that life actually lets us tie up all the loose ends – if we will only listen. Instead of having a tangled web of discordant memories and perceptions – there is a great deal of unseen order in our lives.
The trouble is, we are too impatient to wait for it to reveal itself, or too unbelieving. It’s not karma – but I am becoming more convinced that we can take charge of mapping out of lives for better results – if we just have more faith that all we need will be provided. We need that sonic screwdriver of trust!
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(c) Lesley Dewar July 2012 to current.
“What can you say to pierce this dreaded black fog, when once it descends? No words prevail. Your hugs pain me as I seek only the agony of my solitude. Leave me. Let me lie, that I might ponder why I am worthy to live. To recall my unknown and unforgiven trespasses. To hear each breath as it flows in and out my imprisoned chest. My heart cold. My sun dark. Perhaps, this time, it will not pass – and then I shall lie peacefully forever in the arms of eternal quiet and struggle no more.
These are not words spun like a silken thread from the spindle of a writer. These are my own memories. Memories of dark days that haunted me – and I survived. Shared memories of my beautiful daughter, who did not.
Depression comes into our lives in different ways and not all can deal with it successfully. Once it has struck and covered you with its black fog, nothing is ever the same again.
A virgin sees the world differently after her veil has been rent in the first act of carnal love, for even the light of day will seem more bright and bent on exposing her painful loss of innocence. When depression strikes our loved ones, the pain of feeling impotent and unable to “fix it” is a pain of a different kind but of no less intensity.
If you want to know a little more about this, I urge you to read an earlier blog post Depression: What Does It Feel Like? which has links to some very helpful support groups in Australia, as well.