Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.
I was married on January 14, 1961 at Holy Family Church, Maroubra, by the Catholic parish Priest Farther Carr (a long-time friend of the Brassil family) to Frances Bridget Carlin Brassil, with my long time friend John Keyte as best man and another long time friend Doug Malouf as groomsman. I was divorced on the application of my wife with a Negree Nisi dated May 4, 1984.
I well remember an incident on the day of my marriage. My sister Marie arrived at the church with three large packets of confetti which she duly proceeded to empty over the happy couple. Unbeknownst to us, Frances had previously discussed the use of confetti with Fr Carr and agreed it would not be used at the wedding. She then proceeded to tell my sister what she thought of her for bringing confetti and fouling up the steps of the church, The New South Wales Premier, the then Member of Parliament for the NSW seat of Maroubra, Bob Heffron, and his wife (long-time friends of the Brassil family through their mutual interest in the Labor Party). attended the Wedding and Reception held at Bronte house Bondi.
Scallywags of mine “hot wired” my car at the reception and delayed our leaving for the Honeymoon at the leading Kings Cross hotel and then at a seaside Motel and finally at Peppers Hotel at The Entrance, There was no kissey, kissey, cuddle cuddley, huggie, huggie in my marriage as indeed there was none either in my parent’s who barely tolerated each other. I greatly admire couples (like my daughter and her husband who can and do express their love and affection for each other I still have difficulty expressing or receiving affection)
My dad used to sleep in the closed-in part of the side verandah and come in when it was cold or whatever. He had exclusive use of the bathroom on Saturday mornings. He used to shave, bathe and put on his best clothes and then go to the pub where he would have a beer or three with his mates. I remember once he came home and got up from sitting by the fire. He fell and broke one of the Carvers (chairs) which formed part of Mum’s prized Beard Watson dining room suite. I remember we all used to sit around the open fire on cold nights. Some nights someone “would let one go” and everyone would look at the other accusingly.
We used to have an open hearth fire and then joy! oh joy! we got a grate fireplace which made the fire hotter and the removal of ash easier. I can remember the smoke haze which hung over the town of Canowindra from the burning log fires on a cold night. We had five wonderful children: Andrew James; David Michael (twins); Jane Frances; Mark Dominic and Susan Bridget all born at Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Canowindra under the care of Matron Pilkinton and Doctor John (“Lofty”) Knight. The Canowindra gossipers. scandal mongers and mischief makers had a field day during the first few months of our marriage. Frances was quite large early in her first pregnancy! We used to go to Mass and take The Sacrament, but we had the last laugh as the twins were born exactly 10 months after our marriage.
I well remember Matron Pilkinson telephoning me at the Services and Citizens club (of which I was president at the time) telling me of the birth of son Mark. As we talked they were playing the Last Post in the background (It was Armistice Day):
“I hope it’s not significant”, she quipped.
The twins received five-star treatment at the hospital, I believe the mark is still on the ceiling of the private ward at the hospital from us opening the champagne celebrating the birth of the twins. One of the twins came home, but the other, Andrew, had to stay in hospital as he was underweight. However with the expert and devoted care of Matron and the nursing staff at the hospital he pulled through, He looked like a skinned rabbit!
Frances used to express breast milk and I would take it to the hospital with the cry at the front door of “Milko!”. The twins came home to the residence above the wine shop Blatchford St. I remember tucking the twins under my arms and climbing the steep stairway. The twins used to play in the nearby Railway Park. We had four of the children; Andrew James; David Michael; Jane Frances and Mark Dominic while at the Wine Shop residence. The last one (Susan Bridget) came home to our spacious new residence – The White House – in Charlotte Street.
Three of the children are university graduates, one is a long time Public Servant and one is with me as my carer.
A number of anecdotes I picked up:
(1) A favorite joke of the late Paul Stocker: A small boy was gorging himself on chocolates in a small shop when his mother and he were in at the time. His mother told him if he kept that up he would get a BIG, BIG fat tummy. Just then into the shop came a heavily pregnant woman. Our littelie sidled up to her and said: ‘We know what you’ve been doing don’t we ?”,
(2) And returning to Manchester…. on the Irish Air Line Aerolingus …..
A voice in a thick Irish brogue came over the intercom and said: This is your captain speakin”. We are currently travellin’ at thirty thousand feet AND IT’S NO USE GOIN’ ANY HIGHER !|”.
(3) The most disgusting thing I ever saw was when my sister Iris and I were taking over the lease of the Rose Marie Cafe in Canowindra. We were taking note of the stock to be exchanged. Someone had left a large piece of corned silverside meat out of the fridge and it had been fly blown, The former owner took a large knife and cut away the flyblown piece and put the rest back in the fridge,
(4) The most hurtful thing: My former wife telephoned me at my home and said: ” Kevin when you die there will be no loving father of or anything like that!. We won’t bury you !” To which I replied: “Well if you wait long enough somone will. Anyway my mail is that you won’t be around when I carkit.”
(5)”The most amusing: was when the Japanese Air hostess came on the intercom as we were leaving Tokyo airport and said: “We hope you all have a present fright!”,
My years in Apex:
I was a foundation member of Canowindra Apex and its second president (Bill Crawford was the first). Then me as District Governor District 1, Zone 9.
I remember we took two planes to charter the Bourke club which had been sponsored by the Apex Club of Coolangatta (Gold Coast) who used to travel overland to all the sponsor’s meetings with the new club, (They were the nearest Apex club to Bourke.) Pilots for our two planes were Ian Brown in one and Ken McDonald in the other. (Both had pilot’s licenses obtained from Canowindra Aero club (I think) under the direction of Noel Barnes – a former RAAF pilot in World War 2. Bourke Apexians were delighted with our attendance.
I remember one incident in Apex when we ran a Walk-a-thon to raise funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind or as we use to say Blinds For Guide Dogs: My club (Services and Citizens of which I was President) had agreed to sponsor me in the Walk-a-thon for $10 per mile thinking that I would only last only one mile. But I walked the whole 20 mile (10 mile out to Billimari turnoff ) and 10 mile back which ended up costing the club $200.
On the walk we had a delightful young man from the Blind Society Headquarters and his guide dog I also remember our partaking in the Blayney club’s billycart derbys with Les Wilkinson as our mechanic in charge of our entries. We also ran a Dental Health Week urging people to use less sugar in their diet. It was during this campaign we found out that the Colgate company was a big user of sugar in their toothpastes.
Canowindra Dramatic Society: I was an active member of the Canowindra Dramatic Society. Great supporters were Tom and Nancy Lynch. We used to have play rehearsals in their office premises in Mill Street. I produced and directed the hugely successful play ”Arsenic and Old Lace” which starred the greatly talented Una Wythes and Dawn Smith as the two old-maid Spinsters who used to poison their visitors with Elderberry wine. Ken Wyburn played the part of the eccentric doctor. I remember he once gave me gave me an anxiety attack when he fell down the stairs at the old Strand Theater stage toward the end of one night’s performance of Arsenic and Old Lace. As I was trying to work out how we could finish the play without him, true Briton that he was, he struggled up the stairs to finish his role.
Tom Lynch was a bit of a “bushie”who spoke like an old stockman.
He was in one play which called for the lies;
” Ï can’t do that! He will have me incarcerated!”,
Tommy came out with the never to be forgotten phase:
” I can’t do that! He will have me carstrated”.
More to come!