Posted by: jkirkby8712 | April 22, 2011

Wednesday, 20th April 2011 – brief reminder of the years, as a ‘old’ friend passes on!

I received advice earlier this week that one of our ‘associates’ from past years had passed away, on Sunday I think it was, another victim of cancer.

Jean was a member of the original Wesley Young Adults, a group associated with the Wesley Methodist Mission in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, in the late 1960s/early 1970s, and like most of us had ‘migrated’ to Melbourne from other parts of Australia seeking work and/or study, and in the process, finding the companionship of like minded people in the middle of the city, as young adults, most of us in our early 20s.  Thanks to the specific efforts of one former member, Rosemary, most of us from those days are able to keep in touch through the odd function every year or so, although because of distance, I tend to get to less of those than do the majority. The other Monday night was one of the exceptions, as noted in my blog at the time. When I received Rosemary’s news this week, I immediately determined that I would find a way to get to our friend’s final service, this coming Thursday.

 Jean was part of a group of 3 or 4 girls who for a few years, shared a flat in Drummond  Street, Carlton [an inner  Melbourne suburb], while about 20 minutes to the north west, there were 4 or 5 [the numbers varied from time to time] of us guys, sharing a house in Tennyson Street Moonee Ponds – never forget our Greek landlord, Mr Marinos, a real character!   Anyway, at different stages, some of us guys were going out with various of the girls over in Carlton  – in those days, the guys all continued to live in their ‘residence’ and the girls in theirs! You had a date, then returned your date to her place of abode.   Or we simply just participated in the same activities as a group of friends in any environment would!  I do recall, that on at least one occasion, Jean was included in a group of three ‘girls’ who joined me at an Australian football game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the other two were her flatmates, one of whom was my girlfriend [briefly] at the time.  Unfortunately, as happened with others on a  couple of occasions, she [the girlfriend] was barracking for the other team, and it was usually my team [Carlton of course] that won that match! Not always a good result for good relations!  Anyway, I wander again  –   at the same time, there were other flats, etc, other girls and guys generally following the same format.  From memory, I think I might have been the only one who ‘strayed’ from that practice on a couple of occasions. Today of course, the guy and girl would simply move in together, and stay that way until something went wrong. We thought our method was less risky, less complicated, and didn’t leave you with a lot of messy after events, when the inevitable breakup of a particular relationship occurred, which it generally did – for eg, in the two households referred to, all of us eventually ended up married to someone from outside of those two ‘specific’ groups, although in the long run,  generally speaking, the majority of those who made up the WYA membership, usually  ended up married to another member, which was in fact my situation. Generally those relationships have lasted  –  mmmmm, again, I think I am one of the exceptions!  Ohhhh, well, I always was a little different! J

I suppose the disturbing aspect for the rest of us, at hearing the news of the death of a friend from that era, due to illness etc, is the ‘reminder’ that none of us are getting any younger, and we are moving into a couple of decades when we are all going to appear on one of Rosemary’s emails of sad tidings!!  A sobering thought indeed!

Meanwhile, a general meeting of our local Family History Society tonight, which included a fascinating talk by our President about the history – but he did it through photographs – which showed as clearly as any wordy description, just how much this town has changed over the past 40 years, even since we have been here, in 1983 When Peter himself, was a schoolboy here, there was little in the way of prospects for Sunbury from the small sparsely populated rural style community it was. Now it is a thriving little ‘city’ almost. I found the historical photos totally exhilerating, and in particular the pictures of the estate upon which I now live, most of which was a stud farm, I think, for racehorses, where just to the south of us, the Sunbury Racecourse used to exist. I can’t picture that now amongst the residential areas, what a pity that part of our development disappearred. We must encourage Peter to put his photo collection – literally thousands of photos taken either by himself or others of the life of Sunbury over many decades, into a formal published record, in a book of some sort!!

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