Dear Mrs. Fuller
Of all the people who could have shepherded me into the wider world, I could not think of a better one than you.
Once it had been established I was definitely leaving the farm, Dad took it upon himself to hurriedly make arrangements for my “safe” accommodation in Wagga.
It was suggested I would go and live with my grandfather (he of the abominables) but that was very quickly scotched, not only by me, but also by him.
Both of us for the very same reason; neither of us liked the other.
He did however, know this lovely, old lady who ran a boarding house and that was my introduction to you.
Mum and Dad drove me to Wagga on the Saturday and by that night I was ensconced in your front bedroom, sharing it with a Bank teller from Wollongong who was on a posting to Wagga.
Part of the deal I had negotiated with my parents was that I would go back to the farm at least every second weekend to help out down there. As much as my father’s mood and attitude had turned full circle, he was not about to give up some free labor!
The daughter of a neighbor had lived and worked in Wagga for many years and she used to go home most weekends, so it was arranged, I would travel back and forth with her.
I was suspicious of you at first because you used to play cards with my Grandfather once a week, initially I kept my dislike of him to myself.
I soon learned though, you thought he cheated at cards and often when you returned home from a night at his place and more than a few sherries, we would sit up and tell stories about the arrogant old bastard.
That was yours and my little secret, we would sit in your lounge room for an hour doing impersonations of how he would hate to lose and the Bridge board would somehow be manipulated.
Your facade of proper behavior hid a wicked sense of humour and I grew to love these nights with you.
You would come back and gleefully tell me, how he had asked you; “what is the useless bastard up to?”
There were a couple of people in Wagga who had been at school with me. Whilst we had not been close then; it was different set of circumstances, now; we were out in the big wide world.
You welcomed these guys into your home and were always happy to make room for them at your dinner table.
My time with you was only short before I headed off to Canberra early in 1972 but your warmth, humour and simple decency has stayed with me all my life.
You were poor but you were so rich.