Dear Ossie and Esme
Your kindness to me during 1972 and early 1973 will always be a high point of my life, your daughter was a very special person to me and I soon found out you felt the same.
I don’t know whether you had a favorite child, I never saw you either of you turn away from any of your children, but; it was obvious Sas was very precious to you.
As my 21st birthday loomed in February 1973, the isolation from my own parents often preyed on my mind. Dad and I were on opposite sides of the Vietnam Argument causing rancor and bitterness whereas you, Ossie also a returned Serviceman; kept your own counsel on this issue.
To this day, I have no idea what you thought of my minor activism or indeed of the many “hairies” that would often invade your home when we called to collect Sas.
You took an interest and were supportive when, in late 1972; Mum was admitted to hospital after a breast cancer scare. You encouraged me to bury the hatchet with Dad and make the long trip to Albury after it became clear Mum would not escape unscathed from the Surgeon’s Scalpel.
I spent a few days down at the farm and Visited Mum several times in Hospital. Dad and I managed to be civil during this time, your wise counsel stayed foremost in my mind whilst I was there.
Mums Prognosis was not great, this was a very early Mastectomy and there was a lot still to be learned about the process and the effects of treatment.
You did not know my parents at this time but this did not reduce your compassion or thoughts.
As 1972 wound down, Sas and I decided it was time to announce our engagement, this was not a matter to be taken lightly in your household. I had to go through the whole daunting process of sitting down with Ossie and asking him for his Daughter’s hand in Marriage.
This was granted, along with a stern warning to “look after our girl”
Because of Mum’s Illness and my separation from Dad, as well as the fact; our friends were predominantly in Canberra meant that my 21st was best held there.
With not an ounce of hesitation you volunteered to hold a party for me and the night was very special to me.
This would be the first time you had met my parents and I worried how the four of you would get on; I needn’t have worried, Mum and Ossie bonded over your garden, there was old war talk between Dad and Ossie, and Esme was the perfect hostess.
Sas and I had been down the coast for a week before the party and when my mother, in her rather snooty fashion, remarked that she though we should have been “chaperoned”, Esme looked her fairly in the eye and quietly commented that “things were different now”.
My parents were no pushovers; both were strongly opinionated and both had an elevated view of their worldly status, you made everyone feel welcome without losing any of your innate dignity.
Both of you were solicitous and kind in regard to Mum’s illness and the whole weekend was a success.
Your kindness in hosting this party went a long way towards thawing relations between and my parents and myself.
It was after my 21st that Sas and I went down to the farm for few days and through an old friend who was currently working for a builder and development company in Wagga I was offered a job as a Real Estate Salesman.
You were supportive of this move, despite knowing that it would involve Sas eventually moving away.
I am very grateful for your support and everything you did at this time, and; even more grateful for the love and support you were to show me over many years into the future, even when, you could well have turned away.
You were good people and I am so proud to have known you