For the family, the years 1986 – 1987 seem to have blurred past.
Whilst writing about business over these years, I became acutely aware of how it had totally absorbed me and, how little time in these two years I devoted to you and the kids.
There were good times of course, we would explore our new city on the weekends and the kids made wonderful friends at school, some of whom have stayed with them through the years.
There were the trips down the coast when I would be doing Auctions and the family would come along for a short break. We would catch up with the old agency network down there, often staying with some or at least catching up for lunch or dinner. When they weren’t berating me about the forthcoming changes, they were just good people who we enjoyed being with.
Our annual Christmas pilgrimages to Bright in 1986 and 1987 were great times and wonderful opportunities for me to reconnect with you all.
There is nothing like sitting around a campfire at night with old friends or swimming in the still cold Ovens River to take a person back to his roots.
Your quiet support through the dispute with Michael was everything I could have asked for; It was sad the way this had turned out and it broke the bonds between the two families.
There was little talk of the demon haunting our marriage, perhaps because I was so seldom at home and the times I were there, were so precious to me.
There were many times when I wished it would just go away, I wanted the life you and the kids provided, without the constant, haunting presence of this seductive monster.
Your Mum and Dad would visit every couple of months, Ossie would fix all the little things around the house that should have been my responsibility and Esme would fuss around as only Esme could do.
There are some things that change in this world and some that do not. Ossie and Esme definitely fell into the latter category; this constant was incredibly important to both of us and to the kids.
There were a couple of trips down to the farm over this time, but it was not the same without Dad being there. Mum was not as tolerant with the kids because she was in pain a lot of the time and the effort of having five people there for the weekend would take its toll.
It was of course, good to catch up with Terry, Cheryl and their kids but the two families had grown apart and we had little in common
I think it was Christmas 1986 when we hosted Gutho and John’s crew for their Christmas party. You had become an important part of that office, I remember Gutho and I sitting on the back verandah surveying the garden full of your friends and colleagues.
Gutho told me what a wonderful person you were and berated me for the time I was spending away from the family.
He was right of course, and I should have taken more notice, but the lure of success and the next office was too strong for me to resist at that time.
I am so proud of our three girls and the wonderful spirit they have shown throughout their lives. If the process of writing this book has shown me anything, it has certainly shown me how much of the success of the girls in their lives, they owe to you.
Our family has stayed together through some very rough times; it has been your strength and goodness that has ensured this happened.