I came home refreshed from America and ready to finally get stuck into 1994. There was a long trip to New Zealand and Perth before it was time to get ready for our first National conference on the Sunshine Coast.
At least when I was in Perth, I could see Margo and arrange for her to get over to the East to see Mum who is fading fast
I had not long been back, when every part of my body started to hurt like hell, fucking Shingles! Just what I needed
I managed to get through the conference but it was hardly the high point of my career, I made it to most of the major sessions and I even got a few nice messages after my address, I think they just felt sorry for me LOL.
We had over 500 attendees at the Sunshine Coast and as, Myf said, it was terrific that most of the Corporate team could not even find a place to eat during the breaks.
Mum died at the end of May and this hit me harder than expected. No matter how much it is anticipated, the loss of a parent is tough, you lament what you had not said, as much as you lament their passing.
What should have a year of triumph was turning sour.
I fainted in Perth, I got shingles and Mum has died, we are not even at the half way mark yet.
After the conference, we had the Franchisor meeting scheduled for the Gold Coast, this would be the first time, we had all our corporate people in one place, to review and set plans for the next twelve months.
Thank God, I was starting to feel a bit better. Myf and John really carried this meeting but I hope, I managed to set our direction for the next year.
We had a disparate team but they managed to gel together very well; this conference was a great opportunity to look at the strengths of the people who would carry us forward.
I missed you at this conference, but I really appreciated the opportunity to put my mark on the direction of the Company.
Paul and Alan were not bothering with any sense of civility at Board meetings, Paul was bitter and Alan was consumed with my homosexuality. Most of the time I tried to ignore this, but it reached the ridiculous, when; with just five people sitting round a table, Alan looked directly at me, while speaking to Andrew.
“Andrew, could you please ask Bruce this question”
I spoke to you about this after the meeting, but I left Brisbane disheartened.
“Bruce, he is my father and his prejudices run deep”
I was torn between my loyalty to you and my unhappiness with what was happening.
I had been on the Board for more than two years, I had left my mark on the company and I was sick of hiding from myself and others.
I was aware of the innuendo within the franchisee ranks and I could deal with this, but I did not deserve this level of animosity at Board level.
I tried hard to understand the family thing, as much for your sake as mine; but the erosion of confidence was something I did not need.
For the first time, I began to question whether I belonged within the Company.
My disquiet would grow and fester over the next few months. I tried to ignore it, I tried to rationalise it, but this cancer was malignant, it would slowly eat away at my confidence and sense of worth.
We should have spoken about it, but we didn’t.