You and I had never been close and the relationship deteriorated further after my elevation to national CEO at the expense of your other son Paul.
I don’t know how this elevation was discussed between Brian, Paul and yourself, but the resentment and undermining by Paul and your rudeness at Board meetings after my sexuality became semi-public knowledge, was hard for me to accept.
I had given everything I could to this company, I had never really sought anything other than the opportunity to be part of the growth. The elevation to Board level and the role of CEO had been a surprising recognition of my work in NSW and then; Nationally.
I relished the opportunity to work with Brian and Andrew as we forged ahead but by the middle of 1994, I was being torn between my need for openness in my private life and my desire to continue as part of our ongoing growth.
The last 12 months had been a traumatic period for me.
There had been the broken leg, the coming out to Jassy, Annie and many of the leadership team I was working with, the collapse in Perth and the enforced holiday, the death of my mother and then the very painful bout of shingles.
As tough as many of these episodes were, there was still a real sense of optimism, that finally, my life was getting to the point, where I could be proud of who and what I was.
The darkness over this optimism was the attitude of you and Paul. It was infecting my relationship with Brian and the ongoing struggle between honesty and my work.
There were rumors within the larger organisation, I wanted to end the gossip and the only way I could see to do this, was to publicly address these rumors. I had mentioned this to several people, but at this stage, how I was going to do this, was still a work in progress. I had not talked to Brian about my thoughts but I would have done this before I did anything.
It came as no surprise to me that you had got wind of my thoughts, I am not sure what prompted your intervention in Townsville and even, whether Brian was aware you were going to talk to me.
It was the North Queensland Conference held at the Townsville Casino. You made a point of seeking me out at lunch time, suggesting we meet later that night in your room.
This request surprised me, you and I had not spoken since the episode at the Board meeting some time ago, and to be honest; I was unsure as to what the point of this meeting was to be.
Part of me was optimistic we could use this meeting to bury the hatchet and part of me, was suspicious of what your motives could be.
The awkwardness of that meeting still resounds, there was no mention of my sexuality, but that particular elephant loomed heavily.
It soon became clear, you were aware of my half-baked plan for a coming out to the group.
There was an attempt at civility but your words were direct and blunt.
“Bruce, we like things exactly as they are, we don’t want anything to rock the boat”
I left that meeting feeling as down as I have ever been, I did not know and still don’t know as to whether Brian was aware of the message you delivered.
All I know, was that in one sentence, you had destroyed my hopes for an open and fulfilled life. My trust and faith was destroyed, this conversation would prove to be the beginning of the end.
It was certainly the end of any hope I might have had, that you and I could have a cordial relationship.
I felt worthless and dirty, I came home bitter and angry.