Once upon a time, the time was 1966, my best friend Glenys and I were floating on our backs, beyond the breakers at Nobbys Beach. The regular swell and dip of the water lulled us as we wallowed in the peace of it all. We were in year 10, I was 15. She was going to senior school in Newcastle and I was going to boarding school after the holidays.

It was a glorious day!

Glenys and her boyfriend had decided to call it a day. The romance was over. In her generous wisdom she said to me, “you know, I think you and Gary would get on well together. You can have him if you like”!

I had a Christmas job on the lolly counter at the co-op store. Every day I dressed in a pink and white seersucker dress and matching hat and measured out every kind of lolly you could imagine in 1966. Glenys’ ex worked in boys wear and school uniforms. That department was exactly like an episode of ” Are you being served”!

Empowered by Glenys’ certainty that I was just the right one for him, I introduced myself to him at his counter one morning tea break. He was the skinniest person I had ever met, but, boy, was he a dapper dresser! He had a tie to match every shirt in his wardrobe. Wonderful colours in every hue! Paisley prints! Remember Paisley Print? It was the 60’s after all! Different fragranced after shaves, patent leather shoes, boots, tie pins and cuff links to match every shirt!

He had contracted polio as a kid and suffered from a weakness in the right side of his body but that didn’t prevent him from being a great dancer! Not the stomp, or any kind of non-contact “disco dance” but the ones he had learnt at the ballroom dancing studio his Nanna, Grace, who raised him after the death of his mother, Patricia May, when he was three. Dances like the Gypsy Tap, Pride of Erin, Waltz, and Cha Cha! However, our favourite dance was the Town Hall Crawl!

The choreography of the Town Hall Crawl involved couples making their way to the conglomeration of hot, sweaty couples, hardly able to move, but totally able to grope!Any time “disco dancing” music hit the play list, it was time for a pass out and a bit of a pash up the laneway!

At “catholic dances” supervising Dads would zoom into the middle of the dance floor and extricate the couples, post haste! It hardly needs to be mentioned that pass outs were absolutely unavailable!

One night he asked me to come outside because he had something to show me. We went for a bit of a walk. “Close your eyes” he said and we took a few more steps, I held his hand. “Now open them!” And right before my eyes, shinning in black, with brilliant chrome work was the second placed “Best Car” of the Newcastle show! A 1956 Vauxhall Velox complete with red leather seats! BBL908. I was in love!

Time came for me to go to boarding school. Parting was agony. My parents were unaware of my friend who was a boy. On our last date he gave me a little gold kangaroo pin, identical to the 20 or so my Dad, Ken, had collected from Qantas during his work as a journalist. This pin was Priceless!. For the two years I was a boarder it resided firmly planted into the mattress under my pillow!

Life went on,He was promoted to management. I went to the Conservatorium. Mum, Mary Patricia, came to accept him even though he was not a catholic! Mum and Dad, Kenneth, known alway as Ken, gave permission for me to marry him in April 1971. Out first child, Patricia Grace was born in June 1971 ( that’s another story!) I started my final prac-teaching period two weeks after giving birth to Kenneth Charles ( always known as Ken),who hit the scales at 11pounds 13 ounces in 1972. I started teaching in 1973.

And now? Well now he has grown into “Triple L”, long, lean and loveable. We have four children and six grandchildren. Every night I use rosary beads, given to me after the death of my Godmother. Their beautiful, large wooden beads soothe me as I pray a different set of five decades! In each decade there is a bead for every one of our children and grandchildren, Patrica Grace, Kenneth Charles, Megan Elizabeth, Gabrielle Grace, Oscar Charles, Eliza May, Darcy Robert Charles, Jacob Robert Charles and Savannah Louise. The names of those generations now gone, including Triple L’s dad, Charles, are there too. Technically I suppose, I am not praying the rosary! But in truth the gratitude, love, connection and joy I feel, every night as I hold each bead is the greatest prayer of my life!

Oh, and should you be wondering why Triple L’s name is not in the above litany, his given name, abbreviated to Gary it GAROLD Charles! No one gets it right! Official documents, bills, Tele calls etc come addressed to Harold, Ronald, Gerald, Gerard! Imagine inflicting that on another generation! It is a real name of Welsh origin we’ve been told. My thought is his mother who gave birth to him in her late teens in 1947 must have been a wonderful, young, happy, romantic beautiful woman. She died in 1951. A few months before I was born.

I still love him. He still loves me. The words of Kahlil Gibran from “The Prophet” in response to the question “and what of marriage?”describe how we have become who we have become:

"Let there be spaces in your togetherness
and let the winds of heaven dance between you.....
love one another but make not a bond of love.......
sing and dance together and be joyous but let each one of you be alone
even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.......
Give your hearts but not into each other's keeping
for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts
and stand together but not too near together;
for the pillars of the temple stand apart
and the oak tree and the cypress grow
not in each other's shadow."

6 responses to ““TRIPLE L””

  1. Louise that was just Beautiful. Thank you for sharing you sacred story. Peter arrived home last night after 2 weeks in Tassie sailing and catching up with Paul Jenny and grand children. Also his Brother and Friends. It is so good to have him back. Take care love to you and Gary and family. Mary.

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Thank you Cousin!! Got a couple more coming – I hope!


  2. Your writing always touches a deep part of me. You are definitely your father’s daughter with a mastery of words.. Your family bond. Is a wonderful part of your life. Keep on keeping on 😊✨


  3. You are amazing Mum.

    Kenneth Charles.


    1. I love you. Sometimes my heart is so full it feels like it might burst!


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