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A FAMILIAR HOUSE (at the bottom of the hill)
I was in my favourite football team's neighborhood two years back (Go the Bombers) and had the opportunity to walk through the house my father grew up in and which my grandfather built in about 1933. Unfortunately he died when my dad was a teenager so I never got to meet him. It had obviously been built well and since then well maintained; here 77 years later it still looked in its original splendour. It was a lovely old house and as a young kid I remember visiting grandma regularly. My brother Neale and I would play in the backyard and run around the local parks kicking the footy. Grandma sold and moved to a smaller unit probably around the time my sister Siobhan was born, so in those days it was just me and my big brother.
A stunning coincidence is the current owner (only the 3rd) used to visit the house as a school friend of my dad's sister, auntie Lucia and it was a thrill for both of us to meet. It was amazing how from the outside, everything was in its original condition and looked exactly the same as I remember it when I last saw it about 30 or so years ago. Even the soft, choir-like chime of the old door-bell.
INSIDE (so what's it look like now?)
Grandma lived on her own once dad and his brothers and sisters married and as she kept the house in such a clean and tidy state it wasn't hard to see that it was still in the same pristine condition. Everything inside the house looked so familiar with all the fittings and finishes still original; although it now had a busy family, lived-in look. Most owners of houses of its vintage would be proudly showing off the latest upgrade or glossy appliance and it would have had several refurbishments or renovations but she was proud to show me through the house that she was was happily living in and proud of. It wasn't from lack of money that the house still stood as it was now. It obviously had plenty of time and money spent on maintaining this modest, grand old house over the years. My memories were not based on some romantic notion of the past via rose couloured glasses; no, this was almost eerie - but in a good way. Walking through the house felt like I was back in time - wishing dad was with me to see it all again too. I mean everything was the same but it didn't look old and tatty, far from it. It looked refined and elegant much like the grand old lady that used to live there who'd make us boys milk and cookies on that same old bench tops after a day of football knocks and tumbles in the back yard.
DAD (love & memories)
I emailed photos of my visit to dad and wished I was with him when he opened the attachments to see his face. I don't know about you, but I sure remember when I would have had to wait until the roll of film was finished, go and pay to get it developed and printed and then I probably would have driven over or waited until the next get together and shown him the photos. I would have then surely seen his face and been with him to share such vivid memories of our past.
Dad, (Peter Millard) died in the November of the same year from an aggressive form of cancer on the brain. He was just 77. Days before his diagnosis, dad was lively, fit and regularly walked long distances with his sister Lucia. In fact it was on one of these walks that he noticed a bit of dizziness that alerted him to seeking a medical opinion. It was only 8 weeks from diagnosis to his passing. My dads brothers and sisters are still alive and I still get to see them and enjoy their company from time to time. I thank God for the family from the little house in Essendon (Go the Bombers).
Dad enjoyed music, the sanctity of the church, photography, his children and grand kids and was a true gentleman. I hope I have retained enough of his gentlemanly qualities to share with my family, friends and customers for many years to come. I think of him and miss him just about every day.
Thanks for the love and the memories dad.
Apart from my family names, all other names are fictitious for privacy reasons