Half ‘n half
It seems fair enough to say that my life has been split into halfs, 0-40 and 41-80, the first half was all about me and the second all about family, it’s also pretty certain that had I have not come to Sydney in 1974 there would have been no second half; and I’d probably have been dead long ago and who’s fault is it that I’m not? The best friend I ever had and the only person I ever really loved, not that anyone would know it, my wife Kerry who got a mention just a short while back.
Strangely I can never ever recall having told her so, somehow it seems superfluous and not necessary. Seems to me that people who keep telling each other how much they love each other are actually trying to convince themselves that they do or still do. Does that sound supercilious? I don’t really care.
I’d never come across anybody quite like her before or since; she is utterly and completely selfless, which seems to confirm the age old scientific dogma, like poles repel, unlike poles attract. I was nudging 40 when first we met and she was a tiny thing in her middle twenties, and from my first conversation with her I knew that she was what I needed, obviously I was right for once because we’re still together after just on 40 years (reminds me of the old Cockney song ‘Dear Ol Dutch’ , that includes the line “there ain’t a lady livin in the land that I’d swap for me dear ol’ dutch! and starts with the line “We’ve bin togever now fer forte years and it don’t seem a day too much”).
Kerry is the second child of five, she has an elder sister and 3 younger brothers and it was the closeness of Kerry and her siblings and her longtime War Widowed mother that got me, Her father finished the war as a TPI Serviceman (for the non-Australian followers thats. ‘Totally and Permanently Incapacitated’) and died in tragic circumstances still relatively young in 1967, leaving her mother Desma Alice a widow on a TPI War Widows pension.
This in itself forged a bond between the siblings and their mother that is unbreakable.
But it goes even further than this, the same love and respect shared by this family spread to the extended family, and when I say extended believe me it is. Desma, Kerry’s mum, was the second of five sisters born to a Mr.& Mrs Christopher Love and as you would expect they became known as the ‘Love Sisters’ and these five sisters were very close. Kerry’s mother having died in November of 2014 at age 93 left the youngest as the last survivor going on for her 90th,
So once Kerry had accepted the inevitable, namely me, I was gradually introduced to aunts and uncles, cousins, first second and third, they seemed endless and all were close, I’d never experienced anything like it, never a nasty word spoken just delight in each others company.
And how was I introduced? Kerry would usually introduce me to everybody as “my Brian” and quite truthfully I am and as such I was readily accepted as one of the family.
We came together quite easily once Kerry had accepted her fate and the commitment was made on both sides. Naturally as I was, as far as I was aware, still married having heard nothing to the contrary in the preceding 12 years so divorce proceedings were put in place. Not knowing any Sydney solicitors (lawyers for the Yanks amongst us, although at times I think solicitors is more apt but I’m not going into the whys of that here) I opted for some bloke in Dee Why.
I’d become quite the Northern Beaches type by now, and naturally he dragged it out as much as he could once ascertaining that I hadn’t been divorced and was therefore still married with a slight increase of more than double his original quoted fee.
As you can imagine Kerry coming from rather a large family immediate and extended was of the Catholic faith, but she was not what you might call strict however she did request that all children born from our upcoming union be baptised/christened in the Catholic faith and be educated in Catholic schools. Though an atheist I readily agreed, I had toyed with the idea of becoming a mick myself many years earlier so it didn’t particularly worry me.
What I wasn’t told though was that it would be me that would be doing all the church going, Kerry marrying outside her faith and marrying a divorced bloke wouldn’t be accepted by the church any longer.
One day in May, Kerry and I and her two youngest brothers David and Ian as our witnesses went across to Circular Quay and to the ‘Registry Office’ and were quietly wed.