I went to a caf today, because I had time, to buy a paper and some coffee. I said to the owner, 'Ah, I know your sister Jenny'. Of course he asked how and I told him that R worked with his sister. I would like to say it was a good experience, but he was a bit weird. It is a good shop though. Although R later told me he has a Chinese wife and she is the brains and the real worker behind the business. Convenience store in High St, Glen Iris near the train station if you are wondering.
Better still later I ran into an old workmate. Now when I say old, I mean really old. He is 81. First thing he said was that he nearly didn't recognise me. We batted this around a bit and he really had no idea of my age now. He remembers me as when he last saw me, many years ago. I regained my pride in my youthful looks. The problem was not me ageing, but his memory of me. Yes, convinced myself.
I had limited time and could only chat to him for five minutes, but really I would have loved to have a long conversation with him. We talked about who has died recently and politics. Tas and (the late) Joyce were just one of the reasons why I stayed at my present job past three months. He was honoured a few years ago at some Centenary dinner in Canberra, flown there all expenses paid. The reason? He is a passionate unionist and has fought for his union for most of his life. He is an honourable person who fought through the union, and sometimes against, for the betterment of workers. I dips me lid to your unselfishness Tas and your efforts for collective improvement.
He bought his house in Malvern (value wise for you Sydney people, probably inner north shore) in the mid 1970s and had to borrow to do so. He panicked about owing $20,ooo and paid it off quickly. I would hazard a guess that it now worth around $800,000. His late wife Joyce used to love red. She wore bright red lipstick and black and red clothes. She grew up on the banks of Murray River in a hut. Her dream was to have red appliances, and sure enough, she got them well before she died. A red stove and a red fridge. I saw them. It is true.
I won't even go further about the starched 3d swan doillies he used to crochet.