Back in the 1970s my parents separated. Father moved in with his new lady friend and I with him. Mother, who had never really done paid work, took a job as a live in housekeeper with my brothers and sister for a man and his two teenage sons who lived at Grassy Spur. I doubt any of you will know where that is, but for those of you with an equine interest, it is near Stony Creek.
After a couple of years she had had enough of fighting off the affections of the chap she was housekeeping for and moved in with her parents in Oakleigh. Three adults and three children in a two bedroom house did not work for very long. Tradie brother who was about eleven, was an absolute mess.
Her father bought her a house in Pakenham and although she was city born, she had grown used to country life and odd as it now sounds, Pakenham was then very much a country town. There were still apple orchards there then and the joke was packen em apples.
Through a lonely hearts column in a now deceased newspaper, no, rag, she had various suitors and she had narrowed them down to two. One was rich farmer who lived just outside Lakes Entrance and the other someone without money, prospects and lived in a rented flat in St Kilda. The deciding factor was that if she took up with the farmer, the kids would again be uprooted from school as she would have to move to Lakes Entrance. She decided on the one without money and he moved in in time and went on to become my step father. He was a good man and an excellent day to day father for my brothers and sister, but he was never a good financial provider. He did little more than pay board and used his car for my family's benefit.
Although my grandparents had a considerable amount of money when they retired from their market garden, inflation and secure but poorly performing investments reduced its value considerably. By time they died and mother as sole beneficiary got her hands on the money, not much was left. I often joke that Mother spent it all on shoes for herself. She has never been good with money but to be fair, bringing up three children is not cheap and I consider she did a good job of bringing up my brothers and sister. They lived to the same standard as most of their school mates.
And what does Mother think about her decision some three decades ago to go for the dependable, stay in control as head of the house and not move her children from school for a fourth time, or throw her lot and her children into the deep unknown in Lakes Entrance where she on the face of it, have had a very financially secure and stable life?
You couldn't get a straight answer to that direct question from her but she can often be heard to say, 'I wish I'd gone to Lakes Entrance.'