Fifty years ago on this day R arrived in Australia having paid £10 for his subsidised flight from England. He was advised by our immigration authorities in England to not come here until he was 20, and so avoid the ballot to be drafted into the armed forces and being sent to fight in the Vietnamese War. It was less than a month after his 20th birthday when he arrived.
He had the choices of South Africa and Canada too, but he wasn't too keen on apartheid and unrest in the former or the cold in the latter. The Aussie emigration brochures showed endless summer days and beautiful beaches, the latter being true but the former not at all.
Four years later he became an Australian citizen, although a dual citizen. R has been back to England about six times. I have been three times. In England he feels as alien as I do. He has memories. I don't. He is a proper Australian and in fact complains more about England than I do when we visit. You should hear him rant about London's Tube trains.
While he is connected to his family in England, as am I, he is very close to my family here. They adore him and depend on him, socially, emotionally and go figure, financially. I have more money than R, but it is R they ask when they are short of a quid (buck).
Not always smooth sailing over the past 40 years we have been together, no not at all and still isn't but I love my man R and he loves me.
R was dancing with his visiting now long late mother here in Australia in I think the late 1980s. Later that night with both of them very tired and emotional and the sober me at the wheel on the drive home to Waverley Road from Alphington, the truth came out about why R's brother committed suicide. There were cleansing family tears. For once, R's father stopped demanding attention and let them get on with their tears and grieving.