10 May 1948 - 14 September 1998

1991 Christmas Message

The following was our 1991 message to friends on the Internet.

From bobm Thu Dec 19 12:13:06 1991
Subject: Season's Greetings
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 91 12:13:06 EST

The year started well for us with Zoë's birth on Christmas Day. We'd been due to pick up Andy and Alison (Robert's brother and his wife) from Sydney airport before lunch at Andy's sister-in-law (incidentally, an ex-student of Robert's). We were both a bit on edge as only a slightly overdue baby can do, and while unwrapping the presents with son Robert remembers saying to Hazel that he hoped we didn't ever have another Christmas like this one. It was a few minutes later that Hazel announced that we weren't going to the airport, we were going to the hospital! We left son with neighbours, and Zoë appeared soon before 1pm, as Hazel's doctor and Robert were reminiscing about school days in Melbourne, much to Hazel's dismay (it's only in Melbourne that almost everyone seems either related to Robert or to have been to school or university with Rob, she thought). Robert picked up son and headed for a rather late lunch with Andy's in-laws.

The day Robert's Mum arrived from Melbourne at the end of January Robert heard that his application for promotion had been knocked back, rather peremptorily, he feels. Robert remains unhappy about the way the School's relatively new director has treated him and the way he is pushing the School (towards lower-level, distance learning). But his research is going well, and we plan to spend up to a year overseas from next August, when a sabbatical of his starts -- we hope to be at Stanford, but also visit Hazel's family in England. In May, at short notice, Robert was asked to go to Papua New Guinea to give a paper at a drugs and crime conference in the second city, Lae. It soon became apparent that the big problem in PNG is unemployment, which Robert believes is exacerbated by the high kina (the PNG currency) and minimum wage laws which they inherited from us in 1975 with independence. Who can blame unemployed Highlanders if they find a ready market for the weed that thrives in their deep rich loam? (The drug of concern is cannabis, but there was alcohol prohibition until the early '60s.) Robert found the PNGers to be a happy friendly people, but fears for the country if the Indonesians get designs or if a demagogue from the unofficial squatters' settlements on the outskirts of the main towns arises to stir the masses.

In March we loaded up the trusty (and aging) VW Golf and drove down to Melbourne for a surprise seventieth birthday party for Robert's mother. We stayed with his sister and brother-in-law and their four kids, who were very pleased to have their two younger cousins, including the newest, in the house. A cousin of Robert's Mum's was visiting from England with a niece of hers, and it was the last time we saw a sister of Mum's, who died a few weeks later of cancer. The party was a surprise, and we haven't seen Robert's Mum looking so happy since Leslie died, almost eleven years ago. Speaking of cars, Hazel finally parted with her eighteen-year-old Mini, for the grand sum of $350, and the four of us graduated to a four-door car, a Ford Laser (aka Mazda 323), bought by Hazel from the government auctions.

A month ago we hired a nanny for Zoë and for son, on the three days when he doesn't go to kinder--since September Robert's been taking him to a brand new long-day-care centre near uni. More recently, Hazel has joined them for the trip into the City, where she's resumed working with the Commonwealth Solicitor General's dept. Next year son will go to a neighbourhood kinder near home. Son is learning new words (and concepts?) at a rapid rate. He knows K and E and S and 4, and is learning his colours. He still recognises Minis on the street and can also distinguish Golfs and Lasers. He is inseparable from Teddy, but is also very keen on toy cars and cassette tapes (he has a tape machine of his own). Zoë is walking, about six weeks in advance of son, and waving bye-bye. She has two teeth. A high point for us is the nightly bath, which both of them enjoy together.

A week ago we drove up to Barrington House, an old-fashioned guest house, with aggressively retro Aussie food, set in a rain forest with kangaroos, possums, horses, ponies, cockatoos, rosellas, scrub turkeys, tennis court, creek, bush walks, and swimming. Apart from the food, a great place, especially with kids. (We've been going there for some years with a group of friends, who also have growing families now.) Driving to and fro we listened to son's choice, the best of Grieg, who wrote some interesting, if repetitive, music.

Son had his third plane trip to Melbourne in early November, and this weekend we pack up the new Laser and drive off to Melbourne for Christmas at Robert's sister's, after a stop in Canberra with friends. By design, the new car is air-conditioned. Then we plan to spend a couple of weeks down at Robert's Mum's beach house at Sorrento, and hope for good weather, before driving back to a sticky Sydney for 1992.

December 19, 1991


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        MMMM      MMMM   eeee  rr rrr  rr rrr yy      yy
        MM MM    MM MM  ee  ee rrr  rr rrr  rr yy    yy
        MM  MM  MM  MM eeeeee  rr      rr       yy  yy
        MM   MMMM   MM  ee     rr      rr        yyyy
        MM    MM    MM   eeee  rr      rr         yy
                              __/\__        yy  yy
                              \ ** /         yyyy
                              / \/ \
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                         //  *  %    \\~
                       ~/ /  @   +  #  \ \
                     * /  /   +        \  \ *
                    /%  /$ M E R R Y * \ # \
                  * /  ^/            @  \    \ *
                  / %  /C H R I S T M A S\   # \
               o/~    /o          #   %   \o    ~\
             *   o   *    o   | * |  o   *    o   *
                              |   |

CCC hh oo tt CC CC hh tt CC hh hhh rr rrr ii ssss tttttt mm mm mm aaa ssss CC hhh hh rrr rr ii ss tt mmm mm mm aa aa ss CC hh hh rr ii sss tt mm mm mm aa aa sss CC CC hh hh rr ii ss tt tt mm mm aa aa ss CCC hh hh rr ii ssss tt mm mm aaaa aa ssss


Wishing you Season's Greetings ... * * * ... * * ..and... * * ... * * * ... ... A Happy New Year! * .. * * .. * * __##____ * * * * / ## **** * / **** * * X * * / ****** * XXX * /___________***** * XXXXX | *** * XXXXXXX X * | ___ | * XXXXXXXX XXX * | | | ___ | * * XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX | |_| | | **** * X XXXXXXX *********** | | ******* * X X ************************************************************ -- Robert, Hazel, son, & Zoë ************************************************************ (Thanks, Dov)

In the meantime, please feel free to email me, Robert.

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Last Updated 5 March 1999