Hazel to Denise and Michael 1

We were in California and Michael and Denise were in Texas in early 1993 when Michael was diagnosed with serious heart problems. We were still in California when Hazel wrote the following letter to Michael and Denise who had returned home to Canberra.

27 April 1993

Dear Denise & Michael,

Just a short note to say thank you for the letter. It was great to get early news from the “recently returned” and to learn how well Mike is doing. I think he’s taking liberties with his “ejection fraction” by returning to work at 38% but I’ll give you my final view on that when I finish reading these cardiology texts.

I don’t think either of you should go back to work for a while. I think you should encourage that doorbell and telephone to ring and a continuing flow of food, fruit and flowers. This is from one who has learnt to love leisure. When I think of my poor harrassed colleagues at work, I feel sorry; when I think of the work I left behind for my poor harrassed colleagues, I feel even sorrier; but when I think that the same work I left behind may be waiting for me when I return, I feel positively sick.

California has sprung into delightful wildflower mode — the colours are sumptuous. We heat the spa from time to time which J & Z adore. They occasionally take in water but they love it nonetheless. Our landlord & landlady, Thomas & Maria, are great fun — I really enjoy my daily contact with them.

We had another party — for Joshua’s 4th birthday — it was also an opportunity to finish off the 4 kg box of lasagne you bought for the last one. I invited a lot of the other women who have “learnt to love leisure” otherwise known as the Stanford spouses — they are a mixed group — Brazilian, German, Swiss, Swedish, English etc. — and I was amazed to find my landlord & landlady conversing with each of them in their own language with obvious ease. They are an amazing couple. Maria is contemplating a trip to Cambodia as she knows the [U.S.] Ambassador there. Boy, would I love to go with her.

Since your departure Waco has gone from the status of a poor joke (Waco stands for We Ain’t Coming Out) to the tragic, with the fire and the dreadful loss of life. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with the work of Mathew Martin (cartoonist in the Stay in Touch column, Sydney Morning Herald). One of his cartoons was reproduced in large scale in the New York Times. It depicts in each of 2 boxes, 2 soldires talking. In the first box they are talking of Bosnia of the dreadful atrocities committed there & they decide they should hold off; in the second one they are talking of Waco and the unlawful weapons and suspected child abuse and they decide to go in. It’s a wonderfully powerful cartoon.

I’ve just been reading a review of the latest Gillian Armstrong film, “The Last Days of Chez Nous.” The reviewer pointed out that it had to be an Australian film, featuring not one, but three strong women, it could never have been made in Hollywood. So there you are, now you’re in Australia “Enjoy!”

We were staggered at the election results. How can you trust a man who manages to win an election (with 11% unemployment) when he should have lost it. I am terrified at the new reserves of arrogance he may tap. I’d better close — we haven’t eaten for 3 days — I insisted that I finish this letter first.

Rob is well — occasional twinge of gout and over-enthusiastic haircut at my hands. J & Z are fabulous. J is a little less obsessed with Rob & a little more kindly disposed towards me & Z continues to be unfailingly friendly to everyone. She has the most heart-wrenching Donald Duck diction.

Take care, Michael — food, fruit & flowers don’t transport very well so you’ll have to make do with this letter —
Love to you all

Hazel, Rob, J & Z XXX

Last Updated 4 June 2000