• Dad with his cheeky smile on a smoko break and reading the news from back home. The only thing missing is his coffee.
  • A precious photo of Sam, Frank, Nick & Jim on the veranda of their newly finished home in Gladstone Road.
  • Jimmy with his tricycle. In this photo you can see that Dad had built a brick wall coming in towards the house, but many years later a council tree root lifted it and the wall collapsed.
  • It's 1973 and Jim's first year at St Gerard's. He is in Prep 0 and is the cute one next to the teacher with his mouth wide open.
  • A precious photo of Dad when he was working in Walker Street, Dandenong. You can see the Town Hall in the background which was built in 1890.
  • A precious photo of brother Sam giving Jim a cute teddy to make him feel better after he had just had his tonsils out. Jim was about 5yrs old.
  • I love this adorable photo of Jim from his early years at St. Gerard's Primary School.
  • Jim's last group family photo with Nick as it's his last year at St. Gerard's Primary School.
  • Dad loved his garden and was so proud of what he had grown, especially his huge tomatoes. He knew Mum would make a delicious pasta sauce with them.
  • Jim and I had only been married for 3mths when this photo was taken in Mum's kitchen.  A huge photo of Dad with his precious tomatoes was always above us.
  • A photo Jim and I took of the barber salon in the Vanity Arcade, Dandenong where Dad had worked.
  • It's November, 1996 and Mum is proudly watching Nick give my Sam his first haircut in Dad's Noble Park Salon.

Mum and Dad would eventually settle into their home at 35 Gladstone Road, Dandenong in 1971. Mum loved the outlay of the house in Morwell Avenue so Dad had this one built exactly the same for her. He adored Mum and would do anything for her. Mum was so happy to be living close to the St Gerard's Church and St Gerard's Primary School as she knew that the boys would be safe and not get lost to and from school.

Dad loved his family and friends and his precious garden. He grew lots of fruit and vegetables which Mum would make meals out of. He especially loved his beautiful tomatoes and was very proud of them as the above photo shows. 

When I first came into Jim's family in 1986, Mum would always prepare Sunday lunch for all of us. Family and friends would come over to try and get their haircut from Dad. They knew that at lunch time Dad would be home and eating. He never said 'no' to anyone although a little upset at times that he couldn't finish his hot pasta with freshly made sauce. He would always keep them happy as he always thought of others first.

Dad worked in a salon in the Vanity Arcade, Dandenong when Jim was a young boy. He remembers that Dad would take him to work on a Saturday morning and that he would let him sit on one of the barber chairs that wasn't being used. After many years we heard that it had closed down and Jim and I went to take a photo of the salon.

Dad would eventually enter into a partnership in owning his own salon in Frank Street, Noble Park. I would work across the road from Dad in a pharmacy. As my Dad worked shift work, Jim's Dad would take me home some days. We would talk in the car although he was a little shy at times. He had his Magna back then and loved his fluffy fur car seat covers.

A little story of those times is that I would always walk past Dad's salon to do the banking for work. I would always say hello, but a few times I would find him outside the milk bar which was around the corner. When he saw me, he would quickly put his hands behind his back and with his cheeky smile he'd say "hello". I knew he had a hot dog behind there, but I didn't say anything. He did this a few times, but then he realised that Mum wasn't telling him off so he knew that I wasn't telling her. He trusted me and wasn't hiding the hot dogs from me anymore. He was so funny and would always make me laugh with his infectious smile.

Everyone loved Dad including my Mum's family. They also lived in Dandenong South at the time when Jim's family lived in the Morwell Avenue home. They would call on Dad to come and give haircuts to all of them so a connection was there many years before I was even thought of. Jim's brother Sam was also close friends with one of my Uncles and he recently told me that he had been to my Grandparents house a few times. He said it was in my Nonna's house that he had experienced Vegemite for the first time. What a small world. 

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Nancy
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