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.