Tuesday, 12 June 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 24 - Fathers Day

The Fathers Day prompt for #52Ancestors provides the opportunity to think about our father or male ancestors who were fathers. For me it is an opportunity to reflect on my relationship with my father and what he did for me.
Ken Moses
Some of the best advice my father gave me was when reading a novel always pay the author the courtesy of reading the first forty pages. If the author has not hooked you by then, by all means look for another book to read.

It is strange the things that you remember years after the event. Dad died thirty-three years ago but I still remember and can visualise many things that he said and did.

For the first few years of my life I rarely saw my father. He was a journalist for daily newspapers - first the Sun News Pictorial and then the Argus. This meant that he worked in the afternoon and arrived home late at night. When we got up in the morning we had to be quiet as he was often asleep.

As a sports journalist Dad usually wrote about tennis, cycling, swimming and athletics. He often covered sporting events at weekends and sometimes was away from home for days or weeks. When I was eleven months old Dad left for London to cover the 1948 Olympic Games. As he had to travel by ship Dad was away from home for six months. Two years later he went to New Zealand to cover the Empire Games.

To say that Dad worked irregular hours would be an understatement. After the Argus folded in January 1957 Dad had a variety of jobs in advertising, public relations, television news and working for weekend newspapers.  It was not until a few years before he retired that he had a nine to five job. I accepted this lifestyle as normal. It was not until I was at secondary school that I realised that this was not the case and decided that when I married it would be to someone who worked, or mainly worked, 'normal hours'.

In 1956 Dad flew
in an aeroplane to America for work. In those days it was a special event to travel that distance in a plane and there were two stops en route. Dad was away from home for a month. By this time I was eight and old enough to know a little about the work that Dad did and no doubt told the other children in my class about my father flying to America. When Dad returned he brought my mother and my sister and me special gifts not then available in Australia -  short sleeved fluffy bri-nylon jumpers which were popular in America and about to become fashionable in Australia for us girls and  a copy of a 'My Fair Lady' LP for Mum - the play was big on Broadway at the time and would eventually come to Australia. We felt rather special with these gifts and showed them to our friends.

With Dad away from home so much our holidays were special times. Usually we travelled to Queensland to stay with my grandparents on their farm. It was a long drive taking several days. Sometimes we stayed at motels overnight but on one occasion Dad decided that we would camp. Mum and my sister slept in the back of the station wagon while Dad and I slept in the open. It was a new experience for me to sleep under the stars.

On these holidays we were able to spend time with Dad. Dad enjoyed being on the farm and helping my uncle and grandfather with the milking of the cows and other work required. I later learned that Dad had spent several years working on properties in New South Wales and Queensland before the Second World War. It was on these holidays that I really got to know my father. He had a sense of humour and was fun to be with.

We usually spent two weeks at the Sunshine Coast and each morning Dad and I would go for a swim at Alexander Headlands before breakfast. He tried to teach me body surfing with minimal success but I enjoyed these swimming sessions with Dad. Later the whole family would go to Mooloolaba  for a swim and in the afternoon my sister and I had swimming lessons at the Mooloola River.

Having a father working in media related areas had its bonuses. When he worked at Channel O (now Channel 10) Dad would sometimes take my sister and me to see the taping of teenage music shows. On one occasion he was given free tickets to a show at Festival Hall so Mum and I went to see Ray Charles perform. It was a great show and my first live concert.

Dad was responsible for me becoming a librarian. When I completed secondary school I was offered a place at Monash University but had turned it down as I was not ready to do further studies in English and history at that time. There was no such thing as a gap year in those days. Dad then discovered that RMIT had a librarianship course and, as I had spent most of my spare time at school helping in the school library, he rang Mum to tell me go into RMIT to enrol that afternoon and that we would discuss it in the evening. It was the right decision. When I finished the librarianship course I moved to Canberra to work where I began an Arts Degree part-time which I completed at Monash University when I returned to Melbourne.

Back in Melbourne, I worked at Monash University and on a Tuesday night we closed the library at 10 o'clock. This meant getting a late bus and then walking quite a distance home. However sometimes Dad and our dog met me at the bus stop and we would walk home together. These times were a good opportunity for a chat.

Health permitting, Dad always attended the Dawn Service and the Anzac Day March with his army mates. The only problem was that Anzac Day was also Mum's birthday. In the week before Anzac Day Mum would receive phone calls from some of Dad's army mates wishing her a happy birthday. This was just the way it was and we all accepted it. Dad, however, always made sure that we remembered his birthday. As soon as we put up a new calendar for the year Dad would make a circle around the date for 4 September and write 'This is Ken's birthday'. I still remember the significance of that date.

Dad's love of sport has been passed on to other family members. I am sure that he would be proud of the sporting achievements of his grandsons. I also hope that writing my blogs is partly carrying on the family tradition of writing started by grandfather and my father.

Later in his life Dad began investigating our family history. He did a great deal of research about a convict in Mum's family, Simeon Lord. Then he discovered that his great grandfather, Uriah Moses, was also a convict. Unfortunately Dad died before we discovered that there are eight convicts in his family. He would have been so proud.

Dad did not often buy us things. Mum usually purchased all the presents. However I have a leather keyring with a V on it that Dad purchased for me and this is a very special possession. When I look at it I always remember my father.

I have written many posts about Dad (Ken Moses), in this blog and there are also posts about Dad in my Exploring Military History blog.

The third Sunday in June is designated Fathers Day in many countries of the world including the United Kingdom and the United States of America. However in Australia, just to be different, we celebrate Fathers Day on the first Sunday in September, possibly because this time of the year is not so cluttered with events and provides commercial operators the opportunity to encourage purchase of products, this time for Dad.Fathers Day Australia:

Why we don't celebrate the day with the UK and the USA - news.com.au

1 comment:

  1. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris