I arrived here in February 1950 as a 17 year old school leaver for my first job, as a clerk with the Victorian Producers Co-Op (VPC).
Within a short period, I had met with the Hernan family, (John, Francie and their 7 children). They gave me the home which I had never previously experienced.
(My mother died when I was 4 years old and I was taken from my father and housed and schooled with the Sisters of Mercy at Villa Maria in Ballarat East.)
I settled into Benalla and over time:
I married a Benalla girl – Bernadette Cooke
We built our own home,
Operated the Benalla Coin Laundrette for 17 years,
Had 4 children who succeeded at school and obtained secure employment,
Have 11 grand-children,
Studied for 7 years as a “mature aged” student,
Graduated as both a C.P.A. and a Chartered Accountant,
Went into business in an accountancy practice,
Became heavily involved in an honorary capacity in community affairs,
Was awarded an O.A.M. in Queens Birthday Honours of 2013 for that involvement,
Have been a member of the Benalla Lawns Club for 60 years,
Played more than 700 games of Pennant Bowls in the Ovens and Murray Association,
Was a Trustee of the Benalla Cemetery Trust for 43 years,
Have been a Rotarian for 37 years.
RIGHT NOW, I am in my twilight years, having recently celebrated my 90th birthday.
On looking back, I reminisce on a negative:
In the mid to late 1950’s I worked with the VPC in St Arnaud and Wodonga and boarded in rural hotels. This was a backward move and I suffered from nervous debility.
But I can also reminisce on the many positives. I had a very strong work ethic and can thank a Wagga Wagga neurologist for counselling me to – “study accountancy and work for yourself”. I also had a loving family life, a successful business career and a relaxing sixty seasons on the bowling green. I now live a contented, satisfied life.
Looking forward, what do I see? A continuance of this contented life until the approaching, ultimate ….. death….. and the hereafter which cannot be too far away.
What of the hereafter? My Christian upbringing tells me that I can expect retribution for my transgressions or eternal reward for a life well lived.
However, seemingly, current popular belief tells me that I can expect a “nothingness”. This belief contradicts my Catholic teaching of a “resurrection of the body and life ever after”.
I wait in anticipation, and am comforted by having read only last week, a book titled “Heaven is for Real”. It details the experience of a four-year old boy, Colton, who suffered a ruptured appendix and was critically ill. Despite the adverse odds, (the surgeon thought he was beyond recall), the boy miraculously survived to tell his startled father that he had been “in Heaven, on Jesus’ lap” and told of meeting deceased family members, whose youthful photos he actually identified.
The rest I leave up to you!
15 August 2022