Our second son Tim named his only son Max, after Max McBride, his inspirational teacher at the ANU music school. He encouraged Tim to believe in himself, and to achieve his dream of a career with the Vienna Philharmonic.
My part was to raise the necessary funds. This was achieved by the timely sale of my family property, the assistance of an Austrian government scholarship and support from Nicky Lauder, who owned Austrian Airlines, and transported the double bass for free. Tim is still in Vienna and is now a music professor at Graz University campus at Oberschutsen, and is a foundation member of the Australian World Orchestra. Tim now teaches his students with the same passion Max taught him, and in turn changes lives.
We have a granddaughter in Canberra, Lily, who has a disability. She was given a scruffy little dog she called Max. We love her little Max, who understands his job description is to protect and love Lily. He truly is her best friend.
My mentor was Frank’s mother, Maxine, known as Max. Our second daughter is named Fiona Maxine after her. Our first daughter is named Catherine after Max’s mother. Maxine was a short, stocky, chain smoking, generous, Catholic woman of Irish descent .She was born in Mansfield where her father was a policeman, and a close friend of Sargent Kennedy, whose daughter became Max’s godmother. Max grew up in awe of the Church, the nuns (who she really hated) and the hierarchy of the Church. Her hero was Archbishop Mannix, whose picture hung right in front of the front door of her home, for good effect in case the priest came to visit!
Like Max, I did not drive, had always lived with home economics students who would not let me cook, and after boarding school and having a cook at home on Marong, I had no idea how to be a domestic goddess!! I would often call her for instructions on the finer points of cooking, like “why does my meat sauce burn on to the bottom of the saucepan and stick like concrete?” She advised Frank to cook breakfast before driving me to work, otherwise we would both probably die of starvation!
We have now been married for 57 years. I have improved on the domestic front, cooked for six children, carried on teaching, and had a very close relationship with Max, my mother in law and great friend until her death in 1970, when I had the courage to learn to drive. This gave me independence, although Max would not have encouraged it!