Sunday, May 06, 2007

Reaching Out ToThe City Lights...Chapter One...


(I included some photos of myself taken between the ages of around 14 years to 26 years of young, as Wazza made reference to personal pics in his comment. I have posted these pics way back when I first started this I hope you don't mind)

From the moment I left high school to commence my working life in a local law firm, I was urging to leave Gympie, the town in which I was raised and educated. I desperately wanted to "spread my wings" and fly away. Every weekend during the summer months and more, from September through to the long weekend each June, I spent at the coast, soaking up the sun, swimming and surfing. During the week, other pastimes filled my leisure hours. At one point, I was a member of the Gympie Drama Group, which turned out to be a lot of fun. Amongst my group of friends there was always a party or a get-together happening somewhere. The parties were more “get-togethers” than actual “parties”. My friends and I enjoyed philosophical debates amongst each other. We were all keen readers. During that time, my hungry mind eagerly devoured the writings of Kant, Kafka, Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche, amongst many, many others. I was introduced to the works of Kerouac, Dorothy Parker and C. P. Snow, the English novelist and physicist. I became enamoured of his series of novels, which began with “Strangers and Brothers”. His books still have pride of place amongst my personal library. I intend reading them again. Books were a major part of my life then. They still reign supreme.

Music always played a role in my life from as far back as I can recall. My mother played the piano brilliantly and frequently. I took piano lessons for five years. I learned ballet for a lot less time. Music was a part of our household, whether it was the piano, radio or recordings. Of course, as a teenager, music featured heavily wherever I went. At the party/get-togethers a lot of jazz, blues, folk, intermingled with good modern “pop” of the day, played their parts in our inquisitive, maturing minds.

I was been asked to enter the "Miss Australia Quest" representing the Gympie area. This I did with four other young women from the town. It was a great experience. I know, I for one, enjoyed it immensely. It helped me gain confidence within myself. It was lots of fun and also it was a very good excuse for me to have a new satin ball gown made and a very fashionable Chanel-style suit made of pure wool, the colour of which was a golden yellow. I felt very smart, indeed! My teenage years in Gympie were eventful and filled with fun, mostly.

Employed as a legal secretary during the day, this was to hold me in good stead throughout the ensuing years.

However, I was eager to leave the entire behind to move on to a “new world”. During my lunch break one day, I raced home excitedly to breathlessly break my news to my mother. My great “plan” had been concocted in my mind during my morning’s dictation! Mum who was dressing and putting on her make-up at the time, in readiness to go into town, sat patiently listening as I carefully explained my decision to join the air force. Of course, by joining the air force, I would have to leave Gympie and head down to Victoria, which is a very long way from Gympie, hearth and home. After I’d finished gushing out my grandiose idea to my mother, she barely blinked an eye, nor did she turn towards me when she had her chance to offer her opinion. Slowly directing her gaze away from her own reflection in the mirror as she toyed at her lips with her tube of lipstick, she looked at me and said, “I think that is a wonderful idea, love.”

My mother’s blasé, calm and agreeable reaction certainly burst my bubble right there and then on the spot! I had been expecting a “battle royale”, so I was bitterly disappointed and defeated in one foul stroke. To me it sounded like she was happy to get rid of me! I never did enlist in the air force. Nor did I become a nurse, which was another of my mind-explosions one morning, with a repeated effort of running up and down the hills of Gympie to my home during another lunch hour to announce I was going to Brisbane to train at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Somehow the edges of my plans were removed when everyone agreed they were good ideas! I had to learn to beat “them” at “their” own game, I decided! I wasn’t going to be defeated. I just had to go about the matter of my “escape” differently!

As it turned out, I didn’t really need any grand plans or schemes. The day came when it was the “right” thing to do. Very few obstacles or objections were placed in my way. On reflection, I don’t remember exactly how all the pieces fell into place, but into place they did fall, one by one. I announced I was going to move to live and work in the city, Brisbane. Immediately I started turning the wheels towards that direction. My boss, John Jeffery, upon my handing him one month’s notice, said he wasn’t surprised at my decision. He’d been expecting it. Immediately, he picked up his telephone to call a solicitor/lawyer friend of his who was a partner in a Brisbane firm.

“I’ve a lass here who wants to live in the city. Do you have a place for her there? You do! That’s great!”

Looking to me, my boss said, “When can you start?”

“Umm…six weeks, I…I guess…I’ll need a little time to settle in etc.,” I stammered in return.

“Okay….she’ll be there at “such–and-such-a-time at such-and-such-a-day”,” he replied.

That was it! As simple as making a telephone call, I had a job. No interview was required. Country girls were snapped up by city law firms like we were rare pieces of gold at that time. Now, all I had to do was find somewhere to live, again by remote control.

I wanted to “flat” by myself. (a “flat” is a unit or apartment to those of you who have never heard of this description). Even back then I wanted desperately my own “space” and didn’t take kindly to the idea of sharing my living area with anyone else. My mother and grandmother wouldn’t hear of it, though. That was one thing they put their collective “foot” down upon. Begrudgingly, I telephoned a girl I used to know, who had moved to Brisbane. Explaining my plight to her, she agreed to help me out if she could. My timing was perfect, again. Fortunately, a workmate of hers had a younger sister who was looking for a “flat-mate” to share her expenses etc. Everything was falling into place for me, and as yet, I’d not even left Gympie to put the square pieces into the square holes or the round pieces into the round holes. All I needed to do was work through the four weeks to the day of my departure, pack my meager possessions and buy a train ticket. Again, the winds were blowing favourable for me. Our neighbours’ house was being painted during this period. One of the painters drove back to Brisbane every weekend to spend time with his family. Willingly, he offered me a lift whenever I was ready to leave Gympie.

To be continued......

PS...the pictures shown are of Gympie and the pictured Federation-styled building with the bridal cars in front of it is the restaurant/function house in which I was chef, when I moved back to Gympie in 1998. I spent a further four years living there and working at "Gunabul Homestead Restaurant/Function House, before moving to Tamborine Mountain, where I now live.


  1. Gidday Lee,
    Yipes, I'm first off the rank. I've just finished another chapter on my blog and decided to hava read of other bloggers, before my weary computer strained eyes become to blurry. What a interesting post. I know Peter will enjoy reading it seeing as he's now living in Gympie.
    Did you become No.1 Miss Australia winner in Gympie and more so do we get to see a photo????

  2. You certainly are on the ball today...I guess because it's a public holiday and you've had time to relax and catch up over your weekend, Wazza!

    No...I didn't even rate a mention in the area titles, Wazza! A girl from Nambour represented the area that year, but nothing was lost and a lot was gained. :)

  3. Beautiful pictures of you Lee. You look so glamorous.

  4. Hi Lee, an interesting post, I don't know if I have mentioned the redevelopment at Gunabul Homestead? they have built a new functions facility/restaurant in front of the homestead, it also incorporates clubhouse facilities for the golf course, a pretty impressive.
    BTW I'm going to try to organize a bloggers get-together with Robyn when I'm at Wazza's sometime, would you join in??

  5. Those photos of you were not there when I commented before... very smooth!!!!!!!!

  6. Aha...glamorous...ummm...not sure if I was ever glamorous, Corn Dog...but thanks! ;)

    I think you may have Peter or friends of mine in Gympie still have mentioned the re-development out at Gunabul...I knew they had plans in the works before I left there...I thought they were putting a childcare centre up at the main gate area, but you say it's another function area.

    The clubhouse facilities were down part of the actual homestead/restaurant itself when I was there. Sounds like they've extended the golf course, too...have they? If the clubhouse is up at the front entrance to the property, it seems a strange place to have the club house, if not.

    Oh...I posted those pics later because of Wazza's comment, Peter.

    Thanks for your comments CD and Peter. :)

  7. Btw, Peter...if I am able to, I most certainly will try to regarding the get-together of us bloggers. :)

  8. What beautiful photos, Lee. You are very photogenic.

    It was obviously the right time for you to leave home as everything fell into place for you. That's generally a good sign.

    Interesting story (but yours always are) and I'm looking forward to the rest of the "serial".

    Incidentally, do you think Brisbane is ready for us bloggers on the loose?

  9. Anonymous11:26 PM

    You were and I'm sure, still are, a looker. Thanks for the post. Off to the big city, it had to be exciting.

  10. Hi Lee ~~ Great photos and great start to the story. Luckily things fell into place at the right time for you, and what a good boss to find you another job.etc etc.
    Thanks for your comments Lee, and the Ann I mentioned is a blogger friend in the US and is raising her 3 Great grand-daughters and just lost their grandmother, Ann's daughter Carol to cancer. She is an inspiration to me and many others, and is
    well loved and respected. I am so
    sorry yor brother ad such a painful
    endng to his life. Take care, Lee
    Love, Merle.

  11. I don't think Brisbane will ever be ready for us, Robyn...I gave it a bit of a shake-up when I lived'll probably sneak away during the night if it thought we were going to descend upon it! ;)

    As for the was just a good photographer! I hate photographs of myself.

    Thanks Steve...I was excited moving to the "big smoke". A whole new world was waiting for me. I wonder if it was ready for me? ;)

  12. Hi Lee,
    What a glamour puss you were and probably still are. No wonder they wanted you to enter the beauty contest.
    I've always been a big city girl, where I live now, 1 million, is the smallest city I've ever lived in. However, we all carve out a little village part of it for our home turf, even if we are city folk.
    Waiting for episode 2

  13. I really wasn't a glamour girl, jmb...and I certainly am not now...I've always like nice clothes etc., and have always tried to dress nicely, but I'm by no means "glamour puss"! lol

    Thanks for your comments...Chapter Two is partly written...

  14. You crept in silently while I was writing my comment, I just spotted you now...sorry. :)

    Yes...I had a good boss and a great office to work in as my introduction to my working life...we had lots of fun times in that office! ;)

  15. Anonymous10:14 AM

    Lee, if you get a chance stop by. I posted some info about a chance to win and autographed novel by a nice lady in Hawaii.

  16. Have done so, Steve...thanks. :)

  17. Waiting for the next chapter. I have been checking out the archives.What is gob-smacked? Loved the explanation of the blogs name and the last post in June 06. Keep up the good work & the Pictures are great. Liked the oldies but goodies of you.

  18. Hi Lady Di..."gob-smacked" means astounded, surprised, utterly astonished. "Gob" is an old Scottish dialect for mouth.

    Glad you've been finding a bit of spare time to read the archives and are enjoying them, Lady Di. :)

  19. Lovely pictures and a great story, Lee. You are MOST photogenic, young lady!

  20. Hi Serena...I run from cameras...I hate pictures of myself...I guess most of us do...I was a lot younger then so perhaps the camera is kinder then! ;)

  21. Gorgeous photos, Lee ... you sure were a stunner (and still are). It's interesting reading about someone's life like that ... I look forward to the next installment.
    Take care, Meow

  22. Ummm, just realised that I'm not really sure if I have seen a current photo of you, but I'm sure you ARE still a stunner !!

  23. Anonymous5:49 PM

    What a memory you have there Lee.... Just flying through to say hi and that I am still alive and well. Have a lovely week.

  24. lol Meow! I was thinking along similar lines! ;) I run past mirrors these days...or they run away when they see me coming! ;)

    Thanks for your comment. I got a good laugh out of it! ;)

  25. Nice to see you,'s been a while! :)

  26. What??? How long do I have to wait for the rest of the story????!!!!

  27. Hello, Rebecca...patience, patience is a someone said's not a virtue I have very much of, I'm afraid! ;)

    Hopefully, tomorrow Eastern Aus time I will have Chapter 2 up...9th May...fingers crossed...well, I guess I will have to uncross them to type! ;)

    Thanks for visiting, Rebecca. :)

  28. Hi Lee, I used to have lunch at Gunabul regularly with a group of friends when I was living at Gympie.
    Loved the photos I think they are glamorous
    Cheers Margaret

  29. An intellectual and a beauty queen... I look forward to hearing more about your escape to the city.

  30. Gidday Lee,
    Thanks for posting your photos. Most women I know don't like having their photos taken and when taken don't like the looks of them. Don't know why as there are some stunning womwn out there and I'm not talking about models or movie stars, just regular women like yourself.
    I think you look there.

  31. Love the story can't wait for more. I sooo love the pictures your are beautiful!!!!

  32. Beautifully written and so interesting, Lee. Great photos, too - I can't imagine why you hate photos of yourself! You look so cool and glam.I love D Parker and CP Snow as well! I'd love to have seen the Chanel suit. I can just imagine you feeling deflated every time your mother agreed with your escape plans! I, too, would not like to share my personal space. I won't even share a hotel room o the rare occasions when I holiday with a friend [unless it's a man and a lover!] Can't wait for the next chapter!

  33. Really, Margaret...when was that when you dined at Gunabul? I worked there from May 1998 until March 2002.

    Robbie, Shelly, Welsh and are all most generous with your comments and I thank you for your nice words. :)

  34. lee,
    Ah the exuberance of youth!
    And, i see you haven't changed much.. in looks or attitude. ;-)

  35. Hiya Rel...I've always believed that people don't change. Sure, we grow older...we mature and we broaden our minds and horizons (or should do), but I don't believe a person changes who he or she is within. I know I haven't changed...and I guess that's what I've always based my belief on, throughout the years....I am who I was then...I've just spent a few more years in between! ;)