Included in my “cloak of many colours” within the company, I was Credit Manager for the
My friends, Margaret and Denis announced their engagement. I was still single and "fancy-free" with no one particular, special "knight in shining armour" on the horizon or closer! Margaret asked me to cater for their engagement party, as well as being a guest. Again, my apartment was converted into a caterer’s kitchen. Our cars became “meals on wheels” carriages as we transferred foodstuffs, prepared and yet-to-be prepared, between Toowong where I lived to
About sixty people were in attendance and the party was a huge success. I stayed the night to assist with the cleaning-up the next morning, washing down a couple of cleansing ales during the process. Then the “camel-train” transfer of all the empty, but clean utensils back home to Toowong again followed. It was a busy, yet fun weekend.
At the time, Marg’s younger brother John, who was sharing her apartment, was dating Jackie MacDonald. To my Aussie readers, Jackie’s name will be familiar. She was only eighteen or nineteen at the time. Although, a familiar face on
Our Friday night “Spaghetti Marinara” soirees, accompanied by red wine and garlic bread continued between Marg, Denis and me. We’d become addicted to our special evenings. I still hadn‘t found anyone “special” to join me and was quite happy “going it alone”. I wasn’t looking for a committed relationship, feeling comfortable in my own skin. Margaret asked me to be her only attendant at their wedding. I proudly said “Yes”. The marriage ceremony was to be held at the Catholic church at Coorparoo and the reception in the grounds of Margaret’s sister and her dentist husband’s home at Rochedale. Marg’s sister, Barbara and her husband Owen lived on ten acres of land at Rochedale, an outer suburb of
Our final “Marinara” soiree loomed. We knew it would be the last time that we would be together as a threesome, knowing once Margaret and Denis had married and moved into their marital home across the other side of the city, our special evenings would no longer be. It was a bittersweet moment. And we let our hair down that final night. I added extra seafood and garlic to the sauce, presented bottled red wine rather than cheap flagons, pumped up the music and the three of us danced the night away. We laughed. We hugged and kissed. At times, we became misty-eyed. We bade farewell and we formed lifelong memories of fun times shared.
The couple had a nuptial mass that seemed to go on for a week. I think I was the only protestant in attendance! Secretly I was protesting, too, because everyone else was walking back and forth to the priest at the altar receiving “bread” and wine while I had to sit and wait it out in the front pew (so near, and yet so far!) with a thirst growing in intensity with every excruciatingly slow passing minute! With the constant ringing of the bells, the passing of the wine, I was very relieved when it was all over. John, Margaret’s brother sang an emotive, wonderful version of “Song of Joy” as the happy couple finally made their way out of the church. Arriving at the reception, I eagerly reached for a refreshing beverage. I had to catch up! Everyone else was ahead of me!
Margaret wore a lovely cream soft woolen, stylish, full-length wedding dress, no veil, but a cluster of matching-coloured flowers in her shoulder-length brunette hair. Her engagement ring was a rich emerald, reflecting both the bride and groom’s Irish heritage. My full-length soft woolen shirt-maker design was a similar cream to Margaret’s wedding dress but rather than just the plain cream, mine was cream with an emerald green “open” tartan-check, to reflect the emerald in her ring. Margaret’s regular dressmaker made them for us, following her designs and choices. I loved that dress. It’s difficult to describe them without pictures, but both dresses were very stylish and different from the “norm” in bridal attire. Both Margaret and I weren’t into fluffy, frilly dress of tulle, satin and lace; we spent many hours together choosing what we would wear. She had set firm ideas what she wanted for her wedding, and fortunately, her ideas were akin to mine in that department. Both being tall, with similar colouring, the dresses suited us perfectly. The reception under the marquee was a brilliant, very relaxed affair. Jackie Mac was John’s date. Denis’ best man, Ian, was his best friend from their school days. Years later, I met up again with Ian and his wife. It definitely is a “small world”.
Before dusk, the bride and groom, throwing Barbara, Owen and me a knowing wink, bade an early “good-bye” to everyone as they apparently left for their wedding night. We knew their game-plan, though the great-aunts, aunts, new mother-in-laws and grandmothers-in-law weren’t aware of our evil scheming. Shortly after the bride and groom left, all the “oldies” began disappearing, leaving us “party hounds”. A couple of hours went by, then Margaret and Denis reappeared in more comfortable clothes and the party really began! It continued into the wee small hours of the morning. Around nine the following morning, we finally said goodbye to the newly-weds as they headed off to the airport, this time for real! We saw them off with Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” echoing across the property. Barbara and Owen’s four daughters and me running through the yard ringing cowbells, escorted Margaret and Denis off the property. I managed to twist my ankle when my foot went through the cow grate at the gate! I was feeling no pain at that stage!
So, I’d not only lost my dining buddies to the marital bed and a life of bliss, but I’d lost a tenant in the apartment block I was managing and living in. The search for new tenants didn’t take long and two young women moved in when Margaret moved out. I had more luck with female tenants than male. One so-called “young, male executive” proved to be a hopeless tenant when he managed to flood his apartment, causing major damage to the carpet, which had to be replaced. I promptly gave him his marching orders after seeing the disastrous results of his carelessness and untidiness. I advised him to get to work and clean up his accommodation and once that job was completed, pack his belongings and move on. Fortunately, the insurance paid for the replacement carpet, but I remained wary of prospective male tenants after that. All in all, I had no problems with my tenants and they were a fun-loving lot with good housekeeping skills!
Back at Kolotex, everything was going along smoothly.
Regularly, on Wednesday afternoons after the rest of the staff had left, a fine, elderly gentleman, Mick Peterson, would visit to share a drink or three with John Trimmer and me. One week, Mick would supply the scotch and the next week, Kolotex would supply the amber liquid. I’d place a platter of cheeses, salami etc., on John’s desk, sometimes we’d even feast on freshly cooked prawns. The three of us would settle in for a couple of hours of generous conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed those moments. Mick was an old trouper in the retail industry. He was “Barnum and Bailey” of the trade. At the time, he was high up the ladder with Woolworths in