I have luckily very few regrets in my life, as I feel they are a waste of energy. However, losing touch with people I have met is one of my most important regrets and I wonder (at the oddest of hours) what has become of them.
At 2 a.m. last Wednesday a fond memory arrived back in my mind of Lesley Woods, Mr. Dennis the village butcher's granddaughter and my best friend at 7 years old. Meandering our village lanes we were offered a lift by his driver and we hopped in the back and found many colourful flags waving above the parcels — we had such fun switching them all around and laughing. Later that afternoon, we were summoned by a very stern Mr. Dennis, not the affable one we were used to, about the commotion we had caused changing all the meat deliveries – Mrs. Angus getting sausages instead of her joint of beef; Mr. Collins getting a chicken instead pork chops; and Mrs. Callahan instead of dog bones getting delicious lamb chops.
I lived in Hong Kong in the 60's and worked for B.O.A.C. Whatever happened to Evelyn de Rosario, swirling her colourful sari in her sing song English, not her mother tongue? Being a poor student I welcomed dinner invitations, and Mr. and Mrs. Barty with the Foreign Office fed me on occasions. I discovered she had a bell under her chair to summon the servants. All very posh, as were the Government House invitations. Single English girls were rare in those days. So, where did they all end up? And are they in fact still alive?
Arriving very poor in Australia, I did not have enough funds to send letters to keep in touch, and even back then I felt sad about it. So I promised myself, whenever possible I will keep in touch, and I do.
I remember the time Alison, with whom I shared a flat in Sydney, put all the cleaning products outside my door one Saturday with a note “Gone away for the weekend, it’s your turn". I had servants in Hong Kong and had forgotten cleaning duties, but I caught up and we stayed friends.
I have enjoyed the most diverse group of friends from all walks of life and from each and every one I have learnt something, even how to argue!
Oh, how I wish I had time to write about everyone I have met, enjoyed, shared, learnt, laughed and cried with. Not every friendship has been lifelong. Some have been so transient in these last six years of my traveling nomadic life, I call these my "guardian angels” because they have arrived in my life just when I needed them the most.
I recall things people have said that have lasted with me – one friend saying “Music gives something that nothing else can”. Another saying “Go forth”. (Still trying to work that one out.) My father advising me at 35 that I would "mellow". Have I?
And of course my mother also comes to mind, her kindness and her independent spirit being passed on.
People! They are so important to me and I feel blessed to have worked with people all my life, and though now I am retired, I keep in contact with many of them and feel sad when some one leaves this Earth.
I don’t always have the same views as my friends, family or acquaintances, and some most certainly don’t understand me or my way of life. But does this matter?
There are times when I can’t quite come to terms with the fact that I have known some of these people for 65 years. I can always rely on my longtime friend Christine for guidance and wise words, together with her wicked sense of humor and her phrase, “How did we get this old so quick?”
So, what is the connection? And Who Am I?