Yesterday I posted the first instalment of Dad's eulogy: http://sandyrosenthal.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/dads-eulogy-part-1.html
I wrote this to read at his funeral service after he passed away one year ago today. Today is a tough day for my family. Here is Part 2:
One of my happiest memories of spending time with Dad was when I had a Wedding Decoration business. At times this was a comedy of errors and provided great amusement for the family. Every single weekend Dad would come and help me decorate weddings. He would tie bows on chairs, drape fabric on ceilings and was pretty much my right-hand hand man. Most times, Mum, Kath and Laura were also there. When Michelle was in Sydney she would come too. I felt terribly guilty that he would spend every weekend doing this for me without any reward. When I mentioned this to him he looked at me very seriously and told me how happy he was because he loved to see all of his girls together.
My sister Kath’s childhood and early teens were consumed by ballet – which of course meant that Dad’s world was consumed by ballet. Driving to and from lessons in Penrith, going to ballet concerts, paying for endless costumes and photos and ballet shoes. I’m sure he thought it would never end. And then Laura started dancing! But Dad never complained. Amongst all the to-ing and fro-ing Dad and the girls had their rituals like stopping at the corner store on the ride home each night for slurpies, lollies and sweets and sometimes they would pick up flowers for Mum. Again, another tradition created by Dad. Every single day when Steven and I were little he would bring us each home a packet of Lifesaver lollies and over the years there were Clinkers, Fantails, Cadbury Roses, Dairy Milk Chocolate, just to name a few.
Another ritual Kath remembers fondly, just as Steven had, is Dad making bacon and eggs every Sunday morning and serving her and Mum in bed while they poured over the weekend papers.
From an early age Dad encouraged Kath in her art. Kath remembers at the age of 6 or 7, Dad set her up in the backyard with pieces of fibro, some old brushes and house paints to begin painting. In recent years Dad became quite an artist himself. For Father’s Day in 2007, Laura and Katherine returned the favour by giving Dad a set of oil paints, brushes and canvasses. It took him some time to get started, but once he did, he couldn’t be stopped. Paintings of landscapes, cottages, seascapes, gardens and even animals began to fill the apartment in Manly Vale. Dad had found his new passion. He was completely self-taught and his appetite for art had been awakened. He and Mum began visiting exhibitions and art galleries around the country and even went to art lectures. Dad rifled through art books to find inspiration. He loved the impressionists, especially Turner, Monet and Streeton. He liked to observe nature, sometimes sketching scenes at North Head, but mostly he just loved to paint. He was always experimenting with paint and new techniques – dabbing with rags, scraping back and painting over scenes until they changed from fire to snow.
When Kath was older, she did a gilding course that made Dad very proud. His own father had also been a good artist and a signwriter and used to do the gold lettering on office doors. It was in the genes, Dad declared!
Laura remembers Dad’s keen handyman skills. There was the cubbyhouse he had constructed for her and the swingset that lay abandoned in the backyard for 5 years after the screws went missing. While renovating the house at St Clair, Dad attempted to pour concrete and stencil the driveway and despite the resulting uneven surface and colour it was there to stay. All his children have fond memories of his gardening abilities as he carefully selected an array of colourful flowers from the clearance shelf at the nursery. It was a particularly good find if he was able to pick up orange and yellow marigolds. Luckily for him, no one else wanted orange and yellow marigolds! What a score! He truly loved flowers and he was always sharing his home grown veges with the extended family.
Family excursions were common over the years and we all heard Dad declare “Come on people, we’re going!” and “I’m sitting in the car!”. Long trips interstate began at 4am with Dad driving straight through for hours on end. Local excursions with Dad included the pigeon club, the nursery, the rubbish tip and Bunnings.
A favourite for Dad in recent years was to “do brunch” in Manly. Always these were family affairs, but it was vitally important that we hurry to get there on time, seemingly so we could all hurry back home again!
He loved to watch old country and westerns movies starring John Wayne, the TV show Bonanza, a wide variety of sports and he got a great laugh from watching the sitcom Two and a Half Men.
I’m sure it’s clear how much Murray was loved by his family. It was no secret however that he could be difficult at times. He could be moody, cranky and melancholy. He was complex and complicated. Stubbornness was a trait he kindly passed on to each of his four children. Despite this, there was never any doubt that he loved us all completely and unconditionally.
If you Googled the term “Family Man”, surely his name would be at the top of any list.
Less than a year ago Dad was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. We all thought it had been detected early and he would make a full recovery. On the first day of November, out of the blue, Dad announced that he was taking part in Movember. Participants grow a moe for the entire month of November to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues, particularly prostate cancer. He had Mum take photos, which was unusual for him and before we knew it he was sporting a fabulous handlebar moustache.
Sadly the cancer spread to his bones and it soon became apparent that a recovery was unlikely. Dad spent the last month of his life in the cancer ward of Nepean Hospital. As a family, we did everything we could to make it as comfortable and pain free as possible. Mum, Steven, Katherine, Laura and myself would take turns to sit with him each day, hold his hand and tell him how much we loved him. In the final week, we slept overnight in his room, so he never had to wake alone and someone was always there if he ever needed anything. At approximately 10pm on May 23, at the much too young age of 67, he passed away, we hope peacefully, with all of us by his side.
Hazel Hawke passed away on the same day. There was no story on the 6 O’clock news about Dad’s passing like there was for Mrs. Hawke, but to those who knew and loved him, his passing was just as significant.
I know for Mum this has been especially hard. It was their 47th wedding anniversary two weeks before and even in Dad’s fragile condition, he didn’t forget and asked the nurse to phone Mum hoping he hadn’t missed the date. Mum was particularly sad that Dad didn’t get the chance to enjoy retirement. She made the comment to me, “I know we were hardly Darby and Joan, but we had plans.” I didn’t want to say to Mum, “Who the hell are Darby and Joan?” so I went home and googled it. Darby and Joan is a proverbial phrase for a married couple content to share a quiet life of mutual devotion in their retirement.
Murray, Uncle Murray, Darling, Muzza, Dad, Grandad – today we remember you and celebrate all that you brought to our lives.
We hope that you are proud of us and left us knowing that you were very much loved.
There will never be anyone else quite like you.
Dad’s Eulogy 30.5.2013
MURRAY IAN ROSENTHAL was born to Edna and Basil Rosenthal on July 5, 1945 in Brisbane QLD.
He was one of six children, older brothers Brian and Basil (both deceased), older sister Gloria (deceased), younger brother Paul, and younger sister Rozlyn, who has travelled from Brisbane to be here today.
Rozlyn has fond memories of her mischievous brother who she said was known to be a bit of a larrikin. They moved house a lot, every year or so, but Rozlyn especially remembers times when they lived in the suburb of Groverley. Murray was friends with a group of boys in the street and they would spend all day down the road, "in the bush", making bows and arrows to shoot at anything they could. They’d find lobbies (better known to us as yabbies) in the creek, and bring them home and boil them up. He was just a real "boy".
Murray was often put in charge of caring for his two younger siblings, especially during school holidays when their mother was at work. This did lead to a few unfortunate incidents. Once he dragged them both under the bed and cut off all their hair. On another occasion, they were playing Cowboys and Indians, with real weapons of course, and Murray hit Rozlyn over the head with a tomahawk when she was only about five years old.
An ambulance was often called to the school, most times specifically to collect Murray. One day he was doing some gardening in the school grounds with another boy, most likely to get out of schoolwork, and they were throwing pitchforks at each other. One went right through Murray’s foot. I remember him proudly showing the scar that still clearly showed the markings of a fork even years later.
Murray left school at the age of 14 to start an apprenticeship as a Painter and Decorator with his stepfather Eddie. His father Basil had also been a painter and of course the family tradition has continued today with my brother Steven taking up the same trade.
After work each day he would arrive home to find his mother had his dinner ready on the table, steak and 3 veg every night, never anything else. He always enjoyed his steak way past the "very well done, burnt and crucified" stage and this never changed. When he was finished he would drive across the other side of town, every night, to visit our mother Marie, his then girlfriend.
Murray met Marie when he was 17 and she was 14 at a drive-in picture theatre. They would be there just about every weekend, and as they had a friend in common, they would often chat to each other. Mum said they eventually "paired off", whatever that means. On one of their first dates Mum said that Dad took her out in a "tinnie" to go fishing. That could have ended badly. Dad just loved boats and fishing and I guess he thought everyone else did too. He probably thought wow, this will impress her. Incidentally the name Murray means "Man Of The Sea" which seems so appropriate.
When they met they loved to listen to The Beatles and other popular music of the 1960’s, although their taste in music change considerably over the years and it would be fair to say, it didn’t move in the same direction. Dad went through his Slim Dusty stage while Mum was listening to classical pieces. In recent years they found common ground as they both enjoyed Andre Rieu and songs from Les Miserables.
I asked my Grandmother, who is here today, what she remembered about their early courtship. She said that one day Mum announced that she was going to a party over in East Brisbane, which was on the other side of town. Grandma said "No you’re not" and Mum said "But I promised Murray!" Grandma said "Well, you’re going to have to unpromise Murray, because you’re not going." Apparently she stayed in her room and sulked for the rest of the evening.
On another occasion Mum and Dad were sitting in Dad’s car parked out the front of her house at around midnight. Grandma called out from the open kitchen window "I think it’s about time you came to bed Marie." The next day Mum and Dad were sitting in the lounge room and Grandma overheard Dad say "Did she say anything else when you came in?"
It seems that even my parents were once teenagers in love.
They married young. Dad was 20 and Mum was only 17 when they tied the knot on May 14, 1966 in a small church in Michelton in Brisbane. They drove to Sydney for their honeymoon and the car broke down - sounds romantic. They wanted to start a family straight away and Steven was born the following year. They bought some land and built their first home just before I was born in 1969. At around this time Dad saw a Bassett Hound puppy at a house he was painting and decided he had to have one. This was the start of their dog breeding and dog showing days. Mum and Dad spent every weekend indulging in what would become a shared passion of theirs. At one stage they had 49 dogs at one time. This may also explain my own lifelong love of dogs.
Make no mistake, dog shows were serious business and required some thoughtful dressing. In the early 1970’s Dad went shopping for some new clothes to be worn at one of the more important dog shows and turned up dressed in purple pants, floral shirt and white shoes. We still have the photos to prove it. We all remember in later years when Dad bought a handycam that was the size of a small car. He proudly slung it over his shoulder and was known to film the dogs while wearing his Drizabone coat and Akubra hat.
For many years Dad was pretty much always working and when he wasn’t at work on Sundays they would be at dog shows. There was always at least one kid around so they never really had time to be just on their own.
We moved a lot too, just like he had in his childhood. He was always restless. By the mid 1970’s they decided to move to Sydney for better opportunities to find work. Dad did however always remain a staunch Queenslander and loved to barrack for the Maroons in State of Origin matches.
After a 10 year gap, in 1979 Katherine was born, followed by another 10 year gap when Laura joined us in late 1988. There were 22 years between the oldest and the youngest child. For a long time Mum and Dad referred to Steven and I as "The Kids" and Kath and Laura as "The Girls".
Dad had four children and even though we share many common memories, we’ve discovered that he actually had quite a unique relationship with each one of us.
Steven had a particularly special relationship with his father. He got to see him almost every day as they worked together as painters for more than 20 years. Mum recalls that the first time he went to work with Dad as a little "helper" he was only about 4 years old.
Steven said that Dad was highly regarded by others in the building industry and was often described as a "top bloke". He was quiet and respectful - a hard worker. He worked quickly but always turned out work of a high quality that Steven said was rare in their field.
He went to work with his thermos of milky tea every day for what I remember him calling his "smoko". He never complained. He never took a day off. He worked hard all his life. Painting from the age of 14 until he got too sick to continue. Sadly he never got to enjoy any sort of retirement.
One of Dad’s greatest joys in his life was to be Grandad to Steven and Leanne’s three boys, Jared, Tom and Zac. Leanne describes him as a beautiful Grandfather who had a lovely way of joking and having fun with the boys that they really responded to. He was a key figure in their lives and they really looked forward to their Grandad coming to watch them play their various sports.
Steven had season tickets to the Penrith Panthers home games and they all loved to go and do that together. Dad proudly told his Grandsons that he had once played football as a boy on the oval that the Brisbane Broncos had also played on. He took a great interest in the boys’ talents and he often said that Jared reminded him of a young Arthur Beetson.
The most special thing they all did together though was to indulge in Jelly and Icecream. This was their tradition that I’m sure the boys will remember fondly when they think of their Grandad in the years to come.
Steven made the comment this week, "He would have given you his last dollar". And sometimes over the years I reckon he did. That really was the essence of who he was. He always thought of everyone else, insisted on paying for everything and was always available to us. He was just so generous with his time. A phone call and he was there. Break-ups, house moves, renovations, driving us all to and from the airport when we were going on overseas trips. It didn’t matter what it was, he always insisted on coming to help.
Steven said Dad loved cooking everyone breakfast and described him as the master of bacon and eggs.
Murray enjoyed a special relationship with his niece Michelle who was also his Goddaughter. He was a father figure to Michelle and she remembers times as a kid when he let her sip his beer on the back porch and the cup of tea that he would make and leave next to her bed at 5am every morning when she would come to stay. In fact this was another tradition in our family. Dad would get up really early every morning and deliver us all a cup of milky tea next to our beds before he went to work. I would nearly always fall back to sleep and never drink the cold tea but he still made it every day.
Michelle also really loved it when Murray and our family would come to stay with them in Qld on family visits. I remember pulling up outside their house and Michelle would be hanging out of one of the front windows and the minute she laid eyes on him she would announce his arrival to all and sundry by squealing out in sheer delight, "It’s Uncle Murray!!"
I remember Dad being a particularly overprotective parent. We weren’t allowed to go anywhere near the water at the beach, we could not have friends that owned swimming pools and we absolutely could not eat fish without taking a tiny piece between our thumb and forefinger and mushing it up until it could not possibly be described as anything resembling a fish.
Another great passion of his was his pigeons. He had raced and showed pigeons as a youngster and he continued this for many years. He was always rebuilding the pigeon cage requiring lots of trips to the local tip. When I was about 9 or 10 it was my job to sit with Dad in the pigeon cage every Friday night and record details of the birds and their I.D numbers in a ledger that he would then take to the pigeon club. This was my job because of my excellent penmanship and spelling ability, although in the past few days I have discovered that he told both my sisters the very same thing!
He was a great animal lover. Apart from pigeons we had finches and budgies, chickens and roosters, goats and dogs and cats. For a while there he also raced greyhounds. He loved looking after all of our animals when we were away on trips. I was upset once when a kitten of mine went missing. Dad decided to drive around and do a search in my local suburb. He phoned me and said "Sandy, I think I’ve found your cat!" I was so happy and eagerly awaited his return with Oscar. Unfortunately he had found a ginger cat, not the tabby I had lost. He was always terribly worried that someone would witness him dumping a cat when he tried to return it.
Like everyone else, I couldn't believe that this plane seemed to simply vanish.
Malaysia Airlines is well respected. The aircraft, a Boeing 777, has an excellent safety record.
We know that the vast majority of accidents occur on take-off or landing. Planes generally don't just 'drop out of the sky'.
For me, as a flight attendant, this was especially hard to comprehend. This is my world. My people. My livelihood. Of course, in a job like this, we accept that there is always the possibility of what we refer to as 'an incident' occurring but we try not to think about it too much. If you did, you'd never be able to step on that plane.
Theories began circulating almost immediately. Pilot Incapacitation. An Explosive Decompression. A Bomb on Board. A Terrorist Attack. Pilot Suicide.
As we are now well into the third week of this mystery, perhaps we'll never know.
Two days ago, Malaysia Airlines issued a press release to declare the aircraft as officially lost. This is part of that statement:
'As you will be aware, last night the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak, announced new evidence regarding the disappearance of MH370 on 8th March.
You can view the full statement here http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/my/en/site/dark-site.html
I saw this on the evening news and was overwhelmed with emotion. It was heartbreaking to watch footage of the loved ones of those missing. Loved ones who had been fearing the worst but hoping for the best. Many were so overcome with grief that they were taken from their hotels on stretchers to receive medical treatment.
There were reports that the families of the missing passengers were sent this announcement via text message. If this is true, surely this is an unacceptable method of communication, especially given the delicate nature of the news.
I am also overwhelmed with emotion when I think of the crew. As part of the international crew community it is hard not to think, 'that could have been me'. Whatever happened I know they were amongst friends. We are like family. We spend most of our lives overseas, on planes and in hotels. We often spend more time with this flying family of ours than the real family we leave behind.
I remember a similar feeling some years ago when I visited Port Arthur in Tasmania. At the time I was a tour guide at BridgeClimb and the Sydney Opera House. In 1996, 35 people were killed in the 'Port Arthur Massacre'. Many of those killed were tour guides. I was quite struck by the fact that these were people, just like me, who went to work that day and never came home.
Malaysia Air Flight 370 - One Flight Attendant's Thoughts
Let's hope that the aircraft is found and some peace and closure can be given to those who need it the most.
|Me, heading off to work. |
Always hoping for an uneventful flight.
Despite growing up in an area where drugs and crime were commonplace, looking back, I’m always surprised by how naïve I was about some of the activities going on around me.
A friend of mine once asked me if I was interested in buying some things from one of her husband’s friends. I can’t recall what they were selling – perhaps clothing, electronic goods or the like.
Whatever it was, it sounded like I should at least take a look so I said, ‘Sure’.
My friend then told me, ‘They’re off the back of a truck. You don’t mind, do you?’
Off the back of a truck? I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant. Did we have to go to the back of the truck to buy the stuff? I guess that would be okay. Besides, for the prices she had mentioned I could hardly be picky about where they were selling them from.
‘Off the back of a truck?’ I innocently enquired. ‘Yeah, they fell off a truck,’ she said, laughing.
Wow. Everything fell off?
We went to some non-descript house in the suburbs to take a look. Some of the things were brand new, some used, but all at prices that could hardly be believed.
This was a veritable goldmine! I’m sure I bought tons of stuff and when I was told they had another ‘truckload’ coming in next week I made plans to return, which I indeed did on a number of other occasions.
I don’t know when the penny dropped that ‘off the back of truck’ actually meant stolen. And when it did, did I cease my law-breaking ways or continue unperturbed?
Thinking about it now, I wonder how I could not have known. I was naïve yes, but I had also been a rather prolific shoplifter myself some years before.
One of my school friends told me once that it was really easy to steal make-up from the local supermarket. I wasn’t allowed to own, much less wear make-up at the time, so the only way I was going to get my hands on some was to steal it.
Which I did.
In large quantities and on a regular basis.
My crime spree continued and I began to take more risks. I started to take higher priced items like expensive clothing and jewellery. I remember going into a department store wearing a long dress and coming out wearing an entire change of clothing underneath, including a pair of designer jeans. Most of the things I stole I couldn’t wear anyway as I had no way of explaining to my Mum where everything came from.
It was more about the thrill of getting away with it.
Eventually I almost got caught. A security guard asked me to empty my pockets as I was leaving a store. I did have a stolen lip-gloss in one of the pockets but was able to manoeuvre it so he didn’t see. I went bright red in the face, as most guilty teenagers are prone to do. He let me leave and I never stole another thing again.
Well at least not until I discovered ‘the back of the truck’ which I guess was stealing by default.
I promise you I have spent my adult life as a law-abiding citizen. I was raised in a conservative home with parents that would have been completely shocked that I was doing such things.
It just goes to show that our external environment can greatly influence our actions and behaviours.
I am just so grateful now that I was ‘almost caught’ all those years ago.
I started this personal blog on February 11th, 2014 and in my very first post Just Give It A Go I said I had a 'plan'. I had already ticked off the first few items in a rather extensive list that I had put together to enable me to kick start my career in travel writing. I also indicated that I would post details on this blog from time to time to show how the rest of that plan was progressing.
I cannot quite believe how much I have achieved in a little more than one month.
I now have my ABN to allow me to start getting paid writing work. I just need to start pitching some of my story ideas to magazine editors.
I have had this personal blog professionally designed by Designer Blogs and introduced the tagline Writing about Life, Love, Adventure and Travel.
I have created a separate blog, Seven Marathons on Seven Continents which Steve and I will use to document our journey towards becoming members of the exclusive Seven Continents Club. This involves running a marathon on every continent across the globe.
I have created a separate blog, still in the design stages, Camino de Santiago which Steve and I will use to document our 800km walk across the top of Spain in 2015.
I have finally discovered Twitter and Instagram and have links on all of my blogs to both of these.
I have created a Facebook page dedicated to all things writing. This will also be the one place that will link all three blogs. At the moment I have just over 200 'likes' on this page. I am aiming for more than 1000.
I have enrolled in a Travel Photography Course and have decided to purchase my first DLSR camera. I plan to take lots of photos during our upcoming trips and I have had an Instagram box installed on both the Seven Marathons and the Camino de Santiago blog. The photos I take on the road can instantly be uploaded to these Instagram boxes.
I have purchased a voice recorder to use for the interviews I plan to do on my travels.
I attended the Blog to Book Course at the Australian Writers' Centre. It was interesting to learn that publishers now ask about a writer's social media presence and particularly want to know the numbers i.e how many Twitter followers, Facebook likes, etc.
I started my first online subject 'Introduction to Writing' which is part of the Professional Writing and Publishing degree I am undertaking at Curtin University.
I am currently undertaking the Australian Writers' Centre online course 'Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1.'
I attended a talk with bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) as part of the NSW Writer's Festival and gained some great insight into the real world of writing. A week later I was very excited to meet Liz on my flight to LA. What a lovely person she was and she graciously spent time talking to me about my writing plans. And replied to my tweet the next day!
I have decided to enter the Australian Writers' Centre 'Best Blogs 2014' competition. They have a number of categories with some amazing prizes, one of which is a chance meet with a publisher to discuss the possibility of publishing a book based on a blog. Some of the categories in the competition that I've entered are 'Best New Blog' and 'Outstanding Humorous Post' along with a 'People's Choice' round. As my blog is so new, I will endeavour to increase my posts from once a week to at least twice a week to better showcase my writing style.
So that's the update on my 'plan'. I'm happy with how far I've come and know that this would not have been possible if I didn't spend time setting some ambitious yet achievable goals right from the beginning.
When I was about 18, like most girls that age, my friend Marg and I loved clothes, shoes, nightclubs, our first cars and boys.
In no particular order.
We also loved to drive around on most weeknights in our clapped-out cars to gossip about all of the above.
One evening, I was standing on my bed to get a better look at myself in the mirror. I was working out what to wear that coming weekend to Tiffany’s Nightclub. I had pretty much decided on the dress; a very bright, multicoloured halter neck, but I just wasn’t quite sure about which shoes to choose.
At the time I was really into the brand ‘Mr Christian’. They had the most beautiful shoes in a range of amazing colours. I loved a couple of their designs so much that I bought several pairs in a few different colours.
What to wear with this dress?
The red sling backs with the chunky heel or the bright green flats?
Solution. I’m a genius! Put the dress on and then put on one red shoe and one green shoe and stand on tippy toes to reach the mirror and see which one would go best. Best to get me a boyfriend was most likely what I was really thinking.
I spend a lot of time travelling around Asia and one of the things I love about it is the people. I love how quirky they are. You never quite know what they’re going to be into.
One of the best things I’ve seen yet is this taxi in Singapore.
I happened to hail this one down at the airport and was surprised to hop in and see that it was bejewelled like no other taxi that’s gone before. The entire interior of the car, from the dash to the glove box to the doors was completely covered in sparkles.
This could only be the work of a BeDazzle!
You may remember The BeDazzle that initially surfaced in the 1970’s. It was a 'simple tool used to fasten glitzy rhinestones, studs and patches to clothes and other materials.'
It was voted #100 in the Top 100 Gadgets of all Time, although a commentator in Entertainment Weekly magazine did once describe the BeDazzle as: "The cheap-ass rhinestone-studding tool favoured by art teachers and over-excitable mums everywhere, the biggest piece of crap sold on late-night TV since the Thighmaster and the reason women own shirts with glittery kitty-cats on them."