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Friends that changed my life.



Late July 1974.

My mates, Robert Mason, Bob Wilson and Me.

This was the day Mum, Dad, Karen, Kevin and I flew to the UK, aboard a BOAC Super VC10 flying to Darwin, Singapore, KL, Abu Dhabi and eventually London (Heathrow).

It was really good of Robert and Bob to come up to the airport to see me off.

I used to sit next to Robert in grade three in Henry Palasczuk’s English class. Henry was really strict. He’d sorted the class into rows according to ability. If you didn’t do well on your weekly spelling test, you’d have to go down a row. Eventually, if you didn’t do well while you were in the lowest row, you ended up getting moved to lower level English class next door.

Robert and I used to do science experiments in our spare time, mixing up whatever chemicals we could find, or wiring up old radios to see what we could do.

Robert and I discovered our love of Science together.

When my mum and Dad needed some time alone together in the early seventies, Roberts parents (Brenda and Marshall) kindly let me stay with them for a while.

Bob was a ten pound pom like me, but he arrived in 1972. His family were from Nelson (near Manchester) in Lancashire. I actually visited Nelson in 1997 when Liz and I went back to the UK. Where their family moved to in Rosella Street Inala was much nicer than Nelson, although the view of some of the green hills around Nelson was quite pretty.

Bob and I used to ride our bikes down the bush and smoke cigarettes that Bob used to magically procure. He and his brother Graham were brilliant at soccer, and I think Graham actually went on to play it profesionally.

Bob was the main reason that I decided to go to Oxley State High School instead of Inala High or Richlands. That decision changed my life.

The schools in Inala were rough. As a result, most kids under achieved. I went to primary school at Serviceton South in Inala. I found it very difficult since I was younger than most kids in my class, and smarter than most of them. So in their jealousy they made life tough for me.

So Oxley High was a big step up for me.

I ended up being School Captian of Oxley High, and am very grateful that I did well academically, eventually being able to get into Uni.

It was at Oxley High that I eventually ended up getting mixed up in the church, which in a way was a good thing, because it’s how I got to meet my lovely wife, Liz.

So Bob, I owe you a hell of a lot, mate. You changed my life, and neither of us realized it at the time.

I am so glad I met both Robert and Bob, and I very much regret not keeping in touch with either of them.

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