Thursday, 5 August 2010

my old man

this was the only photo of my dad that i could find just quickly and while it's an odd one in a way it fits pretty well.....
thats dad with the rumpled hair and liam, who he taught to play, on his left (some unidentified bald guy between them)
dad is seventy today (happy birthday!!) and we dont do birthdays in grand style, which is a good and a bad thing but anyway, i thought it was a good time to tell you a bit about the old man.
dad spent his working life as a technician working in telephone exchanges, first for the PMG, staying through corporate identity changes to telecom and telstra. telephone exchanges are those strange big brick buildings with few windows. they seem secretive because they contain relatively few people, being full of equipment. nobody seems to come or go from them too much and nobody knows what happens inside. i'm here to tell you it's lots of technical electrical stuff, lino floors and noticeboards full of jokes and safety bulletins.
i have a vague picture of what dad did all those years but of course his work was his place and i can only imagine what it was really like.
i do know that dad's workmates would have been subjected to his dad jokes, only there they would have been "john jokes". i would think that my own workmates would probably regard my jokes with a kind of pained affection similar to what dad would have been given.
i know, too, that they would have heard him hypothesise and philosophise ( i suppose thats where i got it)
they would have known his measured responses and they would certainly have known his love of music, brass band music, in particular.
dad has played cornet for most of his years, he has taught and he has played with various bands, he has played the calls at anzac services, he has played at funerals where a little music made a lonely end a little warmer.
banding is dads great love and he has given wholeheartedly to the bands he plays with, always present and punctual, uniformed and rehearsed.
oftentimes i was embarassed by dads intense interest in folks' ethnic backgrounds and squeamish about him making generalisations based on heritage but if you can't beat it, you join it and dad's continual interest has rubbed off onto me. my interest extends to food in particular and i am always secretly pleased if i manage to impress somebody with my knowledge of their food and/or culture.
oh yes, dad "blessed" me with eccentricity, with his bone structure, with his humour and with a need to see the english language well used. (actually i got the double whammy on that)
he also taught us to appreciate music and not to feel intimidated by a serious concert at a serious venue, he taught us to be reliable team members and to look for the oddities and ironies in life.
i could go on but i am nearing the end of my cohesive thought (i wont try to examine the origin of a short attention span!)
so, dad
(but no thanks:)
happy birthday!!


  1. He sounds like a lovely dad to me. He's obviously passed on all his varied interests to you - apart from the functioning of telephone exchanges, which probably is not essential....

  2. Not sure about the eccentricity or the bone structure, but your Dad has certainly blessed you with an ability to use the English language. The picture set me thinking of a Yorkshire brass band, it could have been taken down the road in Brighouse,

  3. nick,
    well, i'm glad someone knows how to make the phones woork!

    torkshire bands are legendary so that puts you in Gods own country!

  4. Aww happy birthday, he instilled some wise principles there. You're lucky to have him around. Imiss my old man like a limb!

  5. Both my mom and dad worked for the phone company.

    Happy B-Day!

  6. How wierd an experience it is to se a potted biog of oneself through the eyes of a daughter. For better or worse it's fairly accurate.

    Yes I do love the brass music and have actually several Yorkshire bands live in Sydney ie Black Dyke, YBS ,Grimethorpe as well as in the time in England.

    I still have a favourite CD Hymns and Marches with Brighouse. Have been in the Albert for a contest too. Lots of stuff about bands and my own experience.

  7. Anonymous = John above.
    Tagging myself as anonymous purely accidental

  8. so that's ole john, eh??????????

  9. lovely to read about your father. I hope he had a great birthday.

  10. Happy birthday, John. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did.

  11. Maybe you father is onto to something about the meaning of varying backgrounds. Given his "intense interest," I would think there's more going on here than prejudice, because prejudice people think they already know everything they need to know.

  12. hi snow, i was just reading your hitler post!

  13. "i was just reading your hitler post!"

    But was too awed to comment--wow!

  14. actually, my statement here was just in surprise that we were on each others blogs at the same time.

    commenting on yours was going to wait until i could give you a focussed response

  15. hi jo!

    hi megan!

    hi bob!
    what did they do?

    hi baino!

    hi putz! thats him!

    thanks all of you for sending birthday wishes and thanks for your kind words about the post

  16. Mom was an operator... dad was an installer


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