Good Afternoon from a sweltering Summer’s day here in Australia. It is Lois once again putting fingers to the keyboard and about to let loose with another blog post. So grab a drink, nestle into your chair and let your mind flow over the words that will flow forth. .
Just to let you know Miss Scarlett is well, but I have gently requested she take some time to simply relax, enjoy listening to some music and let her body recover after a rather dramatic and hectic two weeks, that has seen her discover snakes can live within brick walls, go into battle, conquer the snake and as she is slightly battle weary….I gently nudged her to put her feet up.
When Scarlett dropped the hint that I sit down in front of her laptop, I must admit I was tickled pink, slightly shocked and amazed. Like you, I wait feverishly for her blog to be delivered and with bated breath I joyfully open up the link and wait to see what magic unfolds from Scarlett’s wicked sense of humour and thoughts. So, it is with much gratitude I sit here and be allowed to let loose with a bit of “Lois Logic.”
So while Scarlett sits beside me listening to some music, my four legged mate, Mr. Billy lays under the table hoping The Man of the House is unaware he is in the house and gently gives Scarlett’s foot a lick, I have been thinking about what to write. All sorts of things came roaring through the brain, let’s talk about life, sex, marriage, family or who is going to be in control of our state government in the next few weeks after the rather dramatic announcement we are about to about to go the Polls once again. However that all got shoved out the door and I decided to write about me….”Who is Lois?”
Good question….because that is a journey I have been on for the past few years discovering who I really am, what I want out of the remainder of my life and where I have come from to get to this point.
Back in October 1963, I decided I had enough being incubated in the nice warm oven of my Mother, and announced my arrival 8 weeks early with a nice swift kick to my Mother’s stomach, she informs me this was the one and only time I actually moved the entire time I was incubating and set about inviting myself into the world. From what I gather total mayhem erupted.
My grandparents who my parents resided with at the time, informed her she was NOT in labour and informed her she should instead have a nice bath…while my Mother clenched with all her might to the kitchen table yelling “It’s bloody coming”. Meanwhile, my Father was with my oldest brother installing the new letterbox over at our newly built home located over an hour’s drive away and as we didn’t have a phone installed, a message was given to the Police to tell my Father to haul his rear end home pronto!
He arrived just in time to throw my Mum into Granddad’s Morris Minor and become a Formula One driver as he raced through the streets of Auckland, New Zealand to watch me in his words “zoom out like I was on a Motorbike.” In my Mother’s words….”I looked like a Maori Princess”. All 5lb 3oz of black curly hair, with violet eyes and a determination to beat the odds.
I never looked back and braced life with both hands but not without a few health problems along the way. I was born with several holes in my heart and became the first baby under the age of one to have some radical heart surgery which required a whiz bang Doctor who had freshly discovered some amazing approach to jump on a plane from England, fly around the world and save me.
I would defy those odds again exactly 30 years later, when it was discovered a tumour that covered my entire left side of my body had taken over and I became the only woman to survive the surgery in Australia….a record my darling daughter discovered one day in her University class when they brought out my notes to be read over….I am known as Subject X. lol.
I spent until I was 20 years of age under various cardiologist care with the words that would make me show the medical profession that they can be wrong….”You will never ever have any children” being uttered to me non stop. One thing “Lois” likes is a challenge!
Four years after my birth, my baby brother arrived after my Father’s washing in Agent Orange while he was deployed in Vietnam. IF my parents had been under the illusion that I was going to be the only one in the family who keep them on their toes medically…then they were fatally wrong. My Red haired brother who had the most gorgeous creamy skin and smelt like freshly cooked doughnuts arrived one Winter’s day and brought a whole new game change.
This little bundle of humanity who we lovingly called “Doughnut” arrived with only one arm, his other arm was merged into a long “flipper”, profoundly deaf, partially blind in one eye and so many health issues I could fill numerous pages and never be complete.,
My family spent the first five years of his life in and out of hospital non stop…as he battled to live, So many times, he rose above all expectations from the Doctors and showed everyone who ever met him…..DO NOT GIVE UP! With my Mother’s determination, he learnt to walk at the age of three, he spoke for the first time when he was five. and had the mental age of a 14-16 year old at the age of 30 years when he passed away……6 months after the doctors told us he had less than a month to live after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was “everything” to us. He taught us so much, how to be accepting of others, be courageous, determined and fight with the heart of a Lion.
Growing up with my Brothers as we moved around the country side with my father’s Army Career was one of adventure. When my Dad would come home from a deployment or lengthy absences playing soldiers, while other children’s fathers would pack them into the car and take them off to the nearest “hotel with a pool”. My Father would pack the car with a rifle, a tent, skinning knife and off we would traipse to the bush for a bit of “fun” roughing it in the wilderness of the mountains of the South Island, while My Mother dreamed of a “Hotel with a pool”.
Many memories are invoked with the wild storms we endured as we watched our “living quarters” ….normally a piece of flimsy tarpaulin thrown over a branch and tied down would be wrenched clear and go floating off into the sky never to be seen again, as us three kids cried while My parents slept blissfully in the back of the station wagon. The endless trekking through scrub looking for “lunch or dinner” that my dad would catch and kill before coming back to the camp site and wonder why My Mother would be still dreaming of “the hotel with the pool”.
When I think of my childhood, this comes to mind:- Fresh baked bread from my Mother’s oven. My Grandmother’s soft tender skin and discovering my teeth were supposed to be in my mouth and NOT in a glass at the end of the night. Sharing a pot of tea with my Granddad while he sang to me in French. Sitting on the back steps with my Brothers and Cousins enjoying afternoon tea my grandmother lovingly made for us. Riding in helicopters, Armoured Personnel Carriers, Jeeps, Bedford trucks, Fire Engines and playing in the snow with my Brothers wearing my beloved red gumboots.
Fast forward the years, My father had left the Army, bringing with it explosions of temper, frustration, a new word in my life P.T.S.D and sorrow in many forms and shapes. I will not dwell on that time but suffice to say the things that happened caused a radical change to who I was. Both my grandparents had passed away and left a gaping hole in my heart and life. I was now caring for my young niece on a daily basis and I was employed by the Government, trying to do as little typing (my profession) as possible and thinking there must be more to life than this.
Then one day, the phone rung.
I had just turned 20 years old and on the end of the phone was my salvation. I had met this gorgeous Greek girl via a pen friend organisation when we were both 13. She and I had no idea that with that first “hello” she would become so entwined in my life and change the path of my life. She spoke these words….”Get your passport, grab a ticket and haul your arse over to Australia….I need to meet you at long last”.
The first time I saw Australia as the plane prepared to land at Sydney International Airport, ironically gave me my first view of the Apartment I would live in as a Newly Wed three years later. I watched the blue ocean become a long stretch of white beach with people enjoying the heat of the late November day, Cars bustled along The Grand Parade heading to destinations unknown and this amazing feeling came over me….”I was “home”. I left 6 weeks later adamant that I would return for good one day.
Several trips later, another phone call to the Greek Goddess seeking some much needed solace to nurse a broken heart after I caught my boyfriend enjoying some afternoon delight with my best friend at his place. I hopped on the plane and had no idea that my destiny was waiting for me wearing a pair of light lemon coloured shorts, white tennis shoes and a golden tan.
That day has burnt its story into my heart, soul and body. I woke that morning, wandered out to the long winding balcony of my apartment looking out to the Sydney Harbour, thinking to myself, “WHY do I feel so damn excited?” I tried to convince myself it because I was finally getting to be hugged by the beautiful Greek Goddess and her own Greek Adonis but rationally knew, I had never had butterflies racing through my stomach on any other trip like this. To the point I wanted to be physically sick. The train trip out to her abode was delightful but those damn butterflies were rapidly mass producing themselves and I could hardly sit still. The excitement was almost overwhelming and almost threw myself out of the train as it came to the station, leaving my parents who had travelled with me behind to stroll down the street to Greek Mecca…
THEN….I did something I have never ever done in my life willingly….I ran like hell to her house and came to a screeching stop beside her letterbox and stood mesmerized by the vision before me. He was casually bent face forward over a white car washing it.
My eyes travelled up from the feet enclosed in clean white tennis shoes, up the long length of golden skinned leg, over up the lemon shorts that showed off a rather nicely shaped rear end that slightly swayed with the movements as he washed his car, to the fine set of shoulders and the most glorious head of luscious red curls that glistened with shots of blonde, white and gold.
I fell instantly in love and my first thought was “I am going to marry you!”
As he turned around, I remember doing the “travelling show” up from his feet to his face and all I knew was, I had to be with him,
There was NEVER EVER going to be another man like him for me. He was everything and I didn’t even know his name. I could have and I think I did, drown in his gorgeous emerald green eyes. He smiled at me and holy shit those butterflies went ape shit and I feel head over in heels in love and I wanted to be his forever.
THEN….I did the most funniest thing, I bolted into the house, threw myself up against the wall much to the amusement of my friend, clutching my handbag with determination, and uttering sounds that didn’t make sense. Seriously, I was like this demented idiot who gibbered and all the while I kept on hearing the song “hallelujah” being sung as trumpets blasted.
My first words I uttered to this Long Drink of Thirst Quenching Nectar was:- “How bloody dare you insinuate ALL WOMAN DRIVERS are terrible. You Chauvinistic Pig” before I flounced off with indignation, my new best friend, while he looked at me with total astonishment as My Father and The Greek Adonis burst into hysterical tears of laughter.
The poor Bugger had been told to ask me about my recent car crash where I managed to turn my brand new car into something resembling a giant can opener. He had innocently said something along the lines of “Was the accident caused because I was not watching?” All I heard was…”blah blah Dumb Woman Driver blah blah” and for all womankind I let rip with my own thoughts on the matter.
We spent the next four hours, avoiding each other like the plague had hit town while the Greeks and my parents went about match making…with much glee. We even did something I had never seen my Lovely Goddess do, we went for a walk! Of course being thrust together with a 3 year old little Greek munchkin being swung between us as she yelled out “more more more” as we secretly took fleeting glimpses of each other over the top of that mop of black curls.
Before I knew it, the time had passed and he made mention he was heading home. Oh goody, “WE” were going home together! Holy shit, I had waited four long hours to hear those words, so I got my handbag and stood up to walk out with Destiny to his car and take off to whatever life had to throw at us.
So imagine the look on my face when he went out to the car and left without me. All I kept of thinking was….”He will realise he forgot me and come back”….so with handbag in hand, I sat back down and waited………so damn long I waited, ….until it became evident he had gone and I had no idea whether I would ever see him again and I realised when he left he took my heart with him..
It was then I made the life changing decision….I would give up EVERYTHING I EVER KNEW and come to live in Australia. This was the sign and the shove I needed. So on the train trip back to the city, I told my Parents, I would return to New Zealand, pack up all my belongings, give up my job and I was moving to Australia for good. I gave myself three months to get my affairs into order.
I had made my mind up.
One month later, in the mailbox sat a letter from the Redhead and I learnt what My Name for the future would be “Mrs Redhead O’Chunky”…..that cracks me up but to disclose my real name would ruin Scarlett’s mysticism and privacy. Suffice to say….I am known as “Red’s Girl” by my Man. That lovely letter so filled with trepidation, laughter and much needed information as to WHO the drink was…began a 6 month daily arrival of letters across the seas.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention the 3 months initial date of departure was extended to 6 months because my Oldest Brother announced he was getting married and I was required to throw on a bridesmaid’s dress and watch him sign his life away. So my plans to take off were stalled for a wee while, No worries mate, it gave the chance for The Redhead to travel in a plane overseas for the first time in his life and to get to meet everyone for the first time at the Wedding and embrace him with joy and constantly ask him “Have you asked Lois to marry you” non stop!”
No, he hadn’t! No, we had never talked about it. Yes, we did know it would happen when it was right….that is all that mattered. However 3 days later after my Brother and His Bride had jumped on a plane to Hawaii, on my Brother’s birthday, in the middle of a wild storm, on a deserted beach, he got down on one knee and asked me to be His Wife. It was bliss. HE IS BLISS.
Now, here we are nearly 28 years later, the delicious red hair is fader to a gentle soft gold tinged with grey, a few extra lines on his face and still he makes my knees tremble in delight. Taking his hand that day in the church, meant no more loneliness, the wonder of what life had installed for us together, the enrichment of sharing experiences together and giving me the chance to explore, discover, toss aside and embrace parts of me that were lost along the way.
I will make mention of something that happened in the church that lovely day, 363 days after we met. The Redhead, The Minister and I are standing at the altar. The Minister gets The Redhead to pledge his allegiance to his one and only before the eyes of God. Yeap, he does with joyful tears streaming down his face.
Then comes my turn….I am for once in my life, completely struck with silence. Not a damn word will come out of me! Yeap, stone cold silence. The Minister tells me the words I am supposed to say and I duly nod my head like a demented Energiser Bunny but nothing comes out of my mouth. I realised there was only one set of words I had to say to him and it wasn’t what the Minister was saying. I turned to my Drink of Nectar and uttered these words…..
“I love you….with All My Heart, All My Soul and All My Body…..forever and a day.
Suffice to say, there were cheers all around and those are the only words that I hold firm to and still to this day, I follow and believe in.
That gorgeous man has watched over me, held my hand, rolled his eyes at times of naughty merriment while he is trying to be serious. He held my hand, protected me from the devious nature of my family when they were intent on destroying us, He shed tears when we have suffered the lost of children, He taught me that love is unconditional.
He told me never to give up when I am on my knees wondering if I could ever stand up again. Nursed me when I was diagnosed with Lupus and learnt it carries a Death threat. Sat quietly with me while I went through a Nervous Breakdown that rocked our family to its core. Grabbed my hand when financial troubles hit us and took everything away but gave us our family foundations that stand firm and solid to this day.
He is my rock. He is My Long Tall Thirst Quenching Drink.
So what has this to do with finding out about Lois?
Everything. All the journeys I have walked……. changed, defined, created, eradicated and moblised me into who I am. Without them, I would not have become the woman I am today.
As much as some of those journeys I went on, I wish like hell had never happened. There is a part of me which is grateful because it brought out my Courage, My Determination and Strength.
Like, I said earlier….”Lois likes a Challenge”.
All I can say is this:- I am a Survivor………I am a Fighter.
I am all these things:- Determined, Courageous, Intuitive, Resilient, Loved, Safe, Always looking for Knowledge. Highly complex. Passionate. Ah, Hell…..I am F….king Amazing!
So with that momentous message…I will sign off. if you ever feel like having a chat, you can find me in my garden, enjoying a nice chilled martini, while I rest my feet on the warm coat of Mr. Billy as he plays “Sleeping Guard Dog” while the clouds float above me and my favourite wind chime sings a gentle song to me.
Come on over and chat some day.
Hugs Lois xxx
P.S…..THANK YOU. It has been an honour and a privilege