Mom made seven (7) trips to Australia to visit my brother, Mike & his family! She was 65 when she first flew down, 85 when she last flew back. It was Mom’s 2nd home, filled with people & places she loved.
At “Nan’s” request, Advance Australia Fair was part of the prelude music to her 2001 memorial celebration.
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 23:58:38 EDT
As I was writing about Williamsburg, my thoughts kept turning to the capital of Australia, Canberra. (Whenever he saw my notes, John would joke that I was misspelling cranbury. That John, he is a cheeky one.)
Kerry and Mike took myself and the kids to Canberra to visit Barry & Christine Ridgeway (Gretchen, I believe she is a relative of Ruth’s) and to show off their capital.
It is impossible to describe Canberra, which did not even exist at the beginning of the century. I was surprised to find out that it was designed by an American. It has a beautiful location. Unlike Sydney, Canberra is surrounded on all sides by land, land and more land. It somehow feels like it was carved out of nature. Magical. Like Sydney, it has a unique energy and, like Sydney, Canberra is unlike any other place on earth.
The architecture ranges from very, very modern Government House to the Williamsburg-inspired US Embassy. It is fitting to have Williamsburg’s Georgian style as an embassy, since late colonial Wiliamsburg and early colonial Australia were contemporaries.
Mike had picked up three loaves of sourdough bread back in Sydney – one for the ambassador, one for his secretary, and one for us to nibble on the way. We had the honor of meeting the ambassador and his wife. I do not remember his name, but her first name was Elkin – very unusual. This was during Jimmy Carter’s presidency and as I recall the ambassador was a southerner and you know how those southerners can make you feel pretty special.
We had a wonderful time. At night, Mike and Kerry would go off for a quiet dinner on their own while I kept an eye on Scott and Karen. After they got home, it was my turn to go out to dinner. By that time, I was ready for a little piece and quiet and did not feel the bit ill used by eating by myself. The silence was golden.
Silence brings to mind the Hall of Memory – the war memorial – which is what I remember best of all. To stand in that graced place that honored those who fell in Australia’s wars – there was a feeling of awe unlike anything I had felt before or since.. I felt close to the other world and the tears came. Everyone there was silent.
Love to you all from a suddenly hushed KRL.
With special thoughts and love to Carolyn, who loves Canberra – Grandma L.