I suppose this little tale should be dedicated to my son and heir Patrick, because it is all about the woman responsible for giving him life during October 1975.
It was early 1971 and I was doing it real tough. One of the most intense females ever to come into my life had made it clear that our relationship simply had nowhere to go and this was something I had to realise and accept. For months I had tried everything to persuade her to do the right thing and for her to live up to her many promises that were made about our relationship and our future. Alas, it all came to nought and I was deeply hurt and shattered. Time, however can smooth things over and for the last 3 weeks there was an improvement in my depressed state of mind. The first signs of putting it all behind me were beginning to make themselves known...........and then in stepped fate.
|Where we first met.|
I was currently employed at an engineering power transmission distributor and cast iron pulley manufacturer in Alexandria Sydney. My job was to run the power transmission sales side of the business flogging reduction units and the like.
|Cast iron Foundry.|
|Cast Iron Vee Pulleys.|
Our company Secretary Ken had been kept pretty busy with all of the interviews he had to conduct and one afternoon I noticed a more than just mildly attractive female with all of her lumps and bumps in the right places, about to leave his office. Her interview had just ended and after saying her farewells she headed for the exit. I snapped to attention and went after her in a flash. I watched her shapely body as it descended the front steps and then disappeared out onto the street.
Returning to the office I asked Ken,"You are going to hire her aren't you Ken?"
Ken answered, "To be honest, she's the best candidate I've had so far."
Two weeks later I had been so busy, the No.1 candidate never had entered my mind, until our cute little Kiwi Denise entered my office wanting to know if I had met the new girl. After answering in the negative, I popped into the main office to check her out. Well I'll be damned, it was the hottie from a fortnight earlier. I was introduced to her by Denise and when I said nothing for a moment and she noticed my eyes bulging from their sockets, our pretty little Kiwi kicked me in the shin and whispered, "Stop it."
I couldn't help it, as I had always been told I had marvellous powers of observation and in this case they served me well. The new girl's name was Gabrielle, but she had a preference for just Gabi. It wasn't my fault that Gabi had been blessed with well rounded, not so small breasts and it certainly wasn't my fault that the top 4 button holes on her well filled blouse were worn and refused to hold the buttons in place. I was about to comment on how nice her bra looked, but Denise's well placed kick put an end to that. If she had waited a few seconds longer, she could have stood on my tongue.
Shortly afterwards one of the Harvey brothers, who happened to be the factory Manager asked me if I had met the new girl as well. I told him yes and he enquired had I noticed that she was a very big girl up front. I had no choice but to agree with him as I was still managing to dribble on the work sheets I had been preparing. Three times Gabi delivered these job sheets to the factory and was given a rousing cheer by the machinists who obviously appreciated quality.
10:00 am. and time for morning tea or coffee. Gabi obviously was hoping to impress the boss so she made the coffee and presented company Secretary Ken and little old me with a cup each. I carried on working whilst downing my coffee, as did Ken.
"Gabi," he called out, "That would have to be the best cup of coffee I've had all year, Any chance of another one?"
"Certainly Mr Swadling," Gabi replied, ever so sweetly in a lilting voice and reached over and took Ken's cup from him. As she was standing directly outside my office I very politely asked her, "Me too?"
Up until this point in time the only word spoken by her to me came after our initial introduction and that was a terse and muttered, "Morning."
You can always tell that someone may be keen on you, when they say nice things about you and treat you with respect. Our new darling of the office gave me a quick sideways glance and answered,"Bite your bum." Ah! isn't love grand.
Ern the factory manager entered my office during the lunch break, at first to enquire what all the squealing from the girls was all about. It turned out to be either a small mouse or cockroach had scuttled through the girls lunchroom while they all had the nose bag on. Obviously a female thrillseeker, Gabi got down on all fours and stuck her head inside the cupboard under the sink in an attempt to capture the intruder, whatever it was.
"Oh good Lord above," said Ern, "there's a sight for sore aching eyes."
The two of us simply stood there in front of my office staring intently through the open door of the ladies lunch room at what was truly a breathtaking sight. Don't you just love and admire women who act first and worry about the consequences later. Gabi obviously was one of them.........
|"Where are you little mousie?"|
During Friday at weeks end, even Ern the boss was urging me to ask Gabi out. I finished work at 5:00pm, while Gabi was off at 4:30. She said goodnight to everyone and left the office. Ken was frantically giving me signals to go after her and the beautiful Denise grabbed hold of me and started dragging me out of my office. I ran down the front steps and called out to Gabi who was around 15 metres down the street. I asked would she like to join me at the Annandale hotel for a couple of quiet drinks, she answered, "You bet, I'd love a beer." She returned with me back inside the office to await 5;00pm. We were greeted with many knowing looks and all the wink wink say no more's. Ken told me to rack off early and as the two of us left, I noticed all the thumbs up from some and a few whispered comments were heard from the others.
Friday night was drinks at the Annandale with several of my friends from my former place of employment. They had also been extremely concerned about my inability to cope with my shattered relationship and weren't they gob smacked and delighted to see me arrive with a full on top sort. Gabi and I entered the Saloon Bar where all the serious drinking took place and where I used to perform the odd country and rock ballad from time to time.
Gabi had made a big impression on all and sundry and she obviously enjoyed a cold beer, because after she devoured her middy of New in under a minute she turned to me and said,"Make the next one a schooner," then followed that up by telling me,"Make it an Old."
I put away 13 schooners that session and Gabi, not to be outdone polished off 12 schooners and a middy. Everyone in the Saloon loved her, including Marge the barmaid, at least I think her name was Marge.
|Meet the Missus.|
Arriving at Gabi's house, she refused to let me drive any further and insisted I needed several cups of tea forced into me. I was concerned what her mother was going to think of her daughter bringing home a steaming wreck and what her opinion was going to be of the steaming wreck itself. I was told "Dont worry about it, Mum's a barmaid, she's used to drunks."
I never got to meet Mum that evening, She was visiting Gabi's older sister Margaret in Blacktown and wouldn't be home until Sunday evening. At least two whole pots of tea were poured into me until I was completely bloated. I was then stripped and half carried to the main bedroom and unceremoniously dumped into a single bed. In my semi concious state I could still hear what sounded like a shower or bath running and I recall someone wearing a pink nightie tucking me in. At least I think it was someone in a nightie, I could have been dreaming. I crashed and if you want to know what happened next, you'll have to ask Gabi, I slept through it all.
Woke up in the morning and discovered Gabi had been replaced by a seal point siamese pussy cat that was rolled up into a ball hard up against my arse. When Gabi reappeared with breakfast I was informed puss' name was Nasser. He was next doors cat but had adopted Gabi as his surrogate mum. Much, much later, I too was accepted as a worthwhile companion when he started sleeping with Gab and I on a regular basis, mainly between my legs on hot and humid summer nights.
The Green Jade was Gabi's favourite chinese restaurant and after my first visit it became mine as well. The food had to be tasted to understand how good it was. It was quite common for the two of us to polish off up to eight courses plus rice and all for under 10 dollars the lot. We are talking 1971 here. I had no idea how to use chopsticks, but was forced to become highly proficient at using them very quickly, before garbage guts Gab knocked off everything in sight.
On those Friday nights after work when we did not invade Dixon Street, it was the odd cleansing lager in the lounge of the Banksia Hotel and a large bowl of Chicken Won Ton soup at Chang's cafe at Rockdale.
Chang himself must have thought we were a bit weird as we only ever ordered the soup and nothing else. On the one occasion that we did, it was a big disappointment. For some unknown reason his Won Ton soup was sensational however. Even after we married we continued with this Friday night tradition.
|Chang's one and only Specialty.|
Another new experience for me was my first visit to the Pizza Hut in Beverly Hills. The aroma of oregano hit you straight between the eyes when you entered the establishment. My favourite was Sausage, Onion and Pepperoni. Back then the only crust was thin and crispy and boy wasn't it good? The two of us would wash down a large and small pizza with 2 or 3 beers each.
Gabi's Mum Holly and her friend Patricia were taken there one evening and absolutely loved it. The guy at the till when totting up the bill nearly had a cow when he noticed the number of beers we had downed. I've never forgotten the amazed look on his face, "Is that right, 24 beers?" We confirmed the count. All four of us were partial to the odd drop every now and then.
Twas on a Sunday morning I met Gabi's Mum Holly for the first time. Oh my God, she was the barmaid from the Banksia Hotel Saloon Bar. She was certain she knew me from somewhere and when I told her I used to have the odd lunchtime drink with the Pye Industries boys are few years back, the penny dropped. This first official meeting appeared as though it was a big success as it seemed I had been given Mum's seal of approval.
I was being escorted all over the city by this wonderful and witty female, being introduced to her relatives and friends and loving every minute of it. There were many visits to the wild west out at Blacktown to spend time with Margaret and her kids.
|From left to right rear..... David, Dennis and Margaret, Cathy, Peter and Sue Hinwood, Bruce, Gabi. Front.....Margo, Stephen, Tony, Shauna, Holly........Frightening, isn't it? |
|Margo and Alan's Carly with hubby Ben and the latest addition, Annelise Frances Reid.|
|Former rug rat, now a Granny. A beaming Margo with Annelise.|
You could say, it's Granny with Annie Frannie.
|Well done Carly and Ben.|
|A few years down the track maybe? |
No mucking around with Carly and Ben. Before we all knew it.....Bingo, Number 2 puts in an appearence.
|Ben, Annelise, Carly with Alexander|
Not to be outdone, Shauna and Adrian's Sarah and her partner Tia have added one more to the family, namely Carter.
If this keeps up I will have to start a babies only blog.
Sarah with Carter.
|Not a happy camper our Gab.|
|The four monkeys of the Apocalypse.|
Gabi for many years, was an active member of the Rockdale CYO and along with many of her friends she enjoyed participating in many of its social activities. She went on many picnics and trips away with the guys and gals and loved performing in the musical stage productions they used to produce. OK so, she was a ham. One of her favourite spots was the extremely picturesque beach and surrounds at Wattamolla in the Royal National Park.
|If you've got it, flaunt it.|
I also heard a story that related to a visit to a Gold Coast Hotel. Eventually, what occurred was later on confirmed as fact by the girl herself.
The hotel swimming pool and its surrounds were packed with members of the CYO and other guests. Nothing out of the ordinary was happening until a shapely female body, clad in a pink bikini emerged from the ladies change room and proceeded to glide between the sunbaking males on her way to the pool.
This vision of loveliness was successfully duplicating a slow motion version of Marilyn's walk from 'Some like lt Hot,' causing tongues to unravel like roller blinds at the spectacle unfolding before them. She literally flowed like honey, causing temperatures to rise rapidly and was responsible for many a beach towel being required by the guys to hide their uncontrollable afflictions. The heavenly apparition took what seemed like ages to reach the pool and began preparations for a dive from the 3 metre board. Every single one of her awe struck audience held their hot and humid breaths as the springboard propelled her upwards. Although not a trained diver, she performed what was a graceful Swan dive, at least in its early stages before it all fell apart. She entered the water far from vertical and the anticipated bubble entry simply did not occur, it was more like what would happen if you dropped a fully laden fridge from the roadway of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
For the next few seconds you could hear a pin drop, but when she surfaced, the whole Hotel erupted and she was given a standing ovation by all the drooling males. For several or more seconds she could not understand the reason for the cheering, until it became obvious. It was another 15 minutes before the girl I was to fall madly in love with was able to leave the pool. It took her that long to locate a certain pink something that had gone missing at the completion of her dive..........
|The Rockdale CYO Members Reunion at Del Robin Lakemba|
One of Gabi's loves was music and singing and along with Bruce, Peter and Malcolm she was part of a quartet known as The Occasional Four (Oh Dear). They would perform at many of the Talent Quests that were common at the time and met with some success. Back then it did seem that all a contestant had to do was to sing a rousing performance of the Holy City to claim the prize. They appeared on Channel 10's New Faces and were runners up, not a bad effort actually. They also performed at a huge Catholic Church Talent Show at the Sydney Town Hall that was attended by the current Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Sir Norman Thomas Gilroy KBE.
|The magnificent Sydney Town Hall Organ.|
The group was on the verge of signing a contract with one of the Sydney Leagues Clubs, when Gab left to join a rock band as back up singer and tambourine player. All were disappointed, but the close bond and friendships remained unaffected.
Shortly after the two of us were married, young Malcolm, the group's guitarist, was tragically killed in a motor bike accident along Henry Lawson Drive. Gabi was shattered and sadly commented how all of a sudden she felt so very much older. Years later Peter succumbed to an immune deficiency ailment and sadly passed away before his time.
Finally it came my turn to do the escorting, so when the surfing season got underway and I was required to do beach patrols, it was off to Avalon. Gabi and I had only been dating for not much more than 2 to 3 months when I popped the question. This girl had never been a part of my past, but I most certainly wanted her to be a part of my future. It wasn't until December '71 when we officially made it public. Holly's reaction was, "I was certain this was where it was all going to end up." She approved. "I'm not losing another daughter, I'm gaining another son," was how she summed it up.
Gabi's first trip to Avalon was almost monumental. She got to meet many of my mates and others, along with some of the former female mischief makers, who had been such a fun part of my past life. The highlight of her visit was her encounter with Douglas Gordon Wells affectionally known as Kegs. Kegs quite often was sent to Coventry by many of the women and girls, but became completely besotted with Gab when she reacted favourably to a nasty habit he had.
What occurred has been described totally in another one of my blogs, namely Douglas Gordon Wells
|Extremely short beach dress.|
Gabi did not want me to take a hiatus from the Surf Club. She was looking forward to becoming a regular visitor to the club and beach, but for some feeble reason I believed my ties with the club had to be cut to enable our marriage to get off the ground. I knew precisely how old habits can cause one to lose perspective and I truly believed that Gabi was more important to me than my beloved club. The past 13 years had been an absolute blast, but what I wanted was at least another 60 years with my attractive, intelligent and witty partner by my side.
Bob and Christine were an exceptionally good looking young couple who had married early in life. Gabi hit it off with Chris and when we were invited to a house warming at North Avalon, I imagined this could be the start of a new and lasting friendship. Chris loved her pets. There were white mice, goldfish, a duck, a tortoise in the bathtub that scared the living bejeezus out of Joy Eves when using the toot, a ferret, the mandatory dog and cat and the star of the household, Aristotle the Galah. None of the other girls could believe that Gabi was allowing the mice to run through her hair and take up residency inside her bra. She was quite at ease and the meece would most certainly have been lovely and warm inside the well filled cup.
In retrospect there were several things I could have and should have done, but unfortunately did not. The main thing is however, as I bang away on this cyber nightmare, it has been 40 years since we tied the knot and although at times it has been a lively relationship, we remain good company for one another.
All the arrangements for the big day were complete. The church, the priest and the reception room were all locked in. We had a booking well in advance at the Le Sands restaurant in Brighton Le Sands.
|Le Sands Brasserie today.|
Two weeks before our wedding breakfast, the local newspaper had a several page spread advertising the Grand Opening of this brand new complex and how it was now under new ownership. Driving past in my car one week before the nuptials etc. I noticed a huge banner spread the length of the building, stating the opening was to take place on the same night as our reception, in the room we had booked for the wedding breakfast. On the Wednesday three days before D day, Gabi, Holly and I visited the restaurant and spent over one hour arguing with the Manager.
All we were offered was a full refund of our deposit as they insisted their Gala Opening would be going ahead regardless. The Le Sands consisted of two separate restaurants with a smaller Bistro in the middle called 'The Don Quixote Room.' Management offered us the not quite finished restaurant on the northern side of the bistro. The decor was all pinkish with flowers, goblins and fairies that was not suitable, as Gabi had designed her dress and the bridesmaids clobber along Spanish lines to match the restaurant on the southern side. All of our complaints and arguments were taking place in the bistro which most certainly was very Spanish in decor. A quick count of the seating revealed it was capable of seating 100 guests. Our invited number was 88, so when Gabi suggested, "Why not here?"I couldn't agree more. A compromise deal was done and oh boy, didn't the Manager breath a sigh of relief. For that matter, so did we.
|St. Joseph's Rockdale.|
Fifteen minutes she was kept waiting at the altar, while the hunt for the hidden book was underway. Our singer Peter Hinwood entered, he was wondering what's going on? He flew over to the main office and located the key to the drawer and bingo, we had the book at last.
The nervous groom and the best man along with the priest entered the church and took up positions alongside the bride and her entourage. Matron of Honour Lesley was becoming concerned at the delay as she was breastfeeding at the time and had sprung a leak....oops! Our gorgeous little 9 year old flower girl Margo was becoming extremely bored and was beginning to fidget. The lay down dead gorgeous bride's face resembled an upside down smiley and she whispered through her teeth,"Where the bloody Hell have you lot been? Someone's going to get a smack in the teeth over this." Father Gallen opened the wedding book, glanced at the lovely apparition that was about to become my loving partner for life and simply said,"You haven't changed Lannen, still a bitch." I began to wonder what I may be letting myself in for when the big question was asked, "Do you Trevor Robert Fuller take Gabrielle Mary Lannen to be your lawful wedded wife and so on and so forth.?" I answered, "I do."
Father Gallen hesitated for a moment, looked me in the eye and asked,"Are you sure?"
The vows were complete and we were now a married couple. What followed was one of the best wedding receptions I have ever attended. With all the controversy relating to the booking etc. behind us, the management and staff bent over backwards to ensure everything went off smooth as clockwork. The Manager himself was at the entrance greeting the guests as they arrived. The bridal table looked spectacular with its mediaeval settings that featured pewter and copper drinking goblets and jugs etc. A beautifully bound gift pack from Le Sands that doubled as a thank you present, complete with a bottle of Bollinger was on the bridal table as well. We were given access to the Spanish themed restaurant next door for dancing and the band was included gratis. An air conditioned sitting room away from the main restaurant could be used as a change room, come time for us to leave. Complimentary bottles of champers kept on appearing all around the room and the food was served hot, on time and was absolutely delicious. They even introduced a free bar for a limited period of time. It was completely and utterly sensational.
We found out weeks later that another couple known to some of our guests had an identical problem with what had become a double booking. They refused to compromise and threatened to sue. They ended up winning and their reception went ahead, but on this occasion it turned out a disaster. The service evidently was crap and the food served cold and half cooked. Weren't we wise and lucky?
One of the highlights was when flower girl Margo mistook the champers for lemonade and got more than just tipsy......Drew Barrymore, eat your heart out.
|Le Sands Restaurant. Brighton Le Sands.|
They were completely oblivious to all that was going on around them. We completed our clothing change, told them to carry on with the horizontal folk dancing and returned to our bistro. Talk about cool, they never stopped once and didn't even bat an eyelid.
The reception was followed by two evenings at the Four Seas Hotel in Redfern. Being well brought up folk our first hour was spent on our hands and knees picking up confetti from on and within the thick shag pile carpet.
For the wedding night, Holly and Margaret had presented Gabi with a specially designed nightie. I was surprised they weren't arrested when leaving the store with it.
"I'm not too sure if I'm game enough to wear it," she said.
"It can't be that bad surely,"I replied.
She disappeared for a while then returned with it on.........Whoa!
"This is downright obscene," she said.
I managed to exclaim, "Bloody hell ! You're not wrong, it's absolutely fantastic!" Even on their wedding night, not too many grooms have their bride enter the bedroom, partially gift wrapped in lacy ribbons. Whew!! Anyone for pole vaulting?
It somehow covered every part of her shapely body without hiding a single solitary thing......Double Whoa!! If a photo of the nightie itself appeared here, I would be charged with having pornographic material on my website, but the one below has the same halter neck and strap construction and is quite similar in design, although quite truthfully, it is actually way more modest than the original.
During her modelling of this said same garment, she couldn't help getting the giggles, which started her shaking. I found it utterly amazing how so many different parts of her well formed and supple body could bounce, wobble and move in so many different directions all at the same time......Triple Whoa!!! When a young Asian staff member delivered our ordered supper and caught a glimpse of Gab, he dropped his drinks tray then completely missed the door opening on his way out, any wonder.
The Hotel's restaurant happened to be the legendary Taiping and needless to say the chinese cuisine was given quite a nudge at breakfast and at lunch the following day. I asked Gab would she be wearing the nightie to breakfast, but she declined.....Chicken.
Later on during the day after the wedding etc. Gab and I were both feeling woosey. Whether it was the after effects of the previous nights partying and what followed, or simply tiredness or nervousness, God only knows. We went for a Sunday afternoon drive and at 3:30 pm. paid an unexpected visit on Bruce and Robyn, who still happened to be in bed. "What are you doing still in bed at this time of the day?" asked Gabi. "What you should still be doing back at the Hotel," answered Bruce, "Piss off." We only stayed long enough for a quick coffee and it was back to the Pub by taxi after leaving the car at my parents place in Blakehurst. The woosiness prevailed and we even gave the Taiping a big miss at dinnertime. We both had an early night as our plane was due to leave at 7:40 am. and we were expected at the airport no later than 6:30 am. We made it on time.
After arriving at Townsville in our Douglas DC-9, I noticed a six seater, twin engined plane near where we were waiting for further instructions. Oil was dripping from one of the engines and I laughed out loud when I discovered it belonged to Bush Pilots Airways. Even Gabi was amused, "My God, fancy having to fly anywhere with them," she commented. Guess what? Thirty minutes later we were on board that very same plane and off to Dunk after both of us had recited the Lords Prayer. The trip's highlight was looking out the side window watching the oil dripping from the engine cover and watching a couple of self tapping screws slowly but surely unwinding themselves for the whole of the journey. We lost those two self tappers, but arrived on Dunk all in one piece.
All we needed evidently was a decent light meal. We ordered a small salad for lunch at Dunk's restaurant and nearly fell over when it was served.
It was huge and contained several tropical fruits, prawns and some sailfish. We devoured the lot and put an end to the persistent woosiness that had been plaguing us since arriving at the Four Seas.............. Paradise at long last.
|Sydney to Townsville.|
|Townsville to Dunk. "Our Father who art in Heaven........"|
|Dunk Isle International Airport. "We made it...Hallelujah!!!"|
All this preceded two weeks of doing what newly weds do when honeymooning on such places as Dunk Isle. All that of course, may become a story in itself one day in the not too distant future.
After the honeymoon it was back to earth with a dull thud. As I have mentioned previously, our lives together have been eventful, to say the least and maybe there will be a tale or two to tell at some stage, but for now I will end this by stating that on October 20th. 1975 we both became proud parents when Gabi gave birth to Patrick Michael Fuller in the St, George Hospital at Kogarah. All these years later, Mother and Son are still doing fine.
Some of the places that have kept us sheltered from the elements throughout the decades.
|379 Bayway Village Fern Bay|
|The Bayway Village Pool|
Written by...................... Trevor Fuller
Technical Consultant........ Gabi Fuller