Happy Birthday to Shirl the Curl!!

Well I just had an almost teary, but a life affirming experience. Mum turned 80 today, and still has the most beautiful eyes, smile, and great curly hair in the business. I had to get a birthday present for Shirley Jean Teece; but it was the number 80. It was special, and in my head it was a present that must be delivered on the day.


I had an idea that permeated my mind when I had just got out of hospital after a pacemaker operation. Recovering at Mum and Dad’s, I got hold of some of their old photos long before I was born, and after. The black and white celluloid images were so real, and bizarre at the same time. With what had left in my bank account I decided to buy a scanner, copy the photos, and give me something to do.


That is when I found this photo you see here. This is Peter Teece (around 20) and Shirley McLennan around 1958/59 on Burleigh Heads Beach. They were going out together and were married in the next 18 months. Mum and Dad worked at the Yamba Pub together, Dad born and bred at Yamba, local lad who at 18 carried the Olympic torch in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics as one of the local athletes at Yamba. Mum a girl from Nybioda, a 27-year-old five-foot two hottie from the McLennan Clan out south of Grafton. Cougars of today you got nothing; and Dad must of felt like the King.


They went to the Gold Coast for the weekend as many young couples did back then and still do today. Dad told me tonight, that back then they booked a guest room each, as they were not married! 52 years ago things were different. In the foreground you can see the box brownie, and I reckon those are pretty cool sunglasses those 2 young spunk-rats are wearing. They would go to the beach, the Surfers Beergarden, El Rancho Steakhouse, Coolangatta, etc etc. Boom times, after World War 2 Australia.


Anyway I had to get the present sorted and obviously, I got the mission on. I got the picture printed, framed it, and got it all wrapped in a 10-hour period. But as I said earlier, it was a delivered-on-the-day call in my mind. Also I broadcast I was doing just that on my morning surf report to Tim; that I was doing the picture… It was an idea. But you say something you have got to back it up.


Driving down to Mum and Dad’s place, there were a million thoughts and memories flooding through my mind. Got there, grabbed the present wrapped with care but not a hell of a lot talent. But it still looked pretty good. A purple wrapped present with white ribbons. The twinkle in Mum’s eyes as she saw the photo was worth everything. Dad was pretty chuffed too, a pretty good-looking couple I reckon. The gold was still to come.


Got to have a beer with your Dad!


So I did. It was great talking about many things, old times and new times with Mum and Dad. But at one point Dad came out with pure gold; “We’ve had some good times together your mother and I, and we are great mates”.


Wow, so cool, I am thinking, how much better does it get, because your partner is your mate, and it is one for all and all for one couple. Mum used too look after Dad and all of us, and I tell you what Dad used go and party with the best of them. Now Dad’s doing housework and cooking with Mum, something never dreamed of in their upbringing and culture. Dad still has the happy twinkle in the eye and so does Mum. I feel so proud and gifted to have most of the 2 most beautiful people as parents, and my faith in human nature is restored through their example.


Gifted and lucky I am…………