About an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne, along the great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most scenic spots, is a little waterside town called Lorne. Long a summer retreat for hot Melburnians, it is perched in a picturesque spot with blue waves ahead of it and temperate rainforest behind.
One day in the 1930s, a handsome young chap from a respectable farming family, Edgar, was enjoying a round of golf at Lorne with some mates. As he lined up his swing, his eye caught sight of a beautiful young lady on the fairway ahead. We’ll never know if he aimed that shot directly at her bottom or not but either way, that’s where it landed.
And so they began to court.
They spent countless hours together in Melbourne, where Betty was studying at the Royal Women’s Hospital to be a nurse.
On Saturday evenings, Edgar would accompany Betty to the Palais de Danse in St Kilda, another iconic Melbourne beachside spot, where he loved nothing better than twirling Betty around the dance floor.
As their romance blossomed, things on the other side of the world imploded and Edgar was soon sent away to war.
He flew countless airborne missions including one that went wrong and saw he and his entire crew bail out in parachutes over Italy. He had a map of Europe made of fine silk sewn into his wallet – standard military issue – to be used in the event of just this very thing. He survived. Some didn’t.
The war dragged on. He was away for 7 long years.
But Betty waited. And Edgar returned to her. And they were married.
He carried his beautiful new bride proudly back to his farm in a tiny town in Victoria’s Wimmera district; a speck on the vast map called Minyip.
Betty and Edgar were friends with another couple living in Minyip, Betty (another one – there were lots back then) and Dave.
Once, Edgar needed a new sheep dog to help him round up the sheep on his property. Dave’s kelpie had just had pups and he brought one to Minyip for Edgar. Edgar called it Dave.
When Edgar’s dog had a litter, Dave was in the market for a dog and Edgar was able to duly return the favour. Dave called it Edgar. They would laugh until tears poured down their faces when they were together and both called out to their dogs in the distance.
Friendships like these, friendships forged in isolation and hard work, are constructed of a strong material. Betty and Betty and Edgar and Dave remained friends all their lives.
As age crept up on them, Betty and Edgar decided the time had come to leave Minyip. But their sons carried on the farming tradition – one remained Minyip and the other bought a farm in the Western District of Victoria, not far from the small town of Skipton.
Betty and Edgar retired to another seaside town they both loved and spent a blissful retirement there.
When Edgar passed away in in the early 1990s, they had enjoyed over 50 years of a marriage full of love, laughter and joy.
Betty passed away in 2009. We were devastated but managed to derive some comfort from the fact that although we had lost our beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother she at last was going to be with her beloved Eddo again. We like to think that after a long kiss they most likely sat back with a cheeky glass of top-shelf whiskey and had a laugh. Then they might have enjoyed a little round of golf on a sunny course somewhere.
Yes. That’s what we like to think.
Part 2 coming soon.