Byron Bay and Melbourne, 1983 to present
Fifty years ago, myself and a good mate bid farewell to Melbourne on our big surf trip up north.
He was a journo and I had just left school and was probably on the dole. It was an old FC Holden there and back.
We were led to Byron Bay, a small coastal town that had a good wave and a few dubious pubs. Paradise perhaps. We loved the place and raved about it whenever we could.
Ten years later my parents, Bonnie and David, sold up and moved to the Bay, lived in the caravan park while they built their home. Byron was tempting but as I was newly married we decided to wait a bit and see what happened. Life happened.
While working at the Stardust Cafe in Elwood, music became our release in the hot and busy kitchen. Goanna was often on the radio. And the cafe was often frequented by musos who would put our names on the door at a late-night gig.
Bonnie and Dave (B & D) regularly sent letters, real paper ones with stamp saying how they were going, Mum was becoming one of those ladies who talked to all and sundry, mostly about her kids. Dad was the quiet one. Ex-RAAF and a farmer’s son.
He must have been feeling a bit lonely one day and dashed off a note that ended, “if you’ve got time come up”. I mentioned it to Paul one night in the kitchen at the Stardust and the next time Razor’s Edge played he loudly sang the line about getting a letter from Davey. I usually shut up for a few minutes. It was that line that cut me up a bit, it still does.
Life got in the way of Byron. The love of my life and I settled into suburban life and family raising.
I can’t be any prouder of my two sons, two great men.
We lost Paul, from the kitchen, to cancer, the world’s best hippie. Always had a story about someone or other.
Byron lost its charm, but I visited often to see my ageing parents and try to reclaim that first memory of the place.
I reckon we’ll meet on the flipside. One of Bonnie’s lines. Dad just meditated and remembered.
We lost B & D. Dad went not long after Mum, 13 days in fact. Dad needed to be with Mum I suppose. But that’s love for you. I wasn’t there to see them go and that hurts me.
Hell, I miss them.
Stereo Story #590