After we settled in King’s Cross there was a flurry of marriages in the Oosterman clan. My friend Bernard married a Japanese girl and went to live in Japan. I continued with the painting business on my own. One of my brothers married a girl from Russia but born in Peru, another from Polish background, my sister married a man born in Germany with just one who married an Australian. I of course married a lovely Finn. Apart from my brother who married an Aussie and has died since, we all are still married to our first love.
They were busy times all racing to get home and hearth together as well as bonnie babies. There were nappies and the smell of them. Toys on the floor. A variety of bassinettes and other bouncing contraptions that we would easily trip over. They were the years when tripping over was normal and totally safe. Of course now a fall could easily result in an ambulance racing over to lift you on a stretcher and to a hospital, nurse putting on the gloves and a worried doctor looking you over. I haven’t as yet reached that stage yet, but it will come about! Helvi urges me to take a firm hold of the handrail coming down from the computer upstairs. It pays to be careful! I sometimes wish that recklessness could continue. It was such a part of being young. Reckless and foolish. Now we play it safe and pretend to be wise, but really just give in to ageing, play it secure, getting old, sip our coffee and remind each other to take medicine. We have learnt our lesson.
It seems odd that when we were young and had a life ahead, we were reckless, took our chances when at the same time so much was at stake. One fatal mistake could easily result in having to pay for it over the rest of your natural life. Yet, now that we (I am) are old and with our lives more behind than in front we have far more solid reasons to be reckless. Throw caution to the wind. What is there to lose? What is holding us back? Do a bungy jump or fight a crocodile, live in Bali or Amsterdam. We might just, with luck, squeeze in a couple of years more or so. Of course many of the old do amazing things still, but by and large we have become more cautious and play it safe. I never ever thought I would reach that stage. Yet it is has come about. Even so, we still have no insurance of any kind except third party property car insurance which I suppose is proof of some lingering recklessness. harking back to youthful risk taking. I mean, does one not get buried without having any money. Does it matter? Mozart got buried in a pauper’s grave. Perhaps, that is just bundied about to encourage budding composers to keep on trying, regardless of fame or fortune.
But going back (to those years of recklessness), and having settled down it came about that families were sprouting up all over the place. Our first was born within a couple of years after arrival in Sydney. Our second daughter two years after that, delivered by the same doctor named Holt. I renewed previous contacts and gained quickly new jobs. Some years later, I won some really substantial contracts including the painting of the extensions to the NSW Art Gallery and the International Flight kitchen at Sydney’s airport. I tried as well to keep on with painting pictures and even had, optimistically, bought a huge fifty metres by two metres roll of raw cotton canvas together with varied sizes of stretchers on which to span and make canvasses ready to paint.
I was an optimist and Helvi the supporting wife and mother…They were very good years,
many good years were yet to come.