So, we had Mum's 60th brthday party on the weekend and I was volunteered by Dad to do a speech for her. It went well. Here it is...
"Before I begin, can we all acknowledge Lauren and Tim for hosting us tonight, and if you don’t have a drink, try and grab one so you aren’t empty handed for the toast.
Good evening, I’m Simon Davies, Jane’s eldest son. I’m saying a few words, mainly on behalf of my brothers, TJ and Mick, and dad, Elwyn, but also on behalf of the entire Davies family, Lauren, Trinity, Ruth, Raph, Isaiah, Anzac, Lola... and of course, Peanut. All of us Davies’s because of Jane.
The life of Jane.
April Fools Day 1949, Jane Gladys Maria Vizard is born in Cardiff, Wales, to Welsh born Raymond and German born Helga.
From the mid fifties to mid sixties little Jane walks 50 miles daily, in blizzards, with no shoes, just to get herself to school.
Not academic, Jane soon ditched school and those torturous treks in the snow.
Late sixties are spent, Jane and Gill painting the Vale of Glamorgan red. Party time, night after night, living above a surgery for which they were getting subsidised rent. The rent was subsidised because they cleaned the surgery... they usually cleaned it in the early hours of the morning after another night on the tiles. The landlord must have liked them, because they usually did a pretty dodgy job.
On the 23rd December 1970, Jane met Elwyn Davies over racks of ties, or some other such fashion accessory, in David Morgan’s, Cardiff’s version of our Myer.
Soon after, Elwyn left Wales to make a new start in Australia, and presumably to put 17,000 kms between himself and Jane, but some 9 months after meeting him over men’s clothes, Jane packed a bag and she too emigrated from Wales, to Australia. Arriving in Melbourne, Jane was so keen to see dad she fell over and laddered her stockings. Jane and Elwyn settled together in Melbourne.
1972, entering the registry office as Jane Vizard, she leaves as Jane Davies, now married to the love of her life.
1973, Jane, Elwyn, and a canary named ‘Clockwork Orange’ make the 80km trip in a Morris 1100 to
what will become their home for life- Geelong.
After just under 5 years of marriage, the kids start rolling in. 1977, 1978, and 1980 see the arrival of Simon, Timothy (not Tim, I didn’t name him “Tim”) and Michael, mum’s favourite – she’ll get mad at me for saying that. Simon, Timothy, Michael, all products of Jane, Elwyn and Baxter house... Although she didn’t know it then, Jane had herself “a pack of smartarses”.
Three boys, Mum and Dad, and for the next twenty three years this is the entire Australian chapter of the Davies family.
The next twenty plus years reads something like this...
Shoulder pads. Perms. Failed businesses, Renovations, Family holidays to Bali, England, all parts of regional Victoria. The ubiquitous household cleaning regime second to none. Selling jeans, selling caravans, selling cars... Geelong’s first female car salesperson. Kids succeeding. Kids Failing. Mum always there no matter what. Never judging, and never losing faith in her boys. No matter how badly it seemed we were messing up, particularly me and Michael. Allowing us to fail forward. “Ooh, I love me boys, I do”. Welcoming girlfriends, then wives into the family. Becoming a Nana, becoming “Nain”. Bagging bargains at markets. Always looking for bargains. Buying houses. Hating Dad. A separation that serves only to reinvigorate, strengthen and energize the bond between she and he. Loving dad. Selling houses, buying more houses. More holidays, lots of holidays. England, Canada, New Zealand and more. Spending the kid’s inheritance... and rightly so, a reward for a life of bloody hard work. Always working hard, even now.
So here we stand tonight, Saturday April 4th 2009, 60 years after birth, 38 years after the rebirth that starting from scratch in a new country is, Jane is surrounded by the family she created, the friends she has made, no friendships stronger, or more enduring than those she has with Gill who is here from England to be with her best friend on this occasion, and of course Dad...
Jane hasn’t cured cancer, or solved world hunger, nor will I, nor will my brothers, but Mum has succeeded in life and testament to that is our presence here tonight, celebrating the life and times of, despite her flaws, an amazing, loving woman. I can only hope that when I’m 60 I will know that my kids love me the way we love you Mum. Thank you all for coming tonight... and from Mum, thank you for being a part of her life, accepting her for who she is and who she isn’t. I know mum is so grateful for everything she has in life, most importantly, the people. And as she often says to me “If I died tomorrow, I’d be pretty happy with my life”.
So, please raise you glasses and toast a mother, a wife, mother-in-law, nana and friend... Jane Davies."
Happy Birthday Mum. Love you.