12 October 2011

Missing Noel and other tidbits

George never comes out and says that he misses Noel, but he has written 13 letters so far, even though he has only received five back from Noel. That's 40 type-written pages of letters chocked full of advice and news. He monitors the mail ship arrivals and departures very closely, and even when he says he doesn't have much news to pass along, he can still fill three or four pages.

As he says: "We have had several mails leaving at pretty close intervals recently, consequently you have received I think in all about four letters from me this month."

It must have been very frustrating that this was the only way he could be part of Noel's life right now.

Gymnastic Circus

In letter No. 13 there is a reference that "We held the Circus on Saturday". George doesn't explain what kind of circus it is.

However, while I was researching the last post about the Melbourne YMCA, I came across a library catalog listing for the Official Programme of the Ninth Annual Gymnastic Circus: at Olympia, Wirth's Park, Saturday, 29th August, 1931 at 8 p.m.

It was fun to make that "ah-ha" connection between something random I ran across on the Internet and a direct reference in George's letter.

What I found even more interesting were a few other web pages that gave the history of gymnastics in Australia. These websites directly credit the Melbourne YMCA as being instrumental in the development of the sport in Australia.

According to a site called Australian Women at the 1956 Olympic Games:
"Following World War 1, Australia , like most countries found itself in the grip of the Depression. Unemployment was high, morale was low and many people were left homeless and destitute.

"During this time, many people turned to organisations such as the Y.M.C.A. their local church groups, youth groups and other friendly societies where resources could be pooled, support was on offer and a sense of community spirit developed. It was in this environment that gymnastics in Australia , once again began to flourish.

"As the sport slowly developed competitions began to occur. From the 1930's interstate gymnastics competitions were regularly organised by the Y.M.C.A. The first Victorian Y.M.C.A. State competition was held in 1936 with teams from the Melbourne Y.M.C.A, Wesley College and Geelong Grammar competing."
There are other references I found. I expect that I'll have an opportunity to go into the topic more as I'm sure George will make references to these events in the future.

Joyce's Sweet 14

I think George really comes to life when reading his comments about Joyce and Edith. This one especially cracked me up.  "Of course, we will give her something for her bank account, but she doesn't consider that a present. She thinks that money that is saved is not a present."

And I can't help but agree with Joyce here!

Church Elder Election

Also of note in this letter are George's references to his church. I thought it was amusing when George talked about attending an event: "I went alone to see what the show was like, and was, of course, drawn in to make an address."

He was that used to public speaking, that practiced at it, that he could, off  the cuff "make an address". Granted, it was a father/son event, and George's specialty was speaking to and about youth.

At the end of that same paragraph, George also tells Noel that he has been asked to become a church elder.  "This may involve an election, and it is possible I may not be returned because I am not well known among the Church folk."

I was startled at that statement, as I expected that George, given his vocation, would have been more active in his church before this.

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