Happy Birthday, Mum!
My two brothers and I are very fortunate to have Margaret Anne Bayly (nee Sparkes) as our mother. She’s a beautiful, wise, and strong woman, who extends care, kindness, and love to everyone she encounters. I love you, Mum, and can’t thank you enough for who you are and for all you continue to be and give to me, my brothers, our family, and so many others whose lives are touched by yours.
Following are some photos of Mum from the Bayly family archives!
Right: My mother as a child. Mum was born in Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia. She was the first of four children of Valentine and Olive Sparkes (nee Millerd). She also had two older half-siblings, Eric and Fay, from Olive’s first marriage to Eric Louis.
For more about Mum’s family and Gunnedah, click here.
Above: Mum with her brother Michael in the mid-1940s.
Above: My maternal grandmother, Olive Sparkes (1906-1997), celebrating her 90th birthday in 1996 with her children (from left) Fay, Margaret, Ruth, and Michael. (Two of Nanna Sparkes’ children, Eric and Catherine, died when they were young.) This particular photo was taken to accompany an article about Nanna’s birthday that appeared in Gunnedah’s newspaper, the Namoi Valley Independent.
Left: Mum in the 1950s.
As a girl, Mum played netball, played in a marching band, and later, after graduating from high school, worked as a secretary in a accountant’s office.
Above: My parents Gordon and Margaret pictured together during their courtship - sometime in the mid-late 1950s.
Above: My parents on their wedding day in Gunnedah, November 7, 1959.
Recently, Mum and Dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Above and left: My parents on their honeymoon at Surfers Paradise in Queensland.
Below: One of my favorite pictures of my parents. I can tell by the setting that it was taken in a church hall of one of the numerous farming districts around Gunnedah. The occasion may have been the annual Kelvin Ball, sometime in the 1960s.
Right: Mum looking very glamorous in the early 1960s.
Below: Mum with friends in Gunnedah during the 1960s. I recognize in this photo the interior of the Gunnedah Town Hall, so the event was probably the annual Catholic Ball or some other type of social event.
Above: With Mum at left is Heather Sills, who with her husband John and their three children lived next door to my family on Beulah St., Gunnedah.
Above: Mum and Heather in 1981. For more images of the Sills family, click here.
Above: The Bayly family in 1967. From left: Chris, Dad, me, Mum, and Tim.
Above: I think this photo is just classic! Mum’s standing at right with women and children from our Gunnedah neighborhood. That’s Heather Sills standing at left. This photo was probably taken sometime in the mid 1960s.
Above: Mum and Dad at a wedding dinner - probably sometime in the late 1960s.
Oh . . . to see the famous singer that Mum was often told she looked like, click here.
Above (from left): Poppy Smith (Dad’s stepfather), me, and Mum at our home in Gunnedah - 1982.
Above: The Bayly family in 1984. From left: Me, Chris, Mum, Dad, and Tim.
Above: With Mum and Dad in Gunnedah - 1987. I was home from college for Easter.
Left: Mum and Dad at my older brother Chris’ wedding to Cathie Hardie in 1988.
Chris was my parents’ first of three sons. He was born in January 1963. I followed in October 1965, and my younger brother Tim was born in July 1967. Both my brothers and I were born and raised in Gunnedah.
Above: Mum keeping warm while watching her youngest son Tim play Australian Rules football in Wagga Wagga. Pictured with her from right is me, my older brother Chris, and Chris’ wife Cathie. This photo was taken by Dad in 1990. Tim was living at that time in Wagga Wagga and we’d all gathered there from different places (my parents from Gunnedah, Chris and Cathie from Melbourne, and I from Goulburn) to visit him and his fiancée Ros and her family.
Above: Mum and Dad with my brother Tim at his wedding to Ros in 1990.
Above: Mum with (from right) her mother Olive Sparkes (1906-1997), and mother-in-law Belle Smith (1919-2005) at Tim and Ros’ wedding - Wagga Wagga, 1990.
Above: Dad took this photo of my Mum and I with Fr. John Brandes during my parents’ July 2005 visit to the Twin Cities. John was kind enough to take my parents and I out to lunch one day and to later give us a tour of Northeast Minneapolis. In the photo above, we’re standing on the historic Stone Arch Bridge.
Above: Mum and I with some of my Minneapolis friends. From left: Sue Ann, Mum, me, Kathleen, Carol, and Ken.
Left: My parents with Rita McDonald, CSJ, and Marguerite Corcoran, CSJ, at my St. Paul home - July 2005. Rita and Marguerite were my “companions” during my two-year-long candidacy program to become a Consociate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet - St. Paul Province.
Right: My parents with (at left) Tom and Darlene White and (at right) Alice and Chuck Rice.
Along with a number of other parents of gay children, the Whites and the Rices were co-founders of Catholic Rainbow Parents in July 2005. My parents, too, are Catholic Rainbow Parents - and have, over the years since my coming out, shown their love and support of me as a gay man. (See, for example, here, here and here.)
Above: While in the Twin Cites in July 2005, my parents joined me in attending the weekly Wednesday morning peace vigil outside of the corporate headquarters of Alliant TechSystems - the largest Minnesota-based weapons manufacturer and the primary supplier of landmines, cluster bombs, nuclear missile rocket motors, and depleted uranium (DU) munitions to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Pictured above from left: Marilyn Schmit; Betty McKenzie, CSJ; my Mum; Pepperwolf; and Brigid McDonald, CSJ.
Above: During my parents' July 2005 visit to the Twin Cities, Mum and I attended the weekly Wednesday afternoon peace vigil on the Lake St./Marshall Ave Bridge. This bridge spans the Mississippi River and links Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Above: With Mum and Dad in the Bavarian Alps - August 2005.
Above: Mum with her youngest grandchild Brendan - July 2006.
Mum and Dad’s other grandchildren are Ryan, Liam, Mitchell, Layne, and Sami.
Above: Mum and Dad - December 2008.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Congratulations, Mum and Dad!
Happy Birthday, Dad!
Catholic Rainbow (Australian) Parents
The Bayly Family - January 2009
The Bayly Family - July 2006
Good Times, Happy Memories