Sunday, December 04, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mum!

In Australia today my mother celebrates her 73rd birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mum!

The picture at left of my Mum and Dad was taken in February of this year. They're dancing to the music of my younger brother's band at a club in the little coastal town of Laurieton.

As I've noted before, 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 fortunate enough to be touched by yours.

In celebrating Mum's birthday at The Wild Reed in 2009 and 2010 I shared quite a number of photos from the Bayly family archives. I share this evening a few more!

Left: Mum as a teenager in our hometown of Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia.

Above: My Mum and Dad, early in their courtship during the mid-1950s. They're at the look-out in the Moonbi Range, near Tamworth, New South Wales.

For pictures of my January 2011 visit to this same look-out, see here.

Above: One of my favorite photographs of my parents, pictured at a social event in Gunnedah in the late 1960s.

Above: What a classic image! That's Mum at right and my great aunt Donnie (my paternal grandmother's sister-in-law) second from left. I don't know who the other two women are. I'd wager this photo was taken at a wedding sometime in the 1960s. Those hats are really something, aren't they?

Above: The Bayly family, photographed in the mid-1970s. From left: Me, Dad, Mum, my younger brother Tim, and my older brother Chris.

From the decorations in the background I can tell that this photo was taken around Christmas. What year exactly, I can't say. I do know it was taken at the home of my Mum's younger sister Ruth, her husband Rex, and their two children – my cousins Emily and Greg. At that time they lived on a small farm just outside of Gunnedah.

Above: My Mum with her mum (Olive Sparkes), sister Fay and Fay's daughter Sharon. This photo was taken in 1980 in the kitchen of Nanna's house in Little Conadilly Street, Gunnedah.

Above: My Mum (right) in 1981 with family friend Gwen Riordan and Gwen's youngest daughter Diane.

The Riordan family lived on a property at Kelvin, about 18 kilometres northeast of Gunnedah. I have very happy memories of the tennis parties they'd host and the delicious morning and afternoon teas that were always an essential part of these gatherings! I also have happy memories of hiking through the nearby Kelvin Hills with Gwen and members of both my family and the Riordan family. For more images of the Kelvin area, the Riordan family, and our times hiking in the Kelvin Hills, see

The Riordan's property was named Fairview, and the garden around their house was always beautifully maintained by Gwen. I loved spending time there as a child. Of course, now I live half-the-world away in Minnesota – where, in the winters, it couldn't be further removed from the Riordan's sunny Australian garden of yesteryear. Yet I'm reminded of it every day as I live just off an avenue named Fairview! How wonderful is that! And in summer's past when I would work in the garden of my St. Paul home, I would often be inspired by the memories of that other far-off Fairview. Ah, how wistful is that!

Above: Mum with my younger brother Tim and my great aunt Phyllis (my paternal grandmother's sister). We're at Phyllis' apartment in Ashfield, Sydney, probably at some time in the mid-1980s. For more about Phyllis, see here.

Above: With Mum at my 1986 graduation from the Armidale College of Advanced Education. Actually, I completed my Diploma of Teaching at Armidale in '86, but this photo was taken at the graduation ceremony which took place in April 1987. Dad took the photo and he clearly wanted to include as much of the beautiful gardens of the college as possible!

Above: With Mum and Dad and Nanna Smith, my Dad's mother – Christmas, 1987.

Above: With my parents and brothers at my younger brother Tim's wedding to Ros in 1991. They were married in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

Above: Back in Sydney visiting Aunty Phyllis and her partner Frank. Actually, this photo was taken in January 1994, just days before I left Australia to live in the U.S. Pictured from left: My brother Tim, Mum, Dad, Nanna Smith, me (with my niece Layne), Aunty Phyllis and Frank.

Right: Mum with her eldest and youngest grandsons, Ryan and Brendan – Melbourne, January 1997.

Left: Mum with Brendan, July 2006.

Above: With Mum and Dad and my older brother and his family – Port Macquarie, January 2010.

From left: Me, my brother Chris, Mum, my nephews Brendan, Liam, Mitchell, my sister-in-law Cathie, and Dad. My eldest nephew Ryan took this photo.

Right: Mum with my good friend Raph, who recently visited me here in Minnesota.

Above: With Mum and Dad, members of my younger brother's family, and friends Jeremiah and Kristy – Port Macquarie, February 2011.

From left: My niece Sami, sister-in-law Ros, Dad, me, Jeremiah, Kristy and Mum. My brother Tim took this photo.

Above: Mum with her two granddaughters (and my nieces) Sami and Layne – Port Macquarie, January 2007.

Above: Tim and Ros e-mailed this picture just the other day! It's from Sami's Year 10 Formal and shows her with her sister Layne and the girls' Grandma Bayly! And don't they all look beautiful!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Thanks, Mum!
Happy Birthday, Mum (2010)
Happy Birthday, Mum (2009)
Congratulations, Mum and Dad!
Catholic Rainbow (Australian) Parents


William D. Lindsey said...

Great pictures and a beautiful tribute to your mother, Michael. May she have a wonderful birthday and many happy returns.

Mareczku said...

Thanks for sharing all the great pictures of your mother and family. God bless her and you all. Hope that she had a great birthday.

Anonymous said...

Hey I think i remember your face from ACAE. You graduated the year before me. Your blog is really interesting. I have been gay all my life and being a gay tertiary student at ACAE in the 80's was a hard act. I thought myself and my partner Graham at the time were the only gay guys on campus! Im still teaching, though in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and have been in a cross cultural relationship with a Gay Chinese/Malaysian and very Catholic adorable man.
Cheers and all the best
Gordon Reid