Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

In Australia today (or rather, yesterday due to the time difference), my Dad celebrates his 72nd birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My younger brother, Tim, snapped the photo above, and Dad e-mailed it to me last night. It shows my parents, sister-in-law, and nieces celebrating Dad’s birthday at my parents’ home in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia.

My brothers and I are very fortunate to have Gordon James Bayly as our Dad. He is a man of integrity, compassion, and selfless service to others. We experienced and witnessed such qualities growing up in Gunnedah, and they’re still very much part of our father today. I love you, Dad, and can’t thank you enough 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 Dad from the Bayly family archives.

Above right: Dad in 1949 at age twelve.

Left: Dad with his parents, Aubrey and Isabel Bayly - pictured in the early 1940s at “Flodden,” my grandmother’s family farm in the Purlewaugh district of northwestern New South Wales.

Right: Dad on a horse at Flodden. From the clothes he’s wearing, it looks as if this photo was taken the same time as the one with his parents.

Dad’s father was an ambulance driver in the Second World War. He was killed in 1943 when the hospital ship Centaur was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine off the Queensland coast.

Dad (second from left) with some of his boyhood friends in Tamber Springs - a small northwestern NSW village where he and his mother and grandmother lived for a number of years after his father’s death.

Above: Dad during his National Service training in the late 1950s.

Above: My parents, Gordon and Margaret Bayly, on their wedding day in Gunnedah, November 1959.

Above: My parents on their honeymoon at Surfers Paradise in Queensland.

Left: Dad with Chris, his first child and my elder brother. Chris was born in 1963, I followed in 1965, and our younger brother was born in 1967. Our childhoods were spent in Gunnedah where our Dad worked as a stock and station agent. He was also very involved with the local Rotary Club - and the local tennis club! (Dad’s still an avid - and good! - tennis player.)

Above: My brothers and I with Dad. This photo was taken at Christmas 1970 at the home of our family friends, Ray and Gwen Riordan and their three daughters, Denise, Wendy, and Diane. The Riordans owned a property called “Fairview” in the Kelvin district, about 20 kilometres northeast of Gunnedah. While growing up, my brothers and I spent some very happy times out at Fairview - playing tennis, riding our mini-bikes, and hiking through the nearby Kelvin Hills.

Right: At left with Dad and my younger brother, Tim.

This photo was taken in 1981 at the home of my maternal grandmother, Olive Sparkes, in Gunnedah. It was Nanna Sparkes’ husband, Valentine, who in 1971 wrote this story about me and a white rooster!

Above: With Mum and Dad at my graduation from Armidale College of Advanced Education - where I’d studied for a Diploma in Teaching from 1984-1986.

Above: Dad with his first grandchild - my elder brother Chris’ son, Ryan. That’s Chris at left, and Dad’s mum, my Nanna Smith, at right. This photograph was taken in Gunnedah in 1990.

Above: Dad with his youngest grandchild, Brendan - Gunnedah, 2000.

Above: My friend Fr. John Brandes took this photo of my parents and I in Minneapolis during my parents July 2005 visit to the Twin Cities. John was kind enough to take my parents out to lunch one day and give us a tour of Northeast Minneapolis. In the photo above, we’re standing on the historic Stone Arch Bridge.

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: Marv Davidov, Marie Braun, Greg Corcoran, Dad, and Mary Vaughn.

Above: With Mum and Dad in the Bavarian Alps - August 2005.

Above: Australians in Paris! - August 2005.

Left: My parents pictured in December 2008, during my most recent visit home to Australia.

Below: The Bayly family - January 2009.

Back row: Me, my sister-in-laws, Ros and Cathie, and their respective husbands, my brothers Tim and Chris.

Middle row: Mum; my niece, Layne; Dad; and my nephew, Ryan.

Front row: My niece, Sami; and my nephews, Brendan, Mitch, and Liam.

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