I’m still growing up. I like the view. To see how things are turning out.
I had five different careers. I always used a job as a means of getting to a place that I wanted to live. I moved to Australia to get warm. I was born in Ottawa, Canada – but I lived everywhere. Winter of 1972 we had 66 consecutive days at 60 degrees below zero. So I made the decision to leave. I borrowed books from the library and it seemed to have the lifestyle I wanted. I wanted to sail and my dreams came true. They advertised for people to train as crew members, for racing. I put my name down and got selected. I went on the best boats with the best captains and crews and got taught all the skills. I just felt at one with the boat. Had some fantastic races. The best race was the first one I captained. I took the helm and commanded the boat and I just nailed it. It went perfectly. I was part of the America’s Cup the year they won. Australia II. I was the manager in charge of Promotions and Advertising.
I was asked to present Alan Bond with the trophy for winning the challenger series at Port Philip Bay. ‘Just hand him the cup and go out for a beer’. Luckily I wore a sports jacket because when I got there, there’s about 300 people behind the tables and TV cameras and radio microphones and I had to get up and give a speech. I hadn’t done any homework. I started to talk and all of a sudden the audience quietens down and stares at me. They thought I was a spy. An American. So I changed what I was going to say and instead of something jingoistic I said, ‘the calibre of racing on Port Philip Bay showed the Americans that an entire nation is coming to get them’. And all the applause broke out. I was accepted. It felt good. One of the highlights from my life.
I moved to the North Coast of NSW. And I loved it here. Became a farmer. Raising beautiful Murray Grey Cattle, sheep and 6000 tropical stone fruit trees. Then I went blind for 3 years (very fast growing cataract – still undergoing treatment for it). I had to sell the farm. For example one day I went down a row of trees spraying, and the tractor hit a bump and stopped. I got out and walked around it and bumped into a telephone pole. I hadn’t seen the pole from the seat of the tractor.
So I started to teach at Southern Cross University. I became a lecturer for them for seven years. Business studies. Marketing. Management. Promotions. All the fun things. Then I developed Parkinson’s and I had to give up teaching. So now I’m just cruising with the motion. I’m still getting involved and enjoying life.