Ernst Robert Dammasch
Born and brought up in post war Germany, my Dad came to Australia permanently as a young man. By the time he left Germany, he had completed an apprenticeship as fitter and turner. Here in Australia he met and married my Mum. That was a little over 36 years ago.
I only turned up on the scene much later. By the time I was born, they had celebrated their eleventh wedding anniversary. And I was the fourth, in a family of five. By the time I was ten, Dad was working very long hours as a truck driver, trying to make ends meet, and support his family. But there are definitely a few happy memories with my dad from those days...
At the time, dad used to ride a motorbike to work and back, and usually only came home on weekends (He often worked 60+ hours a week, and we lived a long way out in the country). Every Friday afternoon, we (My younger brother Henry and I), used to run outside at the sound of his bike coming up our street, racing each other to make it to the gate first. It was hardly a fair race, because I was 6 years older than Henry, and at least 12 inches taller, but it was unusual for Dad to get to the gate before we did. Why that was so special, I don't even know, but it is.
|Dad drove a truck almost identical to this one for ten years...|
One weekend, Dad and I went camping together. Just the two of us. We went to Gympie, saw the big pineapple, and camped next a lake there. I remember riding up there with him on his bike (A big touring bike). We put our drinks in the lake to chill them, and warmed up our food over a campfire.
When I was in my late teens, Dad had to stop trucking for a living for health reasons. He had done over ten years of full time truck driving for Linfox. Ten years of work in which he occasionally would have worked less than 50 hours a week. A year or two later he worked on the farm with me for a few months.
Anyway, if I was going to keep reciting, I could keep going forever. There were unhappy times too, but why bother with those? I'll always remember the good times. Happy times.
There are regrets too. But they are pointless now. Sometimes I wish I had gotten to spend more time with him. Then I wish I had called him more often in the last year or so while I have been away from home. I guess you don't really miss someone till they are really gone.
So this is goodbye to my Dad. I hope to see him soon.