John Henry Westaway by Shirley, his sister in law.
John and I first met when I was 15. He was 16, the new boy from the country who had recently left boarding school Scotch College , in Melbourne . With his older brother, Peter, they were boarding in Elwood with family friends. John made an immediate impression on the girls in the neighborhood; his brother was more retiring.
Away from school, teenagers at that time forged friendships at church dances. There was always one every Saturday night in the church halls close to home. Some of these church groups supported tennis clubs where John and Peter quickly made their way to the top two places on the list where they stayed until left the district. John was easy going, always cheery and happy. His job at the time took him around the country during the week, and he frequently went home to Leongatha at weekends.
My life took an unexpected turn when my brother was born. I was still at MacRobertson Girls' High School but John was fascinated by this small baby. My parents were strict and I was not particularly outgoing but John was always welcome when he appeared. So we had this longstanding casual friendship and although we went out in groups, we maintained this friendship over the years.
When I was 18, Peter came into my life and he's never left it.
These dashing brothers hared a Singer sports car and I was the back seat passenger. I worked in William Street in Melbourne and Peter and John in their respective jobs were across the road in the old St James Building on Mondays and Fridays while the midweek was taken up selling livestock at Newmarket . John by then was exercising his vocal chords as an auctioneer and at 19 was highly regarded as Australia 's youngest licensed auctioneer.
Our friendships continued and when Peter and I married in 1953 it was natural that John would be best man. My brother at six was still part of this circle and had decided that John was more fun than Peter. He was dismayed at our plans and could not understand why I was marrying Peter and not John.
The close affection never changed and when the first of our three sons, Mark Peter, was born in 1955, John naturally was his godfather. We were then living at Mt Waverley and John would frequently arrive during the week to check on his godchild while downing at least four cups of tea.
John and Vivian also had three sons and we spent holidays and weekend visits together but unless Viv and I have faulty memories, we cannot remember any friction or quarrels between any of them. They were simply cousins who spent time together doing what small boys do and these friendships have continued throughout their lives.
In 2010 the dreadful news of John's illness drew us together more tightly than ever. And eight months later when I was added to the same list, John rushed to my side and stayed there right to the end. We've been so fortunate to share our lives. We were often attending the same hospitals for treatment at the same time comparing notes on our progress.
The six cousins are now six wonderful men who fill us all with pride. Admittedly Viv and I had a hand in their lives but we have never missed an occasion when we have not expressed our thanks, appreciation and good fortune in travelling this memorable road now accompanied by our 12 grandchildren.
These six sons have continued this close friendship - it's a bond that will never be broken and one that we hope will remain.