[I´m Andrew, I don’t live in Glebe but my friends and I have been running this little jazz club every thursday for about ten years]
My parents met in the mid-sixties, when they were in their mid-thirties.
Leo was working for the tax department, living in Waitara, just him and his mother, which is still a good way to save money, and he had bought a house.
Leah was living alone in Hurstville, she was a teacher, and she was blind. She was the first blind student to officially enter a government high school in NSW, the first blind student to receive a scholarship to a teachers´ college in NSW, and won the first scholarship in the Rotary district 275 International Student Exchange project, enabling her to undertake post-graduate studies in special education in the United States.
Leo didn’t like the culture of his work, but he got the job of helping people who couldn´t do their tax on their own. And so one day Leah showed up at his window, and he helped her with her tax, and asked her out. For a couple of years they courted, wrote letters and went to concerts and worked through their differences.
Then, in 1966, they decided to get married. And just before they did, they bought a house together at 167 St Johns Rd. The title deed (almost unreadable) is in both their names, probably the last official document in Leah’s maiden name. The house is just up the street [from the Cafe Church Space], opposite the Roxbury. It’s still there, a skinny terrace with a new fence and a nice coat of paint.
A couple of months before I was born in 1970, they bought 175 Arundel St – a house with no stairs, much safer for raising children. It´s still there too, down among the one way streets at the far end of Glebe, and it looks like hardly anything has changed since then – the front gate would have been old when they moved in, and it´s older now. They bought two more houses (4 David St and 34 MacAuley St) and had two more children, and they always talked about what a happy time it was – one or both of them were studying, they were renting out three houses, all within walking distance, and all the tenants were friends. Rent day was a series of students dropping in for cups of tea, babysitting me while mum and dad did the shopping. Dad was giving up his job as a tax man to become a teacher, mum had graduated. There are hardly any documents of these years – no need for Leah and Leo to write letters to each other, no time for more than a simple local life with their children and their neighbours.
Then they moved away from Glebe, and for a few years their friendships turn back to letters – stories of flatmates lost and found, degrees finished, breakins and finance arrangements. It´s obvious from these letters what great friendships they had with their tenants and their real estate agents, and it was lovely to find all these letters in dad´s handwriting and mum´s (equally distinctive) typewriting amongst the title deeds and mortgage documents after they died.
by the time I was 5 they had sold all these houses, and neither of them ever lived in Glebe again. But when i was in my late 30s i met Cathy, and she was living in Glebe, and I moved in to Lombard St with her. And when my parents would come into town we would walk through Glebe and they would say “You were born in that house” or “we used to walk you around that park in your pram.” I got involved with Eight Oclock Sharp, and Free For All, and Colbourne Ave. And for the last couple of weeks I´ve been reading old letters and studying old maps and floor plans and riding my bike past the houses of my parents first happy years.
and that is my story.