6 May 1952 – 4 April 2022
We first met Bob in the early 80s. We had moved into our first house in a short street, Mundaree Place, where several children of similar ages to our own two children lived.The kids formed friendships and as they got to know each other, so too did the parents. Within a short time we had formed friendships with Marina and Terry, and Bob and Di, friendships that it seems, were destined to last for the rest of our lives.
With young families and new mortgages, money was short. Our entertainment was neighbourhood based – dinners, cards, and other silly games. One of my earliest memories of the six of us was one of those silly games played along the lines of musical chairs, but with a difference. A box of clothing was put into the centre of the room, panty hose, hats, knickers, bras, scarves, anything at all…. The music played, and each couple danced around the room but weren’t allowed to dance close together. When the music stopped a mad scramble took place as couples scrambled to reach each other so as to be able to drop to the floor together. The last couple to drop was required to reach into the box and don whatever item of clothing they extracted (over their street clothes of course). The following photo is the earliest one I have of Bob. He and Terry fell over in their scramble to reach their wives. That sort of madness and laughter has continued on for nearly forty years.
In the early days, before email and facebook came along to become the spoiler alert for any good jokes. the jokes flowed freely at any of gatherings. No prizes for guessing who was the best joke teller of our little group – yes, our friend Bob. If the joke itself wasn’t funny, Bob’s delivery of it would have us laughing till the tears rolled. As I write this, vivid pictures come to mind of Bob delivering one of his jokes along with uniquely Bob expressions and words, many of which you won’t find in any dictionary.
He’d never missed an opportunity to make us laugh.
Special birthday’s were often celebrated with themed birthday partys. Marina celebrated one of her milestone birthdays with an Arabian theme. Bob entered in his shiek’s costume with Dianne firmly tethered to him with a chain and leg cuff.
One of those uniquely Bob expressions comes to mind as I look at the following two photos from that night. Paul remembers well the times when we all together and Bob would quietly say to him, “When you think about it” and then would follow up with some unbelievably insulting thing to say about us, their beloved wives. Said for shock value, it usually hit the mark, and the two of them would laugh outrageously. Of course we would insist on knowing what the joke was, and Bob, being Bob, would tell us, and the two of them would be, ‘in trouble again’. Paul and I can’t hear any sentence starting with, ”when you think about it”, without Bob coming to mind, and we smile.
Some more memories from themed nights:
Our best holidays have been spent with Bob and Di.
Bob was diagnosed with lung cancer and lung desease a couple of years ago. He hasn’t smoked for many, many years, but having worked in the building industry, he was sometimes exposed to asbestos, which probably contributed significantly to the desease. The cancer, initially was successfully treated. The lung desease was incurable. Last year as Paul and I were on way into Broome, Bob phoned. The cancer had returned and had spread throughout his body, his other lung, lymph nodes, brain, and liver. This time the diagnosis was terminal.
He fought as much as he could. Radiation and chemo was tried, without success. He made it till Christmas, and then struggled on through sessions of radiation and chemo trying to reach his 70th birthday. Finally the news came – all treatment avenues had been exhausted, and all that could be offered was palliative care to keep him comfortable to the end.
We visited him late in Februry this year. He had become very unsteady on his feet and was able to only walk short distances and with the aid of a walking frame. The walking frame doubled as a wheelchair for when walking became too difficult. This was to be the last time the sextet from Mundaree Place would all be together.
Bob wasn’t one to sit and ’wait for God’ though. He went on to create memories right up until the end. Shortly after that visit he and Di took their two grown children and their families away for a short holiday on a houseboat on the Mandurah canals. He came back from that holiday, spent a few days recouperating, then, in between Silver Chain visits scheduled one last holiday with Paul and I.
We spent four precious days with Bob and Di in an hotel in Albany.
We suspected when we dropped them home after that precious holiday that it would be the last time we would see Bob. We were right. He passed away, at home surrounded by his beloved Di, son Danny, daughter Lana, and son-in-law Ryan. He was one month and two days short of his 70th birthday.
In a few hours time we will leave for the funeral of our very, dear friend Bob Rogers. Afterwards, we will spend an hour or two with friends, and Bob’s family remembering the many, good times and the many, many laughs we had with Bob at their centre. Bob may no longer be with us, but the laughter and memories we shared with him will live on with us for the rest of our lives. We’re going to miss you dear Bob!