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Thursday, February 2, 2017

My sister in law...

Last Sunday the families gathered to celebrate a number of anniversaries being celebrated by my sister in law Sonja. Sonja had organised a barbeque lunch at the Coorparoo Bowls Club. Ever the organiser, she distributed white napkins to serve as placemats and folded paper napkins (serviettes) in red, white and blue.

When it came time for the guest of honour/hostess to give a speech, Sonja explained why this year was a significant one regarding anniversaries.

Firstly, last Sunday was her 71st birthday. Secondly, Sunday marked the 60th anniversary of Sonja arriving in Brisbane with her parents and older sister, after they had emigrated to Australia from Denmark. Sonja reminisced that she could remember the ship ( a Norwegian cruise ship) making its way up the Brisbane River to where the port was then located, right in the city at Petrie Bight. She recalled that she found the houses in Brisbane so colourful after the 'white and grey' of Denmark.
And thirdly, Sunday was just a few days short of the 50 years since she became an Australian citizen. So lots of good reasons to have a celebration as the family all agreed.
The desserts were amazing! The large rectangular cake is a traditional Danish cake...sorry I don't remember the name though! It's layers of sponge cake (like a Victoria sponge cake) with jam.. The chocolate cake was made by a niece of Sonja's, the pavlova was decorated by Sonja and the iced fruit cake with Australia on top was made by our cousin.

Let me tell you a bit more about my lovely sister in law...long before I could ever have imagined marrying into the Goodwin family, I cut out a photo of the Brisbane evening paper, the Telegraph. I had recognised someone from a family that had gone to my primary school. In my teens I kept scrapbooks filled with newspaper cuttings of people I knew even if some didn't know me!! That 'someone' was Keith and his then fiancé Sonja.

They were buying Sonja's wedding shoes. An old Danish custom involved a bride-to-be saving for her wedding shoes, collecting copper coins in the lowest denomination, and storing them in a champagne bottle. In the article (from 1967-68), Sonja explained that she was glad that Australia had new coins after the switch to decimal currency, as the old penny and halfpenny coins would not have fitted in the neck of the bottle.

The shoes, described as 'guipure lace sling backs' cost $10.99. ( so there were at least 1099 cent pieces in that bottle...or so we're told!)

Sonja and my brother in law, not only had teaching careers in Australia (North Queensland and Sydney), but also some time in Canada. They had 2 children and Keith was active in the Jaycees. Then he entered politics  and became Mayor of Cairns in 1988.

Then tragedy struck...Keith was killed in a plane crash in May 1990. In an interview with the New Idea magazine, my elegant and dignified sister in law stated, 'Maybe God was calling a meeting upstairs and he wanted a very good chairman'.

And then Sonja stood for council herself.

Eventually Sonja came back to Brisbane to live, which was great because most of the family is here, and we see her a lot more as a consequence.

 At DH and my wedding in 2004, Sonja caught the bouquet, but no Mr Right has come along...we still often joke with each other about that! lol
The next photo was taken on Sonja's birthday 5 years ago...she came for afternoon tea and brought her own cake!

And finally a photo of me with the youngest guest there last Sunday...little Anthea!



Susan said...

another lovely story.

biebkriebels said...

What a nice story and so well documented with all the newspaper articles.

Kate said...

I really enjoyed your post, Maria.

Snowbrush said...

How sad about Keith.

I envy you having family. I have no wife, three cats, and a very few really close blog friends who, sad to say, live, for the most part, at a distance.

Snowbrush said...

I meant to say that I had "a wife," having been married to Peggy for 45-years.

Cynthia said...

Those desserts look fantastic! A celebration of so many events certainly requires fantastic desserts. It's nice you all live near enough to celebrate events like this.

Kim said...

What a lovely story, Maria. How lovely for your family to all get together and celebrate special family milestones. Fascinating dutch tradition; I wonder if they still do this? You must have a lot of scrapbooks filled with fascinating stories. Gorgeous photo of you and little Anthea.

creations.1 said...

A lovely gathering and celebration - I do like the photoe of you and the gorgeous little cherub!

Jackie said...

What a lovely way to spend the day, celebrating such wonderful achievements with those you love and care about.

God bless.

margaret said...

what a wonderful celebration so many good menories, such a shame though her husband lost his life in the crash.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria what a wonderful and interesting story,thankyou for sharing.xx