A full copy of the Adelong and Tumut Express newspaper dated 14 January 1949 is in the air-tight family archive chest. It became obvious why this newspaper was kept. There were several news and social gossip columns that were of interest.
Tumut is a NSW Riverina town on the highlands of the Snowy Mountains with the closet major communities being Gundagai and Wagga Wagga. Tumut and Batlow are well known apple-growing areas.
My later mother went to Glory in 1995 aged 75 years, retained a host of newspaper cuttings from the later half of the 1930s, full newspapers and magazines from both Australia and England and a host of private letters.
The story goes back to 1935 when at a mere 15 years of age, my mother had returned to Sydney from rural assignments serving as a governess. Through her Christian network she had met the Kurnow sisters, Jean and Joyce, and became so close to them that she moved in with the family which consisted of the girls, their widowed father and the housekeeper, the elderly Miss Atchinson, known by all as, Miss A.
These three girls played hockey together, they were busy in their Christian activities together, they read the same books, they shared their clothes. It was a friendship made in heaven and lasted to their dying days.
When WWII broke out they joined the Land Army together, and all three ended up in Batlow, where they worked on orchards and various Riverina farms. Ultimately when the war ended, all three married farmers.
Jean and Joyce married Batlow farming men whereas Joan met and married Seymour Tronson, my father, who was on a working holiday from his farm on Credition, on the Great Dividing Range, 60 miles west of Mackay on the Eungella range.
Married Easter 1947
My parents were married Easter 1947 and Joan settled into dairy farming life on Crediton and a major part of each week were the letters that went back and forth to and from Jean and Joyce (many of these are in the archive chest).
In 1953 Jean and Joyce and their husbands Charlie and Arthur travelled from their farms in Batlow to Mackay Queensland for a holiday which included visiting Joan and Seymour. This was such a significant visit it was a much told family lore, recounted over many years.
After a horse accident, my parents eventually moved off the land into Mackay and in 1960 holidayed to Canberra to visit a cousin of my father's, and then on to Batlow to visit Jean and Joyce and their families. All the family members were considered 'like cousins' to us youngsters.
After this visit, my parents relocated our family to Canberra and this led to numerous visits to Batlow and mutual holidays on the coast in summer. These three 'girls' were like glue, they loved each other, friends of a life time. Jean was the first to go to Glory in 1987, followed by Joan in 1995 and Joyce 2010.
During Joan's last days, when we thought she was in a coma, she opened her eyes and cried when Joyce arrived to visit her.
Such friendships you can pick up where you left off, even if it is years apart. Today with email and text, video Skype and similar technologies, communications are instant without the long wait between letters.
There have been many such friendships detailed in the Bible, perhaps none so much as spelt out than David and Jonathan, King Saul's son. In one memorable incident, Jonathan defied his father and saved his friend David's life.
Friendships of this nature, Christians believe are a wonderful gift from the Lord to be treasured and honoured.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html