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The antipodes

New Zealand & Australia

Lawson (Mic) Millett

My dad in the center

My dad is turning 90 years young next year. He spent most of his life in Australia (and considers himself a dinky-die Australian now) but was born in Yorkshire England. He was an orphan and did not leave the orphanage until his teens; he was never adopted. His younger sister (whom he was very close to) lived with him but unfortunately died there; she was very young. But he was visited by his older sister who had escaped the confines and draconian life of the home, because of her age.

His first stop, after spending his early childhood in the home, was as an indentured farmhand on a remote country farm in the cold gray Yorkshire Mores. It was very hard work, but he was glad to have escaped the orphanage. He made very little money and exchanged his labor for room and board.

I know, it really sounds like a Dickensian tale, but it’s true.

My dad and my younger brother Lawrence

He gained a sense of self on the farm and was not there long before he joined the Royal Navy. He was in the Navy for many years and served on many kinds of ships, boats, and traveled the world. He also saw action in the Korean War where he came into contact for the first time with Americans.

He shared a story with me about his first contact with these enigmatic Americans, that until then he had only seen in films.

Somewhere in the vast and icy cold Sea of Japan, his flotilla came across a squadron of US ships. In amongst the numerous American war machines was one of their pride and joys; an enormous Aircraft carrier.

The British sailors where invited to go aboard the mighty floating city. My dad was amazed at just how big it was. They were directed to one of the many vast cafeterias on board where he was presented, for the first time in his service, with a choice of food to eat. Americans did not have to just eat the gruel served them each day; they could choose what they wanted to eat. He was flabbergasted.

My dad, me, and my older brother John

But there was one thing the British sailors had the US ones did not: rum rations! Yes, each British sailor was given an amount of rum each day for personal use. It was claimed it was awarded to keep away scurvy. Perhaps this was true once, but regardless a goodtime was had by all. Including now their new American friends who had no such ration and would exchange anything for it.

Our Plan

 Auckland New Zealand

Julia and I really, really, do not like traveling on airplanes anymore. Sure, we have used them extensively in the past having traveled around the world three times in our lives. But we were ignorant then, and not now. We consider these modern flying machines indicted in the destruction of our environment and the world’s climate systems. And we just do not like to sit for fifteen hours being vibrated, dehydrated, and asphyxiated. However, given my dad’s age, and the extensive search we conducted for alternative ways to get from the USA to Australia, we have no choice but to fly on these carbon spewing machines. This was written to alleviate my guilt in adding to the carbon dioxide poisoning of the world. Oh well, party on!

Our first stop after departing the USA will be to spend a few nights in the big-little town of Auckland in the magnificent New Zealand. Zealanders are nice people, but the New Zealanders are amazingly friendly and so hospitable.

From here we will hop across the Tasman Sea to Melbourne Australia where we’ll spend time with my family in and around the lovely Frankston area, the place I spent the most time in while growing up in Australia. I cannot wait to see everyone again and to hear the unique chirping, whistling, and singing of Australian birds.


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