Sue Rowley, my very dear sister-not-in-law
As you begin, so you continue. I first met Sue in their flat somewhere in Melbourne when David and I were back briefly – maybe in 1972 with 5 year old Katie, on our circuitous way back from 6 months in Milwaukee to our home in London. She cooked roast lamb, but already not the roast lamb of Melbourne in the 1970’s, spicy delicious exotic roast lamb. By our next visit – to another Melbourne flat – there were our two children, bouncing ecstatically on Jim and Sue’s water bed.
And so it did continue over the years, building this increasingly close, loving and very extended family, us four first and gradually the four cousins, across the enormous distances, intermittently together, but supportive across the distances, remembering birthdays and family Christmas, staying with each other; later the children visiting separately., then with partners, even with grandchildren.
So much of the closeness was due to Sue, her warmth, her inclusiveness, her readiness to involve. In all those years maybe two joint family Christmases; at Eastern View Anna learned that every Christmas stocking MUST contain a pair of pretty knickers. Sue and I cooked together, talked, shared knitting patterns, shopped for each other’s children’s birthdays.
Sue and Jim admirably balanced professional and family life. But it is Sue the ‘sister-in-law’ I am going to miss, the ‘sister’ who helped us make and hold together an extended family stretched across the globe, who when we were together shared family concerns, intellectual interests and day–to-day life - in London, Wollongong, Williamstown, Eastern View, Clyro and Wolfden.
When David and I made our three emergency dashes to Melbourne, Sue and Jim had a home for us – and they were with us in London within a week when David died. I will not be there on Friday except in my thoughts, but I do hope that very soon Jim and I will be together to support each other and remember the missing two, and I do hope that the ‘family’ will continue with the next generations.
Anne Lloyd Thomas