I now have a new daughter in law – Liz Buchanan formerly Liz Joyce and two more grandchildren Charlotte and Sophie. What a great marriage. We attended the marriage in Phuket, Thailand on the 28th of September.
Everything about the marriage was great. Many of Liz’s family were there as well as my family. Many of us arrived early enough to get time to know each other and just relax in preparation for the great day.
I have taken the liberty of attaching my wedding speech.
1 Congratulations to Bruce and Liz.
On the Monday not too long ago Bruce rang me with a wonderful story as to how he proposed to Liz. A few days later he further announced that they were getting married in Thailand and would we come.
He had been coyingly referring to this trip to Phuket for some time and I had always ruled it out as too tame etc etc. However now I expect he had been thinking about a marriage strategy for some time.
So one minute I am in Tasmania trying to run an orchard and now I am here. What a great world we live in.
Postscript: please try to give me a little more warning about your next lot of plans.
2 Speech opportunity
It is not often that I get the chance to say a few words in public about my son and now to his wife Liz. So I could and may now take advantage of this opportunity to tell you a little about how my son got to where he is today.
I recognize too that I don’t just speak on my own behalf but for all the others who can’t or are not here today. Today is an important milestone for Liz and Bruce.
Linda, his mum; Phylliss and David his grandparents, my Dad and his uncle Peter all played mammoth roles as Bruce was growing up. It is difficult enough to write for myself but to attempt to encapsulate their feelings is somewhat daunting. They have gone and this is my effort.
I speak too on behalf of the rest of the family – many who couldn’t be here today.
3 Bruce growing up
3.1 Bruce was born in 1972. It seems like such a long time ago. We only just made it to the hospital in our VW Beetle after Linda announced in the early hours that the bed was wet. I suggested we still had plenty of time. Fortunately I was over-ruled. Bruce was born about two hours later.
To be honest now that he had arrived I wasn’t too sure what I had to do as a father or whether I would be any good at it.
But funny how easy it was to love this little critter. (PS he was little once). Yes, it was an amazing revelation to me to find that I just loved him. No need for any assessment, no need to propose, no need for anything really just be there and help him get along in life.
Young engineers weren’t wealthy in those days. And now that Bruce’s mum was home we only had the one wage. Not that we felt poor or in any way disadvantaged. Good food, maybe go to the movies and an occasional meal at the Chinese restaurant. Family occasions, picnics and outdoor activities were our framework. However our House i.e. our first house was very small and in what was to become the trendy suburb of Glebe but needed a lot of work.
Somehow I had it in my head that I could fix up this old house and make it into a dream home. Well that’s what I tried to do. Unfortunately for the rest of the family they had to live with my dream. Many a time you had difficulty finding a non-dusty place to sleep and eat. And if you were health conscious then this was not the place to be.
I mention this to you as the ‘golden boy’ would often like to see what I was doing. By the way grandma and Linda kind of nick-named him the ‘golden boy’. Maybe it was for the good crop of hair that he had at that age or as Aimee always said he couldn’t do naught wrong he was just their golden boy.
Getting back to my story one day Bruce crawled out to where I was working. We were removing the upstairs brick back wall of the house so that we could enjoy the view from our lounge room or what would be our lounge room. The damp course was slate and lay across the floor. Well when Bruce crawled across the slate gave way and he fell through the floor past the bricklayer working on the floor below and until he landed on the next floor. Not a pleasant experience. Fortunately he survived another experience.
3.3 So you are beginning to get the idea that Bruce started to get keen on seeing the world. We had a little dog then, some sort of kelpie crossed with all the other dogs in the neighborhood.
One day we could not find Bruce or the dog for that matter. I mean the guy’s just learnt to walk maybe 2 maybe less. Where has he gone? Naturally we panicked. Check the local swings, walked around the blocks but still no sign of Bruce anywhere. Maybe the ‘golden boy’ has been abducted. We ring the police and continue searching asking everyone we see ‘have they seen a small boy walking with a dog’. After what seemed an eternity Bruce and the dog turn up in the police car. Smug little bugger sitting on the back sit of the car with his dog. He looked like he had a great time. Between wanting to cuddle him for surviving and smacking him for being so mischievous the Police man told us that he had been found wandering thru Grace Bros. This is a bloody long way from our house and across several main roads.
3.4 Bruce continues to grow. Maybe he has just started school. But he has mates now in the neighborhood. The Glebe gang. The prime conspirators are Bruce and his mate James. They were and still are great mates. Soul mates are hard to find and there were some serious arguments between them which could have easily ended this relationship. James lived across the road. And in Glebe that means you can live out of each others pocket. The front doors or both houses would rarely be closed and all of us would travel backwards and forwards depending on which had the best offerings.
But I bring you to the time when these two imps decided to build a cubby house in the vacant block. All was going well until a monumental argument broke out and they attacked each other with 4×2. I can’t remember how it ended but there still the best of mates so you had best ask them how they sorted it out.
3.5 In the passages of life many things were good for my kids but they also had some difficult times too.
One of the great opportunities that we had was when I was posted overseas and the kids came to stay with me. We settled into a lovely home just outside New York. I don’t think I had given too much thought on how I would make this work but I know I wanted it to happen. But both children were old enough to be enrolled in the local schools. I figured as long as they liked school we would be alright. However it was not long before Bruce’s teacher rang me at work. What’s wrong I asked? Well Bruce won’t stand up when they raise the flag and sing the American anthem. Um. Whilst I sort of agreed with Bruce on this one but it did raise one hell of a difficulty as he wouldn’t be allowed to stay in school if he didn’t conform. Well I guess Bruce is a bit like his dad in that regard. But this is what I said to him. ‘ Sometimes Bruce you have to eat your principles in order to survive. Maybe you can stand up and mumble something and in any case it won’t hurt you to learn their anthem. The alternative is for you to catch a plane and go back to your mother in Australia’. I think the second point settled things because he was otherwise having a good time.
Having got that problem settled I was surprised to get another call a few days later. I was notified that Bruce has been using unacceptable language in school. Back to the school I go again. The teacher informs me that he has been asking the girl next to him if she had a rubber – which is a very different thing to an eraser.
3.6 His mum &‘learning to fly solo’
Bruce has been interviewed many times since he became involved in the launching of JetStar and later it’s CEO. ‘learning toflysolo’ headlines one article. This cryptic slogan trys to introduce us to the fact that Bruce states that he had difficulty coping when you know your mother is not well and could be dying. That would have to be one of Bruce’s great understatements.
These were private years for this trio. Whilst not sworn to secrecy Bruce was very protective of his mum’s wishes and well-being. Sometimes it was difficult for me to really understand just how sick his mum was getting. I know now how much these two kids put out for their mum. They were a very close team and Bruce like his sister would do anything to have helped his mother get through her day. But it wasn’t a one way street and his mum had a full & entertaining menu right up to the day she died.
As my wife Ann summarizes; from me Bruce has what is often referred to as the Buchanan’s drive, a terrific sense of adventure and a liberal dose of obstinacy. From his mother we reckon he gained an appreciation of the ‘finer things’, a sharp intelligence and a zest for living.
3.7 Last year in high school, Uni and beyond
University for Bruce was Civil Engineering at the University of N.S.W. I think I encouraged him to take this approach. I guess in some ways I wished I had done Civil Engineering. But he got through it alright mixing a little work with a company involved in CAD software. This actually became a vocation when he took over the company.
Running his own company gave him lots of experience. I think he must have realized that he enjoyed the business side of activities more than the technical side. Eventually he decided to go back to Uni and complete an MBA. This was a turning point for Bruce. He was obviously very enthusiastic and worked very hard in this activity. Having graduated he joined Boston Consulting where he became involved in airline reorganization. The rest you can guess at.
4 Them and Now
So I have given you a snapshot of my son from infancy to the giant we see today. But have I helped you any way understand how these two got together? This I will now try to explain.
Bruce and Liz have been a number for about two years. I think my connection to Liz actually started before we had even met. You see I think Bruce had given Liz a rundown on the farm and
how hard we had been working. But that we were a pretty disorganized mob who could really do with a bit of professional help. It is my guess that Bruce was throwing a few hooks out in order to attract Liz’s attention. So Liz and I talked about Web site development and all the good things we were going to do which no doubt would have worked if I had had a more reasonable client.
The day came for me to come to Sydney. Bruce and Liz organized a great meal at their place for us all. Lots and lots of wine. I was exhausted in any case but between Blurry eyes it was obvious that these two were going to be soul mates. Actually it was a little embarrassing as they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
I ask you what makes this chemistry work. I think in their case they have both experienced life. They have both been married before, they both have lovely children and they are both been successful in their careers. But that doesn’t really answer the question I have just raised. Maybe the answer is much simpler. They like being with each other and they like doing things together.
And the great thing about this Brady bunch is that the kids love it too. To me I find it amazing that you can all come together, get along so well and have so much fun. It is a true testament to Bruce and Liz.
So this wedding business is a bit back to front. After all these guys have been on a honeymoon since they met. (P.S my understanding is that a Brady bunch requires 6 kids and I reckon 2 years will sort that out!)
Lizzie, we are very pleased to have you as part of the family & especially the fact that we gain two granddaughters as well. We have loved getting to know your family this week & hope we have many other opportunities to come together in the future. So I am happy to say that today I gain another daughter, but Lizzie I hope you are prepared for an eccentric father in law.