FROM the day I was born I was loved by my father and I loved him. Of course at the time I didn’t know what love was, I just felt loved. In his diary he wrote “of his darling little baby daughter who was perfect in every way”. All my life my father made me feel I was perfect, although I knew I was not.
When I was a toddler he pushed me around the block in my stroller showing the local football fans in Muswellbrook (he was a champion footballer back in the day) his pride and joy.
At the age of five he took a photo of my first day at school. When he produced pantomimes, concerts and Gilbert and Sullivan musicals at his school I was always in the chorus as the little girl who just got such a wonderful experience being part of a musical ensemble and just being with her dad. At the annual concerts I sang a solo and felt I was as special as my dad said I was. My dad gave me confidence. He introduced me to Shakespeare, Mozart, the piano, books, education, travel, languages, family and a “love of life”.
My father advised, disciplined, kindly guided, comforted and continued to love me throughout my whole life. During my teenage years and as a young woman when I would go out every night he gently reminded me there was more to life than hanging out in a “pub”. Little did he know, or did he, I was out chasing guys.
Dad was there again with his camera for my first day as a teacher. I stood in front of my lime green Vauxhall Viva that I had saved for and Dad had chosen for me. He sent me a telegram saying “Have found a car” and I still have that telegram. That was also love.
My father was there in every aspect of my life and always exuding love. He was proud when I lived in London and went Munster University, in Germany. When I asked him if he was sad I lived in Europe he replied, “When you decide to return home after all your wonderful experiences we will be here”.
When I married he loved not only me but my beautiful husband.
My father taught me to conjugate the verb “to love”. I have realised love was being in that concert with him, him driving me to school as a teenager, him picking me up near the phone box up as a student from university, him meeting me at the airport after overseas trips, working alongside him at his school and being taught spelling by him in year 6. Most of all, I loved talking all my life to my father.
When my father, Mervyn Raymond Hall, passed away last year my world collapsed. Five weeks before he died he said to me, “Suellen, I am dying”. As we cried together he told me that the most important thing was if he had been a “good father”. I reassured him that he had been a wonderful father, an inspiring and innovative man and was so loved by family, friends and all the many students he had taught and devoted his life to. He was concerned for his wife of 66 years Joan Hall, and I promised I would always look after her on his behalf.
When he died shortly after I was devastated. He was a loved man, a loved teacher and principal, a much-loved husband and for me, the best father in the world. So many people came to celebrate this fine man’s life and at his celebration two of his first students (husband and wife) came to celebrate the life of “our favourite teacher, Mr Hall”. They were in their 70s. My father was 90.
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