A lot of hard work. A lot of love and a lot of grief.
Best day of my life was getting married. First met on a blind date at Luna Park. Only Betty wasn’t my blind date. A fellow I played tennis with; he was her blind date. After that night my date, she said, ‘Betty’s been asking about you’. So after Betty and I got together that was it. We just clicked. We got 54 years together. We’d been lovers a long time before we got married. Well, a couple of years. I must have made love to my wife a thousand times. She never knocked me back once. She raised my three boys on her own. I was working long hours with my father’s foundry.
I helped him out for 17 years. Heavy lifting. Oh worst job in the world. I’ve never been strongly built; had two shoulders operated on, broke me back twice, two spinal operations, back in the foundry doing all the heavy lifting again because I had a steel brace on me back, straps over me shoulders and under my legs. Doing all the heavy lifting, knew I couldn’t hurt myself. Never had a bad back since. It’s incredible. Wouldn’t advise anyone to do it too often. My father till the day he died couldn’t write. Couldn’t answer the phone, he couldn’t write down a message. I think that’s the proudest thing I ever did, helping my father. He was a brilliant moulder. He was a wild man. He wouldn’t go to school. It took him all this time just to scrawl his bloody name on a cheque.
I had two women; two wonderful women attracted to me. I think that I must have had something. Reliable, honourable. I was never much of a talker. No personality really. Yet I had these two women. My wife died 18 years ago and then I had Val Coy, she had a personality. You’d put her in a room full of strangers and she’d charm them within 5 minutes. She passed away too.
I welcome it (death). If I die tonight in my sleep, it’d be a good thing… I get depressed sometimes on my own. I want somebody special with me… What I miss most is getting into bed with a woman, cuddling up to her.
Ken is a very kind, caring, sensitive man born in the working-class suburb of Marrickville. He played A grade competition tennis as a hobby till he was in his 60s. Ken lives at the Feros Care village in Kingscliff.