by Wayne Lewis (guest author) on 16 November, 2011
Wayne (Hank) Edward Lewis (illegally adopted – Cottrell) writes, “I changed my name back to my family name – “Lewis” after the death of my adopted parents and after finally the archaic “Adoption Laws” were changed at end of 1993, and I was finally able to find my natural family only to find my Natural Mother had died in a state of depression 20yrs prior – she came back to Australia to try to find me, with no luck, I felt deprived, because of those Adoption Laws!”
I was bore 11 July 1944 at the Brisbane Woman’s’ Hospital to Freda Adele Lewis who was 19 years and 11 months old and appeared to live in 5th Ave, Sandgate, Brisbane as recorded on my birthday certificate. In July 1944 it appears I was placed in “Foster Care” in a nursing home with a Mrs W. in Paddington, Brisbane fact on research, Apr 1995, I find an R.R. W. still living at
Paddington, QLD. Due to Mum not keeping up “care payments” I was transferred to State care in the “Diamantina Infants’ Home” in Wooloowin, Brisbane. Then on the 23 Jan 1947 I was transferred to “Church of England Tufnell Home” in Nundah, Brisbane.Tufnell Home had within it’s grounds a “Toddlers Home” where I was cared for until I was about 5 years old, school time I presume. The one thing I remember and still do is the time when, sitting and I presume playing under a tree out front of theToddlers Home, when I remember a few of us kids were observing a trail of grubs with “long hairy things sticking out from them” nose to tail trailing up the tree. Somehow, don’t ask me how, I don’t remember or maybe I don’t want to for fear it may have been me, but a complete nest of “Itchy Grubs” fell atop of us. Boy do I remember the itching. By the way I remember my first sip of tea, it was my last for many years. I was a bet spoiled as I remember, a blue eyed blond, and I remember annoying the Nun (Sister U, I think) to let me try her drink, tea, as it was the big persons drink. I remember her trying to warn me of it being HOT! HOT, what was that, I didn’t relate, so she let me sip, do I remember screaming, my last for many years as I did learn wha tHOT was about.
I recall being transferred with two other kids, M. H and J. R. an aboriginal to the “Big Boys’ Home”, main part ofTufnell Home, it was a large building fronted by a large lawn, garden area and a large set of stairs. These stairs raised from left and right to a large landing then raising up from center of landing to the large front entrance which was center of the big main building. This was called and or referred by us as the “Girls Side” and was the main administration, Sisters accommodation, girls living, and main kitchen and dinning room. While in the “Boys’ Home” Tufnell I recall lying on a padded bench in some sort of treatment room with pain in my groin area. I recall something being done to me that caused pain or to be scared.
At 50 years old I find that at about that time, 15 September 1949 then five years old, I was transferred to the Brisbane Children’s’ Hospital for an operation to cure Hydrocele, a swelling of the testes. School for me was to start at the Nundah State School and one occurrence that still sticks in mind as I still have the results embedded in me was when I had a pencil jammed into the top of my right little finger, the lead is still there! To this day I remember the stabbing but not the cause, could be just that needed a pencil or I had just simply upset her. I recall a dream/nightmare I had at about this age and that was that I was standing, at first alone, out on the parade ground which was surrounded by the school buildings and suddenly realise I was being laughed at by other kids and I looked down to see that I had come to school with no pants on, horror, end of that dream. Another was that I had gone to school and at the beginning of a lesson I suddenly realised I had no pencil to copy down that lesson, I broke down and cried, I was scared. The irony of it was, that this did in fact happen at a later date. One source of our types of extra foods we used to get at school, as we craved for it, was from the school rubbish bins. We kids, from memory most of us from “The Home”, used to in particular, dive for cakes or sweat things, and delicious looking sandwiches which were still generally wrapped – hygiene you know – and ravish them down in particular at little break in the morning. We generally tried not to make it too obvious that we were scavenging, we eat quite well as a result. At “Big Lunch” time we had to take what was to us the long trek “Home” to have a meal.
Generally a Sister, often Sister U, used to be standing on the landing of the big front stairs with us still outside the front gate must have been a hundred yards away, clapping her hands (like thunder, and it took me years to work out how she did it) to hurry us up. After all we only had an hour toget home, eat and return to school.
ENOGGERA BOYS HOME:-
On the 6 January 1954, at about nine and a half, I was transferred to the Church of England Boys’ Home at Enoggera with three other boys, a Mervin Hill, John “Ginger” Hoffman and an aboriginal boy, Joe Rigby. We had become the best of buddies. Some of the children in the institutions had family or friends that would visit them and or take them out on weekends and or holidays. I remember one occasion only that I was taken out for the day, and that was to a kids Christmas party at the Enoggera Barracks, I remember a fairly big built lady, in uniform I think.
I don’t actually remember being informed that “Ginger” and I had been selected to go out for Xmas holidays with anyone or for that matter anywhere. But on the 12 December 1954, (confirmed date) I was then going ten and a half, I remember Ginger and I being picked up in a utility with a canvas canopy, packed full and going into the city to a hotel where we picked up Dorothy. I remember Walter carrying her into the car, which was filling up more especially with the wheel chair, I recall looking out the window of the hotel room I could only see a red brick wall with pipes running up and down. I think I was expecting a view of interest at that height. We must have left the city fairly late in the afternoon. We really had no idea of where we were actually going but that it was a long trip, turned out to be about six hundred miles. The Ute had had a good canvas canopy and framing over the back of it, so it was all loaded up and we made ourselves comfortable by arranging soft stuff on top and sitting/laying on top of everything. We could see out the front through the cabins back window and the windscreen or sit and just watch out the back. It got dark not too long after we had left the city, from memory it was a clear night.
Remembering we had no idea really what direction we were traveling, and I had only seen the sea twice in my life and had no idea of it’s direction. Up to this stage I had never been out of the city area, I could not even comprehend the vast distance we were traveling. As we travelled on, up and down the hills, the Toowoomba Ranges, I was looking through to the front and remember thinking of just how far can you travel without running into the sea it often looked like we were heading for the sea, yet never reaching it. I was afraid that in the dark we would run into the big sea and all drown. Yet when I looked out the back it looked like we were going away from the sea, it was sometime later that I worked out that the blueness I thought was the sea, was just the horizon like I’d never seen before, vast.
G. and I would have talked some, but I guess sleep must have taken over as I don’t remember any more of the trip itself. The next I remember we had arrived at “Ularunda”, it was still dark, I have no idea of the time, and we pulled up by the cottage, which was separate to the main house but adjoined by a wooden walkway. W. carried D. into the cottage to her bed room at the far end, while we unloaded the vehicle. Walters’ room was just inside the entrance with a large room in between, this is where G. and I slept during some of our stay but then moved up to a room upstairs each in the main building. We had a wonderful stay and Xmas that holiday, what with W. and D. reading the “Jungle Book” and other stories to us of a night that would bring tears to our eyes. They both could read so well with so much feeling. There seemed so much for us to see and do, what with watching sheep or cattle being slaughtered for meat for the station by the “Cowboy”, and helping to bring in the milking cows and watching them being milked and helping feed the chooks. What with watching wild horses, cattle and sheep being mustered and or branded. Watching and helping the station cook by scraping out the bowels with a spoon or our fingers.
One afternoon G. and I decided to try to catch a pony with high hopes of having a ride, didn’t think to ask or inform anyone, but with a bridle in hand we set off past the cattle yards about 500 yard from the homestead. We followed the dirt two wheel car track road, just taking our time with not much notice of distance or time. Suddenly there it was, the pony, without experience in cornering a horse we tried different tactics but the pony kept evading us. During the chase at this time generally keeping close to the road, we noticed heavy rain clouds building up and the daylight seemed to suddenly be getting darker, being determined we persisted. We lost sight of the pony, so while following the direction it seem to take and catching our breaths, it then suddenly occurred to us while walking, which way were we travelling, and which way was home? We gathered our whits, decided which direction to try, went the way we thought the road should be, which by this time the sky’s opened up, we found a fence line, followed it, and found a road grid on the “road” we recognised. By this time we were drenched starting to get worried and not sure just how far we had to go to return home. From memory we were fairly quiet trudging along in the downpour and starting to worry if we were going to be home before anyone missed us, as time seemed like hours, or in time for our bath before dinner which was a fairly formal ado, silver ware and all. When suddenly in the distance, we more than happy to see the familiar cattle yards, home at last and still some daylight. The first thing we did was to have a bath. We loved that big old bath tub, never had one at the “Home” that we knew of, we used to sit and slide along the side to the and down the slope of the end of it. As luck would have it, it was about time for our bath anyway ready for the evening, so bathing and clean cloths were in order. Weren’t game to tell a soul of our nears loss or adventure. After dinner we often played a bit of billiards on the full size table, prior to being read a story before bed. There was a tennis court actually two with one set close to one side of the building where we used to watch the adults play, usually with visitors from other stations, or have a bash at it ourselves with the visitors kids. The tennis could be watched from the veranda of the second floor over looking the court, it was usually a big ado with all the silver ware being bought out for morning or afternoon tea onto the veranda. G. and I and with visiting kids used to often go for a swim in a water tank that was placed beside the cottage, placed in such a way as to make it easy for Walter to be able to lift Dorothy to and into it. Or go play driving cars in a couple of old wrecks or just use them as a cubby house.
We enjoyed that Xmas holidays, what with visiting the Hs at Durella, the Cs at Aqua, Bs and the Hs families and swimming in dams, watching their musters. If memory serves me right we had Xmas dinner, at Durella where the adults played tennis while we kids swam, ate till we could eat no more, and generally had a Xmas of all our Xmases. It was the first Christmas where I felt I had my own toys to play with and what with the clothes D. and W. had bought us and clothes we were given as presents, we both felt good, and neat. Another occasion that we both enjoyed was to the open air make shift movie theatre and pictures shows, as we had only seen a couple of movies at the “home”. People would come from as far as a hundred miles away, all would bring goodies of some sort and it would be spread on the portable tables with urns of tea, coffee and cordial, and of course people bought eskies of their own particular other drinks. The thing that always stuck in my mind was the community feeling, though some would only see each other on these occasions. D. would stay seated in the car like at the drive in W. or someone keeping her company while Ginger and I would sit with the H. Kids in the make shift sway back canvas seats, one of the first movies I remember seeing either at this visit or the period after I was adopted I’m not sure. I remember we usually ate in the big dinning room of the main house, D. would come over, with W. or one of us boys pushing her in her wheel chair. The dinning table was so large, the meals were usually on platters or suitable containers and covered with beautiful EPNS silver platter covers of various sizes and silver serving utensils. After the evening meal everyone would settle
down to playing cards, G. and I would play at something or go visiting around and listen to stockmen’s tales.
There was one time when we walked into the dinning room and everyone broke into laughter, G. and I couldn’t see anything funny. It was I who was the brunt of the laughter as I was asked if I was learning to shave? Thinking to myself, who me, I would never touch anyone’s shaving stuff, what would make anyone ask such a silly thing. It was soon pointed out to me the tell tail removal of my side burn on my left side gives my deed away. During our holiday stay there was a big bush fire which, if memory serves right, ended up burning through several stations. We were out many hours as were station hands and helpers from involved and other stations. It was the biggest fire I had seen for many years. It seemed like we were out for days and nights, at times we seemed we were so close to the bush fire flames that bewilderment and a certain amount of fear was within me. We were out for so long at a time that we would fall asleep in the back of the utility.
One day, with still a week or two of holidays left, W. was talking to G. and I on the wooden walkway between the cottage and the main house, asking us questions when he asked us both would we like to be adopted. He explained what adoption was all about, and as we thought they were the two most wonderful people we knew, I don’t think it took us long to decide and reply that we would love to be adopted by them. W. did explain that it was a long slow process, that if they were able to it could take a long time.
With the holidays over we returned to the Boy’s Home and it’s system. I remember that Sunday afternoons were usually set aside for homework and letter writing and I, I think Ginger too, used to write to W. and D.. News would come to us every now and then that the adoption was in process and would take time, I think I lived in hope for it. If memory serves me right, and it seemed like years, but was told that I had been accepted for adoption, but that G’s mother would not let him be adopted.
It was about August 1955 school holidays that I was flown out to Charleville where I was met by W. To this day I can still see W. through the aircraft window as the aircraft was taxing in, standing on the edge of the tarmac of the typical country airport, basically just a big shed. To fly all that way in an aircraft was such a thrill for me, but to see my “Dad” standing there so proud, it felt so good.
It was about an 80 mile trip I don’t remember the trip to Ularunda, maybe I slept all the way, what with all the excitement of it all, I think it was well into the night by the time we arrived after greeting my new Mum I was huddled into bed in the familiar center room of the cottage, with the wood fire burning, as of a night in August it used to get as low as 26deg F. but of a day would still be quite warm.
One day I remember, and being just 11 years old, going through some “junk” tucked away in some boxes, of which I found some pocket watches. I asked Dad if I could have one to try to get it going, so he passed me one to “play with”. Mind you I’d never seen a real pocket watch till now, but these things are just mechanical, I should be able to get it going, after all, I’d learnt do be a mini gadget man. So found the tools I felt necessary, made myself comfortable on the floor, and proceeded to take the watch apart, no problems, came apart quite easily.
Looking down at my success and little PILE of watch pieces and thinking to myself, that was easy, I should be able to put this lot back together and get it working, I proceeded! Boy, with so many small cogs of different sizes , I just could not seem to decide which cog went in first or which meshed into which or what direction or position a cog was to go, hours later – I piled it together. I never did show Dad that I “didn’t” get the watch going, always seemed funny he never asked about it either, maybe he knew? To this day, the two things I credit that experience with is that it taught me to take note/mark/record or sketch anything I might pull apart as I do, if I intend to try to repair anything again, and this lesson taught me to be a pretty good gadget come handyman, a handy thing to be in life. As a matter of fact later in life, I did end up pulling an old mantle clock apart with the intentions of getting it going for a friend (I recalled this lesson) and succeeded, did several more as well!
During these August Holidays of 1955, Dad was to tell me that I would be going to the Church of England Boarding School in Toowoomba, and that unlike the State Schools, the Boarding schools usually had an extra week or two on to their school holiday breaks. I remember knowing I had the extra week or two making me feel much better, as I didn’t really want to have to leave my New Parents so soon for so long, till Xmas. Again I generally had no trouble enjoying the country life, as at last Xmas, filling in time around the place watching or participating and enjoying myself. I remember a trip to Morven on a truck with bales of wool, time flew by.
So it was time to go to school, the weather had been quite wet the roads quite slippery. We were traveling in the dodge utility with canopy, I so fondly remember, and were slipping and sliding for 40 miles to Morven and bitchamen road, and yes, we even got bogged, another lesson in life learning to get out of it, we did and continued. At one time on the trip I recall asking Dad how fast we were traveling, we were traveling about 45-50mph and Dad took the car to 60mph, at my request to thrill me as we were going around a right hand curve which had a slant higher on the left, I was amazed, speed wow! Don’t remember much else about the rest of the trip, remember driving in the gate of the school and up to the front of the big building. I do remember standing down by a double gate across the big yard from the main building and as near as to the main road out (the one we came in on) as possible, all alone and sobbing my eyes out, I don’t think I had ever felt so alone in my whole life, I knew no one there at that time. The son of the White family, Bill, a tall slim dark haired fellow who was to become my hero as he was to win a boxing competition at the school, from Boatman Station and his cousin P. L. took me under their wing the next day when they arrived, I knew them.
As I settled into the “school system” I soon fell back into the “institution” life again, had fun and fond memories though. On the school staff there were two lovely “sewing” ladies who took a fancy to myself and another boy ( whom I was to bump into years later in Sydney) like myself, stocky but dark hair where I was fair with blue eyes. Well as time passed on we became regular visitors to the sewing room of an afternoon after school, to enjoy afternoon tea and biscuits and a chat, I always was a pretty good chatterbox. I forget his name, but I always remember that his cheekiness, in that he always was able to acquire those extra couple of biscuits that I was too shy to acquire, boy, did I used to get jealous of him, otherwise we got on quite well, the ladies were such homely company. There was one time when having a shower (which was over the bathtub) I slipped and hit my head and was sent silly. So I was whisked up to the school infirmary and kept over night, come morning I was hoping the injury was worth getting out of school lessons for the day, it wasn’t, darn! There was a tuck-shop (in one of the school “Houses”) that we used to buy sweets or goodies from, we used to get two bob a week I think it was to spend, unless special arrangements were made with parents, or it could be broken down to one shilling on each of Wednesday and Saturday, boy you could buy a lot then for that. One of us kids pleasures was when the daily bread was delivered, I think it was Saturday mornings, what with no school, that we used to wait and catch the baker so as to buy a half loaf of hot fresh bread. We always used to eat out the inside bread leaving the delicacy of the fresh warm crust of the loaf to savoir in our time, most delightful. This was one of the favorite times that the kids that did roller skate did so while munching on their loaf, I was too scared to try skating. There were plenty of tared and cement areas and the wooden flooring of covered play area for the guys to do their rolled skating. Just a little apart from this main building and to the side of the service road and behind a row of wooden class rooms was this bomb shelter we used to play in and around, never did really understand what it was there for at the time, war, that was comic book stuff, but we found use for it. In those same class rooms on Wednesday nights the kids that were interested in stamps used to meet and had the chance to get to understand about stamps and start collecting by swapping or buying at a discount. So to this day I still collect and have quite a substantial Australian collection and have helped many a kid develop an interest and get started in the hobby of collecting stamps, by giving one of each of my spares I collect for this purpose.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons were usually a free or our own time when we could go and do most of our own thing. Things like play in the park just outside the front gate, and swing on the swings of various types or climb trees and play chasey in the tree or just sit in the tree over looking Table Top Mountain to the right of the front, and Picnic Point way over to the right. Out to the front far distance was virgin country and Brisbane, we knew that because we knew that was the main dangerous winding road to Brisbane could be seen snaking down and off to the distance. In looking pretty well straight down the fairly steep hill was thick scrub where we used to make our tree and ground hidey huts, and play cowboys and Indians, and climb more trees and swing on ropes we took with us, or slide down the steep hill on sheets of iron or cardboard boxes, or over to the left of the hill on another steep slope in particular if wet we would make a mess of our shorts by sliding down that muddy slope.
If pre-arranged we were able to go on hikes and take army water cans of drinking water and a packed lunch, and hike to places like Table Top Mountain via Picnic Point, as in any case that was considered the safest way, across the saddle. Well, I think it was a desire of most kids that attended this school and because of the shear beauty of that scenery, had to see closer or become part of it. So as with so many others, about five or six of us chose to do this day. With school bags on backs and water in cans we moved out over to the right following the ridge line, crossing the main road at the top of the mountain coming into Toowoomba, and worked our way to Picnic Point. Had seen the Point before so wasn’t such a thrill as the thrill that bewildered us as we surveyed, while resting and refilling our water cans, the scenery across to the small hill this side and to the saddle and to the Table Top that big flat topped mountain, closer and from a different angle, what a sight and thrill to be so daring. We set off, down hills and up dales, across gullies with no compos, till we reached the top of that first little hill. It was a bit of a struggle to get up this hill, a bit rougher than expected, and looked across to see we were only about a few hundred yards opposite Table Top, we were feeling quite pleased with ourselves and rested. So down and across the saddle and up again, the fairly steep side, to finally reach the “top of the world” and to walk around this big flat top, to see C.E.B.S. and the main road winding along and up the side of the mountain from that angle, what a sight and feeling. After resting, drinking, eating, playing and seeing. We organized ourselves for the return trip it would be easy we felt, just go straight down the hill, hit the main road and across it, work our way to the left and up hill through the bush we were quite familiar with, no problem, so we set off! Trouble was the bush was thicker and the trek down rougher, and we ended up, instead of going straight down to the main road, winging down and back along the side of the saddle and back up on top that same small hill on Picnic Point side of the mountain we had just climbed down, no wonder it was tough and longer than we had calculated, hell! So rested gathered our wits and set off again, this time making sure of direction, we hit the main road and to make it easier on ourselves for a while followed it up. Then cutting across country and through familiar paddocks and over to the base of the mountain under the school, through scrub and then the long climb up the mountain, to the familiar open grassed area where other kids were sliding down on cardboard enjoying themselves. With relief we stopped, rested and chatted with them then blended in the crowd on everyone’s return to the school to shower for dinner. Somehow it was found out that we had got lost and ended up passing through an area the Army Reserves were using for exercises that weekend, though we saw none. Don’t remember any punishment though, maybe they were just happy we found our way back.
One of our favorite activities was to climb to the “crows nest” which was way up on top of a huge pine tree, a really easy tree to climb, then, at a young age but would probably take second thoughts now! This was 1956 ant the word was spreading of a new innovation, the television, the magic picture box. But the nearest we got to see one of these things was by a little toy TV, when you tilted eo turned it slightly the picture changed, fascinating! But not so long after this time I was to get to see one of these TV’s before most of Australians’ though I had no idea they were already well established in the USA where I was soon to go to. In the mean time we were quite content to view our Saturday night weekly screened serial and movies, we looked forward to it. Unfortunately, I feel and I think most felt the same, it was tended to be over powered by the Sunday morning “Mass” in the schools small church, can’t remember but I think Sunday evenings as well. But for sure we had to attend Mass on Wednesday morning as well. The chaplet was a part of the main school building, set aside from the main administration and accommodation buildings with a big sports oval, where we had inter boarding school (Grammar) and girls boarding schools sports competitions. It was also the area of the annual fundraising fetes that we kids used to make stuff to sell at. End of my first term at the C.E.B.S. and on my way “home” for Xams holidays to see and enjoy with my new parents. Within about a week of or few days of the holidays, Dad, myself and a couple of other stockman in a horse float, head off to Morven Rail station where I was to find that the most beautiful light tan pony had been delivered for me, mine, wow, with a bridle and saddle. I fell in love with at first sight and was asked what I would name her, Wildfire, as I could see the fire of life in her wide shiny eyes. She reminded me of the life that lived in the fire I experienced the first visit to Ularunda, she had real life in her but yet she was so gentle and I knew she knew I was not an experienced rider. Once when I fell off her, she just trotted a few steps ahead from fright of my thud as I hit the ground, personality plus.
“Possum”, the beautiful blond daughter of the head stockman, C. M. (I think) and I used to ride with the “Cowboy” to gather in the milkers of an evening for the morning milking. Then went to gather all the eggs from the large chook pen and try to catch a trapped galahs, which I might add bit me, couldn’t understand how a bird could be so vicious when I was only trying to help it. Sometimes got up early enough to “help” with (4) the milking. One day when tippy toeing across to the milking bales barefooted as usual, I found myself in the middle of the “brier patch” of burs, big grey ones with big stickers from them, sure hurt the feet. Crying, and with damned sore feet by now, I sat down, after clearing a patch to sit and proceeded to remove them sharp burs from my feet. That’s all I remember of that incident, don’t even remember how I got out of there. But I learned a lesson that day, wear something on your feet. The view from our tallest windmill, at the homestead, was to behold. You could see such a distance in all directions, so flat but so beautiful, could see the whole homestead surrounds and stockyards.
About the time of my 12th birthday, 11th July 1956, and about mid term, nearing the end of my first year there, Dad came by and picked me up from the school by taxi we were then driven to Brisbane (boy, did this not bring back memories of driving into the sea) where Dad asked what I desired for my birthday. A watch, if I may Dad! But being a cautious type I asked Dad if I could have a pocket one as I had seen many kids break their wrist watches or messed them up by putting them under water, Dad agreed. So we went looking from Jeweller to Jeweller till Dad found what he recommended to me was a pocket watch with a lid as this would hopefully protect the face more. It was silver with a pretty plain face but easy to see and it looked nice, loved it, so Dad bought it for me. Unfortunately, within even only a few weeks and with all care as a kid could take while playing, the face glass got broken in my pocket. The next face cover for it was a plastic one, glass was too easy to break. On that day in Brisbane, Dad also bought Mum a beautiful broad brimmed black hat with a black scarf around it and I asked him could I/we could buy her a bottle of her favorite scent, 4 7 11 I think it was. Anyway at the end of the day and time to return to Toowoomba and as Dad had more business to attend and was staying a few days, he knew I liked crab-meat so bought me a whole crab to eat on the Greyhound Bus while returning to the school. He did think to inform me of what not to eat of the crab, but I seemed not to be able to tell him, I had never seen a real eatable crab before, so I remembered what Dad said, not to eat certain parts of a crab! Trouble was, when I eventually went to try to eat the darn thing, in the total darkness of the bus, I didn’t know which I should or shouldn’t eat of it! So I didn’t and just discreetly rewrapped it up, with me and the bus cabin, by now, smelling of that beautiful crab-meat. Many years before I ate untinned crab-meat again.
D C, whose Post writing always was with special warmth, died on June thirtieth ’57 in Homestead, Florida, and a poignant experience bought her both joy and stress during her last illness. Before speaking of that let’s recall that in a Post article – HOW TO WEAR A WHEEL CHAIR, June 10, 1950 – this remarkable woman wrote, “I have been unable to walk since an infantile – paralysis attack since I was five years old. I have had a radiantly happy life.” Her own radiance of personality, her indomitable spirit, and the deep love which united D. and her husband, M. (also a Post author), could generate only happiness. D’s writing , especially her Post novels and stories, always reached beyond mere entertainment; it had a quality of understanding and compassion that this world needs.
In 1954 the Cs (they were naturalized American citizens) Flew to Australia to be near D’s mother, who was very ill. While there D suffered a back injury. While she was under medical treatment, she and Mac invited some lads from an orphanage to spend Christmas with them; Between one of the boys and the Cs there was a swift falling in love, and soon the boy, named Wayne, was adopted.
Later, when D’s injury necessitated immediate return to her doctors in America, the Cs learned with horror that there was no American law allowing them to take Wayne with them; he must await his immigration-quota turn – approximately fifteen years. So the heartsick boy was put in a private school, the shattered Cs came home. To skip over months of agonizing struggle with immigration complexities last year Wayne was allowed to fly to Nassau in the being a British colony – he then was granted a visitor’s permit to go home to Homestead. Meanwhile, in Washington, Sen. George A. Smathers and Rep. Dante Fascell, of Florida, energetically supported by Post editor Beverly Smith, Jr., introduced in Congress a resolution granting Wayne permanent U.S. residence, opening the way for the boy, who is now twelve, to become a citizen two years after adoption of the resolution. It was passed three days before Wayne’s mother died.
Hank (Wayne Lewis)