June 5 -11, 2022: Issue 541
Robyn Edelle Friend (B.A. & Dip Ed.)
July 7th 1946 To May 14th, 2022
A Celebration Of Her Life
Wife of Brian (Friendly), Mother of Chris, Carl and Ryan (alias Kong, Fez and Jack). Mother-in-law of beautiful Karina and Tina and overly adoring grandmother of Eden, Billie, Clint, Taylor and Hope. Loving sister of John, Wendy, Vicki and Kerry (Dec.), adored daughter of Cecil and Lilly Taylor.
This Celebration had been fully planned and written out by Robyn and the following adheres to her instructions and wishes, and those of her family.
Robyn's Notice, as hand penned to Pittwater Online to be run, stated, in part; ''All are invited to Celebrate BUT must bring smiles and dancing shoes.'' All were asked to wear colourful clothing as well - no dark colours.
Dick Harris, of Avalon Bulldogs and First Grade Manager of the Warringah Rats was asked to be MC and read the Eulogy Robyn had written to be read, as her speaking. Similarly Robyn had a full itinerary of the Order of Celebration which included her children, her wider family and her best friends from her sport - Netball.
After Mr. Harris had welcomed everyone, well over 600 people attending, her boys and her husband brought her casket amongst us.
Her husband Brian Friend OAM and eldest son Christopher commenced as first speakers after Mr. Harris's welcome.
Brian Friend OAM Eulogy
Welcome to the life and times of Robyn Friend my wonderful wife, mother, grand mother.
Today is Robyn's day, not mine, not our family, not yours, it is HER DAY. She has left a footprint on this earth bigger than the man in the moon. THIS is a celebration of her life. She is so good, she even wrote her own 'eulogy' which gave us all a job to do on this day.
There were 6 envelopes in her package designating a section of this celebration. Mr. Chris Lee (Peninsular Funerals and a long time family member) had his duties. Mr Dick Harris, another life time family member was given his instructions as MC to conduct and read her Eulogy as written by her. But first I must carry out a bit of home duties and thank some people who were so supportive in a personal way.
To Wendy @ 5 Star and her husband Brian, To Vicki Kate and her husband Greg and all their children, thank you for the loan of your sister, both of you and your families have been a tower of strength to us both over the years especially during Rob's past 6 years of hell. You have also been a backup many times to us both with visits and support. I cannot thank you enough. Rob's Christmas party's every year were a classic of Taylor fun with humour and love.
To 'our' part of the family, the 3 amigo's, the bond she formed with you 3 were a measure of her love for life. You were the best present she ever gave me. We are so proud of you and what you have become. I was going to give you heaps of acclamations but I don't think I would do you justice. To our precious DIL's, we could not have asked for a better addition to our family - you are the daughters we never had. You were Robyn's BESTIES and she loved her lunches and shopping expeditions you shared with her.
I know that she threatened you "that if you ever leave her boys, you would be out of the will" because she had a fear of them coming back home.
Now for the 'Apple of Robyn's eye', her Grand Kids, EDEN, BILLIE, HOPE, CLINT and TAYLOR. Nothing was too good for you kids, your visits to her when you were passing by (all of your own doing), brought her tears of joy and happiness. Her life evolved around you.
To the SEAVIEW, DUCKS and CURRAWONG netball teams - you made her netball life and exciting experience whether it be local or on tours around Australia with the Masters competitions. She loved it nearly as much as I love my Masters of Rugby League.
Today you will notice these ladies in the crowd today in their outfits slightly different to what you would expect at a service celebrating someone's departure. These girls are on strict orders (yes they received their envelopes as well) to carry out a performance as decreed by 'Mother Duck' which she used to join in when they were on tour. Please feel free to join in when they present their 'tribute song'.
To tidy up the thank you's, I thank you, her friends, mates and acquaintances. She knew you would not let her down but, turn up and join with us in celebrating her life. I don't think she realised just how many friends she had. She didn’t buy this friendship …. she earnt it. She didn’t have any enemies- she just surrounded herself with good people and enjoyed life. On behalf of the family I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
She always said to me "when I die, I know you will marry someone else" and my reply was always "I could never replace you, you were one of a kind, there will never be another OPO.
I will now just touch on a few things that occurred during our life. It won’t be long and I will only read it from the sheet when I forget something. I will use the old memory box so please bear with me :
Born in Cowra, her family moved to North Narrabeen when she was 13 years old. Her parents Cec and Lill bought a shop opposite the surf club.
I started carting her out at age 16. Good sort, dark red hair, and had a bit of class amongst so many others.
I used to pick her up from High School in different cars, just to impress her and impress Narrabeen Girls High School, and so the teachers would not know me. I was working as a Mechanic out at Mona Vale and would jump in a car at 3.15 of an afternoon, sometimes a Jag, sometimes and MG, a Holden, didn’t matter what it was, give it a road test down to Narrabeen Girls High School, pick her up to drive her home while all the other girls were catching the bus or walking home.
This impressed a lot of women in her life and they thought she knew someone really important. (laughter) – they didn’t realise it was me.
We loved dancing, we were joined at the hips in dancing, and there’s a lot of our close friends here today who used to go too – to the Avalon Beach Stomp at Avalon Beach surf club, the Collaroy surf club dance, at North Narrabeen surf club’s dance, at Dee Why – we’d stay at the pub until 10 o’clock until we got kicked out and then go to the surf club. Rock & Roll plus jiving. We could dance Jazz Waltz, Quick Step and Pride of Erin. We were united at the hip.
She was a race starter when we used to race cars along Ocean St. you see people out there with their chequered flags starting races at Oran Park or Le Mans – she used to start our races when I had a Morris Minor and a mate of mine had an Austin 30, both of which had similar motors. We’d race from outside her shop all the way up to the fire station, then back through the cutting and down onto the North Narrabeen bridge. How we never got killed I don’t know; but she used to start us off – would have a flag out there and wave us away. In the shop window you’d see her father watching, clearly thinking; ‘what does she see in this idiot?’.
Because I didn’t do anything to promote our love as far as rings on fingers she said one day, ‘I’m going to Queensland, going with a mate.’ And left.
I thought ‘she’ll be back in a couple of weeks, it’s all good.’
I started writing her letters, which she still has today – I’m going to burn them in that – (gestures to coffin, laughter)
Some of those letters are beautiful – I didn’t realise I could talk like that.
At any rate, she still said ‘no, I’m not coming back.’
I ended up jumping in my trusty old FC Holden and roared off to Queensland, which was about a 12 hour trip then, and brought her back with 'promises of marriage'.
We married on January 14th, 1967 at Narrabeen, in the chapel next door to the Taylor Old Men’s home. Our honeymoon was spent in Noosa.
Bridal party, 1967
Wedding party - Friend and Taylor families, 1967
We moved to Avalon Beach where we started our life together, then a little village and still a wonderful place. She had her eyes on a house and then she wanted to have a baby….
She said to me "I think we should have a child" and I agreed knowing that I was going to have a great time making babies. She then told me she was pregnant. This happened with each child, the same statement and when I agreed, the same answer. I knew when she said ‘I think we should have a baby’ that she was already pregnant – those are the things I never want to forget.
When she was pregnant with Kong, our first son, all I had was a little Honda motorbike with which I used to go to the training academy for the coppers. She used to sit on the back when we were going out. As she progressed through her pregnancy she would move back further and further on the seat until one night the coppers pulled us over. I said ‘yeah, what’s the trouble mate?’ – he replied ‘you’ve got no tail light, I don’t think you’ve even got a number plate.’ As it turned out the wife was sitting so far back she’d squatted all over it and you couldn’t see it. (more laughter)
That was the fun we had – we just had the best fun.
She baked her babies well and presented me with 3 sons. Little did she realise that she was going to raise these boys exactly as she wanted them because a lot of the time I was at work on shift work in Sydney and relieving 5 times down at Port Kembla for 3 weeks at a time.
What you see today is what she created. We were married for 55 and a half years but because of our life style with work, footy and netball, I think that the actual time together would have been in vicinity of 15 years.
She loved her 22 years at Sunnyfield with her 5 Down Syndrome children. She loved Tutoring her students in Maths and English and always made an impression with them when they sat for their 'finals' by lifting their personal examination marks from very low to a 'very good pass'.
She had a sense of humour although a bit different to mine. When I was working part time at the Shell Garage in Av, I used to duck over the RSL and have a few snorts before tea time. This became a bit of a habit and one evening I was 'paged to the front door'… upon my responding to this request, I was presented with Rob in PJ's and nightgown, carrying Carl in PJ's and night gown and Chris by her side in PJ's and night gown with the words "this is your daddy's second home, please say good night to him".
I was working 3 jobs at the time I joined the Coppers and she was 'squirrelling' away my pay packets to pay the home off that SHE had bought. When we finally decided to join our mates going to Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Borneo and then a trip through UK and Europe, she saved and saved so that we could afford it. I always wondered where she got the money for it. I used to give her my pay cheque every fortnight from the Cops and she would bank it. I went into the bank one day with my cheque and signed it over to the account we had. The teller said, "this is not your signature mate". I then realised that Rob had been signing my pay cheques over to them for many years.
Many times I used to strut around like an old cock rooster with my chest pumped out stating "look whom I chose for my partner" ….many years down the track she pulled me aside one day and said....’’You idiot, I chose you".
She was MY champion.
We were so comfortable with each other, didn’t seem to need anyone else – but I think the reason we were so happy was all of you people out here today, our mates. And the Taylor family, always the best fun, always the best people to have at a party – if you go with them you knew you were going to have a great night.
One thing I always remember about her that I loved was "we always held hands when walking anywhere in the world". Whether we were walking down the street in Avalon or somewhere overseas, walking through Sienna in Italy or Lake Garda, we always held hands. I always held her right hand as I always stood closest to the road – which us old blokes would understand in that you were protecting your wife from any car that may jump the kerb -nowadays, with 90 k an hour it wouldn’t matter what hand you held, but still, that’s what we did. I think our No.1 son captured some pics when he was travelling with us.
I am not going to bore you with any more stories as I have a thousand memories of her and me together and I will treasure these with my immediate family for many years to come.
There have been a number of Tributes during the days leading to here, including Bronny Watts, one of the best netball umpires Australia has today, apart from Maureen Boyle who is here today. Bronny sent us a photo of her and a few of the players standing with a photo of Rob – and I thought, ‘geez, that’s bloody special’. Then the next day Kong tells me that Max Girdler, a First Grad player with Warringah Rats, came out of the dressing room with black tape on his arm. When his mates asked him who that was for he answered ‘it’s for Robyn Friend, who was a good friend of our family.’ My two youngest grandchildren play with Avalon soccer, their team, thanks to Nick Wright, wore black armbands. When Narrabeen Masters rugby went out to play, there was three fields and three games about to start, and Malcom came on and said ‘we’re going to have a minutes silence for Robyn Friend’ and all my Narrabeen mates wore black armbands.
Manly Warringah Netball Association's Maureen Boyle OAM read this as part of her MWNA Umpire Development Co-ordinator Report for the May 2022 MWNA Council Meeting and kindly provided a copy:
Vale Robyn Friend, fondly known as Mother Duck.
Our umpiring fraternity were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our loyal and fun loving Robyn.
Robyn was an invaluable member of the MWNA Umpires' Committee for many years. She, together with her sister Vicki Broome, helped run the Level 1 Umpires' Program. Robyn also coached umpires, umpired herself, and up until a ew years ago was on numerous badging panels. At the same time, she was still playing for her beloved Seaview Club and playing in the Masters Team, travelling to all parts of Australia.
In a week where we are celebrating the 'Volunteer' we pay tribute to the entire ''Friendly'' clan who are involved in every level and code of sport on the Northern Beaches. In fact, Robyn was the daughter-in-law of MWNA's first Secretary, Beryl McDougall when Manly officially became an Association.
We send our condolences and love to the entire family on the loss of their beautiful OPO (Oh Perfect One).
22nd May 2022
These are the little things that touch your heart and make you think ‘how good is this world’.
There were many other people who dropped in food, left flowers and went out of their way to support 'The Friendly Family' through this part of our Life. On behalf of my family; We thank you all. I may not get a chance to talk to you today but I know you are there for my OPO...and she was… the "OH PERFECT ONE".
Dick Harris: Now we come to Robyn’s first-born, Kong, although I’m not sure we’re allowed to use the nicknames, she seems keen on us using the first names today, so Christopher, to deliver the Family Eulogy, here is Chris Friend, known as ‘Kong’.
Family Eulogy by Chris Friend - Mums’ Celebration
We are all here to celebrate the life of one hell of a special lady.
Some of you may be asking why 12.01 pm; It's by her strict orders because she hated anything with AM in front of it unless it was 2 am with her Ducks at the Pan Pac games.
Her No 1 son: mum was always pointing out I’m her number 1 son to my brother with her index finger; ‘favourite son’. I used to love it ‘number one son’.
Until the day a balloon popped when we were in the car one day and this guy pulled in being abusive. Mum leaned out the window and made a gesture like this (her ‘up yours’ finger). I thought ‘he’s not your number 1 son’ – I was shattered. I realised I’m not her number 1 son, we all are, Fez, Jack.
And to you Rob (makes the same gesture with index finger) – I AM your No. 1 son – and up yours.
FEZ and JACK;
FEZ: you definitely got handed down mums incredible art skills and her netball coaching skills (laughs); he’s the only guy I know who can tell mum how to coach a netball team after 6 1/ years of learning netball skills. You also have her love of music. Mum’s ultimate payback though, since she got stuck with 4 boys to look after, was you having 4 beautiful girls that all have the fire of mum inside them and love proving you wrong.
Karina you are the perfect fit into our family, having you with your intelligence and strong will finally gave mum the backing to put all of her know it all sons into place, you 2 made one formidable team and mum absolutely adored you like a daughter.
Jack: sorry you and I both got the short end of the deal with mum's handouts in life with the height gene. You also got mum's softness, caring and sooky side. By sooky side I mean; mum pulled us three boys together one night and handed us all one job, one was to who had power of attorney to turn the switch off should it come to that. I remember she said to Jack ‘you’re too much of a sook, we can’t have you crying in the corner, Fez will be arguing with the doctor, and I’ll(Kong) have to take control’. But the biggest gift you gave her was something I know she always wished she had and that was a daughter, well mate you gave her the ultimate gift in life, you gave her Tina.
Dad your first trade was mechanic then you became a policeman. These 2 jobs reflects your life in so many ways for what you stood up for in mums life . 1a mechanic makes sure the engine runs perfectly (her heart) which you did, TICK. Policeman. To serve and protect and you did that above and beyond, TICK. MUM told me you didn’t pick her dad she picked you. She will forever be in your left-hand mate.
To all the Grand kids; I can't even start to express what you have brought into her life. The ultimate compliment I can say is that mum told me that you finally gave her the perfect life that she's always wished for.
Ces (dad) Lil ( mum) Wendy, Vicki, John and Kerry, thank you so much for being a family. I know that word is mum's most precious word and that's what you meant to her.
Now for the real STAR of the show Robyn Edelle Friend.
First let's start with mums LOVES. SUNSETs because you can have wine; The colour blue (her ducks ), Caring ( 22 years of helping Sunnyfield with their special needs kid's which she adored); Travelling, (Hawaii family holiday her favourite ) thank you Barters for making that trip possible; Teaching and Tutoring (Jet Hobbs recently sent us a message about how far she helped him in his career and this was a reminder of how she also inspired me in so many ways) Prankster; I’m finally allowed to tell a Ducks story that was only allowed to be told when it was all over. Mum was up at the Pan Pac Games with all the girls, and she had been hiding Kathy Adams clothes for a while. Kathy thought ‘right, I’ll get you back’. They were out one night, as usual, and dancing, as usual, and this guy came up and started dancing with mum. Mum was ‘ok, back it down a bit – I’m married, children’ – the whole thing. Kathy saw her opening; the next day, when they were all ready to fly out home, she said; ‘I’ve got to be honest with you Rob, I gave him your phone number’. Mum was ‘WHAT have you done?!’ for 3 months mum treasured that phone so dad wouldn’t see it, so much so that when she drove down to Warriewood one day and had forgotten the phone, she did a U-turn because she was that terrified, to get the phone. And like Katy Adams said, she never touched her clothes again. (laughs)
Christmas this was her day, her favourite and best day of the year because it’s everyone's birthday on the that day and we are all as special as each other on that day and get to share the day with each other. Art she was such an amazing artist and loved to express her feelings through art. I have a picture at home of mum and dad’s house which has me as a child reaching for a Goofy on my bedroom wall. She prided herself on her work in her art. She painted the Avalon Bulldogs first big medal sign that they used to carry around all the time. So, we knew she had an incredible ability in art – and I know that Fez got that handed down to him in so many ways. I know secretly she has been working on a grand masterpiece that has been very private and very special to her that none of us know about yet. She also LOVED Netball and that white wanker matching tracksuit she used to strut around in thinking she’s shit hot. That was a love of hers, I tell you.
DISLIKES; Sunrises; you can't drink wine, Potatoes – she hated potatoes, and the irony of that is we were visiting her in hospital and one of the meals they served her up there was potato salad with a potato and leek soup. (laughs). She didn’t like the colour pink, admitting she was wrong, coriander; who does anyway, Rugby League talk at the dinner table, Heights. She hated swimming but for some unknown reason she got a pool put in.
I’d like to share some of her Achievements.
Mum went back to school as a mature student to get her HSC for her to get into university. She had to finish in the top 10% of the state to get into Macquarie University, her first choice, and which she absolutely smashed right out of the park – as if there was any doubt in that result right.
After 6 years of part time university and juggling 3 son's and a useless husband she graduated with a Batchelor of Arts and Diploma of Education.
She then went on to graduate with Honours in English Linguistics and was later asked go back and study for a professorship but declined the invitation because it would take away too much time from her Sunnyfield kids and looking after her 4 boys.
Robyn's HSC results
Invitation to join academia - knocked back in preference of family and Sunnyfield family
Sunnyfield family 'thanks' in 1983
‘’ Time to wrap this up no more dribble Kong’’ she would say, followed by 'it's time to get this party started.’’
Thank you all for making mum what she is today and for shaping us 4 boys into something that has made her so proud.
So, to wrap it up.
Mum finished on her own terms; she passed away in her sleep at 5. 15am because there was no way in hell she was getting woken up early for that 1 last time.
NO MORE SUNRISES ONLY SUNSET'S
WOW!!!!! I finally get it.
As I look out at all you wonderful and beautiful friends and family. I now see it!!! - and in typical OPO form she's left it right down to the last minute, I finally get it MUM this is your grand masterpiece that you've been working on for so long. (Chris points at crowd of well over 600 gathered)
It’s all or you.
That's her grand MASTERPIECE.
LOVE YOU MUMMA BEAR
TIME FOR YOU TO NOW REST AND ENJOY YOUR ENDLESS SUNSETS.
3 No. 1 sons.
Robyn Edelle Friend
Read By Dick Harris
Robyn: Welcome everyone and good afternoon, I am presuming that it IS afternoon for I hope my family appreciated my nocturnal nature and have scheduled this 'service' for after midday - besides Wendy would never forgive me if she had to get up early for me.
I realise that I am addressing a captive audience for this is MY day and protocol demands that you all have to sit or stand here and listen to me talking about ME. This does appeal to my 'Taylor' brand of humour.
I suppose to some, in fact, I suppose to many, it may seem strange that I have written my own funeral service. Please don't be mistaken in thinking that I am suffering from some form of deep depression or harbor some dark morbid preoccupation with death, it is simply that I believe my life should be celebrated, not mourned (how’s that for conceit!) and traditionally funeral services focus on the loss of a person, not the life of THAT person. Death is part of life and even though Elsie McIlroy tries to deny it, we are all faced with death at some stage in our life. Far too often, funerals fail to deliver the laughter of that person and sadness tends to outweigh pleasant memories and distort delightful recollections. This is not to say that it is my wish that you all sit there dry eyed, for my ego hopes that a few tears will be shed at my passing- it just means that I hope my 'Pollyanna' personality has a contagious effect and that this day will not be one remembered for its gloom but rather one that is memorable for its tinges of humour and barrels of fun.
As you all know (I was never one to hold back an opinion), I have great difficulty in accepting the 'Christian' notion that Jesus is the Son of God ; But I do believe in the goodness of mankind and do say "Bless You" when someone sneezes. I also hold that the ’10 Commandments' offer a fine set of standards for living in a society. So Pattie, if for some remote reason that I am wrong about the existence of God, I don't think SHE shall judge me too harshly.
I also believe in 'Life After death'- but not as in the conventional religious doctrines – I believe that when a person dies they leave behind a residue of themselves in the living -their smile, their mannerisms, sense of humour, their morals, their stubbornness, their dreams, their sayings, their stance etc. and it is these traits that are everlasting - being handed down from generation to generation. Before I finish sprouting my own ideas on religion, I would like to call on my Sister in law, Pastor Pattie Mills to say one, and ONLY ONE, prayer. I request this because of me deep affection and respect for her and as a thank you for all the enjoyable hours we spent i n 'theological debate'. So Pattie, here is your chance to save my soul... go for it and good luck.
Pastor Patti Mills – Celebration Of The Life Of Robyn Friend
It's a privilege to give tribute to Robyn this afternoon as we celebrate her effervescent life.
We all extend our condolences and love to you Brian and the family.
I'm sure that everyone here is well aware that Robyn was a unique, amazing wife, mother, grandmother and friend.
She had a quick wit and loved to laugh, looking for any opportunity to stir the pot, bringing joy to so many people.
You've been hearing this afternoon that Rob had meticulously prepared instructions for to-day's celebration of her life.
I received my instructions to speak to-day, via Brian, a week ago, which I will treasure, as the note is in her handwriting.
I'm speaking not as a minister, but as a sister-in-law and friend.
This is what she wrote:
"Hi beautiful lady. If you prefer to tell a joke instead of a prayer, then this one is very appropriate and fits me to a "T".
What did the dyslexic, atheist, insomniac do at night? Answer: She lay awake all night wondering if there really was a D O G.
Your are such a special person. Love you heaps."
(End of letter).
Over the years, I've seen Rob totally divert, even change challenging, emotionally charged situations, with a laugh and a humorous retort.
I've talked to Brian about this clever technique which I call "Taylor Family Expertise".
Each family member of the Taylor clan is an expert at adjusting, even re-directing, an emotional, dire situation with humour. It really is a talent.
Every individual has a different road that they must travel.
Over these past six years Rob's road was very bumpy, filled with quite a few potholes and detours.
But she resolutely and fiercely faced that journey, and was strong and courageous as she manoeuvred those huge challenges.
She was a fighter right up to the very end.
As we look around this morning, we can see the evidence of her influence through her love for people.
What a great legacy Rob has left, flowing from a firm marriage commitment to Brian, that has produced a loving dedicated family.
Then there is the strong connection with her siblings and their families.
Finally, there are the many close friendships she had and the countless contacts with people from all walks of life, which is so evident as we look around us this afternoon.
From the instant we take our first breath at birth to the final moment of breathing our last, we are on a journey to make a difference to our world.
We can all make a dent on this earth, be it small or large.
Robyn certainly made a significant dent.
She has a life story which is unique because her life was unique and she certainly had a profound influence on the lives of others which we celebrate this afternoon.
Rob is gone, we are here.
Let's determine to love, laugh and lean on each other more.
I'm sure that would be her desired legacy to influence the life of each and every one of us.
Robyn: During my life time, I have been known by many names...Robyn Taylor…Mrs Friend…...Mrs Chops…Grandma, Nanny, Edelle, Mother Duck, Daught, Red, Mum, Friendly's Missus, Sis, Robyn, a special one; OPO, Doris, Aunty Rob and Budgie. Each title puts a different cap on my head and each holds a multitude of memories.
I was born Robyn Edelle Taylor on the 3/7/46 in Cowra and lived there until the beginning of my teen age years. (Edelle was spelt with an E not an A as my father did not want my initials to be RAT).Just when I was about to commence High School, my parents moved to North Narrabeen and bought a Milk Bar opposite the old Surf Club. I grew up surrounded by Hamburgers, and coke crates, surf boards and surf clubs, the Beatles and Bee Hive hair styles, bikini's and Rock and Roll. Our family structure consisted of Mum and Dad and 5 kids. I had 2 unique brothers (John & Kerry) and 2 adorable little sisters (Wendy and Vicki). As I was sandwiched between 2 Brothers and 2 Sisters, I got to bash as well as be bashed. Our family was blessed with having a father who always ‘looked on the bright side of life' and encouraged his children to taste every aspect of life. I am now blaming him for my lack of expertise in any particular field for it has occurred to me that I am a 'jack of all trades'…Master of None.
I sort of play netball, sort of horse ride, sort of play squash, and sort of Umpire netball…Bullshit, I am a national B badge Umpire. I tutor but I am not a teacher. I have a university degree but I am not an academic. I can speak French and Indonesian but can't claim fluency in either. I teach mathematics but am lost without a calculator. I teach English but can't spell. I majored in' linguistics at University but I am not a speech Pathologist.
I can sing but no one and I mean 'absolutely' no one wants to listen.
But there was one thing that I did excel at…..MOTHERHOOD. If you don't believe me- just l look at my 3 sons. They are the proof that I must have succeeded in some thing. They are my pride and joy and without them, life would have been dull, meaningless and, dare I say it …worry free.
During my years, I have worked at many jobs - as a dental nurse, a hairdresser assistant, a liquor store attendant and as a part time waitress. I have cleaned houses, painted cake decorations and even did a stint as a Palm Beach post lady (although I have to admit, so that the mail was delivered, I spent a portion of my wage on biscuits).This was to see that the ‘mail got through' and served as a dual purpose of quietening my
toddlers in the car seats and bribing the local dogs not to bite. But the most rewarding job I have had was working for the Sunnyfield Association. Although I was supposed to be the teacher, my 'extended family' of Eva, Matthew, Janet, Anna and Ben taught me more than I taught them. Their unconditional love was always an amazement to me.
I like to take credit that some of their independent living skills can be attributed directly to my teaching but I am perplexed as to why these task analyses programs such as putting your dirty soxin the washing basket or hanging up your wet towels failed, when I tried to implement them in 'my own home'.
I Iove my poem from my 'silent one' (Carl) in fact I would like it to be read as it was a very special gift.
Carl: Robyn ‘I Love’ Poem By Carl Friend
…. and when the tides of intellect came forth,
the mind of a friend and a mother,
they did flood.
And when this mind,
so saturated with wisdom,
came to practice,
all those with whom she did associate
it did irrigate, turning desert into pasture.
As does a flower in spring,
this mind did flourish,
nurturing with it, a heart like mother natures’ very own
Cultured and strong, yet vulnerable to harm due to trust
But the deeper one is to dig, on shall the warmth grow
From this warmth does all life forage
It inspires motivation and creation
and extracts the pinnacle in us all
She is the web of my life,
for if I fall, she’ll catch me
Love for one is simple
with qualities such as these
C.D.F, 9th May, 1993
I like: My feet being scratched, singing, people, surprises, dancing, chocolate, flowers, wine, my home, cross words, Bali, overseas holidays, Jean's Xmas cake....in fact, Xmas in general. BLACK men, cuddles, Xmas carols, a tidy house, summer, back rubs, books, laughter, children, dogs, sloppy movies and night time… I probably would like dawn but I could never get up in time. In fact, if God had wanted me to see the sunrise he should have made it much later in the day.
My Dislikes: Heights, potatoes, winter and ironing fall under this banner as do boring people (you know the ones that are as exciting as plain yoghurt) but IHATE spiders and snakes.
And now, a song by the Currawong girls - thank you(wearing their ‘uniforms’) The girls sang and danced to ‘Hey Big Spender’ lyrics changed to ‘you spent a lot of time with us’. Some pics:
Well, since you came to say farewell to me, it is only right that I too, say goodbye.
To all my friends, thanks for being part of my happy life. To Kathleen, a truly treasured friend....keep walking. To 'Nearly a Taylor' Sallie, I bequest $1 to be held in trust in memory of our overseas trips and card tournament. I also leave $1 to my fellow "Cash Flow'' players on the condition that they take ‘laundry lessons' and never stop partying. Thanks Ducklings for heaps and heaps of fun, you revitalised old bones. The tattoo of a DUCK on my BUM, a constant reminder of laughter and sleep deprivation.
A dance by the DUCKS; thank you.(Wearing their ‘outfits’). The girls danced to 'Hey Baby (If You'll be My Girl) - DJ Otzi [Sing-A-Long]' - some pics:
To my DIL’s (Daughter in Laws) Karina and Tina, just love my sons as much as I have loved them, remember, they are mere males so forgive their short comings. My grandchildren have the most wonderful mothers.
Now my Grandchildren: Being a grandmother is a joy that has no equal. Love grows exponentially with each baby born. Eden, Isobel (my girly girl), Billie Star (with a vocabulary that challenges Thesaurus),Clint (yes I was back to foot ball and 'spouting pee') Taylor and Hope –(2 beautiful little creatures). When any of you said " I love you Nanny" my heart melted and you could have all the chocolate you wanted. I have rocked each of you in my arms and have sung you to sleep (you probably slept to block out the noise) and have looked in wonder and overwhelming love and said to myself "I am so lucky’’.
To my Sons, Chris, Carl and Ryan (yes, CHRIS, CARL & RYAN - not KONG, FEZ & JACK) Words cannot express my feelings. I may have given birth but you gave me life. Take care of your father and each other. Each of you are so, so special. Remember that life is a precious gift that should be explored. Use laughter and love to bound over life's hurdles and forgive your mother for those 'whacks with the wooden spoon....and I dare confess, the frying pan and the shoes'. Jack for always being there when I needed repairs done.
Finally, to my husband, the man who was most instrumental in shaping who I became. Thank you for being my companion, my lover and best friend. When we met as teenagers, I thought I loved you -how wrong I was -true love is what we now share. The comfortable intimate silences, the touching, the laughter, the bantering, the caring and the sheer joy of being together. Your own 'friendly' life style made me strong and independent and dictated that I forge my own group of friends and discover my own interests. You were responsible for my becoming a home handyman, an accountant and a lawn 'mowerer'. Through you I learnt to tolerate others, ignore time and drive 'undriveable' cars. Never berate yourself for your absences from home for I came to cherish solitude and relish the freedom to do what ever I pleased. We made a strange unlikely couple- you with your footy and Western movies and I with my books and art galleries. You with your mashed 'Deb' potatoes and chops (Yuck) and I with my satay and yuppy lettuce. You with your football shorts and ME with my passion for fashion. BUT, somehow It worked - our marriage endured. With you, I experienced the full gamut of emotions: Love, Joy, Anger, Frustration, Worry and Happiness....but never once BOREDOM. I think that was the key.
You also knew that I 'Needed to be Needed' and needed to be loved and this you supplied in abundance.
GOOD BYE MY LOVE.
I conclude this service; I have delegated my sisters to choose some appropriate music. The only instructions being that it must be of the foot tapping variety.(Just be grateful that I ask them to sing)-Actually, I was tempted to let you all suffer but sisterly blackmail forced me to withdraw that idea. BUT, if they choose "Ding Dong the Witches Dead", you all have my permission to attack.
To Jean Williams, my 'other' bed mate, a true friend and one that I didn’t have to be someone other than myself and someone I could confide in who was 'older than me'.(See I’m still a bitch, even in death)
For those attending this' service', please be informed that I have decreed that dancing is compulsory.
MY LIFE: NO REGRETS
Dick Harris (closing remarks): thank you everybody, thank you Fred. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had the blessing of spending quite a bit of time with the Friend family. Sometimes they’ve been with me, sometimes I’ve been in the beer garden across the road with Brian, and sometimes for dinner, cooked by the three brothers and the grandchildren. It was such a treasure to be able to do that. I can see hoe special this family is - they can fight like cats and dogs but would kill anybody who would try top harm their family members or friends. They adore each other, they respect each other and they’re very kind to each other…. apart from the fighting business… and I think Robyn had a lot to do with that. I commend you and her for this and say to you, keep doing what you’re doing, don’t change a thing. The two daughters-in-laws, I can see why they keep getting mentioned, they’re fantastic, amazing and wonderful. The grandchildren, not one of them is boring, and there again they reflect Robyn and their mums and dads. This is a special family and I feel privileged to have spent some time with you.
We now have a visual tribute – some treasured memories of Robyn’s and of Robyn.
Robyn Taylor (Friend), front page of the November 6, 1965 PIX magazine. The caption reads: "With Sydney's summer weather lingering on, attractive Robyn Taylor, Narrabeen, is determined to make her sun tan last through the winter months. Robyn, at present a student, has ambitions of becoming a pathologist, Living close to the beach, surfing is her favourite pastime, but horse-riding and squash also popular interests."
1967 wedding - Charlie Kerr's Ford limo
Wedding, 1967 - with Digby Tarrant
Grandfather Lou Sage with Brian and Robyn Friend At Reception, dancing with Uncle Reg Friend
Sage family with BF's Uncle, Reg Friend
January 14th, 1967
The Bridal car
At Narrabeen High School
Robyn the netball coach
Robyn - a mum
At Government House 1975. Visit: A Cruel Sea By Gordon Wellings QC BC ; 'BF awarded the Commissioner's Commendations for Courage (The highest Commissioner's award at the time) and the following year, in 1975, at Governautical Milesent House, we were awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct.'
Robyn and family - mid 1980's
Jeff Loadsman and family - much loved adopted 4th son
youngest son's wedding
Wendy, John, Robyn, Vicki and Kerry outside Cec's old milk Bar
Cec's old milk bar after he sold the shop
NSW Water Police Ball with the best number
At 200 years of Water Police Celebrations
Robyn - getting ready for Water Police Celebrations
Surfing in Bali
getting 'remarried' in Bali - dressed in bed sheet and replete with plastic ring
Robyn and No. 1 son Chris - Italy trip (for family wedding)
Fez and Jack and the No. 1 son 'salute' with 2 DILs
Jack's Family on Christmas Day - Robyn's favourite day
With Pittwater Council Cr. Bob Grace at BF's OAM Celebration, 2013
Jenny Cronan of Pittwater Council with Brian (OAM) and Robyn Friend at ABHS 8th Historical Photographic Exhibition, 2013
Diamond Divas with help from Pittwater's Robyn Friend and friends! - MWNA's 50th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner, 2015
Ducks Dive (??)
Mother Duck in flight
With Narrabeen Girls she grew up with
MG TD 1953 model - BF; 'I had one exactly like this, colour solid wheels etc. Robyn used to drive it without a license.'
70th Birthday Celebrations at The Basin
Robyn as a tour guide on Pittwater with the Great Britain Masters Team a few years back when they toured Down Under
World's Greatest Shave 2019 - BF loses his Mo!
BF - to his darling wife
The song played while everyone farewelled Robyn's casket was ‘Your Love Keeps Lifting me Higher’ – the original 1967 version.
After this a selection of many others of Robyns’ favourites played while drinks and sandwiches were served.
Around 4pm the RIONs played a special selection of Robyn’s songs in the Avalon Bowling Club for those still present. Robyn loved this band, now out of Barrenjoey High School and smashing it all around the country everywhere they play. And of course, there were tears, but there was also laughter and dancing - to honour a great lady.
A selection of photos of attendees, as requested by Robyn's husband BF to be taken on the day, runs below.