I have known Dorothy for thirty six years. Throughout this period we have often stayed in Dot and Vince’s home and shared the rythm of their life. In the opinion of Pauline and myself, Dorothy and Vincent McShane were a most admirable couple, each one a person we greatly admired and loved. It was our plan to spend more time with them in the coming years.
The untimely death of Dorothy has brought this hope to an end.
Dorothy was a warm and welcoming person. She had an openness about her that put people at ease from their first meeting. She was memorable. From her visits to New Zealand she is warmly remembered by many.
Dorothy was a person of style. Whether it was a formal dinner or a beach picnic her dress, her hair, her makeup were always perfect, and appropriate for the occasion.
I would like to share some personal memories.
As I share a personal memory I need to confess the occasion on which I made Dorothy cry.
Dorothy was a ‘Shopper’. Now my wife Pauline is a hard-core, amateur shopper. But Dorothy was a ‘professional’ ‘Shopper’. By this I mean, she could out-shop Pauline by many hours. She was the only person I have known who could do this.
In 2016 we spent the Christmas season with Dorothy and Vince. Predictably, on Boxing Day we hit the shops. On that particular day due to recent surgery, Dot was having trouble walking. But, once over the threshold of Chermside Shopping Centre, her pain subsided and Dot the “Shopper’ was ready for action. But, shop for what? The day before we had been talking about how we all had too much stuff.
After an exhausting couple of hours, I thought we were leaving. But, Dot the reenergized shopper had other ideas. “I just want to have a browse in David Jones”, she said.
I waited outside the store for an agonizing hour. When she reemerged she was carrying an armful of packages. She was beaming. “I only spent a few cents” she said. On what I wondered? “Christmas decorations – they are discounted by 70 percent. I will put them away for next Christmas”.
That warm and muggy afternoon I was wondering what we might be next on our agenda. I could hear Dot and Pauline talking in the next room. Then loud and clear, I could hear Dot making a suggestion.
“What about going to “Bed, Bath and Beyond”? They have a large new store.”
I groaned. I couldn’t stop myself. ‘Oh no!’ I moaned.
In the next room, Dot heard and burst into tears. “Do you think Stanley doesn’t like shopping?” she said through her tears.
After consoling Dot, Pauline came bursting into me. I was left in no two minds about how hard-hearted and horrible I was. And furthermore, I was informed as to the terrible consequences that would rain down on me if I ever did it again.
That’s my confession. I was, and am, truly sorry. I never meant to make Dot cry.
Anyone around Dot and Vince for while notices that they were a bit scratchy with each other. Vincent was mostly silent and Dot was often critical of Vincent, no more so than when he was driving. Pauline and I were unhappy about this. How could two such first-rate people be so hard on each other?
We devised little plans to help them see the each other in an appreciative light. For my part, this mostly consisted of whispering to Dorothy about Vincent’s wonderful qualities. Pauline had her own approach which included going with Vinnie to the TAB and to Mass. But there were no signs our strategies were working.
We came up with a grand plan. Pauline and I both long to spend time in the Queensland bush. We are planning an outback tour for around July this year. We would visit our far-flung family in their various locations and spend some time at ‘The Stockman’s Hall of Fame’ in Longreach. And of course, we would make this journey with Dot and Vinnie. Maybe we would drive each other crazy, or just maybe, we would have a great time and take the rough edges off all of our relationships. Well, that was our hope!
Now, it can never be.
I have a feeling we will still make the trip, but only as a trio. Pauline and Vinnie and me. Dorothy will be with us but only in memory. Pauline will work to keep up Dot’s standard of dress and makeup. Vinnie and I will do our best to keep out of trouble.
We are glad we have shared our lives with you Dorothy. We will never forget you. We hope that our lives from here on will honor you.
Stan Stewart – January 8, 2018