A couple of years after Betty died, her son, John, received a letter from Tony Webber in England. Tony was a child living with his parents in a garage on the block next door when Ted, Betty and the family moved into Condell Park. John replied to him to inform him Betty had died and this is the letter he sent in reply.
A W WEBBER and J D KEEN
8 March 1994
Thank(s) for your recent letter which we read with very mixed feelings - sorrow that your mother had passed away and thanks that you had taken the trouble to write and tell us. We often spoke of her and wondered what had happened, as we had not heard from her for the past two Christmases.
You tell us that she was thrilled to meet up with us when I re-visited Ethel Street back in 1989. Well, I have to say that she gave me the surprise of my life on that 17 April. I still tell the remarkable story of that unlikely meeting because it sends a shiver down my spine even now when I think of it. As we drove down Ethel Street in disbelief that this place I remembered as bush had been transformed into an attractive suburban street, your Mum was working in her garden.
At Jean's suggestion, I approached her and told her that I used to live in the street, and could she help me locate our old house. That's all I said. I was amazed where she answered my question with "Is your name Webber?" After 36 years she was able to name me! Understandably, she thought I was my Father (who died in 1979) and asked about his children but I was simply gobsmacked. She was the only resident in the street when we left in 1953, and was still there when we returned in 1989 !
[ Tony is incorrect in his memory of this. There were five other families in the street when the Owen family moved in on 24 December, 1952 ]
She made us feel very welcome and insisted that (we) come indoors and have tea with her and Jack. We had a wonderful time with them both.
That same day we went to my old school, Homebush Boy's High and visited a classmate of mine at Georges's Hall School. I had not been in touch with him until I called him just before we left the UK, so you can imagine the importance of that day to me. Your Mum certainly gave me an experience I will never forget.
To my shame, I do not remember either you, John, or your sister Denise. Jean, who has forgotten nothing that has happened in her life, finds it hard to believe, but I have very little memory of early days, relying on my Mum to fill in the blanks. I told Jean that Homebush Boy's High was a stone building and it was redbrick. When Jean asked if I remembered the very large, ancient Morton Bay Fig tree in the playground, I had to admit No.
We had a wonderful holiday in Australia and were able to visit relatives in Bradbury who went out after we returnedto (sic) England. We now have regular contact with them and it allows us to follow the progress of your great country....we have plans to return to see more of Oz one day.
Thank you once again for your letter. Please give my regards to Denise.
(Signed) Tony and Jean