Dear Great Grandchildren…


shallow focus photo of pink ceramic roses
Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on

I will not know you.  The chance that we may meet will depend on my living to a very grand age and even then, we may meet but we will not know each other.  With a long life I shall know your parents and what a joy that will be.  As for your grandparents, well I do know them very well.  They will be Alexandria, Harry and Annie, along with their dear loved partners.


Maths shows that we are likely not to share time.  I am heading for 58 with no grandchildren as yet which means even if your parents turn up in the next few years, it would arguably be another 20 to 30 years before they are starting their own families and I know for sure that they will be encouraged in education and training, most likely catch the desire for travel and life knowledge and be successful in careers that I cannot even imagine existing here in 2019.  If I hang around until my 90s we may cross paths! Personally, I am not wishful of that unless I can still walk on the beach, ride a very cool ‘scooter’, cook my own meals, live in my own space with a view of the beautiful Golden Beach and oh — that passage.  I hope you are able to go out on the passage regularly. Shane has a boat he named for his mother, “Patricia Joan” and we love spending time out there.

So let me tell you a little about your grandparents.  In no particular order.



Henry Alexander Caughey, although always known as Harry and named intentionally after the father of Shane, old Harry or formally, Henry Alexander Caughey.  I recall a funny but also heart tugging story old Harry told of getting into a good deal of strife on his first day at school for not responding to his name, Henry – being called on the roll.  He was waiting for ‘Harry’.  We made certain that our Harry knew his formal name was Henry!  The name became much more popular due to a certain red haired prince in the UK.  Later, many in-family versions emerged as Poppy/Harry/Henry Alexander Caughey was a wonderful man who was gifted with the ability to love deeply and widely – not always achievable, but he made it seem inevitable.  In this family, we all hope that with the rite of naming – comes the gaining of his beautiful qualities.

In our family, our family of Shane and Carol – Alexander is the name of my father.  No man of greater honesty and integrity existed.  He lived a deeper Christian life than any dedicated church attendee in his every single day existence.  If you by chance have any of his qualities, work ethic, family dedication and the ability to see the best of any situation – you shall indeed be dearly blessed.

My Harry was the tallest of all the grandchildren of Joan and Harry.  On the Johnston side, we are Scottish and ‘wee’ – very small.  I wanted an award for that, as I barely made 5ft 2inches in imperial measure.  I shall leave you to figure that out, but it is – short.  He is 27 years of age as I write and very much in love with his beautiful Heidi, his finance who came traveling from Wisconsin, USA and met our Aussie boy.  Just a few days ago her visa was approved making her a resident of Australia.  Their journey has just begun.

harry and heidi

Harry is exceedingly clever and found the maths and science subjects more to his interest.  He is a medical scientist finding his way in his field of work.  Most importantly he is a great man.  Honest, with strong ethics, common sense and the gift of being able to love deeply.  I believe he will be a wonderful husband and father, should he be so blessed to have children.


Harry is also very funny and is a fantastic public speaker.  He is good at most things, especially sport and there were a few years where he was a raving gym junkie with abs fit for a billboard!  He loved Harry Potter, was far too interested in video games for my liking (especially when he should have been studying for Yr 12) and he can cook.  I have a wonderful memory of watching him make a rather good chocolate cake (not a packet one) for Heidi’s birthday.  Harry inherited the tragic and intense following of the Collingwood football team from his father, Shane.  They are utterly ridiculous when watching the game!  According to both of them, the umpires are always out to ‘get Collingwood’.  Watching ‘them’ watching the game is more entertaining than the footy.

He is not perfect either.  Although he passed his driver’s license first go (the only one to do so) he crashed our family blue commodore into the rear of a cautious driver who stopped at a give way that was clear (Harry’s version).  His best mate, Charlie was with him as they headed into Canberra.  Cars are just metal and so long as everyone is fine, never be too upset over a bit of scrunching.  He also had to sit in the gutter for some recovery air on the night of his 21st as we escorted his cousin Damian safely to his bed…they are great young men and two of my particular favorite sons – a godson and my son. I hope both of them have children and grandchildren as they are fabulous young men who will make worthy husbands and exceptional parents and role models.



Alexandria Johnston Caughey Hutt is our first born.  Early, intense and with a long and complicated birth which looking back forecast her entire life journey up to thirty years of age which is where she resides in the calendar of life as I write.  Alex was one of ‘those’.  That means – the whole package.  Alexandria, Alex, Ally or Alpal is a great beauty, sure she is pretty, but she is classically beautiful, a stunner.  Alex has intellect which served her well and hindered her, as things were just too easy at times.  She is good at what ever she turns her hand to except looking after herself and putting her wonderful person before others, before work, before achievements.  Ally is getting better at this – and I suspect she will ‘one day show’ us all.


What is really impressive about Alex?  I would bet she has never made a friend cry.  I know she has never let a family member down.  She was never a click group girl – too mature and wise for that nonsense.  She is the best friend anyone could ever wish for and a few very special women know that.  The most admirable trait of Alexandria is her extraordinary capacity to forgive, to master perspective particularly when it comes to the behavior of others.

Alexandria grew up impressing adults.  This has been a theme from young child through teen years to adulthood.  She personifies problem solving and her choice of journalism, law and governance suits this season in her young life.  Watch this space, Alexandria will  be more than worthy of it!


Alex is married to Greg, a patient, easy going dear young man and they are building their first house.  They want a family and if blessed will be loving, wonderful parents.  It is a rare day indeed that I do not talk with my Alex and she has never not responded to any of my thousand good mornings or nighty nights.  That is just sweetness – you can’t teach it.

I can’t tell you of Harry’s first prang then leave out Alex’s.  She managed to pull in too close to a petrol pump very early in her driving life and scratched the side life out of our white hyundai.  It was a run around car and we never fixed it.  I don’t have any drinking stories although I suspect her friends do.  You may want to ask her about goon bags and hills hoists and doing time at university residence with Amy.



The youngest and the only baby who made a full term gestation despite very early signals over a Corowa summer – there is always one to keep you on your proverbial toes whether it’s pushing parental, educational or geographical boundaries – that is where you will find this one, Anne Frances.


Named partly after seeing the exquisite calligraphy on the screen credit of actress Anne Frances and for the middle names of her parents.  Annie is a free spirited, travelling, talented creative who discovered her potential in an exceptional school thus working hard and graduating with one of the higher scores in the extended clan, an effort well deserved and would not have been expected by the jaded teachers in her junior Catholic school.  Immature and chatty but a nice girl, they reported.  Vibrant, exceptional teachers  with high expectations saw her differently at the Cathedral School in Townsville, Queensland.

Annie is loyal, principled and has a heart that has been dinted by others who do not share her exceptional qualities.  She has her Grandad’s honesty, her Dad’s compassion and all the naughty traits of her mother.  Annie is great fun, messy beyond comprehension, runs late, stretches her social and work self to snapping point and is burning through life without missing a flicker.


As I write she is an accomplished journalist with her own column and weekly magazine insert.  She is set to travel again, freelance and reset her future goals.  Annie has always had an interest in running her own business.  She loves the idea of teaching teenagers and has a genuine desire for healthy, sustainable living.

jake and annie

Early on Shane and I became – Annie Caughey’s parents.  You guessed it, “Oh, you’re Annie’s parents!”  This one clipped not one but two of our cars, the green Rav4 changing lanes then the grey toyota ute – situation never fully explained.  Do ask Annie and Alex about petrol and diesel in the ute – for highly intelligent women, these two can be dumb!


Shane and I are very grateful for our family and are very proud of the manner in which Alex, Harry and Annie conduct their lives.  Not only within the family – which is exceptional but importantly in the world, with their partners, their work and how each one would be the first to step forward, to step in, to step up – that’s why they all stand out.

They are dearly cherished and loved beyond any words I can find and they simply are the blessing of our life.


2 thoughts on “Dear Great Grandchildren…

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