If you want to know about me.. read on..

If not.. then I suggest you skip all this rambling and just look at the terrific pics or read up about my special friends

 

ABOUT ME

My name is Carol Frances Gardiner and I was born in the small coastal city in Western Australia called Geraldton, on May 21 1955 (wow that makes me old).

My parents are Jim and Joan O'Brien and I thank them for bringing me into this world along with my brothers and sisters, Joan, Mary, Barry, Denis, and Colin.

I am the youngest of that wonderful family.. so I guess I was spoilt rotten. But don't hold that against me, coz I am really a nice person. Just ask any of my friends :)

Carol as 3 year old

O'Brien Family

I went to a private catholic school called Stella Maris College (now Nagle College) for years 1 - 7 (primary education) and then for my higher education I attended Geraldton Senior High School, which is a government owned school. I didn't really excel in classes.. I guess I was just there to have fun and I never wanted to do homework. However, I did pass the Australian Qualifications required for Year 10 (called Junior Certificate).

I was 16 and wanted to continue with school although the principal had told my mother that because I didn't make an effort with schooling, that it would be a waste of time continuing. He told my mother that it would be best if I got a job. My mother insisted that I be given another chance and so through her efforts I was enrolled in a further year studying business.

Well.. the different subjects offered to study just made me so enthusiastic and I excelled that year, and at the Graduation Ceremony, I was awarded "Best Ledger Machinist:" and "Best Practical Student" for the year. WOW .. I was even proud of myself and I know that the principal must be swallowing his words now because I proved him wrong. But it was all thanks to my dear Mother for her persistence. That was my final year for Higher Education.

Carol's graduation December 1971

One week after leaving school I was offered a job in a Chrysler Car Sales Yard in their Office. I worked there for three months doing general office duties.

I had previously applied for a position as a clerk in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which is one of Australia's leading banks (which bank?) and that is why I left the Chrysler Yard, to take on the Banking job. This was a job I loved.. I would attend to customers and help out with their enquiries.

I worked for the Commonwealth Bank for about 13 years and my most rewarding position was the Senior Typist position, where I was the Manager's Secretary. That was fun except for my last boss, Mr Wilson - for some reason he kept calling me 'sweetie' and 'cutie' and I just could not stand that at the time. I thought he was the biggest sleaze bag out for a man, and him calling me that made me madder and madder until one day I blew off at him and told him what I thought of him. hehehe After that he respected me.. and stopped calling me names.

This is me at 17 years of age

It was when I was 17 that lots of good things happened in my life.. my job at the Commonwealth Bank, I got my driver's licence, and I met a special person in my life, someone I shared the next 25 years with.. probably lots of other good things happened when I was 17, but those are the main points.

 

Passport Photo 1972

It was while I was working at the Commonwealth Bank that I met the very special person. His name was Thomas Clarke. He was much older than me, by 9 years, but WOW, I thought he was great. At first when he spoke to me, he had a Canadian accent, (afterwards I found out that he wasn't Canadian, but just pretending to have an accent) and he looked so hmmmmm cute. I still remember to this day, of how I thought he was special.

It was one lunchtime that I was walking down the main street, when I came across him again, and he smiled at me, and I smiled back at him. Those were the days of very, very short skirts, do I guess he liked what he saw in me too. For some reason, we kept bumping into each other down the street. I mean, I would go places and.. he would be there too.. and vice versa.

One day, the Bank was having a party.. and I didn't have a partner to go with, and next time I saw Tom we got talking for the first time and I plucked up the courage to ask him if he would like to go with me to the party. He accepted and told me he would've asked me out earlier only for the fact that I was so much younger than him. I guess 9 years is a lot when I was 17 and he was 26 but he loved my smile and my legs.

Anyhow we had a wonderful night and it was the start of a 3 year courtship - during which time I asked him if he would like to marry me several times, but he never wanted to commit himself until he was sure and when he did finally decide we got married three weeks after on June 14 1975. It was a rushed wedding, three weeks isn't long to organise, but we managed and it was a wonderful day apart from the pouring rain.

                                            

The Younger years (photos)

We lived on a 10 acre property on the outskirts of Geraldton, 10 kilometres from the city centre. The property was on a high elevation and views of the Indian Ocean and city were just spectacular. Watching the beautiful sunsets every night made living there wonderful. Tom built the house that we lived in. The first few months of our marriage, we did not have running water in the house, no electricity supplied, no kitchen, it was just the outside brick walls of the house and he worked on completing the house every day, with a little bit of help from me.

To shower, we would get the garden hose and shower outside (we were lucky that the suburb was isolated so no one could see two people bare naked showering). We had gas lamps for lighting at night time, and for cooking I used a small gas camping stove. Those were good times, saving money so we could make our house into what it is today.

I continued working for the Bank during our marriage, and he was a carpenter working for the local Geraldton Building Company. We decided not to have children at first and waited a few years before trying to conceive. We did however have two lovely dogs, Fred and Susie, they were dachshund cross, brother and sister and were a great comfort to us. Fred though loved to chase cars, and this was his demise. One day he was hit by a car and was paralysed from a broken back. It was a sad day for us but we had no choice but to end his life. Susie however lived for several years, but eventually caught cancer and needed to be put to rest also.

For several years we tried to have children, but it just wasn't the time for nature to give us a child. Then one day in December 1980, I began to get sick.. and was tested positive to being pregnant. We were very happy and told friends and relatives at the annual Christmas gathering. It was to be a sad pregnancy though, as within a few days, I miscarried and was pregnant no more. My body suffered from that experience, although mentally I survived. Doctor said I should rest, so I decided to have a holiday from work for two months, in which time Tom and I drove around our wonderful continent Australia. It was a rushed trip but well worth it as I have never been on such a journey.

During this time, I believe it to be around my birthday (May 1981) that I conceived a child for the second time. Oh the morning sickness was just awful, and once again began to miscarry this child. I was taken to hospital, and after a week in hospital, the baby survived and eight months later my daughter Kelly Frances Clarke was born on February 12 1982 in a small southern town in Western Australia, called Collie. She was a wonderful child, from an easy birth to toddler, to the age of 26 as she is now.

Kelly now lives and works in Wickham, Western Australia with her boyfriend Clinton.

Kelly has given birth to three grand children, Hayley, Amelia and Mitchell.

Carol, Ben, Tom and Kelly, 1984

Kelly at age 16 - 1998

 

My second child was born in my home town Geraldton, Benjamin Thomas Clarke on December 20, 1983. It was a full moon when he was born, don't know if that is why he was noisy from day 1 of his birth to  18 but I got to have some excuse as to why he is so noisy. :)

Ben left school at an early age and worked at the local Hungry Jacks (Burger King) fast food outlet for approximately 2 years and in February 2002 he transferred to Perth .

Ben Clarke Dec 98

My third child, Daniel was born in October 1985. Daniel didn't want me to talk about him in here.

As the children were getting older, I decided to go to College and complete my education and enrolled in a two year course - Associate Diploma of Business. This proved easy for me, being a mature age student and different from being at school when I was 15 and 16. and wanted to learn.

Of the 22 subjects that I had to complete for the Associate Diploma of Business, I completed 21 in the first year. That was an incredible task, but I managed and got excellent results. The final subject I needed to complete the diploma wasn't offered in the first year so I studied it in the following year at night.

I gained full time employment at the local newspaper as the Typesetter at the same time I that was studying for my Diploma, it was hard doing both, but I managed. At first I enjoyed this job but after three months of continual typing, day in and day out, with no other duties and no challenge for me, I resigned.

Immediately after I was offered a position as Secretary/Administration Assistant at Geraldton Building Company, one of the largest companies in Western Australia. I worked there for 4 years. Main duties were secretarial, and one part of my job I really liked was being the Travel Co-ordinator, making airline and accommodation bookings for staff. I left this position because I had a major change in my life.

After being married for 21 years, I decided to leave my husband as it began to be a lonely marriage, with not much communication and affection. It was a major decision for me, but one that I have not regretted making. We divorced on July 6, 1998. I moved away from my home of 21 years, and rented a house in the Geraldton city centre for 12 months. The children moved with me but having three children on my own, was a handful, and so my youngest son Daniel lived with his father yet stayed with me on most weekends and school holidays.

During this time, my home was also home for 3 homeless youths, Trent 19, Lance 16 and Jeff 18 , they lived in my lounge room and later in my garage for nearly 12 months.

When the 3 youths left, Kelly's best friend from school, CJ, rented out a room and at the same time a good friend Kris Wyllie from the local Rollerdrome also asked if he could move in with us, because he needed a break away from his home life. So, I had a houseful of friends, and we had lots of fun.

Carol, Kelly, Kris and cj Dec 98

With the assistance of my brother Denis, I was able to purchase a house, just 10 yards from the house I was renting. A wonderful 3 bedroom house, with new kitchen, family area, games room.. and wonderful garden full of conifers and palm trees.

I moved into it on March 17, 1998 with Kelly and Ben and of course CJ (who rented out the garage) and Kris.

I decided it was about time I returned to work after having 18 months at home, thinking that my secretarial skill might vanish if I stayed away from the workforce for too long so for a short time I was a Program Assistant at the local Central West College of TAFE, then in July 1999. Originally the work I was doing was temp work (that means, filling in for people while they are on annual holidays, or sick or for whatever other reason they don't go to work) but since July 1999 I was employed on a permanent basis at Geraldton Building Co Pty Ltd as Administration Assistant / Project Clerk until November 2000 at which stage the company got into financial trouble and staff were dismissed (including me).

INTERNET STORY

WOW !! What an addition to our household when in February 1998. CJ had borrowed her mothers 486 computer and we all became hooked. However, using a 486 with 4mb ram was a slow practice, but an online friend Dios sent us an extra 4mb of ram. To this day we are grateful for that extra bit of memory. We had fun chatting away on FEFnet Long Island, meeting heaps of people, getting our domain banned from #IRCaddiction for who knows what reason. hehe. Sharing the Internet with 6 people however was frustrating. At times our online friends would be online but we couldn't chat because it wasn't 'our turn', yet we all became addicted.

YES.. the internet followed us into our new home. but I bought myself a used but faster computer, a pentium 100, with 32 mb ram. and 850mb hard disk drive, with all the programs that I wanted including Office 95. That made a difference to our internet connection. This is where life on the internet started. Talking to online friends. CJ formed her own channel #ICEmaiden (same as her nick) and because she was popular with the young men, the channel became popular and grew. I would talk to everyone that came online into the channel and made lots of friends.

Carol, typing to friends on Mirc 1998

I BOUGHT MYSELF A NEW COMPUTER (NOVEMBER 1999)......WOOHOOO

A Pentium 450, with 128mb ram, 10gig hard disk, vid card, & graphics, 40 speed CDrom, CDR-RW Burner, BUT.....when I was away on my overseas holiday, someone stole the brand new computer, printer, modem and webcam.

I was lucky enough to have taken out an insurance policy before I left for my trip, but the claim isnt finalised as yet, so I am currently using my very old computer which I had previously upgraded to a Pentiun 333. This computer had died on New Years Day, but it had a faulty hard disk drive, and as it was still under warranty I was able to get a replacement. The internal modem wasnt being detected, so I purchased a new 56k modem and was once again online.

 

MY STORY - as at April 2002

I was working at Geraldton Building Company as a Secretary/Administration Assistant until November 2000. The company got into financial difficulty and the Construction Division where I worked closed down, leaving many workers unemployed.

I travelled overseas on my third trip leaving Perth on December 26th 2000 and travelled to Barbados where I spent 3 weeks with my friend Keinall.

On my return to Australia, I spent some time with my mother in Perth, and then started working as a Temporary Admin Assistant with the Department of Agriculture for 6 weeks. On 20th August I became a Support Officer with Department of Consumer and Employment Protection and engaged on a three month contract for the West Australian Government. This contract has been renewed and currently expires in May 2002.

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I go out with my female friends, Pauline or Kay on most weekends, to old time style dances and after that we go on to nightclubs and often dont get home till early hours of the morning.

I plan to travel around the world again in August 2002.

Pauline and Carol
March 3, 2000

Pauline's Birthday Rage

MY STORY - as at September 2003

I had been working as  Support Officer with Department of Consumer and Employment Protection and engaged on a three monthly contract for the West Australian Government. This contract has expired April 2003 and I took 6 weeks holiday and spent time with my friend Brent Gardiner who had travelled from New Zealand to meet me.  

In May 2003 Brent and I got engaged and I then started working as a Temporary Admin Assistant with the Department of Agriculture on a 2 month contract which was extended every 2 months.   

Brent and I lived together for 4 months until he went back to New Zealand in August 2003 to sort some stuff out and hopefully he will return in a couple of months when things are sorted.

I bought a laptop computer in August 2003 when travelling around the Great Ocean Road near Melbourne.. an IBM Thinkpad 600E

and on 15th August 2003 my father passed away. :(   Rest in Peace, Dad *hug*

 

MY STORY - as at 1 March 2004

I went through a sad time being alone for four months from when Brent went back to New Zealand - I missed him very much and the distance between us made things not work out for us for awhile. 

I didn't extend my contract with the Department of Agriculture when it came due as I was flying to NZ on Nov 28th 2003.

Put my ex marital home at Moresby on the market to sell.

On 28 November 2003, I travelled to New Zealand and Victoria with my mother, spent a week with Brent on the North Island - full story HERE

7th December 2003 - While I was in NZ, my 18yr old son borrowed my car, and whilst driving back from Perth, hit a kangaroo, causing $5000 worth of damage, and since he is 18, I had to pay insurance excess of $1450 before the car could be repaired.

31 December 2003 - Had a good nite out for New Years, danced until 3am, had sore feet, and walked home with a friend who lives nearby.

9th January 2004 - signed the papers to sell the ex marital home in Moresby.  Coincidence  here, buyers surname is same as mine.  The wife's signature looked exactly like mine, her first name is Coral, whereas mine is Carol.

24th January 2004 - Brent flew back to Australia to be with me once again - was wonderful to have him back in my company, he re-proposed to me once again at the WACA (cricket ground in Perth) on Australia Day (26th January).

14th February - Valentines Day - Brent asked me to set a date for us to get married.  So after a short think about things, Saturday 7th August 2004 is a good date and Brent was happy with that day too and it will give his parents & sisters etc enough time to organise themselves to make the trip from New Zealand to Australia.  Wedding will be in a garden in Perth, at Queens Gardens, next to the WACA and then on to a different venue for the reception music dance etc...

23rd February - I was offered a position as Personal Assistant to an insurance broker at Kaymac Insurance here in Geraldton, I accepted the position and so far it has been interesting and the people I work with have been very friendly.  There are about 13 staff work at the family owned business.

24th February - My mother and sister Joan, flew to London for a 7 week tour of Europe and to attend my niece's wedding on 3rd April.

29th February 2004 - extra day for the Leap Year....  Brent Gardiner, I love you !

 

Here are Brent and I at the WACA (we went to watch a game of cricket) in Perth shortly after Brent had arrived back in Australia from New Zealand - he had been away for 5 months.

 

This photo was taken just half hour before Brent re-proposed to me.

 

 

Brent and Carol
January 26th 2004

Australia Day

MY CURRENT STORY - as at 28 Feb 2014

7 August 2004: Brent and I got married in Perth at Queens Park Gardens and held reception on board the MV Captain Cook.  We went on a 4 week trip around the world as part of our honeymoon, including Singapore, Frankfurt, Dublin, Liverpool, New York, Chicago, Vancouver, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Auckland before flying back home to Geraldton.

Click here to read about and see pictures of our wedding. | Brent & Carol's Wedding |

We moved from Geraldton, to Mooloolaba, Queensland in March 2006 and opened an internet cafe

In 2010 we closed our internet cafe and drove back to Perth where Ive worked in Admin in a panel shop since.  My mother had been suffering dementia and  so it was a good choice to spend more time with her in Perth as she died some 6 months after I returned to WA.

Brent worked as a car detailer at my workplace then he worked at Shacks Panel and Paint in Fremantle as their detailer, Parts co-ordinator.

In July 2014 we became full time foster carers of my three grandchildren aged 2, 3 and 6.  What a change in lifestyle we have had since then.

In Jan 2014 Brent went on a two week holiday to New Zealand on  his own (boo hoo) to help celebrate his nephew Michael's 21st birthday and to spend time with his family.  It was a hard time for me  on my own with the three grandchildren, but I survived, thankfully.  Brent now does the 'home dad' job driving kids to school and daycare, and medical appointments.

In March 2014 we are moving house to be closer to school and day care for the grandchildren.

 

more to continue next time......)

See you on the net.. .....whenever

and.. thanks for reading about me :))

(This page was updated on 27 Feb 2014)

 

 

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