Getting to know Richard and Lillian

Trip Start Dec 22, 2009
Trip End Jun 22, 2010

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Colette and Robbie's

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Thursday, April 1, 2010

As mentioned before, it was a real treat for me to get to know my Grandmother Meeda's sister Lillian. Why it was so special was not just because she was a wonderfully funny and interesting woman, it was also because she is the closest thing that I have to my Grandmother (who I lost more than 10 years ago). For those who know me well, My grandparents played a major role in my upbringing and still remain as one of the most influencing forces in my life. Honestly, if it weren't for the stories of them meeting abroad and traveling the world together, I may not have been as interested in taking this trip myself.

After spending a wonderful Passover dinner sitting next to Lillian, we made arrangements to get together within the upcoming week to have dinner with her and the charming Richard Frank (her husband of 50+ years). Lillian lived in a real sheik park front apartment off of St. Kilda Rd in a ritzy business district that boarded the highly desirable Turak part of Melbourne. The first floor apartment was adorned with amazing art and had a great vantage that made you feel as if the  park was her backyard.  After getting a little lost on the way there, I was able to unwind with an afternoon glass of Johnny Walker Blue Label that Richard was so kind to offer up. 

After a couple swigs of the smooth brown scotch, Richard and Lillian told us about their lives and how they met each other. Both stories were equally fascinating with Richard's punctuated by a tragic period during the second world war. One of the amazing things about this trip was the opportunity Laura and I had to speak to various family (Sigi, Mrs. Abor and Richard) members who lived through and survived some of the harshest periods in the second world war. Hearing how he had to cross many European and Asian countries just to end up in a Japanese prisoner of war camp while losing both brothers and sisters was both gripping and tragic. I was fortunate enough to get this on tape and will be forwarding back to Lillian via email in digital copy as soon as I get a chance.

Lillian on the other hand shed some much needed light into her and my grandmother's upbringing. Until this point, I had information handed down from my mother, but it was great to get the first hand account from Lillian who actually lived through Burma, India and ultimately Australia (US for Meeda). According to Lillian, the source of the Jacobs wealth was in coffee (ironic since I married a Colombian). She also gave me some really great insight into everyday life as a child as well as the dynamics among the siblings. As the oldest, Meeda acted like a mother to the sisters and would look after many of the kids. Lillian said "she used to give me these wet kisses on my cheeks all the time." It was so funny, because I remember these kisses as well!!! After catching up in their wonderful abode, we headed out for Malaysian food at a nearby restaurant. The food was divine, the conversation wonderful and the memories everlasting.

This was one of the best evenings I shared on my trip to date.
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