Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To give of one's self; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — This is to have succeeded.
A reading from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran Is not religion all deeds and all reflection, And that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom? Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations? Who can spread his hours before him, saying, "This for God and this for myself; This for my soul, and this other for my body?" All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self. He who wears his morality but as his best garment were better naked. The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his skin. And he who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage. The freest song comes not through bars and wires. And he to whom worshipping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn. Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Eulogy Albert Newhouse Hello everyone, my name is Ben, I’m Albert’s son, and I just want to say a little bit about Dad. People who didn’t know him thought he was a very ‘unusual’ man. And people who did know him…thought he was a very ‘unusual’ man. Dad was unique. And I don’t say that in the way that we are all unique, that we are all quite different, but in the way that he really was especially individual. He was his own man; he did things ‘his’ way, and as many of us know all too well, ‘his way’ was usually the hardest possible way that a ‘thing’ could be done. Dad was a pretty typical Dutch boy. He rode a pushbike, played a fair bit of ‘handball’ - a bit like a mix of basketball, soccer, football, AFL, and rugby league I suppose, without the tackling! He used to read a lot, and often in the dark we have it on good authority. He got up to typical boy mischief, and sometimes with his brother Chuck. He played a bit of chess, listened to a bit of music, did a bit of college, and generally did the things that we all do as young people, although, it has to be said that being a teenager in occupied Holland was not the way most of us would prefer to spend our youth. Dad left Holland after the war. There was a choice between, among other places, South America, Brazil, and Australia; it was just a matter of which boat you could manage to get yourself onto. His very first job here was with Heinz, putting veggies in cans. When he left there he confessed to the boss that he’d been knicking the odd carrot or potato during his first week, just to feed himself. He offered that they should probably dock his pay. They said ‘don’t worry too much about it Albert’. He thought, Hmm, people are pretty casual here, not such a bad place this Australia! He had come from near starvation to the ‘lucky country.’ Most of us can barely imagine what it would have felt like to suddenly be in the land of plenty. It was ‘all’ about opportunity for the new Australian in the early 1950s; they called them ‘reffo’s’ in those days. He got a job in a Victorian work camp driving dozers and the like; and did all the highly paid shifts so he could get a decent stash together. He also set up a 2 up school as another means of income, and invested a substantial part of his earnings in beer! No, he didn’t drink it; he sold it at a premium to all the workers when they’d run out. After he’d put together a pretty substantial sum he ventured off to make his fortune. Now I’m trying to paint a bit of a picture here. We’ve got a 24 year old Dutchman on a motor bike with a whole bunch of cash and a dream of success. Anyway, somehow he ended up in Woy Woy. And a good thing that he did, because it was there at Umina Beach where he met Mum at a dance. Dad found a bit of cheap land in Narara and decided to ‘develop’ it. Dad was always the quintessential entrepreneur. He invested half of his savings in ‘fill’ to build up this ‘cheap’ ‘low lying’ piece of real estate….and…it…rained. And…it…kept raining… and all the fill got washed into the creek. Not one to give up lightly, he had another go, and guess what - the same thing happened again and he lost the other half of his savings. Now maybe this swamp development enterprise was sort of a Dutch thing… we shouldn’t forget that these people built a whole nation in the middle of the North Sea. Dad did further earthmoving and assorted work for people then after a while things got a bit tight in Australia. What does a man do, now a married man, when there’s no real work? He gets a job on the council of course. It was the early sixties when he started working for the local council but do you think he could ‘get with the program’? What are we going to do with this crazy Dutchman?, they said. He won’t do it our way, he can hardly lean on a shovel properly, and he’s starting to give us grief about this hole we have been working on for the past two weeks – you see Dad’s crew would have to fill in this same hole every afternoon because they couldn’t finish the job by four o’clock – and they’d start digging it out again the next day. They ended up giving Dad a one man job in the bush somewhere just to get him out of their hair, but, even that wasn’t enough because he finished it in 3 weeks instead of the allotted 3 months. As most of you know Dad went on to build a very successful contract cleaning business which he had for many years. Its probably fair to say though, that he wouldn’t have been able to pull it all off if he hadn’t married the most devoted wife in the world. Anyway, our family lived pretty comfortably; the business paid all the bills, it put us all through school and it enabled Dad to invest in several other enterprises, from cafes to restaurants to amusement machines, cattle and biros – all of which he ran successfully. Dad wasn’t real big on hobbies; in his early years here he played some soccer, a bit of cricket, even some side car racing, and he was a champion square dancer, but overall, he was definitely more keen on work and business than most other things. In fact we didn’t see much of him really – he was always working. People often remarked that Dad was ‘driven’; most people just couldn’t keep up with him; he had an extraordinary energy level; a bit like his mother to whom he was quite devoted; he seemed to have more stamina than two men. We always thought his drive had something to do with his childhood and the adversity he had to endure. He told us a few stories – when we pried them out of him – but the one that seems to resonate the most is the one about him and Chuck, when they had to pinch food merely to survive. The German soldiers would at a certain time of the day walk away from a boiling caldron of water after just having dropped in their veggies to make a soup. Chuck and Albert would wait for this and then both put their arms in and bare the pain of the boiling water just to get some of those vegetables. We can barely imagine. Dad also told us that that he found it very difficult during the relocations. When people were being taken away, they often had to leave their possessions, and their jobs, and sometimes even their relatives behind. We can barely imagine. Dad didn’t suffer fools, but on the other hand he was an extremely compassionate man. He demanded a lot of people, most of all himself, but at the same time he gave a great deal to others, including to charity, and not just money – he was actively involved in hands on welfare with the Lions Club and with a couple of less well known outfits where he found he could make a difference. Dad wasn’t always the easiest person to get along with. Watch out if you liked to rest your feet on the seat in the train – or park your BMW on the footpath. Oh yes, and ‘turn that damn music down.’ But if you were in trouble, he was the first one there to bail you out, and that wasn’t just for family, as I said, he was an extremely compassionate man. So how will we remember him? Well, he wrung every drop out of life that a person could possibly wring out of life, didn’t he? He lived life to the max, like there were no tomorrows. He hit it hard, and he hit it hard every day. Even through all those years after his stroke, and even right up to the very end, nothing was going to stop him enjoying his life. Dad’s creed was, if something had to be done then it had to be done well; it had to be done in the most authentic, usually, the most difficult way. If he was going to plant a new lawn he had to sieve, by hand, a full 12 inches of dirt in preparation. If he had to keep a set of books, they had to be accurate enough to withstand a Royal Commission; if he was building a piece of furniture, it had to be able to absorb the impact of an out of control Mack truck…. Even the blokes at the Men’s Shed were impressed with his work – he had no formal training either. Dad was the same in his relationships – nothing by halves - if you were family or friend then you were fully so, and indeed you had all of his loyalty and his love. His life was rich and he really did enjoy every minute of it. He was indeed a remarkable man, and that’s how we will remember him. Alan. 9 July 2010