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With the Bannermans

by Sam Regi
cover photo for the bannermans story

Helen Bannerman and her son Gavin Bannerman fondly reflect on the life of their late father and husband, David. David was a unique individual who often felt like an outsider, with his red hair, left-handedness, and a distinct perspective on the world. Despite being a community man, he was not much of aconversationalist and possessed a wealth of knowledge on various subjects and was an avid reader.

 

As David's health declined, the family found themselves preparing for his passing with a mixture of surreal moments and heartfelt conversations. David's light-hearted demeanor, swinging around in Spiderman boxer shorts, created lasting memories for Helen and Gavin. As they reflect on his life, they find solace in the sense of closure his departure brings, knowing that his unique perspective, wealth of knowledge, and unwavering love will always be treasured.

00:00 / 06:00

Press play to listen to an extract from the conversation with Cash and Laya.

"It's unfortunate that his unsentimentality also extended to his relationship with you because he'd say, 'Oh, you know how I feel.'
But I knew there was love between t
he two of you. You cared," Gavin reflects about his mum and dad's relationship.

6/110 Minutes

HELEN
I’m Helen Bannerman And we're at my home in the Samford Valley.

00:00:08:16 - 00:00:16:19
GAVIN
I'm Gavin Bannerman, Helen is my mom and we're at the house that I grew up in.

00:00:16:21 - 00:00:36:20
HELEN
Well, maybe we should start with a standard kind of bio. David died at the age of 75. He was born in country, in New South Wales, in Moree, in a farming community. He felt he was a left hander in a righthanded world a lot of the time.

00:00:36:22 - 00:00:37:19
GAVIN
As an outsider.

00:00:37:20 - 00:01:10:12
HELEN
As an outsider kind of thing. And he often just had a different view. He seemed an outsider for lots of things, being red haired like conspicuously red haired and left handed and a terrible conversationalist. If there wasn't anything to say, he'd say, Oh, stop chattering. You know, he wouldn't chit chat, but. And you could ask him anything about politics or history or music or art, sport.

00:01:10:14 - 00:01:28:14
HELEN
He would he would read just about all day. He would read all kinds of things art, books, history. He was probably the most knowledgeable person outside.

 

The Bannermans film photo for talking stories

The Bannermans recreating an old photo on film.

Bannermans Contact Sheet

Bannermans Contact Sheet

00:01:28:16 - 00:01:52:15
HELEN
I mean, it really is surreal when you are going through this, when you've lived with the person all this time and the days are going by and three days to go, two days to go. And so I said, well, you better have a shower. You know, you're going to have a shower. Said, Oh, yeah yeah I’ll have a shower after I’ve finished paper.

00:01:52:17 - 00:02:19:15
HELEN
And I said, What are you going to wear? Because, I mean, you know what you meant to wear to weddings and special occasions. I don't know what you wear for an occasion like this. So what are you going to wear? And he'd ask me if he could, if he could pass away in our bed because he was worried I might think it was a bit creepy afterwards and said that something worth helping.

00:02:19:17 - 00:02:42:02
HELEN
And he said, Well, I'm really going to bed, so I'm going to wear my Spiderman boxer shorts and the T-shirt. So we had this conversation and he did. And I think you were there by the end, and he was acting the goat. And he was.

00:02:42:06 - 00:02:43:12
GAVIN
Yeah.

00:02:43:14 - 00:02:53:23
HELEN
He was mucking around with the kids and he if you jump up, you can hang on to that. And he was swinging around in his Boxer shorts and then.

00:02:54:00 - 00:02:57:10
GAVIN
The kind of shorts kids wore in the nineties, like.

00:02:57:12 - 00:03:04:15
HELEN
Like they were Satin they were a birthday present that he'd drag out to special occasions.

00:03:04:17 - 00:03:05:11
GAVIN
This morning.

00:03:05:13 - 00:03:33:10
HELEN
And then the kids had gone and picked these purple flowers. And yeah, so we've got this video of ... giving him the flower and, and shaking hands with ... and telling him to be strong and be good. And then he was strong, He was calm. He wasn't afraid.

00:03:33:12 - 00:03:37:24
GAVIN
It was you talk about it like he was packing up to go on a sailing trip.

00:03:38:01 - 00:04:10:24
HELEN
Yeah, I, yeah. After he'd gone I still get all because I'd, I'd send him off on a selling trip each year. It was just like that. So he'd packed up his affairs. He'd, um, I think a day or two before he was so calm and sure about going. I said that it's almost like he didn't care about leaving.

00:04:10:24 - 00:04:32:04
HELEN
It's, um. And he came back to me later and said, Oh, he. He said, that he certainly does, but just don’t make it hard for him.

00:04:32:06 - 00:04:55:24
HELEN
So those, those words were special. Um, but they weren’t I’ll miss you. And it was like he said to Vince, Be strong, be good. Um, and I think he figured if he hadn't said stuff in his life, like now.

00:04:56:03 - 00:04:56:23
GAVIN
Yeah.

00:04:57:00 - 00:04:59:21
HELEN
Yeah.

00:04:59:23 - 00:05:03:16
GAVIN
I don't think there were any regrets.

00:05:03:18 - 00:05:08:10
HELEN
Oh, none.

00:05:08:12 - 00:05:29:05
GAVIN
Yeah, I do feel. I think that very understandable yearning for your life partner like Dad was. It's unfortunate that his unsentimentality also extended to his relationship with you because he'd say, Oh, you know how I feel.

00:05:29:07 - 00:05:34:11
HELEN
Yeah, who needs birthday presents. Yeah. Oh, remembering anniversaries.

00:05:34:15 - 00:05:49:05
GAVIN
Not everyone’s wired like you woman. But I knew there was love between the two of you. You cared. And you’d had this time, And then it was over.


 

 

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