« Pommes de Terre | Main | Sibelius - Symphony No.1 »

Highlights In The Shadows: Epilogue

As he nears the conclusion of his autobiography Owen Clement reflects upon his life.

To read Owen's story from the beginning please click on Highlights In The Shadows in the menu on this page.

I have kept various diaries at different times of my life. Some information in this narrative comes from those odd pages of banal jottings. On rare occasions a poignant or dramatic event appears out of these fragmented details but, as I said in the beginning, most of the material for this book has come from my family’s oral history and from my own memory.

It is evident that my privileged early life left me vulnerable to some of the realities of life. Time and again my gaucheness and, can I say, innocence saw me taken advantage of. I have always considered myself a late developer, socially, psychologically and indeed physically. I sang as a boy soprano when I was in my mid-teens. Not being of the common mould saw me lead a somewhat lonely existence in my early life. And yet, I do not regret one moment, as having a questioning nature I have found pleasure in keeping up with new ideas, new technology and with enough self-confidence to always accept what I was. If others find me odd or eccentric, that is their problem, not mine. This attitude of mine came about with maturity and age.

My lack of tertiary education, through nobody’s fault, has been frustrating at times, but by reading widely and participating in conversations on many subjects I have been able to broaden my knowledge. Naturally there are areas where I am still not au fait, but in this I am not alone.

My retirement in 1990 finally relieved me of the responsibility of having to do other's bidding. I was now free, apart from family responsibilities. My eight years of being in my own business was the realization of a long heartfelt dream and now my retirement is giving me the opportunity to follow my own selfish pursuits.

I have ardently taken up the game of bridge, reading, writing, attending concerts and plays and, most importantly enjoying being with my family and friends.

My feelings of anger, frustration and not being able to set my own course have been well and truly resolved. I now realize that many of my difficulties perceived or real at various stages of my life, are no different to those experienced by every other human being. I also, despite my previous protests, now thankfully acknowledge that I have been treated extremely well by fate I have much to be grateful for to my old friend Kismet. The old cliché of 'not being able to see the woods for the trees' has been a very pertinent factor for me.

I still have the occasional personal drama. I had a heart attack and Angioplasty in 1995 and I lost two toes in a lawn mower accident in 1997.

My wife Jan and I made a trip to India in the year 2000 (a long held dream of mine). I had left there as a boy of seventeen and returned as a mature man aged seventy-one. It was a very emotional disturbing and in retrospect, enjoyable holiday. While I was there, I found it very difficult to come to terms with the fact that the India today bore little resemblance to the India of my childhood. I was very saddened to see how much it had changed. I was not alone with these sentiments as various other Indian people we met in India and in Australia shared my feelings. But then, every country has changed quite dramatically over time.

I would also like to thank various people for their encouragement and support, Marie Lancaster, Moya Germain, Fraser Corfield, Annette Wilson and of course my dear wife, Jan. I also wish to acknowledge the help of researcher Mrs. Elizabeth Murray in the U. K. And not forgetting Peter Hinchliffe was has been publishing my work.

I hope even though, as one sceptical friend remarked, that these pages may be bundled up, wrapped in brown paper and stored in the back of a cupboard for thirty years and then thrown out, future generations may find the information in these pages helpful if they wish to carryout their own genealogy research.

© Clement 2006


Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.