In 1980, Bob and I went to our first Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Mumby Farm where my parents lived in Northampton, Western Australia and we continued to go every year for the next 20 years until Dad (Charlie Cripps) passed away in October 2000.
Each year, around Father’s Day, Dad would hold a picnic somewhere on the farm. The spring flowers would be out in abundance and the kids would have a lot of fun playing with their friends, while the adult men cooked the bbq and the women would bring out all the salads that they had prepared. Every year mum (Patsy) would make an apple slice and we’d all have a piece covered in cream, followed by a long walk to wear some of it off!
Our Peter was only 10 months old when we went on that first picnic with friends Linda, Ken, Kerryn and Craig Caddy and Sally, Phil, Stephen, Sara, Thomas and Marcus Vigilante. Dad’s friends Les and Wendy Chant also were there.
Dad would always have some treat for the kids. Usually a bag of lollies for each child, sometimes the parents would smooch up to him to get one too or sometimes he would scatter them around in the paddock and the kids would run along and find them. One year, Garry flew his aeroplane over and dropped lollies out. The kids thought that was wonderful and went running after them.
Sometimes the kids, with adults to supervise, would hop on the back of Dad’s ute and go for a short drive around the paddocks looking for kangaroos.
The wildflowers were always a hit with the ladies and we’d all go for a walk and have our photo taken in amongst the yellow posies or the pink everlastings. Our friends Bob and Bernie Hayes, Jane and Les Barker, Joan and Bill Baker, Sandra and Rick Ashton, Anne and Geof Neve and Beryl and Dave Hagen would sometimes come with us.
1988 was one of the saddest picnics we had been to as mum (Patsy) had died just a month before, 3 August 1988. Dad still wanted to have the picnic and everyone rallied to make it a memorable one. A few weeks ago in September 2017, Wendy Chant sent me a copy of this photo of me with Dad taken at the September picnic in 1988, with her husband Chant, who is also deceased, in the blue shirt. Melissa, our middle daughter posed with her Pop for a special photo.
1997 was one year that we’ll never forget. We were driving up to the farm for the annual Teddy Bear’s picnic when we heard on the radio that Princess Diana had been injured in a car accident in Paris. When we arrived, someone said that she had died. I didn’t believe it as we’d only just heard about the accident. So we turned on the radio, and sure enough, they announced that Princess Diana had indeed died. That really left a mark on the day and everyone was very somber for the rest of the afternoon.
1 September 2000 was to be the last of the traditional Teddy Bear’s picnic on Mumby farm as on the 18th October 2000, Dad (Charlie) passed away. He had not been well for some time and eventually it all got too much. Peter had a chat and a beer with him on that day and I (Jenny) got to drive Dad out to the picnic and home again after he’d found it all a bit too much. These would be the last photos ever taken of Dad at his favourite place on Mumby, with his friends and family around him.