Mem Fox AM is a national ‘treasure’. Her stories have delighted families for decades. You might be familiar with the international bestseller Possum Magic. Mem’s book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is my favourite. I am not alone. Mem says that Wilfrid Gordon is the book adults love the most. It’s special in a Time & Space context because, our hero, Wilfrid Gordon, ‘a small boy who wasn’t very old either’, looks for ‘memories’ for his friend Miss Nancy in the old people’s home next door.

Why? Well you will need to see and listen to the story. You can see me reading the story in a video on the most recent post on this blog, A Reverse Birthday Present. What Mem and her characters call ‘memories’, these are like the ‘treasures’ that young people and mums, dads and mentors share at Time & Space events.

Mem participated in the activity that was set for families to do at the end of the story by sending an email. You can read her story of her ‘treasures’ and memories of her incredible dad.

But Mem didn’t stop there. On Sunday night, Mem added another activity idea for you to do at home. She sent it to me in an audio message and here she is speaking directly to you offering a magic idea for your household in these ‘weird times’ as Mem aptly names them.

We have started our memory book here in our home. Note the precautionary subheading for these times. 

And it doesn’t have to be memories from this weird time. My next memory is something funny my son’s girlfriend, Jess said to the Essendon coach last year when we won a close game against the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Docklands Stadium. Here’s what I wrote on the second page. You can print photos and sticky tape them in, scrap book style. Maybe draw some pictures too.

Mem’s Email

SUBJECT: Re: MemFox and her dad

Dear Bill

Thank you for your enthusiasm in general, and your passion for Wilfrid Gordon, in particular. 

Please give my absolute best to Brigid and Polly, whose stress levels must be even further off the planet than the stress levels of the rest of us. I was so sorry to hear of their woes.

As you know, Jenny Darling has said no to the video. I’m over videos at my age, but I might attempt a voice memo to your phone later. Cross fingers.

Here are a few random memories of my dad…

He was an inspiring teacher, and a teacher of teachers. One of his sayings was:  ‘A laughing child likes learning.’

He wrote books about teaching. One of them was The Headmaster and His School. In later years he was embarrassed by the title because, as he used tell his three daughters (he had no sons): ‘Girls can do anything. No one can ever stop them from being what they want to be!’ Such as being a headmistress, I guess, although we now call  those people principals.

Dad could do anything, which was useful as we lived in Africa. He was, all at once, a teacher, a reader, writer, a plumber, a carpenter, a gardener, a mechanic and an electrician. He even did tapestry in the evenings, as he listened to classical music to calm himself from the stresses of the day. He made gorgeous tapestry covers for our dining room chairs and also for our piano stool. He even mended his own socks because my mother and two of the three sisters (I was one of them) couldn’t sew a thing. We could cook, however, and we loved it.

Dad went everywhere with a walking stick. He didn’t need it to lean on, he needed it to kill snakes in case they were foolish enough to cross his path. Being Dad, he carved his walking sticks himself. My grandson still plays with one that was made from rose wood.

My dad was such a loving, funny, good dad and such a great teacher that he never raised his voice to us girls and never raised his hands against us either. I think we turned out to be nice people anyway.

When Possum Magic was published he said: ‘Memzi darling, it’s another Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.’ I thought he was just a doting dad at the time, proud and pleased, but honestly, talking rubbish. Now, well— it seems he was about right!

There you go, Bill. Hope that ‘fits the Bill.’

All the  best!

Mem Fox

P.S. Here’s a lovely surprise if you didn’t know this fun fact. Guess who the real Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge was? Clue – he has been mentioned in this post already! Click here to find out.

P.P.S. You can hear Mem reading all her books by clicking on any of the covers here on this page of her very elegant website.

Feel free to type in the Comments Box below, the first entry you write into your Family Memories Book.