Firstly, I need to acknowledge and offer thanks to an unlikely suspect and that is Jeff Kennettt. You see, he became premier of Victoria in early October 1992 and as a result ..... I - a nurse and midwife, unimaginably, was effectively sacked ....
Long story short - this led me to a short-term role at the Ambulance Officers Training Centre (AOTC) .... where I stayed for 6 years
Approximately 26 years ago, in my role as an educator at the AOTC I had an appointment with Kenny Laycock, branch manager, Ambulance Airwing, Essendon airport. [Who by the way sent a very cheeky email to me – but genuinely was sorry to not be able to attend today]. I walked into the building and had to walk through the staff room. There was a dude in his flight suit putting his pasta dinner into the fridge and he turned around and looked at me ..... Terry Chessells you fell hard ... Yes Tezza, I know the moment you laid eyes on me, you were a goner!!
And what a story it has been since ..... initially, we became great mates working together at AOTC, which eventually led to romance and marriage.
Of course, it did not take me long to realise that as a born and bred Carlton boy, all you ever wanted to be was to be an Italiano ... so marrying me has kinda’ helped you realise that dream. Actually because you are such a wanna be Italiano, now that you don’t need to keep your professional name of Terry “Chess” Chessells, you could easily became Mr Terry Cerasa, male version of my sister Ms Terri Cerasa.
Those of you close to us, including our two surrogate sons, Ross and Timmy, know that Tezza Ed and I, often have a banter going that could be easily misunderstood. You, Terry “Chess, Tezza, Tezza Ed” Chessells are often irrational, opinionated, going off the deep end, quite assertive and rather loud. You very easily get stirred up and pay out on whoever is standing on the other side of the kitchen bench ..... Of course, as is so obvious to all, I am the quiet, measured, reserved and very kind, forgiving one in our home and I often have to calm you down by taking your face in your hands and reminding you “you’re exciting when ya mad Pearl” [pronounced; P-oil]!!!
Seriously, I am proud to let Mr Kenny Laycock and one of our besties, Miss Belinda “Bella” Henkel call me Mrs Chessells. I am proud to be your wife, friend and travel companion. As I said once on a Facebook post a couple of years ago when the 40th anniversary of commencing your career in ambulance slipped quietly passed, with very little fanfare ..... ‘you have had an extraordinary career that is actually worthy of being envied by the 'young-unnns’ .... I know you have lamented over the last few years that you became a “dinosaur”. Therefore, I take this opportunity to just share with you, that is something all you Paramedics who have worked with my Tezza should know; when he came home, he often spent time reflecting, caring and even worrying about many of you. The job has meant so much to him and the moment you were in the AV uniform working alongside him, you meant so much to him.
All of you know he frequently retells many of his better ‘work action stories’. Many of them so familiar to some of us, we could tell them as our own stories. But Tezza, you also remind us when we take that mickey out of you, that we should consider those stories just like we are listening to our favourite Beatles, Paul McCartney or Stevie Wonder song ..... over and over and over and ......OVER again. I do suggest to you all, that in time, there will be moments when someone will say … “remember Chess and those stories – it would be kinda’ nice to hear one of them right now”.
As said in that aforementioned FaceBook post .... Tezza, I think you are to be admired and congratulated. I can’t begin to imagine how many people are still telling their own stories, because you happened to be doing your job and took care of them.
In fact - here is one of my action stories ..... the first time I went on the road with you, long before we were an item, you the MICA paramedic and I the observer. I recall it was a call out to a suspected drug overdose in a toilet block in the CBD .... probably a familiar story to every ambo here today and everywhere else. What I recall is how you gave the young woman dignity by first making sure she was respectfully positioned, and her clothing not dishevelled. You injected stuff into her that bought her back to life and you spoke to her softly, kindly and genuinely with care. I hope that she is somewhere right now, planning a festive season with her family this year because you did your job with professionalism, kindness and respect.
To finish I am going to quote myself ..... again, from that FB post ..... “On behalf of every person you saved, every parent you comforted and reassured, every old person you respected, every scene you managed, every new paramedic you supported and every nurse you have every given cheek to; I say well done, be proud and know that you made a difference".
So my darling husband, on behalf of Mick (who is here today), Shane, Dave and I, we celebrate your amazing, extraordinary career. As you transition into this next phase of your life that you have aspired too, for so long .... that is to be my house husband, I am proud to say that we still love each other, still in love with each other, and most days, still really like each other.
May the next chapter allow you to achieve your desires, which I know you have the talents to achieve. Take those photos, write those lyrics, learn that language, walk the path not walked yet and may my wage be enough to support us both!
Finally, I love you and I am so proud of what you have achieved in your career. I hope you are proud also.