I first met him in 1995 when we were hiring freelance Graphic Designers. We were in a meeting when the receptionist rang through on speaker phone and said “I should probably just warn you that your next interviewee only has one hand!” . . . amid a flurry of giggles and ‘Oooh aaahs’ we wondered how on earth someone with only one hand could drive a mouse and a keyboard, let alone a vehicle to photo shoots and art direction . . still these were the days of equal opportunity and it was time to see what he was made of.
Whilst pretending to work, a very tall, surfie type with white blonde, scruffy hair, was lead towards the light box to show off his portfolio which had been captured on 35mm slides. I swivelled in my chair All I could see was the back of his head, his broad shoulders, tanned ‘arm’ fabulous bottom and long legs wrapped in well fitting dark green Benneton . We all looked approvingly at each other and were encouraging our Creative Director to hire this guy without even knowing the quality of his work. He did . . he was a sucker for the girls and so Stan was hired for a three month contract. He was a Jersey boy . . on a 12 month visa travelling the antipodes with a couple of friends but needed work before reuniting with them on the Queensland coast. He was/is a champion kneeboarder, choosing this because paddling with one hand is difficult, and he can use fins, but he’s also a fine surfer!
We became great pals at work and mucked around on the email. We had a similar sense of humour and family values and developed a long and lasting friendship that I have since discovered wasn't dependent upon constantly being in contact.
Stan had a Van . . he lived in his van which was at the time being parked behind the local pub. In the burbs this is considered highly suspicious and he was being moved on with great regularity. He spent 5 days a week working, living on five minute noodles and peas and then headed north to the beach on the weekend where he could meet up with pals and bludge a decent meal. After feeling sorry for the lad, I invited him in . . he could park in my front garden and sleep in peace. And so began a lovely and lasting friendship. It was a time when my house was seemingly full of party people. We had another freelancer from England who was a regular visitor having lived with us for a few months prior, and another lonely heart who my cousin had just deserted . . .We socialised in the evening, went to the movies, local and distant pubs, had Friday drinkies that went well into the night with the work crew and partied hard. Even with two kids in tow, we had amazing fun.
He is handsome, bright, intelligent and funny and his one arm is no impediment to anything other than cutting his fingernails! He tells the girls he’s been attacked by a shark! In reality, it’s a birth defect that he’s become so used to, there’s nothing he can’t do. Seriously, he’s fixed my wobbly fridge, the toilet seat (you try being a bloke peeing with one hand and the toilet seat keeps falling down), repaired my arial, rustproofed my car, even chopped onions, cooked meals, decorated Easter eggs and made a little horse out of the wire from a champagne cork. He’s just a lovely lad, a quality designer, a slow typist but a great friend. Luck follows him everywhere and despite a few surprisingly failed relationships, he seems to have found his niche.
Over the years, Clare and I have stayed with him in beautiful Jersey, met his family and his favourite haunts and he with us on several occasions in Oz, alone, with girls and even with his mum but it’s been 4 years since I’ve seen him. I haven't hugged the man for a very long time and I miss him much. He now lives in New Zealand his not so new love and nstant family who he’s embraced big time. He’s built a beautiful house on the beach, has great job and is thoroughly enjoying teaching his girls to surf and rising to the challenges of instant fatherhood. As he approaches his 40th birthday, he's happy, settled, calm, in love and living the normal life . . it suits him!Lovely to hear from you Stan and your little brood! If I was 12 years younger . . Tena koutou ehara koei aia Stan!