The Early Years for Me
My father, Francis Maxwell Schafer, was born on 8th May 1924 in a small cane growing area in Queensland called Childers. My mother, Josephine, was born in Newcastle, NSW on 3rd June 1930. I don't know too much of the background of my parents other than knowing that my father served in the Army. I don't even know how they met or when. I can say that they married on 3rd June 1947 in Childers, Queensland.
They had four daughters before I was born in Newcastle in 1967. My sisters are as follows: Elizabeth born in 1951, Robyne born in 1952, Kathy born in November 1954 and Monica who was born in 1957. All 4 sisters were born in Childers, Queensland.
I never got to know my mother as she passed away on 26th July 1971 at the age of 41 when I was three and a half. She is buried in Newcastle Cemetary (Sandgate).
Growing up, I moved around a far bit. I have vague, but happy, memories of living on a dairy farm in Kilcoy, Queensland with my Aunty Flo (my father's sister) and Uncle Jack. I have a photo of being in Year 1 at a school at Carole Park in Queensland when I lived with my sister Elizabeth and her family for a short while. They say that the most powerful memory trigger is the sense of smell and I have to admit that the smell of clay brings back the memory of sitting in their driveway making clay objects and leaving them in the sun to dry. At some point after that, I lived with my sister Kathy and her family at Edgeworth in the outer suburbs of Newcastle.
Whilst living with Kathy, my father remarried and asked that I come live with him and his new wife, Val and her daughter Judith in Childers, Qld. In 1976, they had a daughter Michelle, who was born in Maryborough which is just south of Childers.
The Adult Years
After my father died on 27th March 1982, I moved south to once again live in Newcastle. In 1984, I moved to the Central Coast where I attended high school at Gorokan for years 10, 11 and 12.
1987 saw me head to northern NSW to the small rural city of Armidale, well known for it's large number of schools and churches, so I could attend the University of New England. The course I decided to undertake was a Bachelor of Financial Administration.
For the first 6 months I lived within the town but was then able to grab a vacancy at one of the residential colleges on campus - Earle Page College. This was the start of two and a half years of residential life in the University which can't be replicated in the outside world. Earle Page college is only one of seven residential colleges and with approximately 300 students per college and all within walking distance, life is a wonderful mix of study and fun. It's difficult to describe how it is to live with 300 fellow students with approximately 75 of those just in your accommodation block, having meals together, the parties, the gatherings in the common rooms, and the friendships that develop.
Due to illness in the 2nd year which had me hospitalised twice for about a month, I had to deter some courses and since these were prerequisites to futures courses, this meant that I didn't complete the degree within the 3 years. Therefore in 1990 I moved back to Newcastle to continue the Bachelor degree via correspondence as I could only complete the outstanding subjects a couple at a time per semester due to their prerequisite knock-on effect and this low number of courses per semester didn't warrant full-time study.
Early in 1991 I was at my local video store when I struck up a conversation with one of the young girls who worked there. My short visit to grab a movie soon ended up with me walking out of the store, not just with a video, but with her phone number and a declaration that she would like to go out with me some time. The next day, I rang her and asked if she would like to go to dinner and a movie and the answer was a resounding "Yes". With a promise to pick her up at 5pm, I hung up the phone, only to have to call her back to find out where she lived. Ha Ha. I guess I was a little nervous making that call. We ended up going to the movies at Maitland, seeing "Look Who's Talking Too". That was my first date with Lesley.
We got engaged in June 1998, marrying in November 1999 at Wallsend, NSW. You can read all about our engagement and wedding via the links in the above menu.
For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted children and perhaps since I've only had sisters, I've wanted to have girls - twins if possible. Alas, life sometimes doesn't run the way you want it to.
After 2 pregnancies which didn't progress past the 13 week stage, we were finally blessed with a healthy baby girl. Sienna Jasmine Schafer was born at 10:24pm on Thursday 1st November after a labour which started at 7:00am. Weight was 3184 grams which is just over 7lbs.
My wife Lesley and I were expecting our second baby around 6th March 2008. During a routine scan on Friday 3rd October, some serious developmental issues were discovered. This resulted in a multitude of visits with various specialists etc over the following few weeks. Sadly, our baby passed away and was delivered on Friday morning, 24th October 2008, at 4:52am. We named the baby girl Angel Jade Schafer.
Over the following few years the wife fell pregnant but once again we were unable to get the pregnancies to survive beyond the first trimester.
In late 2011 the wife fell pregnant and everything was progressing well with the baby due in August 2012. Unfortunately the baby passed away at almost 19 weeks gestation due to severe brain damage and was delivered at 8:01am on Sunday 18th March. The baby was a girl which we were hoping for, and Sienna was looking forward to having a little baby sister, and we named her Tamara Jade Schafer.
Due to the number of failed pregnancies and the heartache that goes with each, Lesley and I decided that we would not try for anymore children. We are blessed with Sienna who we love dearly and we are so proud of her.
Max's Sisters and Their Families
Elizabeth married Robert Melksham in 1968 and have got 4 children - Maree, Jennifer, Linda and Keith. All of their children are now grown up with children of their own.
Robyne is currently single and lives out in the Western suburbs of Sydney.
Kathy married Douglas Saillard and had 2 children - Paul and Ricky, both of which now have children of their own. Kathy has since remarried to Garry Cameron.
Monica married Wayne Fenton and had 2 children - Belinda and Michael. Belinda is now married with 2 young boys. Michael is not married yet, but happily dating.
Lesley's father, Brian, was born in Sheffield, England in 1939 whilst her mother, Jennifer, was born in Rotherham, England in 1943. They married in 1965 in Rotherham.
In 1968 the first addition to their family arrived - a baby girl they named Tracey. Tracey soon had a little sister when Tina was born in 1970 and then in 1973, along came Lesley who as you know, went on to become my wife.
April 1980 saw the Lincoln family say "Goodbye" to England and "Hello" to Australia where they settled in the Newcastle region in NSW.
Tracey married her husband Michael in 2004. They have 2 daughters: Sophie, born in 2005 and Grace, who was born in 2007. The family current resides on the outskirts of Maitland in NSW.
Tina married her husband Darren in 2000 and whilst her sister Tracey was blessed with two girls, Tina and Darren are the proud parents of two boys. The eldest boy Jacob was born in 2002 with brother Isaac arriving on the scene in 2007. Tina, Darren and the boys live in Warners Bay, NSW.