People - Stan Ashby
Born: 1894. Died: 1 July 1942.
Husband of Emily Myra and father of Erice, Norman and Joan, Stan was a plantation manager and owner on New Ireland.
On returning to Kavieng for the Memorial Service
by Erice Pizer, daughter of Stan and Emily Ashby
After much thought I decided to take my son Christopher, daughter-in-law Carol, daughter Sue, and grandchildren Emily, Michael, Kate, Luke and Dimmity to share with me, after 60 years and 6 months, my first trip back to Kavieng for the laying of a memorial plaque. It was a great experience and one never to be forgotten by all - the wonderful memories, the pidgin English we spoke - all came flooding back.
We can never thank enough Jim Ridges, the Red Cross (for doing the flowers so beautifully), John McLeod at Malagan Beach Resort (which was wonderful) and many local people who did so much to make the Memorial Service such a great success, with so much meaning and respect. At long last we have some form of recognition for our fathers and the people of New Ireland. Christopher recalled how his grandmother Emily was always so sad and could not speak of our father without tears coming to her eyes. She never forgot him and when in hospital told us to let her go to Stan. She died a week later. The doctor could not understand why she didn't recover. We of course did. That was 35 years after our evacuation.
It was wonderful meeting people I have spoken with over the phone these last twelve months, especially as we all had the same reason for being in Kavieng. It was with mixed feelings that we left Kavieng and travelled 60 miles down the Boluminski Highway to find Maramakas plantation where we lived and which my father managed for Alf Lussick before his own property was in production. We were able to find where the house stood and remains of concrete where the water tank was. Unfortunately all the magnificent coconut trees were gone and in their place stumpy palm oil trees. The beach with miles of stretching sand was still the same except of course for the very tall cliffs which had yellow snakes with a green circle around their eyes. Somehow or other the cliffs had shrunk to about 7 ft and the snakes had turned into lizards - funny how things change from the eyes of a child.
We then went to visit Logagon plantation which was owned by the Lussicks and which has now all reverted to jungle. Very sad to see. Our trip took us on to beautiful Dalom where we stayed overnight - the local children laughing so much at us because we could not walk with bare feet on the stony beach or the river bed.
Sue remarked to me, 'Mum, I now understand why you chose such different plants to grow in your garden'. I hope my family understands me a little better now. I often remind them how lucky they are to have both parents and a stable life.
I will definitely go back to Kavieng, but this time I will stay longer.
© Erice Pizer 2003
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