Growing Up

Ian Barry Jan 06 Sydney


Today I’m giving a chance to my brother Barry to get even with me for all those irritations directed toward him in my growing up years. It will give me pause to consider the past as I make my resolutions for 2014.

Here are some extracts from a speech delivered by my Brother to an assembly of dignitaries, friends, workmates, etc at the time of my retirement in 2002 from hospital management.  Can you imagine it?  Some people really believed he was serious! Lol Ian


Growing up with Ianby Barry Grice

Most people would perhaps set out to write a definitive history of their older brother.  I have discussed the issue with my psychiatrist and decided after my second medication not to do this.  However, through therapy I have been able to remember many things which have contributed to my own personal development.  I have grouped these memories under the general heading of “mentoring”, and listed the important characteristics Ian demonstrated for me, which have no doubt fitted him for service.

My Mentor

As I reminisce I believe that the qualities I have admired and modeled myself on have been epitomized and modeled for me by my brother and are best summarized as follows:

Interpersonal Relationships:

My earliest memories of his ability in this area revolve around interactions with our next door neighbor, who was a rather large young man  Ian would strike up the kind of conversation which was most likely to attract the neighbor’s attention and thoroughly engage him in structured interaction. It was the simple chanting of “Fatty Ross!”  “Fatty Ross!” seemed to gain his instant attention, and would ensure that he would come running to enter into a thrilling game of chase.  Sometimes Ross would get tired of this game and opt for something more physical!

Team Building

Ian developed my first concept of team building, and helping people to face their fears through changing the rules of the established game.  He dug a pit in the back yard and had me gather rotten eggs to line the bottom of the pit, then proceeded to conceal the pit with sticks and grass.  When it came time for the game to begin I shouted “Fatty Ross!” and he came running.  We commenced running.  We jumped the hole.  Fatty Ross landed in it and emerged smelling of rotten eggs.

From that time on Ian turned his attention to more serious matters although, as we looked out of the window each day, we could see Fatty Ross still wanting us to come out to play.  However, Ian had equipped Fatty Ross to stand on his own two feet and go out into the world with positive esteem.

I disagree with my psychiatrist.  He put some label on this called Passive Aggression.  But I learned much about interpersonal relationships, facing your fears and team building.

Delegation and Sharing

I have always admired Ian’s creativity and his unselfish sharing of his creations.  He had built cubby houses in trees, designed demolition derby obstacles at the foot of steep driveways for pedal car drivers, and built fantastic Billy carts.  One such cart was named ‘Sebastian.’  It had huge rear wheels and ball races for front wheels.  It had a built in brake pedal and was an inspiration to steer.  He created!  I was delegated test pilot.  I took it halfway up our steep hill and took off at frightening speed.  Nearing the bottom the ball races fell off, the timber bit into asphalt and I catapulted through the air.  I turned in my delegated agony to find him doubled up obviously happy that I had enabled him to find the flaws in his workmanship, which he immediately commenced rectifying.  I guess one only learns sometimes from mistakes.  But I must say I have a lot of pleasure practicing his methods with my fellow work mates.  Delegation is fun!

It was inspiring how he also placed one in a position to receive affirmations and other hugs.  We had a great Aunt who was well on in years, wizened, with warts on her nose and the adorable habit of sighting young children and smothering them with hugs and sloppy kisses.  She came upon Ian at a gathering of the relatives and said to him: “For two pins I’d give you a kiss!”  Ian gallantly said:  “I’ll give you two pins, and you can kiss Barry!”  And he took off!!! I have been hugged and kissed!!

Balancing Priorities and a Scientific Approach:

It seems Ian had studied physics at an early age and was intrigued by the forces of gravity.  We lived in a Queenslander type home, the underneath of which had been enclosed with battens and entry to the underneath of the house way by batened gate.  He filled a paper bag with fine dust and balanced this atop one of the battened gates, intending to teach me something about Newtonian Physics.  I did not attend his class that day.  However, my father returning from a Bowls Competition replete in cream clothes, entered that gate … to have a bag full of dust erupt around him.

I thank Ian.  When I saw my father’s face I understood gravity!!  I also learned another important lesson.  Just when you think everything is neatly balanced, some other authority enters where he is not supposed to, completely unprepared, and the matter which was so delicately balanced shatters.  I have noted this about plans, finances and a whole range of other things.  Thanks Ian!

I had the pleasure of showing him I had understood the lesson in later years.  On the farm Ian had found a perfectly good 44 gallon (approximately 200 liters) drum which Dad was carefully keeping.  With little resources except a hammer and chisel, Ian painstakingly split this drum down the middle from top to bottom, dividing it into two equal parts.  This made a perfect (?) little keel-less boat in which he planned to float around the dam.  Matters were somewhat precarious, but he was eventually able to float upon the dam with great delight.  (See a previous story on this blog which deals with this event called “Jump in Sandy.”

Enter Barry, duly tuitioned in finely balanced matters.  We had a half dingo cattle dog who loved to swim in the dam.  All one had to do was shout “Jump in Sandy!” and a yapping would commence from 60 acres away as Sandy at full speed launched himself toward the dam.  I commanded!  Sandy obeyed!  Splash!  …  Wall of water …and the finely balanced craft disappeared beneath the wave.  I take my hat off to Ian!  A true captain, he stayed with the sinking ship to the very end.

A Willingness to Lend a Hand

It was during adolescence.  Youth from various Churches within the region would often spend long week-ends together, and many interesting friendships were formed.  On one occasion at such a week-end I fancied one of the young ladies.  Come nightfall in the hall with the prospect of viewing films I sat on the right of the young woman in question.  A bunch of boys including Ian sat on the other side of this young lady.  About halfway through the film I managed to gain the courage to hold hands with the then love of my life.  I was enjoying this advance for some time and then the film finished and the light came on to reveal Ian holding the other hand of this young lady!!  I have met this person many times since those days.  I wonder if she remembers with glee the day a big brother lent a hand.

A clear Understanding of Logic and Problem Solving:

I could not fault Ian’s ability with logic and his sense of fairness.  I remember the lesson he taught me over a cake.  Mum had made one of her special chocolate cakes and someone had busied themselves cutting it into pieces.  They were somewhat varying in size and when it came to being offered a slice, he took the largest piece.  Now I was unlearned in these matters and immediately sought to vehemently point out that this was not fair.

He said: “What?”

I said: “You took the largest piece!”

He said: “What would you have done?”

I said:  “I would have taken the smallest piece!”

He said:  “Well you got it, so what are you upset about?”

What brilliance!  He taught not to take the opportunity for growth away from people, but taught me how to enable others to work through their difficulties and take ownership.

Developing Trust Vs Mistrust

He taught me to fight back my doubts and insecurities, by offering incentives to venture where others may be too scared to go.  I learned a valuable lesson.  Barely escaped with my life!!  And he never did pay me the shilling (10 cents).  I cannot share this story with you due to personal shame over my foolishness, and am still under going therapy.  However, the lesson I learned has been invaluable.  I learned to trust on full alert.

In my next session, I will address other basic things I have learned:

Maintaining a Sense of Humor

(Stories of the girl, the frog and a birthday parcel; the teacher, the teachers’ pet, and the bell; how to absent a teacher – or a tea flask and Epson salts; how to play lost parcel with the Nuns);


“If there’s one Grice in trouble there may as well be two!” or, “Well it wasn’t me and it wasn’t Jan.” (Our sister)


He could sing the original words of “Click go the Sheers,” to the same tune of a hymn in Church. Or, how to get Mum’s attention in a hurry!


On the occasion of my turning 60 he delivered me a family treasure inside of which was a likeness of what is sometimes found in family bathrooms.

He’s my brother!!!

(Now can I have my shilling?)



Sorry Barry!


“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014 All rights reserved


14 thoughts on “Growing Up

    1. I have a poem about a birthday when I was very young. My Mother was attempting to teach me to share. I was instructed to take a bag of candies around and share with the birthday attendees and wait to take the last one. When it was my turn to my horror there were no candies left. I made sure I took one first next time. lol. But hopefully I’m not that selfish now.


    1. I don’t recall that Fatty Ross managed to get even. They moved out from the house next door soon after those events. However there were those in the neighbourhood who did catch up with me and deliver stern admonitions at times. lol.


  1. This has brought me from tears from reading your last post to laughing out loud reading this one sweet Ian. I have to say that after several years of reading your writings and communicating with you I am one of the people who believes every word of this to be true. : ) You have a wonderful sense of humor and a bit of orneriness which I think is a great combination Barry might not agree with me on that though. lol Hugs!


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