I’ve mentioned our good Aussie friends, the Langer sisters, here and here and here and here. I first met older sister Wendy at a Boxing Day party in Perth on December 26, 1970 and then met her younger sister Christina at the Langer family home in Esperance, Western Australia, on December 31, 1970.
They’ve told me that their father, Johnny Langer, often brought home random foreign hitchhikers in an attempt to broaden his daughters’ educations. I was one of those hitchhikers, but I now own the honor of having known them longer than any of those other bums.
Mom Vera Langer was convinced that my mom must be worried sick about her little boy who was hitchhiking around the world. So she secretly sent my mom a series of letters and captioned photos designed to alleviate her fears. For example, we — the Langers, me, several of their neighbors, and a few strangers — spent New Years Day 1971 on the beach at Cape LeGrande.
”Barbecue beach picnic at Cape Le Grande, 34 miles east of Esperance,” Vera wrote on the back of the photo she sent to my mom. “Jim got a bit sunburnt.” That’s little sister Kathy to the far right.
“Jim is still sheltering from the sun,” Vera noted on the back of another photo. “My husband Johnny is nearest Jim, on the tailgate of our Holden.”
“Jim with our two younger daughters, Christine aged 12 years and Kathryn aged 9 years,” Vera explained to my mom. What she didn’t mention was that this photo was shot in the front yard of the Langers home, right across the street from a beautiful, uncrowned, white sand beach.
Thanks again to the Langers. Johnny took me in off the street, Vera made me feel at home. Kathy and Tina made me feel like the big brother I had never been. And now they’ve made Jamie feel like she’s one of the Langer sisters.