TO IRENA, MY BELOVED KIBBUTZNIK, LOYAL WIFE
AND DEVOTED MOTHER TO OUR CHILDREN
This Ripping Yarn is dedicated to Lucinda, a.k.a. Mrs Irene Foxon, who insisted that these factual events be written down.
“Although you always did deplore
My frequent locking of your door,
With gentle, kind and boundless tact
You pardoned this egregious act;
And swore – despite my mortal sin –
You’d save me from the loony bin.
Should I grow frail and get the flutters
You’d keep me from the House of Nutters.
And I — to show that I’m true blue –
Will do as much, my dear, for you.“
My life story is basically the prosaic tale of a boy from the English working class who completely failed in his ambition to become a journalist and creative writer.
Nevertheless, he escaped from the East End of London and the English class system, which had held his family in thrall for generations. It was ironic that this should be at a time when class distinction and the petty differences separating man from man had at last began to break down in England. I came to Australia, which I thought to be a land of greater opportunity at the age of twenty-seven. I had nothing, but I worked hard and managed to survive, as did millions of others in a cutthroat capitalist society. (It would have been cut throat had it been a communist society or any other society. For the nature of man is such that although he is a social animal, he is also, and paradoxically, cunning, individualistic and self-serving).
The story of Jim Foxon, Australian and ex-Pom, son of Harry Foxon, ex-Yorkshire coalminer and Mayor, was partly written in my 59th year, but much of it is taken from my notes and diaries written when I was in my early twenties and early thirties. Although there are some things, which might have been better excluded, I have left them in because they help to give a clearer picture of “the artist as a young man”. And even in conversations, where dialogue indicates that I had total recall, I had written the matter up with a good recollection of the event, so the recall was probably reasonably accurate.
Although my intention in writing this story is to give my family a stronger sense of identity, I also hope that it may in some way entertain or benefit others.
Jim (December 1979)