Snappy September - Day Thirty - Alice
Yes, the mysterious tennis goddess first revealed to you on the sixth day of Snappy September - The Mysterious Mrs A Gooch - has a name.
Aged nineteen, 1955 at her friend Lorna's in Brunswick
Isn't she beautiful?
After ringing the secretary of the Parkville Tennis club and searching online, I reached Mrs Gooch's son first. He let me blather away first and promise to email him a link to this 'ere blog so that he could feel (partly) reassured that I wasn't an axe-wielding maniac looking for a new victim.
When Alice and I got to talk, I was struck at what a modest and lovely lady she was (is).
My guesstimate that she was twenty years old when she won her first club championship in 1957 was almost correct - she was twenty one (having got married to Keith two years earlier), which means that she was forty four when she won in 1980. That's an incredible achievement!
Alice grew up in Brunswick and from the age of eight she'd play tennis at a nearby asphalt court with her friend Lorna. She and Lorna grew up together and Lorna was one of her bridesmaids. They are still in touch today.
Check out Alice's groovy glasses!
And the legs on both ladies!
When she married Keith they moved to Glenroy, but Alice continued to play for the Parkville tennis club. She had four children between 1961 and 1966; and between her 1963 and 1970 club victories she played at a club closer to home where Keith also coached.
The Gary Ablett junior of her day, Alice was encouraged to venture back and play again for Parkville in 1970, winning again before then being invited to play for Hawthorn by now-club president Robert Payne. "He has a dark history, Kath. He worked at Cheeky Chaps in Brunswick as a stripper in his younger days." (whatever you do, don't Google 'cheeky chaps' when your daughter is in the next room).
Crikey - maybe Alice's association with such an unsavoury character was the reason she never made it to Parkville's Life Member board?
If fraternising with a male stripper wasn't enough, there was other dirt to dig up. During all her tennis glory days, Alice was....
... a smoker.....!
Sadly, Keith passed away due to a chronic obstructive airway caused by years of smoking and working in the munitions and ballistics industry in Maribyrnong. That was enough for Alice: "No smoking when Keith got ill. I've been pure ever since."
Now living by the sea, she still plays tennis at Rye. Alice and her friend Norma took out the gold medal for Doubles Tennis in the over-seventy division at the Masters Games. Seventy four and still a winner.
She's a dead-set Legend. I'll never be a champion in any sport, but if I can remain as active, friendly and happy as Alice in her eighth decade, I'll be very grateful.