You Could Be Prime Minister One Day Son

by Dennis Harrison

Dennis is brutally honest, open and frank in this memoir. The big themes of family relationships, sense of spirituality and refusal to see himself as a victim are interweaved in the story and all told with great humour.

The importance of male mentors to advance a boy into manhood can be observed as the story unfolds. Through their guiding hands and leadership wisdom is gained.

Courage was gained in the craft of cricket taught to him under the tutelage of Uncle Ted who played one game for an Australian team against Jardine’s bodyline side of 1932/33. As an opening batsman Uncle Ted taught him to respect but fervently dislike fast bowlers.

His father and Aunt Joy worked for ASIO* and he called Ron Richards, the key player in the Petrov Affair, Uncle Ron. He was a bigger than life character that would refer to the young Dennis as ‘the man that mastered Huntingdale.’

The transitions between each phase of his growth are marked with dramatic events, namely abandonment by his mother, reunion with his mother, debilitating stroke of his wife and death of his best friend in dramatic circumstances.

In the end love wins through. It is first learnt within the family and then spreads outward. That is the legacy that needs to be carried forward.

*ASIO – Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

About the book

Whilst writing my memoir I would have cycled through five different titles. It wasn’t until I had finished writing, re-writing, editing, reflecting and ruminating that I could distil the essence of the book to the most meaningful title. The title has very little to do with my interest in politics and two failed attempts to gain pre-selection. It has everything to do with the love given to me by my father and the encouragement he gave me to excel, give of my best and to have a go.

Having resolved the issue of a title the next task was to create a cover that also matched the deepest message in my life story. When the Fiverr artist “German-creative” came up with the cover photo I knew I had hit the jackpot. It shows the father looking down at the son, watching out, caring and guiding. The son is gazing out to sea in wonderment ready to take on the world, explore the world with naivety and curiosity.

The two of them are on the shores of the Indian Ocean looking west. Born in WA, the ocean, the beach, the water, swimming

and fishing formed such a great part of my formative years. No wonder I became a geologist and spent my life exploring for oil and gas in sedimentary rocks. The beach interface of land and sea is where so much happens; a locale of transformation, a magical zone where sand bodies are formed and equally destroyed. It is a zone of great risk, but it is alive, vibrant and full of promise.

Also at the heart of the book is a period of abandonment by my mother as she struggled with mental ill health. As a result, I was thrown towards my father. I didn’t realise the extent of the wound until I wrote the book. The writing became then a cathartic experience which helped me understand what had happened. I would not have thought of the word “abandonment” unless I had gone through the writing experience.

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