Biographical Non-Fiction posted January 19, 2014 Chapters:  ...21 22 -23- 24... 

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More on Self, and Other Employment

A chapter in the book The Little Dog That Wouldn't Let Go

It is a Dog's Life Sometimes

by Sankey

All this to gain some kind of presence in the Federal or State parliaments of our land.
Chapter 9b (Word)
When I moved out to Penrith, more permanently, in the late part of 1977, I also got interested in becoming a Distributor of AMWAY products. It was good, in some ways, as I could also get my music clients to buy the products from me. I also inherited a former distributor's customer base, when he moved up to Queensland. 

I did quite well at it for a while. But as I now know for sure,  the company was just another "get rich quick thing" and quite definitely "Pyramid Selling" even though many of the "more successful" claim it was not so.
Pyramid selling involves the "grassroots" distributors working very hard and sponsoring as many successful other distributors as they can, to push them "up the ladder." You "get up the ladder" from your sponsored distributor's purchases. Should they be ambitious and get more folks sponsored by them, who subsequently buy and sell the product, then up you go. The thing is, though... the lower level's hard work always pushes the Direct Distributor's (the top of "the ladder")level and subsequent bonus up even further, so they get even better bonuses at the end of the month.
A couple of things happened to me later on, to really decide me against continuing in this facade of "getting rich." Firstly, there was a time when I had been quite successful, to attain an almost nine percent bonus level. (This would mean I would be paid $AUD100 bonus.) None of my "downlines" I had sponsored had achieved even the three percent level on which they would get a proportionate bonus (around $AUD30 from my supposedly $AUD100.
The fact was, I was only thirty points, or approximately $AUD30 something off the nine percent bonus - but the Direct Distributor never told me, to give me the opportunity to buy up to that level! While I got a Six percent bonus, the Direct distributor got all of the remaining nearly nine percent included in their own bonus. I felt this was quite unreasonable and downright dishonest.
The other thing that got me annoyed, relating to AMWAY, was something that happened at the time of the car fire, in 1982,(a subject dealt with, in a later chapter.) I had some AMWAY product unpaid for, that was lost in that fire. I owed the Upline Direct Distributor $AUD50 for the products. They drove me nuts demanding payment for the products. So much so I quit doing the AMWAY business. 

Doreen, the wife of a guy we called the "Mosman Mumbler" got her $AU50 when I got the car insurance. Her husband Joe the Mosman Mumbler, called that because at all his "inspirational" or maybe "perspirational"... speeches, we could never understand him as he never opened his mouth! I was not the only one that could not understand him, neither did the hearing folks!  

At that particular meeting at "Snake*" and Faye's place, I was to meet Jim and Barb Watson. Many years later I met Jim and Barb again at our church and it took a few minutes to figure out where I knew them from previously. It turned out I had met them at the AMWAY Meeting all those years before. Small world, ha.
Lastly, I had arranged to give my remaining stock to the local Direct Distributor, for a small amount to help with outstanding debts. They were supposed to come, and pick me up at the railway station. I had no car as you will see later in the book. I got to the station (Richmond I think) and no one turned up! I rang the house and no answer. The result was getting on the next train back home, still with all the stuff on hand.

One chap I visited for music lessons, had Multiple Sclerosis and I was asked to try and help him on his keyboard. His wife was a real strange lady, and I sometimes wonder if it was she who caused her husband to become ill. She had some extreme mood swings, perhaps, as I learned much later of Bi-Polar Disorder, this could have been her problem as well. Sometimes she would get quite angry at him even in front of visitors, such as myself. Other times she could be very pleasant on my visits.
Another student I had, was a senior gentleman, named Tom. We used to rotate between my teaching him and, at other times, giving them an organ concert. Some weeks, we did this when he was not up to learning. It was on one of these occasions I learned his wife Joyce had been a patient at the Chelmsford Hospital,  somewhere around the inner western suburbs of Sydney. They specialized in a controversial treatment known as Deep Sleep Therapy*, eventually outlawed in our state, I believe. it involved treatment with, sometimes, barbiturates and other drugs, applying the treatments while the patient was in a state of very deep sleep, for varying periods of time. Their purpose was to mostly deal with psychiatric problems.  Check the Link in Author Notes below for Deep Sleep Therapy.
There was also another young man, named Bradley, who had caught Viral Pneumonia while an inpatient at one of our big Children's hospitals, at a very young age. At this particular time we speak of, his mother called my answering service and asked if I could help him with some organ lessons. Bradley was a special case. Reason being, the Viral Pneumonia had also resulted in some Gangrene and the necessary amputation of one leg, below his knee. He had a prosthetic limb applied.
Bradley had also suffered hemiplegia on his right side. This meant I had to teach him to play with his left hand and left (prosthetic) leg. Bradley and I had some good times together. He would now be over 50 years of age, but at the time I worked with him, he was 15 years old. I had kept in touch with him and his mother, who now live on the other side of the country, as often as I could, for some years.
The local children loved Bradley, as he was a very happy young man, in spite of all his problems. He loved to play games with the local kids. You see, Bradley had remained quite innocent, and rather immature even as a developing teenager, in every other way. Sadly, I believe his father, a policeman, rejected Bradley because of his disability. His parents had broken up some years earlier. I agreed with his mother, many years ago, that something should have been done to bring a case for compensation by the hospital.  A lot of Bradley's problems were directly related to poor nursing supervision and treatment in the hospital, as a small child.
I had another little sideline, from about 1979, for only a couple of months, as it turned out. An old church friend put me in touch with a guy who was opening up a music store in St Marys. The arrangement was that I could keep my music students, with the outcome, of course - of them buying a piano or organ from Burt. 

As I said above, this did not last and resulted in me losing some really good friends, out of some things that were claimed to have been said by myself, which were lies on Burt's part. Included were things the boss told these friends would happen to me if they did not buy the organ from him. He still off-loaded me, within two months anyway.
I know he had plans for one of his two employees. (The other employee was a pretty, as well as young girl who was also an excellent performer.) He wanted, and I secretly thought it was me he wanted - one of us, to go up to Scone and run another shop up there. Scone is out in the middle of nowhere. I certainly was not interested as I had my church and my clients all around the local area.

I think this was why he got rid of me. Another reason to offload me was; he had gone from paying rent of $AUD99 per week in a small shop in St Mary's to paying $AUD700 per week for a shop 7 times the size in the "Hills Shopping Centre" located in Seven Hills, on the edge of a much wealthier area. It was from there I got the boot. I think he had extremely high aspirations of big sales in that place. I made some suggestions of extra things he could put in the shop to sell (from my previous experience in several music businesses,) but nothing was acted upon. I don't know how long he lasted there.
Not all that long after Burt Hogan sacked me from the job at his music store, I picked up the next job at Grace Brothers Department Store, in Parramatta, a very large city in the West of Greater Sydney. We talk more about that job a bit later on.
At one time, I did a combined concert, of my organ students and my niece's dancing students. It was held in the Melrose Hall on the Great Western Highway, in Emu Plains, just below our Blue Mountains, in my state. It ended up being more dancing performances than my organ students. However, we did raise some money for the "Save The Children" Fund.
I was engaged at another home, closer to my family residence in Ryde-Eastwood. The Dad was a bit tight. He wanted me to teach both his young daughters, six and eight years old respectively, in the same half hour. I have always found it is a far better policy in music teaching, to be a "one-on-one" situation.

I recently renewed contact with the older of these two girls, who is now a Mum herself, of a growing family. It pleased me to learn from her, at this more recent time she counted it a good time of learning in music on those occasions, even in our particularly difficult setting. The good thing about our time as it transpired for her sister, was that it started her on the track of actually going "right through" and attaining a teaching degree in piano, herself. Of that, I am very proud, having been the start of something greater for her.
In later years, after marriage, I was to do some music teaching in our home, as well as working full-time in the Public Service. Sometimes, I would feel like I was just a convenience for parents to leave their children with me for an afternoon, while they went shopping. Sort of a "Child Minding" session, if you will.

Sadly, in one case, I had a girl who was really promising and appearing to have a real talent for music. The problem being; her parents were not prepared to buy her a piano to practice on at home. I had offered to obtain one for around $AUD500 in reasonable enough condition for her to make a start anyway. Unfortunately, that never worked out and we did not continue the lessons.

As I continued teaching music in people's homes, mostly piano and organ, it was amazing the number of times I also took on the "mantle" of an amateur psychologist. I would often listen to the student tell about their problems at home or at school. A couple of times I was asked to help disabled people to learn, causing me to re-think ways, different to the usual processes, in getting them to learn to play.
One chap I visited had Multiple Sclerosis and I was asked to try and help him on his keyboard. His wife was a real strange lady, and I sometimes wonder if it was she who caused her husband to become ill. She had some extreme mood swings, perhaps, as I learned much later of Bi-Polar Disorder, this could have been her problem as well. Sometimes she would get quite angry at him even in front of visitors, such as myself. Other times she could be very pleasant on my visits.

My wife and I recently, yet again, viewed a favourite old movie “My Fair Lady,” starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison and some other well-known actors. It was during the viewing I realized I had to add some more to this chapter, regarding the enormous number of Musicals’ numbers I had taught my students over the years.

These included well-known songs from as above “My Fair Lady” and “Sound of Music” and many others. Even more modern tunes from “Abba” and the “Beatles.”

One important thing I learned from my years of teaching; it was better to make "friends of clients," than to make "clients of friends." 


Note: A lot of the names of people in this story have been changed for one reason or another.

To assist my American readers in understanding the different values of the Australian dollar ($AUD in this chapter) to its "Greenback" or American equivalent, it needs to be understood the variation in our Aussie dollar to Uncle Sam's dollar can go from between mid 70c to sometimes even 80c AUD on a really good day, to the "Greenback." I still remember, back closer to the time when we changed from Sterling currency to Decimal, (1966) our comparative amount to the $US was 85c...and that was a long time ago.
For a little bit of history, I have included a "Youtube" of a Jingle that was made to help with our change from Sterling to Decimal Currency in Australia.

Click HERE! for the February 1966 Currency Change in Australia Jingle

For the article on Deep Sleep Therapy

Click HERE! for the article on Deep Sleep Therapy

* the 3% bonus level of AMWAY Product sales in the month was equivalent to around $AUD200.00.
In this chapter, I mentioned a fellow with the name of Snake...I never knew his actual name...and while I have changed a lot of the names in this story I have left the name we knew Snake by, in it.The picture on left: Me 'spruiking" the 'Amway' gospel?? The soft soapin' preacher about SOAP ha. Top Right: Me and my Sunday School Class in 1977.
Bottom Right: The "Berean Singers" including myself in my pink tie. Never been able to find that, again. I loved it.
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