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15 April 2013

Nicole Weiss sent this email in memory of Peter Trattner:

Was roughly forty years ago (now that sounds real bad) that my mum packed up her kids and headed off on a big adventure to the exotic jungles of PNG to be with her husband.

We arrived to the unbelievable humid unfamiliar tropical heat at Aropa airport. School teacher, mum, all dressed up to the nine’s (probably thought that she was going to get a bit), Yuk! Two lily white pikinini inappropriately dressed to impress their dad and were welcomed by the kind, gentle and beautiful Joanne, big child, handsome Peter and their tribe, Dad of course and off we all travelled in the beaten up landcrusier to our new home!

They obviously had it already planned and pulled into a village, the usual afternoon deluge was pouring down, unloaded our suitcases and took us to a village hut and welcomed us to our new home! Goodness knows what my mum thought! Kurt and I were immediately welcomed by the village children, took off our shoes and socks and got straight into the delightful business of playing and getting sweaty and muddy with the other kids. They all laughed and laughed, was a fantastic joke that they had played on my mum and was probably when I feel in love so completely for the very first time. In love with Joanne and Peter, their family, their island and its people.

We then headed to our real house at section six Arawa. Joanne and Peter lived in the next street and Dad and Peter as we were to soon find out, were inseparable. I can remember at one stage whilst having dinner one evening, innocently asking dad if he was indeed gay? Mum very nearly choked! My reasoning was that Dad and Peter spent so much time together!

Cannot actually relay that first evening on Bougainville, just that it will be forever etched in my memory and my mum must have honestly considered jumping on the first available flight out of there, after the antics on display that first night.

So pleased we stayed and honoured to have had Peter being a big part of my life, a true kind and gentle fellow, never really grew up, had a child quality about him, full of mischief! Dad and he certainly had some wild adventures.

Nicole Weiss
email nicole[AT]