6 May 2016
by Rachel Gray
Abe and Phyllis Kessell have lived together at Arcare Caulfield for a couple of years now. Abe said they first met when close friends introduced them more than twenty years ago.
‘I had just come back from England and they decided they would do some matchmaking’ Abe says with a reminiscing glance towards Phyllis sitting on a bed next to him.
Phyllis bats her eyelids and giggles ‘It was only a couple of years ago, wasn’t it Abe?’
Abe smiles ‘No, no… it was longer than that’ Abe explains with a smile.
Within a year the bright Jewish couple were married in a synagogue.
Although Phyllis has lived in Melbourne most of her life, Abe says he was born in Poland but he first lived in Perth when he was five, just after World War II.
‘I was very lucky, I had relatives here who sponsored us so we were able to go straight into the school system’ Abe says.
Abe grew-up in Perth before spending six or seven years studying hard at Adelaide University where he became qualified as a doctor first and then followed on to becoming a practicing psychiatrist.It was also at Adelaide University where he began learning how to paint with oils.
Today, the walls of his room are adorned with three of his favourite oil paintings; his first portrait in colours of oils, a large portrait of a young lady, and a colourful painting of the streets of Venice.
While Abe was working as a psychiatrist for the Victorian government, Phyllis was working in Melbourne for an advertising company.
‘I sent commercials to the radio stations and other companies’ she says with a proud smile.
Ballet figurines of porcelain grace her dresser as a reminder of her earlier years as a dancer.
Phyllis said she started learning ballet when she was a little girl, and has also enjoyed playing other sports such as basketball.
‘I love dancing!’ she says with enthusiasm.
Abe says Phyllis likes to get involved in the many activities and events at Arcare. Between them, they share a fondness for reading and classical music.
Abe says, ‘Right from the beginning, the warmth of the staff’ is what he liked most about Arcare Caulfield.