Well known local entertainer and artist Reggie D celebrates his 60th birthday! Reggie and wife Deb tell us about the planned festivities – plus some ‘retirement’ dreams the couple both have …
Hi Reggie. So, you’re about to celebrate your 60th birthday!
Reggie: I can’t say no to that – ‘cause it’s just a fact of life!
How are you planning to celebrate the occasion?
Reggie: I’m not 100 per cent sure about that, because there are so many things to organise. I know I’m having a party, and I’m looking very much forward to all the presents, for starters!
I have a feeling there might be more than just one party – as in celebrations for a week at least!
So, there’s no big secret involving the party plans?
Deb: No – no secret. We’ll have a party – probably at home.
Reggie: The only secret is the present that she bought me. She would not tell me what it is!
What special guests are you hoping will attend the celebrations?
I think mainly friends – we’re not looking for celebrity status. My brother Peter is coming all the way from Europe – from Holland, actually. We all tried to get my mum over too, but she doesn’t travel any more. She’s 80 next year, so she’s staying at home. She lives in Holland, not far away from my brother.
Other than that, mainly friends and there’ll be some musicians there, so there will be an interesting mix of people. This will make sure it’s going to be a good party! Master DJ Deb here (pointing to Deb) will put on her own style of music from the ’70s and ’80s in between the musos doing their thing! (Laughs).
You’ve had a really interesting history, Reggie. You were born in Amsterdam and moved to the Caribbean for most of your young adult years. How did settling in Port Macquarie come about?
I emigrated in the mid ’70s and my first destination was the Gold Coast. Then I moved to Sydney for quite some time.
An opening arrived in the Sandcastle in 1986 for a person to run the place and the catering / hospitality side of things. I took on the job, and arrived on the 1st May 1986, with all intentions of perhaps staying for a few years and then moving further north.
But they wouldn’t let me leave (laughs), and I’m glad I stayed actually, here in Port Macquarie, because otherwise I wouldn’t have met my beautiful wife!
What are your future ambitions?
Some of my ambitions are in the pipeline already. I want to do anything that I don’t have to retire from. At the present time, music and art are keeping me busy … but perhaps, a book or two in the future.
My ambition is to carry on what I’ve done for all these 60 years – to keep as much peace between people as I possibly can, and try not to have any enemies.
Deb: And travel!
Reggie: Oh – travel. Yes!
Deb: We’ve spoken about it a lot recently, because obviously getting to 60, you start to think about retirement and what happens next. One of our plans, that we hope comes to fruition, is to go and live part of the year in the Greek Islands – with Reg playing music and us painting together and living a lifestyle based around art and music.
Reggie: There’s something else I’m very much looking forward to – and that’s my Seniors Card! I can’t wait. Half priced travel on the bus … I can leave my pushbike at home!
You mentioned writing a book. What type of book were you thinking about?
Reggie: With my experience working in hospitality, I’ve got a lot of stories – short stories, perhaps … like weddings. Some of the weddings that you might think would be a beautiful day for all, I’ve had some experiences where I’ve thought, “These people are not going to stay together for long!” That’s one of the things. There are a lot of experiences in hospitality that I’ll never forget. It may never happen – but that’s the plan.
Maybe you should consider an autobiography?
Reggie: There was someone a few years ago who wanted to do one [a biography]. Maybe that will happen. I think if I did an autobiography – did it myself – it would probably never be finished!
If someone could do it for me, perhaps, it might be a better plan. And hopefully somebody will!
How’s the art business going for you both?
Reggie: Very busy. I think both of us didn’t expect it would go this way, but we’re very happy with it. It’s a nice thing to make people happy buying our artwork. I’ve never worked this hard in my life! But, it is fun and it fills in a lot of vacant space in the day I would normally have had. It’s a healthy way of living!
Deb: For us, it’s fabulous. We’re able to work as a team – husband and wife together. We work from home, so it makes a very nice lifestyle. We enjoy a glass of wine or beer while we paint, and music, which inspires us. The nicest thing is we can work together as a team and from home, so we can fit in family life and work life. It just fits together beautifully.
Do you have any upcoming gigs to look forward to?
Reggie: I don’t play as much music as I used to. I always look forward to every time I do play music. I have my regular first Sunday of the month gig at Finnian’s Irish Tavern. That’s an afternoon thing. I do the other odd one here and there – like a charity one. I definitely don’t play as much music as I used to.
Maybe one day, if someone wants me to go to New York City or London, I’ll have to work a bit harder in that field! (Laughs). I don’t think that’s going to happen – I don’t want to leave Port Macquarie.
You must like it here then …
Reggie: I’m very glad that I came here, and I really do like it here.
What’s your life motto?
Reggie: Hmmm … life motto. I’d like to live for as long as I can. According to my mother’s side of the family, I’m going to be the next in line to make 100. Between now and then, I’m really going to just make the most of life and try to participate in as many things as I enjoy … my garden, my family, my art, my music.
The other thing too is if you’ve got an idea, stick to it. If you make a mistake, don’t use that mistake to tell yourself that it was the wrong decision.
And finally, a day without a laugh is a wasted day!
Deb: I think for me, whatever you can think or dream, you can achieve. If you set your mind on a course and think strongly in that direction, everything flows that way. It’s always worked for me.
I’ve always had a really positive life – especially since I met Reg – and we have that positive thing happening together. The things we’re achieving together started as a thought – and there’s no stopping us!
Reggie: And if it takes longer than you planned, don’t give up – still do it. The first thing I did when I arrived in Australia was buy an easel. It took 35 years to start painting!
Final words …
Reggie: I always was worried about growing old, when I was in my 20s. But I have found that every year as I do get older, my life is improving. So, that’s how I look at it. So, I can’t wait until I’m 100!
Deb: We do lead a very blessed lifestyle, and I think to have found as much happiness as we have at this stage of our lives, I feel very thankful every day.
Thank you guys. And happy birthday
Photos Top L – R: 1968 Reggie’s first job at Hertz age 17 in Curacao; 2009 with his brother and Mum in Amsterdam; Reggie D aged 2; 2008 Reg & Deb on their wedding day with his stepdaughter Emma and stepson Zac.