For three years, Mrs Dorothy Dalton has lived with uncertainty and tension.
Now she has finally learnt to adjust-to accept that her son, Tony, is defying a law and is considered by many to be a criminal.
Tony was one of four draft resisters to escape a Federal Police raid at Melbourne University 11 days ago.
Tony, 23, a fifth-year architecture student at MIT, refused to register for national service in July, 1968.
“I just couldn’t bear the thought of seeing Tony in jail,” Mrs Dalton, 52, of Dudley Av, Moorabbin said yesterday.
“I always respected his views, but being a mother, I thought there must be another way out.
“But I’ve since realised there isn’t.
“There have been times when I thought that if it went on much longer I must just crack. My nerves felt shattered.
“If the phone rang at some odd hour, I shuddered: “I had come to expect the worst; that he had been arrested.
“Now, I’m just a little calmer.”
Cuddling Tony’s Siamese cat, Binh, Mrs Dalton went on: “It’ds boys like Tony who make you sit up and realise what it’s all about.
“They’re so courageous. If they can withstand the pressures, surely I can too.
“But it’s a strain and pretty upsetting, having to arrange secret meetings and being scared police might be around the corner.
“But I try not to think about it all the time and just live from day to day.
“Although some in the community make it difficult for you to forget.
“My husband, Les, and I have always been law-abiding citizens, not even a traffic ticket between us, and now some consider our son a criminal.
“It’s heartbreaking that so many people do not understand, perhaps, as I didn’t at first.
“But now, I feel my whole life has been changed and I am better off for it.
“All they want is a better world, and doesn’t everyone?”
Pointing nto a poster of their sunroom wall, Mrs Dalton said: “What if they had a war and no one came?
“That sums up our attitude to life.
“We’re prepared for the struggles ahead because we now know they are worth while.”
(See Letters to The Editor Right to dissent and blog Right to Dissent )