The Good Weekend magazine (distributed with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne) is celebrating 25 years of publications. In a special edition to mark the occasion, GW reprised a selection of highlights from the popular "The Two of Us" column, with a catch -up on what "seven of the most memorable duos" are up to now. Among them were Nick Hogan, and Damien Jones, who featured in July, 2006. Greg Bearup brings readers up-to-date:
Damien Jones was a young punk at uni when he met a Down syndrome kid, Nick Hogan, who insisted on joining his game of park soccer. They became friends and, after checking him out, Nick's parents asked Damien to be their son's babysitter and, later, flatmate.
"Damien is the closest friend I have ever had," said Nick. "I love him. He makes sure I do the right things. He helps me save my money. He is always gentle and tells me funny jokes."
Nick helped Damien to grow, too. "I had come from a pretty dysfunctional family ... It gave some structure to my life and gave me a sense of responsibility to be there for him."
Damien has moved to Melbourne, but "we talk on Skype all the time and [my wife] Karoline and Juno, our little girl, are often up in Sydney, visiting Nick and his family," says Damien. "Nick is fantastic with Juno and they'll play together for hours." Damien and his family are planning to go on a Pacific cruise with Nick and his girlfriend, Ruth. "It's gonna be crazy," says Damien. "Cool, but crazy."
Click here for the original column which was reprinted in the DS NSW Newsletter, Spring 2006.