Grandma and Max last year.
Born in Australia on 12 November 1922
Passed away on 29 July 2012
Late of RUNAWAY BAY
Aged 89 years
I have spent the day remembering her. All of the memories are so jumbled up in my brain and they follow no timeline or logical path. Forgive the rambling post, I am just writing things down as they come to me.
Some of my earliest memories are of visiting her and Grandpa with my brother Richard. We traveled by plane without our parents to stay with them at the Gold Coast. This must have been around 1975 as it was before our first trip to the UK. I remember as it was in Grandma and Grandpa’s back yard that Richard knocked the scab off my smallpox injection site. Weird the things that you remember.
I am remembering how she had kept a stash of six pence coins to put in the Christmas pudding. If any of us found them, she swapped them for 5c coins.
I am also remembering with a smile her lumpy custard. I am not sure that it was ever actually lumpy, but this was always the family joke at Christmas time.
I remember staying with her when I was a teenager. I was working at a summer holiday job between high school and University at Dreamworld - her place was more convenient for me to drive to with my newly minted drivers licence when I was working two days in a row. I remember being really impressed that her guest bedsheets were real Irish linen.
I remember her garden and how she tended to it so lovingly despite the unforgiving soil and climate. Rosella jam made from rosellas that were grown by her.
I am smiling when I remember her trying to teach me the fundamentals of golf… I was not built to play golf.
I remember how she was giddy to win a free horseback ride when we were all in Vanuatu a few years ago. Of course she went riding that day despite being well into her 80’s. Some things you just never forget how to do.
I remember the banana trees in the back yard of her Hollywell house - it was a white square house made from cinderblocks (I think) - we always entered by the back door straight into the living room.
I am pleased that she was able to meet my Max and spend time with him. I remember being mortified that Max had a huge poo-nami on the day the photo above was taken. This required us to strip him off and put him in a bucket and then the laundry tub at Auntie Heather’s place. There was poo everywhere. eeek
I remember eating iced bun loaf with butter at her table when we visited her place after a day out in the boat. I still love iced bun loaf with butter.
I remember the funny little wooden stools that were dotted around the houses she lived in. I never really figured them out. Were they pot stands for plants? Art? To my 10 year old brain they didn’t compute but I do remember inspecting them many times.
I remember the sneaky cigarette she had every night before bed - a long forgotten habit I am sure.
Mostly, I remember how she was always shy and nervous and never thought much of herself. She was genuinely surprised when people wanted to see her and spend time with her. As somebody who has never really lacked for confidence, this made me feel oddly protective her.
Stories of a colourful family history, hard work in rural towns and many children filled in the blanks for me. For most of my life we have lived in different parts of the country and the world. Really my memories are mostly of family events and holidays. She survived two husbands, enjoyed lots of travel and sport throughout her life.
Her children - my Uncles and Aunts (and dearest Mum of course) are all fascinating people in their own right and have enjoyed incredible successes in their lives in so many diverse areas - really diverse. They are the definition of overachievers - all of them. It makes me think about the upbringing and life lessons they learned from Grandma. The Grandchildren (my cousins) are all grown now and are spread far and wide and again with an amazing diversity of talents and achievements. Catching up is always really interesting.
Grandma, for somebody so self deprecating and modest, certainly has left an incredible legacy.
My wish is that her six surviving children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren can also remember her well and smile as they recount their own stories and memories of her - for this week as well as when they pass on these stories to their children who may not have known her.
It is strange for me now as I have known her my entire life and it is hard for me to grasp that she is gone. She has been quite ill for a while now with a variety of health issues so her passing isn’t a big shock. But it is quite surreal if I am perfectly honest. This is probably going to take me a while to process. It really hasn’t sunk in yet.
She was my Grandmother and I loved her. I hope she can rest in peace - she has earned it.
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