Sunday, 10 May 2009

A Tribute to my Mum

My Mum was widowed at 38 with six children and eight and a half thousand acres of farm to run. She had been doing it all anyway for a number of years after Dad got sick. He was diagnosed in 1966 with Multiple Myeloma and given 3 - 6 months to sort things out. And he lived 5 years. They weren't very good years towards the end. At one stage the Myeloma got into his skull and he went quite crazy. And it was always in his ribs and he broke them just turning over in bed, he had a big back brace to wear, and was on crutches and shrunken.

Mum kept us all together and protected us, acting as a wonderful buffer between Dad's rages at his illness. She is tall, much taller than other Mums - nearly 6' and very beautiful. Always skinny - there is a photo of Noela wearing Mum's ball gown here with the story of the gown. She plays piano every day, and when we were little used to sit down and hammer out her frustrations with Chopin's Military Polonaise and the hymn Jerusalem - both good thumping tunes! I would sit under the piano with my head against the sound board to FEEL the music! And she can sing!! There was always music at home. In 1960 Bev came to live with us as a governess when Elspeth and I started school and Mum found a soul mate in her. She was also tall - a former model - and a singer - a Sun Aria finalist. So there was even more music. Mum and Bev used to perform at concerts and sang at funerals and weddings.
Mum took me to Melbourne to live shows too. It was a big deal for country people to go down live theatre. Mum would write to J.C. Williamson's and they would give us the best seats in the hosue because we were from the country and to be looked after. Fiddler on the Roof was the first show Mum took me to.

Four or five years after Dad died Mum sold the home farm and moved to Melbourne. She bought an old house in the Eastern suburbs at the foot of Mt Dandenong. She rode a motor bike with the God Squad and did a lot of helping people. Thirty five years on there are still people who are her friends because of the help she gave them. She is a 'good' Christian - would rather give someone a decent feed or a cuppa tea and scones than shove a Bible down their throats.

In the mid 1980s she decided to move to a bush block out of Castlemaine. We thought she had hit menopause and got totally crazy. Here she was with 15 acres of scrubby two metre tall coffee bush mostly surrounded by State Forest and Crown Land, no electricity, no house (only a tin shed). We were so worried!
And she built the most wonderful stone house from sandstone she pulled from her own land. She lived in one end of the shed while she was creating her work of art. Had a generator as back up for her solar panels, and rain water tanks for water. A fabulous garden - thoughts of her raspberries are making my mouth water.
And she did this when she was older than I am now (just!!!). When we came back from the disaster of living in San Francisco in 1988 we lived just over the hill from her. She was a great support for me when I had years of Family Court hassles with Malcolm the Unwelcome, and had no money for lawyers so represented myself. She came to Court in Melbourne with me, or babysat when I went alone. She was so loved by the Court officials that whenshe ended up in the Cardiac Unit at the Alfred Hospital they sent flowers!

Ten years ago she sold up here and moved to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast. Two of my sisters are lucky enough to be just down the road from her, and seven of her 21 grandchildren had her around when they were growing up. But distance doesn't matter to her. She rings each of us every week, and we ring her every week too. One night I had a dream that Mum had died and I couldnt talk to her any more, and woke up crying. So now I ring her lots more than I used to.

Got to go, shall write more later perhaps! The Sweetheart is taking me driving...

Happy Mother's Day my Mummy, I love you immensely.


Lindi said...

What a fabulous woman! Write her story down, Jas, for future generations.
How I would love to meet her and listen to her story!

Kate said...

Thanks Jas - a truly lovely tribute.
Kate in Capalaba QLD

Clare said...

What a remarkable lady. I agree with Lindi. This has got to be written down for your grandchildren.

AnnieO said...

Jas, you write so well, your love for your mum just flows out! Thanks for sharing your tribute. I am dreading the time when I will no longer have my mom, though she is well and healthy and only 70 now, it brings tears to my eyes even to think about that awful eventuality. I always feel so lucky that people say I look and sound like her. We even like the same perfume so when I hug my nieces they say, "you smell just like Granny!".

Lorraine at home said...

Hi Jas,
It was my great pleasure to meet your Mother yesterday. What a beautiful Lady she is. She is so intelliegnt and carries such a tall proud figure. I love her sense of pride and her great sense of humor. Having met you I can see you and she are very much alike.
1 great meeting and I do hope I can have more time with her.
BFN Lorrine H

Anonymous said...

What an amazing woman,


Anonymous said...

That was sweet, thanks for letting us know about this wanderful woman!