Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mothers Day

Today is Mothers Day. Our daughter is coming for dinner tonight. I am very lucky to have two wonderful children and a caring, dependable and loving husband.
I had a wonderful mother who taught by example how to live well. 

Not long after Grandma discovered she was pregnant with my mother, her husband was killed in underground mining accident in a very remote part of far north Queensland.

My maternal grandmother is in the middle at the back.
These are all the children of that family.
The photograph was taken in Townsville where they lived.
Would you like to be dressed like this in Townsville's heat and humidity?
Sensible, resilient, and courageous Grandma married again. When the baby was born her new husband was so proud and happy he walked for five days through the bush to register the birth. There was no electricity or method of refrigeration where they lived and the mine went bankrupt.

My mother, Leah, is the baby sitting on the chair.
Eventually my mother went to boarding school in Charters Towers. The Depression struck and the school could not afford to employ qualified teachers so my mother was offered a job teaching at the school. She went to night class on Tuesday and taught that work on Wednesday. And so forth. From there she worked as a governess on stations in the north. Later my mother enlisted in the Army when World War II broke out.

After the war she married a widower with a teenage daughter. He had been through some horrific wartime experiences. Their first daughter died of a throat infection, something that does not happen today.

More daughters were born and my mother excelled as the guiding light of the family.How she did it on such a low income amazes me.

Once Mum and I went on a trip to Singapore. This was the only time Mum went overseas.
We had the opportunity to visit Changi where my Dad had been a prisoner of war for three years.
She sewed like a couturier and whipped up stunning frocks, suits, and ballgowns for us. She cut our hair. She knitted jumpers to keep body and soul warm. She worked as a volunteer at our school canteens. She supported us and all the clubs and organisations we belonged to by attending meetings and being on committees. We had ballet lessons, music lessons, ballroom dancing lessons, tennis lessons, dressmaking lessons, extra maths coaching, and more. She helped design a new house and had it built. She raised chickens and had a thriving garden.

Throughout her adult life my mother had dreadful sun cancer and endured some horrible treatments. Have you ever seen radium treatments? Mum would get up early, catch a bus and a train to Brisbane, go to the Radium Clinic and have the treatment, and then catch another bus and train to get home. Next day we would see her, dripping with pus and horribly marked. UV sun-creams became available in the 1960s thank goodness. Treatments for sun cancer have improved greatly over the years. Mum always kept up with the latest developments in that area.

Dad worked away from home, once being away for three years with us seeing him. He worked in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia. They loved each other deeply, and strove to make the best possible life for each other and for the family.

Mum taught us to be resilient, proud, humble, kind, generous, loving, hardworking, and thoughtful. Of course I did not recognise her efforts and resented her at times. That is Life. But I have learned through having my own family that what she accomplished was truly amazing.

Thank you Mum.



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