Euology by daughter Carol:
Where do I start and what words come to mind when I think of my mother's life!
Hard working, always polite, well liked, Mum never complained and she always dressed beautifully. Her house and yard was kept Immaculate right up until she went to hospital on Friday 27th March. Lenny and I weren't home for the last two months but each week, I wrote her a letter and we phoned as much as we could and always she asked "When are you coming home" because this lady who suffered so much pain fought to stay on earth so she could see us again. But sadly, Mum held on and we missed her by 12 hours. Luckily l got to speak to her on Monday 30th to tell her we are coming home and her words were "Dld you get cheap flights love" and I said yes.
Mum married Dad after growing up in hard times. Through the 2nd World War she had Graham in 1948, me in 1949 and Brian in 1954. In 1951 I was a Polio victim and thanks to my mother and father's dedication, I was lucky. Because they made me use my leg by taking me to a masseur and she told them to take me to the beach and make me walk in the sand to strengthen my leg muscle and we have lots of great photos of our family beside the ocean.
Mum and Dad were bakers in Mareeba and we used to live in Walsh Street so we walked to and from school but it was a hard life for Mum as she was up at night baking bread and raising us by day. In the 50's, the bread was all done by hand rolling the dough. I remember the tins of dough being put into the huge ovens on a ling stick and the wood fire ovens that regulated the heat. (I blame all those cream buns for my extra weight). Our grandparents owned the Royal hotel just across the road and we had Todeschins Guest House next door and back then, everyone knew everyone in town.
Mum and Dad purchased the Emerald Creek Store in 1957 when I was 9 years old and Mum worked 7 days a week running the shop, Post Office and Telephone exchange. Graham, Brian & I swam In Emerald Creek, had horses and we strung Tobacco for pocket money, what a great life we had growing up. The Emerald Creek community was very close knit and when the Italian weddings and parties were held at the Emerald Creek Hall right beside our store, we were always invited. My Mum was concerned when the only road into Mareeba across the Barron bridge was flooded after very heavy rain, the store was running out of supplies, so Mum organised for crates of milk to be delivered. They were wire crates that held 12 glass bottles of milk and she arranged for them to be brought to the Mareeba side of the bridge and this lady walked the flooded Barron River carrying the milk crate back to her vehicle on the Emerald Creek side of the river. How brave she was. Graham and Lenny also helped carrying a crate of milk each and in this day and it would't be allowed. Mum being a kind hearted person, gave credit to the seasonal tobacco workers, but found out they left without paying their accounts and eventually Mum realised she couldn't make ends meet and in 1970, she sold the store at a loss. After all those years of 7 days a week, they were worse off.
As Lenny and I were married, my two brothers came to live with us and Mum and Dad lived at the Dunlop’s Hotel and she worked for her Mum and step Dad, Jean and Eric Moore, at the Hotel. Eventually they found a house to rent and Graham was married to Jenny so Brian went to live with Mum and Dad till he married Kathy in 1974. It was after that that Mum purchased a caravan. Sadly, Dad passed away in 1976 so Mum lived at the Tropical Tablelands Caravan Park for the next 30 years and it was here that all the grandchildren came to visit. Our family get togethers were great, eating Mum's special Chung how, Crumbed Fish, Cabbage Rolls and many more favourites. She was a great cook and she set up the tables and chairs into the downstairs annex. Not so squeasy, but lots of laughter and good times were had as the grandchildren grew into adults.
Our Dad's brother Clyde came to visit and always said to Mum "Let me buy you a house so you don't have to walk to the toilet block at night" but Mum wouldn't have it, she said she was happy in her caravan. Mum took up bowls and she dld well winning competitions and organising events to raise money for the club. She had lots of fellow bowlers as friends and we were happy for her as we were busy raising our children.
On Mum's 63th birthday, she got the devastating news that she had mouth cancer. It was a very sad Christmas. In January 1991, Mum and I flew to Brisbane for the operation and 3 months later she arrived back to the caravan park to get on with the rest of her life. Karla was nearly 3 years old and Mum‘s wish was to see Karla grow up.
Mum looked after her mother till her passing in 1998 and then she worked tirelessly cleaning and cooking for Pop Moore. I remember her washing his garage and then getting on her hands and knees to dry it so Pop never left tyre marks on the cement. Pop passed away in 2003.
By now, Mum had great grandchildren and Uncle Clyde was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and when he passed away in 2003 he had left Mum a house of her choice, to be lived in free of charge, for the rest of her life and we thank him so much because Mum loved living in a house with a big back yard with gardens and plants, fruit trees and a place where we got together for family parties, and when Christmas came around, Mum’s house was always beautiful with Christmas lights, the singing Santa and Christmas carols. The street won the award many times for the best Christmas lights and was named Christmas Avenue, so people came to see every house decorated and every year we helped put up the lights and Mum always stayed up as long as she could before turning off the lights Life was great, Mum had her little dog Tuppence and she was happy doing what she wanted.
Sadly, in 2009, we were devastated when her mouth cancer returned and the doctors told her she only had 5 years left. Her Doctor Sian Moore really looked after her during this time and when Mum had a stroke, she really fought hard to use her arm and leg. Next she fell and broke her hip and once again, Mum was determined to keep going and not sit down.
>Sadly, Mum had to hand in her driver’s licence and she felt she had lost her independence. So she gave me her car and I then drove her to her doctor's appointments and Blue Care was there to take her shopping every Thursday and clean her house fortnightly. Thank you Ailsa for your dedication to our Mum as she thought of you as a special friend.
Each time we thought Mum was deteriorating, she would bounce back. Christmas 2012 we thought Mum wasn't going to be here and she said "I don't think I can make my cloth pudding". So Lenny and l helped her tie the cloth and then get the pudding out of the boiling water, and Lenny cut the string and started pulling the cloth off (under Mum's strict instructions] she saw it was cracking and she yelled to Lenny to grab the pudding quickly. Without thinking, Lenny did what he was told, only to bum his hands, and all Mum could say was "I’ve never had a Plum Pudding crack on me".
We have a good laugh about it now, but Lenny wasn't laughing at the time. Since then, we have learnt to make Mum’s Plum Pudding so the next generation will beep the tradition going.
Mum's wish of seeing Karla grow up was granted when Mum attended her wedding in October 2014. Even though she wasn't well, it was a very special event for her. Sadly in December 2014, Mum was too weak to have her Christmas lights on but she still decorated her garage for some Christmas spirit. Mum turned 87 on the 21st December. Her wish was to live to the same age as her mother and she did that. We had a lovely day and she gave all her great grandchildren their Christmas presents. We will cherish these photos.
Mum's doctor’s visits were fortnightly and thanks to the morphine lollipop, Mum struggled on. When Lenny and I had to leave at the end of January to drive to Melbourne for the birth of our granddaughter, Mum was very weak and could only drink milk and sustigen. Each time I phoned her, she told me she was failing. But this brave lady fought on and eventually, her body could fight no more. She passed away on a day we will always remember, April Fool's Day.
We love you Mum. Thanks for the memories.