My Mother passed away on Thursday 6th July at age 96. This is my memorial to her at the Thanksgiving Service today.
Mum was born Marjorie Robinson in August 1909 at Botany but her early childhood was spent in Wyndham on the Kameruka Estate, west of Bega. She was the baby of the family as at her birth her two brothers were 21 and 12 and her sister Pearl was 15. Her first school was in nearby Candelo.
She experienced loss at an early age when both brothers went off to the Great War and her eldest brother, Ernest was killed on the Somme in 1915. Her mother died a year later when Mum was only 7.
Soon after, she moved with her father and sister to Minto and then onto Burwood. The only information she gave about Minto was how frightened she was when having to wave a flag to stop the train at the local station. She attended Burwood Girls’ High but unfortunately her schooling was cut short by spending a year with rheumatic fever. Her lifelong interest in world news and her ability with figures indicate that her formal education never reached its full potential.
Mum started work as a shop assistant in a variety store in Burwood. She met Arthur when he stopped to help her after her car broke down and they were married at St Anne’s Strathfield in 1930. Dad, however, discouraged her from ever driving again. I was always mindful of this when she invariably farewelled me with the words “Drive carefully”
A few years later Beverley arrived and the family moved into their own house in Queen Street, Concord West where Mum was to remain for her married life.
Dad joined the Army during World War 2 and Mum worked as a cashier at David Jones in the City until I arrived in 1944. At the end of the War they purchased a grocery shop in Croydon Park where Mum helped Dad and after the business was sold about 10 years later she worked as a casual assistant in several grocery stores. She did not like this work but persevered in order to assist me gain a higher education.
Sadly Dad died in 1974, not long after retiring from full time work preventing any dreams of moving to the Central coast. Her big sister Pearl died a few months later in the same year. In 1976 Mum moved into a Unit overlooking Burwood Park where she stayed until ill health made it necessary for her to move to a unit next door to Bev in Chatswood in 1999.
Mum was a keen tennis player and in her later years loved watching the tennis tournaments on television. She joined the Concord Womens’ Bowling Club where she made many friends and was very sad when advancing age forced her to give it away. She loved little holidays at my home in the Mountains where at first she could continue her love of gardening and walking but gradually these activities had to be reduced. However she always loved to see my garden.
Mum had a deep faith which she attributed to attending meetings of the Salvation Army as a teenager but she worshipped as an Anglican here at St Luke’s then at Holy Trinity, Concord West and finally back at St Luke’s where this Wednesday group was so important to her even after her move to Chatswood. Bev drove her over regularly until her need for continual oxygen made that impossible.
That is why Bev, Russ and I, and our friends, are grateful to you for allowing us to join you today and hold this Thanksgiving Service for Mum.
For many years Mum had worked monthly as a volunteer in the office of the Home Mission Society now known as Anglicare.
Both Bev and I can claim that our faith in God originated in Mum’s early teaching demonstrated by her example of regular church attendance and her concern for and practical assistance to any neighbours or friends who were sick. As church attendance became impossible the television program "Songs of Praise" was an essential part of every Sunday morning. This continued despite failing hearing and eyesight up until the last Sunday of her life.
Mum’s greatest delight was in her family. She looked forward to regular communication with her eldest nieces and her greatest happiness was to share with her small family in family celebrations and to have Bev and me sitting with her in her unit. She was always vitally interested in all our activities. Her last word spoken just 24 hours before her death as Bev and I were standing by her side was "Together" which she repeated over and over.
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