Monday, October 4, 2010

More of Mum's Letter

Following on from my Unsent Letter Post, I felt Mum would not mind my sharing more of her letter if she were still here. In fact, I believe she would feel very proud. Mother had no formal education and yet was a most articulate person; she faced hardship throughout much of her life. Dad was killed in a level crossing accident on the way to work in October 1960. My parents had only just purchased a home. Prior to that they, together with Mum's sister Pat, had run a mixed business which was sold when the first supermarket began operating in our town. The writing was on the wall so to speak, as they could not buy stock for what it was being sold for in the supermarket. Mum tells of the hardship of being widowed shortly after.

...."I just want a country where all poor people will be given enough of those worldly goods that most of us have; at least give them some pride. If a person's pride is taken away from them they have nothing. It was only too clearly spelt out to me as a widow of three weeks with five children, three dependent on me. Mrs Stevens drove me down to the police station to get a Relief Cheque for $4.10cents - converted from pounds, shillings and pence - [you had to be there between 9am to 12 noon or the cheque was sent back to the State Government] Then widows and children, poor people, such as deserted wives, had to depend on charities like The St Vincent de Paul Society or go hungry. The policeman said 'You can't keep on getting this, you should be getting a Widow's Pension IN A LOUD VOICE, and while trying to explain and fight back tears to tell him I was waiting for my pension to come through. [$12.50 a week to keep us all and no money at all except $40 Syd gave us and $200 Dick later LOANED me to pay bills as we had paid out all our money for the deposit on the house. We had loan repayments of $10 a week plus $2.30 off the refrigerator. We were left with 20cents a week, plus endowment, to keep my three children aged 4, 8 and 12. With Aunty Pats, and many kind people who brought us vegetables plus the board you and Pam paid, we got by, and if the neck of mutton stews and soup bone soup with rice got a bit monotonous, we were all able to keep our health till better times came.

Toni, I lack the ability to express myself in words but when I write it comes from the heart. Confucius once said ' From a man's mouth may come sharp arrows to wound and fiery brands to burn. Take good heed then that neither issue from your mouth to the injury of others.' Why then did God not give me the wisdom of Confucius? It is when we have time to survey the years that are past that we can look with keen critical eyes at the part we played throughout them. 'There can be no harsher court than the tribunal of self-judgement when it sits upon the errors and omissions of the years.' Not my words but written by Sir Herbert Barker in an address.

In a way, each of us gets the old age he deserves and when I write that I am not thinking of material rewards, but of those consolations that no man can steal from another. 'For just as the bee gathers honey for the winter, so too we fill the storehouse of the future with the trash and treasure of our choice, for when the heat of the day has passed, and evening has come, we shall draw upon whatever we have gathered through the years, but if all we remember is the wealth we have been able to gather, we will all be empty in the evening of our day.'

In old age beyond the minimum of needs, there is but one want the old desire and that is to be loved. 'Human love needs human meriting.' We are loved as we deserve to be loved."

My Mum died in October 2006; the following month my youngest child Jeremy was killed in a tragic motor vehicle accident. 'Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever'....Psalm 23:6 


Anonymous said...

Dear Cheryl, I always enjoy reading your blogs. They are compelling. But for some reason this one strikes a very sad, but also responsive chord within me. (And makes it easy to see where your talent comes from). Thank you so much for sharing the "Unsent Letter" blogs.
Much love my friend,

diane said...

She certainly wrote well and from the heart. Hard to believe she had no formal education. Are your 4 siblings still around?

Kaz said...

Chez can see your Mum was a very wise lady and i can also see where you got your writing from and the love you share with so many.I am so lucky i am one of these people you share your heart with.Love you my friend.


artistdeb said...

Life educated your Mother. Her well of wisdom was deep and clear. Thank you for sharing her story. I know you miss her, your young son and father. Please know they watch over you and wait. Take your time they are patient. You have so much more to give here at the present. You gave to me today.
In love - Deb

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