This story is a tribute to my late mother, Evelyn. It’s about my mother as a young woman, during the 1930s and 1940s, in the years before I was born. My story reveals a lively, courageous and competent young woman. It’s a personal story, but one that I hope inspires, challenges and touches your heart.

My aim in sharing this fragment of Evelyn’s lifestory is to encourage you to find out more about your own mother, including her life before motherhood. Don’t despair if your mother is no longer with you. I continue to discover snippets of information about my mother even though she died a number of years ago. It is still a blessing. However, if you have the opportunity, take time to ask your mother about her life, especially her early years. Spending time together looking at photographs (or digital images) and memorabilia, and talking about them, is a great starting point.

I pray that learning more about your mother’s life and times will help you to understand her better, appreciate her more and (if necessary) forgive her and be reconciled to her (or her memory).

●   ●   ●

Evelyn’s lifestory: The background

In May 2006, Evelyn was 90 years old and living with my husband Tony and me in Brisbane. She was showing early signs of dementia. Fearing that her memory was fading fast, I decided to write Evelyn’s lifestory. It was one way I could stay connected with her, stimulate her thinking and keep her memory alive for as long as possible. I made sure Evelyn was an active participant in the process, even though I soon discovered that she had already forgotten many details of her earlier life. Fortunately, I remembered things she and her mother (“Nan”) had told me over the years, so I was able to fill in many of the gaps myself.

2006. With Evelyn on her 90th birthday. Photo source: Salecich Family archives.
  • Save
2006. With Evelyn on her 90th birthday. Photo source: Salecich Family archives.

Writing my mother’s lifestory was an ambitious project, but well worth the time and effort. Indeed, it was no burden: the process itself gave me much joy and satisfaction. I thought that I knew my mother well, but there was so much more I had to learn about her: especially the young woman I never knew.

In fact, the more I discovered about my mother’s early life and times, the more respect I had for her, and the more I cherished her.

Importantly, Evelyn had a large collection of photographs and negatives, newspaper clippings and memorabilia, which together we examined, discussed, and I sorted. Some of the photographs were annotated, some were dated, but many were neither annotated nor dated. Evelyn was able to tell me a little about some of them. After I left full-time employment in 2007, I had time and opportunity to conduct the research needed to identify people, places or dates for some of the photographs, especially the wartime ones. During 2007-2008, I did a lot of research online and at the State Library of Queensland, and I even arranged for Evelyn to meet one of her wartime colleagues (after 60 years!).

2007: Ex WAAAF Doris (Dot) McDonald with Evelyn. Photo source: Salecich Family archives.
  • Save
2007: Ex WAAAF Doris (Dot) McDonald with Evelyn. Photo source: Salecich Family archives.

What I produced was a photographic record of my mother’s life to accompany her lifestory. There are three volumes: three large annotated photo albums. While she was still alive, I completed Volumes I and II, covering her life from 1916 to the end of the 1960s. Volume III remains unfinished.

Evelyn's lifestory as photo scrapbooks. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2016.
  • Save
Evelyn’s lifestory as photo scrapbooks. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2016.

As my mother’s memory faded, I found that the photo albums helped her recall and recount important events in her life, marvel at experiences long forgotten, remember people who had been part of her life, and be thankful. She was always so thankful!

Researching and writing Evelyn’s lifestory taught me a lot about my mother but it was also instructive for me personally. It helped me realize the necessity and importance of upholding the dignity of older persons (like Evelyn), and honouring them, despite their failing competencies. It also helped me deal with my own grief and pain during the years I witnessed and dealt with Evelyn’s gradual physical and mental decline as the dementia took hold.

●   ●   ●

1935-39: A coming of age

In 1935, Evelyn turned 19. She lived with her parents and three brothers on a small rural property, “Woolein View”, near Rannes in Central Queensland. Evelyn was a typical country girl: natural, unsophisticated and naive. She had little formal schooling, leaving school after completing Grade 8.

Nevertheless, Evelyn was intelligent, dexterous and quick to learn. Under her mother’s and an aunt’s tutelage, Evelyn was already proving herself to be a capable cook and dressmaker. As a young woman still living at home, her role was to help her mother manage the family household (“home duties”), which she performed happily and without question.

In June 1935, at 19½, Evelyn made her debut.

It was the norm for every young single woman to make her first public appearance in adult society (the “debut”) as a “debutante” (or “deb” for short). Like all young women of her day, Evelyn looked forward to this occasion with much anticipation and excitement. As a deb she would be “presented” at a Debutante Ball, her first official dance, by her male partner. She would wear a full-length evening gown for the first time – a white dress made especially for the occasion – and carry a bouquet.

1935: Evelyn as a debutante, aged 19. Photo source: Beaumont Family archives.
  • Save
1935: Evelyn as a debutante, aged 19. Photo source: Beaumont Family archives.

An article in The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Queensland) on Thursday 30 June, 1935, page 26, described the occasion this way:

“The most brilliant function ever witnessed in the Wowan district took place in the Gaiety Theatre, Wowan, on Thursday last, the occasion being the Country Women’s Association’s debutante and presentation ball.”

Evelyn’s partner was a local publican, Alec Anderson, who was probably some years her elder. There was no romantic attachment. Aunt Emma (Evelyn’s father’s sister), a dressmaker, made Evelyn’s special dress. The article in The Central Queensland Herald included a report about each debutante and a description of what each one was wearing. About Evelyn it read:

“Miss Evelyn Beaumont (Rannes) chose a pretty costume of white silk pique moulded to her figure and featuring a small train. A ruffle of tulle was arranged at the neckline and bows were arranged from the shoulder to the waist at the back. A fur fabric coat was worn and she carried a posy of white roses veiled in tulle.”

1935: Wowan. Evelyn Beaumont as a debutante. Photo source: Beaumont Family archives.
  • Save
1935: Wowan. Evelyn Beaumont as a debutante. Photo source: Beaumont Family archives.

Following her debut, Evelyn accompanied her older brother Harold to dances at Rannes, Goovigen or Wowan “every couple of weeks”.

These dances were one of the main social activities and meeting places for young people. They were very popular and always well-attended. The following photograph shows a group at a dance held in the Rannes Hall in the 1930s. Evelyn is pictured in the 2nd back row, 8th from the left; Harold is 11th from the left in the same row; their mother is seated in the front row, 3rd from the right.

1930s: Group at dance, Rannes Hall. Photo source: Beaumont Family archives.
  • Save
1930s: Group at dance, Rannes Hall. Photo source: Beaumont Family archives.

Evelyn turned 21 on January 14, 1937: This was her “coming of age”.

Evelyn’s 21st birthday was an important milestone in her life. Her parents hosted a party to mark the occasion. A report published in the Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland), Thursday 28 January 1937, page 3, captured the spirit of the event:

“Rannes: A very happy evening was spent at the residence of Mr and Mrs D Beaumont, Woolein View, when a large gathering of friends were entertained to celebrate their daughter Evelyn’s 21st birthday. Guests were present from Biloela, Goovigen, Jooro, Deeford, Baralaba, and Theodore. Dancing, community singing, and games were enjoyed by all. The supper room was gaily decorated with pink and blue streamers and pride of place was given to a beautiful two-tiered cake, which was decorated with 21 candles. The usual toasts were proposed and the guest of honour returned thanks for the good wishes and beautiful gifts received.”

I have one of Evelyn’s 21st birthday gifts, a crystal vase, in my keeping. Evelyn treasured this vase throughout her life. She told me that it was a gift from the Nott Family of Cooper Downs, a large cattle property in the district. Like many others of her generation, Evelyn had few precious possessions, and those she had, she appreciated and cared for.

1937: One of Evelyn's 21st birthday gifts. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2006.
  • Save
1937: One of Evelyn’s 21st birthday gifts. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2006.

Living conditions in country Queensland in the 1930s were so different from what we are used to today.

In Evelyn’s home there was no electricity – the family used kerosene lanterns for lighting, a treadle (foot-operated) machine for sewing, a wood combustion stove for cooking and a cool-safe (an evaporative drip cooler, which the family kept under their high-blocked house) for refrigeration. Rainwater tanks supplied their water. A large black cast-iron container with a tap (called a “fountain”) was kept on the stovetop to provide a constant supply of hot water. Food was stored in a “safe”, a wooden cabinet with mesh inserts for aeration.

The family “went to town” (Wowan), a distance of 15 miles (24 kilometres) by road from Rannes, to buy groceries once every two or three weeks. They bought food supplies in large quantities: bags of sugar and flour, and dried foods (such as dried fruit) were common purchases.

A Singer treadle sewing machine. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2017.
  • Save
A Singer treadle sewing machine. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2017.

As a young woman Evelyn loved cooking. She was good at it too.

In fact, Evelyn won prizes for recipes she submitted to The Australian Women’s Weekly. And she never told me! I made this surprising discovery on Trove, the National Library of Australia online database, a few years after her death. I always believed that my mother was resourceful and clever, even as a young woman, and here was the proof! For example, in 1939, at 23 years old, she won First prize, £1 (today’s equivalent of approximately 80 AUD), for her Kentish cake recipe (The Australian Women’s Weekly, Saturday 12 August 1939, p. 70). I share Evelyn’s Kentish cake recipe with you in my next post.

Kentish cake using Evelyn's recipe. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2016.
  • Save
Kentish cake using Evelyn’s recipe. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2016.

1939-45: The war years

On September 3, 1939, (just 3 weeks after Evelyn won first prize for her Kentish cake recipe), the Australian Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, announced that Australia was at war with Germany. Even though it was impossible to foresee at the time, this announcement heralded a long period of testing and upheaval for the nation, and significant change in the lives of ordinary citizens such as Evelyn.

In October 1941, the Australian Labour Party under John Curtin as Prime Minister took government, and in December 1941 Japan entered World War II. Curtin declared that Australia faced “the gravest hour” in its history and he invoked every Australian, man and woman, to go about their allotted task “with full vigour and courage”.

In 1941, Evelyn (now 25) was still living at home in Rannes.

Her circumstances had changed little. However, her younger brothers, Les (19) and Allan (17), had joined the Volunteer Defence Corps. They lived at home, but went on training camps and exercises from time to time. Their uniform consisted of khaki shirt and trousers, and the distinctive slouch hat.

1941: Evelyn with her parents and brothers. Photo source: Beaumont Family archives.
  • Save
1941: Evelyn with her parents and brothers. Photo source: Beaumont Family archives.

By mid-1942, the Australian Government introduced food and clothing rationing to manage shortages and control civilian consumption of common commodities such as tea, sugar, butter, meat and cloth. This was part of Prime Minister Curtin’s “maximum effort” mantra, an appeal to ordinary citizens to embrace a life of austerity so that most resources and production could be directed towards winning the war.

Around the same time, Evelyn applied to join the WAAAF.

Evelyn made the courageous decision to leave her home and family, her predictable life and all that was familiar, to join the war effort. Evelyn and a fellow recruit from Westwood, Beryl Beak, travelled by train from Rockhampton to Brisbane where, on September 17, 1942, they enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF). I have often wondered how Evelyn was feeling at that time. Was she afraid? Excited? Happy? Did she have second thoughts?

The name “Evelyn” means lively or pleasant.

Evelyn, at 26, was full of life and energy. She was a sociable person, warm and friendly, and she loved dancing. In the evening of September 17, 1942, after enlisting in the WAAAF, Evelyn and Beryl went to a dance at the Coconut Grove in Adelaide Street (Brisbane), a very popular dance hall in those days. Evelyn sent her mother a photograph postcard on the reverse side of which she wrote: “With love to Mother from Ev. Taken at the Coconut Grove dance on 17th Sept 1942, where I had a lovely time.” This postcard is included in Evelyn’s wartime album.

Evelyn’s years in the WAAAF

The years Evelyn served in the WAAAF shaped the strong, determined, capable and loving person I came to know. Throughout her life, Evelyn often spoke of events and people from these years. It was always with pride and delight.

Evelyn’s collection of photographs and memorabilia from her time in the WAAAF is extensive. I could write a book about this period of her life! Although it spanned just 2½ years, Evelyn’s WAAAF period occupies about one-third of Volume I of Evelyn’s lifestory!

1942: Evelyn in her WAAAF uniform. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.
  • Save
1942: Evelyn in her WAAAF uniform. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.

So, what should I include here?

In a short story such as this, I can only share the highlights. Thus, I have chosen events, experiences and people Evelyn spoke about most often.

“The Big March”

One event Evelyn often recalled was “The Big March” through the streets of Sydney, on October 17, 1942, the day after her group’s passing out parade. Evelyn had just completed 4 weeks’ induction (“rookies’ training”) at Bradfield Park, Sydney. It was during this time she experienced institutionalized living, military discipline and drill, and donned a uniform – all for the first time in her life. “The Big March” comprised 2500 servicewomen, including 1000 WAAAFs, and a crowd of 250,000 onlookers who cheered them on. It was feted as the “greatest women’s march in Australia’s history”. Whenever Evelyn spoke about this event, it was always with enormous pride and satisfaction.

Evelyn is pictured in the following photograph, in the 7th row on the right hand side of the squad. She even gets a mention in the article entitled “Sidelights on the Big March”. I think Evelyn loved the feeling of belonging, being part of a group, part of something bigger and more important than herself. She was clearly a team-player.

1942 October 17, Sydney. The Big March.1942. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.
  • Save
1942 October 17, Sydney. The Big March.1942. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.

Evelyn had two successive appointments during her time in the WAAAF: Brisbane and Rockhampton.

Her first appointment was Clerk Signals (“Clerk Sigs”) at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Command (Head Office) in Brisbane. This position was quite challenging for her, given that she had little formal schooling and little or no clerical experience. It also involved shift work, including night work, another new experience for her. Nevertheless, she coped well and did a good job. She worked in this position in Brisbane for 18 months. The photograph below shows Evelyn’s group on the steps adjacent to the Trades Hall, Edward Street, Brisbane. Evelyn is in the 2nd front row, 4th from the right.

1943: The WAAAFs based at Brisbane's RAAF Command. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.
  • Save
1943: The WAAAFs based at Brisbane’s RAAF Command. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.

Her second appointment, again as Clerk Signals, was to the RAAF Number 21 Operational Base at Rockhampton. Here she had to learn a lot of new skills and procedures, which once again she did without difficulty. She spent about 12 months in this position. In each of these appointments, Evelyn demonstrated a strong sense of duty, and commitment, to whatever task she was given, and her self-confidence grew along with her achievements. In the photograph below, the WAAAF servicewomen based at Rockhampton pose in front of an Avro Lancaster (a bomber craft). Evelyn is pictured standing, second from the left.

1944: The WAAAFs based at Rockhampton, pictured in front of G for George Lancaster bomber. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.
  • Save
1944: The WAAAFs based at Rockhampton, pictured in front of G for George Lancaster bomber. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.

Friends – close friends – were always important to Evelyn.

Some of the friendships Evelyn made during her WAAAF years lasted a lifetime. She often spoke about Joan, her best friend during her time in Brisbane, and Faye, whom she met in Rockhampton. Evelyn also made friends with Mabel (“Mabs”) while based in Rockhampton. In fact, Evelyn chose Mabs as her bridesmaid. After the war both Joan and Faye married and returned to live in Sydney, and Evelyn always kept in touch with them. Many years later, I met both Joan and Faye.

1943: Brisbane. Evelyn with WAAAF friend Joan Evatt. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.
  • Save
1943: Brisbane. Evelyn with WAAAF friend Joan Evatt. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.

In September 1943, Evelyn’s youngest brother Allan enlisted in the RAAF.

Allan had just turned 19. Evelyn was 27 and had been in the WAAAF for a year. She was based in Brisbane at the time. Evelyn recalled Allan visiting her in hospital soon after he enlisted. She had the measles and had been sent to the RAAF Hospital at Sandgate for isolation and convalescence. Evelyn was there for 10 days, 18-28 September. She remembered having sore eyes and the staff keeping the blinds pulled and the room dark. Allan was posted to the RAAF Training School at Point Cook (Melbourne), where he trained as a Technician and Armourer for 6 months. In April 1944, he was assigned to the 8th Squadron and overseas service in Papua New Guinea. He remained there until the end of the war (1945).

1943: Evelyn with brother Allan soon after he joined the RAAF. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.
  • Save
1943: Evelyn with brother Allan soon after he joined the RAAF. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.

Times of rest and recreation were essential for all service men and women.

Evelyn enjoyed many new experiences during these times of “R&R”. Groups of WAAAFs and RAAF men went on outings or had picnics together. Many outings were to the seaside (Southport, Redcliffe, Emu Park).

But most of all Evelyn loved the dances, and attended them regularly. In fact, while based in Brisbane, Evelyn met the man she was destined to marry at a dance at the Brisbane City Hall.

Melbourne-born William (“Bill”) Proposch, an Australian Army officer, was visiting Brisbane while on leave from active service in Papua New Guinea. I think it was love at first sight, and they agreed to keep in touch.

1944: Evelyn and Bill at Emu Park, near Rockhampton. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.
  • Save
1944: Evelyn and Bill at Emu Park, near Rockhampton. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.

On September 5, 1944, Bill and Evelyn announced their engagement. Given her impending marriage, Evelyn applied for a discharge from the WAAAF. Her application was approved on compassionate grounds and she was discharged on March 2, 1945, just 3 weeks before her wedding. She was 29 years old.

This brought to an end the most exciting, rich and educative chapter of Evelyn’s young life.

●   ●   ●

1946-49: The post-war years

It was February 1946. Evelyn and Bill had been married just 11 months when Evelyn gave birth to their first child, a son. It was a time of great rejoicing. By this time, Evelyn’s husband Bill had been discharged from the army, and the young couple had settled in Rockhampton.

After serving 5½ years in the armed forces, Bill was keen to establish himself in business. His first commercial enterprise was the Central Trading Company, a wholesale and manufacturers’ agency, located upstairs in a building at 97 East Street, adjacent to the National Bank of Australasia on the corner of East and Denham Streets, Rockhampton.

1946: Central Trading Co, 97 East Street, Rockhampton. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.
  • Save
1946: Central Trading Co, 97 East Street, Rockhampton. Photo source: Proposch Family archives.

Evelyn was still young and another challenge (in addition to motherhood!) awaited her.

Bill, ever the entrepreneur and visionary, encouraged Evelyn to establish a dressmaking arm of his business. She agreed. For a short time in 1942 (before joining the WAAAF), Evelyn worked as a dressmaker in Rockhampton. Of course, she had made clothes for her family and friends for many years prior to that. Evelyn’s father owned racehorses, so he asked Evelyn to make the silk riding jackets for his jockeys, which she did without using a pattern!

Aptly named “Evelyn Frock Salon”, the dressmaking business operated successfully for several years. Evelyn was in charge but she also worked in the business for a time. Bill and Evelyn employed a couple of women to assist Evelyn. For the first time in her life Evelyn owned an electric sewing machine, a knee-operated Singer, which she soon mastered. In fact, this machine was Evelyn’s workhorse for the next 30 years! I remember learning to sew on it when I was old enough to use an electric sewing machine.

The “Evelyn Frock Salon” was the first of a number of successful business ventures that Bill established and Bill and Evelyn operated together during their 54 years of marriage. Hard work, dedication, cooperation and trust were some of the ingredients of their success. They made a great team.

●   ●   ●

The last Mother’s Day I spent with Evelyn was Sunday May 9, 2010.

As the following photograph reveals, the effects of dementia were plain to see. Evelyn could no longer smile or respond as she used to, and she had very little to say. When she did speak, it was with few words. She was often confused and didn’t understand what was going on around her. She had difficulty eating and feeding herself. These are just a few of the symptoms of dementia she exhibited at that time.

2010: May 9, Mother's Day. Evelyn with extended family member Joyce Brown. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2010.
  • Save
2010: May 9, Mother’s Day. Evelyn with extended family member Joyce Brown. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2010.

There is so much more I want to write about Evelyn’s experience of dementia and how it affected those of us close to her, but that will be the subject of another story (or two).

Sadly, Tony and I didn’t always cope well with my mother’s dementia. Nevertheless, at times, we had to laugh at things she said or did. We were not being rude or disrespectful. My mother’s words or actions were just so funny! The following scenario is one example.

My birthday always falls within days of Mother’s Day. In fact, in the year of my birth, it was the day after Mother’s Day. In 2010, my birthday fell 5 days after Mother’s Day. As a way of engaging Evelyn in our family celebration, Tony asked her how old I was. This is how the conversation went:

Tony: “How old is Judy today?”
Evelyn: “Ninety-two.”
[Laughter]
Tony: “No. Try again.”
Evelyn: “Forty.”
[Laughter]
Tony: “One more try.”
Evelyn: “Sixty.”
Judy: “That is much closer. What’s your relationship to me?”
Evelyn [After some time]: “I think I’m your mother.”
Judy: “That’s right. You were there when I was born. You’ve known me my whole life long.”

Eight months later, on January 14, 2011, Evelyn turned 95.

She was in hospital, and her condition was deteriorating. She had stopped eating. Tony and I visited her to spend time with her and to celebrate her birthday with her. We tried to think of ways we might make her day special. I made her a special birthday card. We brought her favourite music CDs and a CD player.

We also brought a framed cross-stitch wall hanging, one I had worked and given her as a gift several years previously and which had been hanging on the wall of her bedroom. It featured a quote from Philippians 1:3: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”.

We showed her the things we brought, played her favourite music, talked to her and sang to her, but she didn’t respond. Her eyes remained closed, tightly closed. For Tony and me, it was a sad day.

  • Save
January 14, 2011, Evelyn’s 95th birthday. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2011.

Evelyn had a few “awake” times during the next few days, in which she was able to communicate a little. She was awake when my brother Bevan and his daughter and family visited on January 17. Evelyn responded as best she could, with an odd word or two, which was a great blessing for them. I’m sure she knew who they were.

January 17, 2011, granddaughter Sallyann with Evelyn. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2011.
  • Save
January 17, 2011, granddaughter Sallyann with Evelyn. Photo source: Judith Salecich 2011.

I sat with my mother through many hours during her last 2 weeks here on earth.

Even when she could no longer respond, I continued to speak with her, sing to her, read passages of Scripture to her, and pray with her. I put her hands in mine. My mother’s hands were soft and warm and tender to my touch. I loved those hands.

January 30, 2011, Evelyn's hand in mine. Photo source: Tony Salecich 2011.
  • Save
January 30, 2011, Evelyn’s hand in mine. Photo source: Tony Salecich 2011.

My mother’s hands were symbolic of all that my mother had done for me throughout my life. As I stroked her hands, I saw the hands of an old woman: pale and wrinkled and worn. I thought: How will I remember my mother when she is gone? Will it be the strong, capable and hard-working woman of days gone by? Or the dying woman whose feeble hands I am holding?

Then the Lord prompted me:

“Why do you think like this? It doesn’t matter. This is your mother. You loved her then; you love her now. Whether young or old, strong or weak, capable or otherwise, she is still the same precious person in my sight.”

Evelyn died peacefully at 9:45 pm on Sunday January 30, 2011.

POSTSCRIPT

If you are caring for a family member with dementia, or if you are simply interested in finding out more about dementia, you may find the following websites and books helpful:

Dementia Australia. (2020). (Website). Online: https://www.dementia.org.au/

Commonwealth of Australia. (2006). Dementia – The Caring Experience: A guide for families and carers of people with dementia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. An online version may be retrieved from https://dementiameds.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/dementia-the-caring-experience.pdf

Buijssen, H. P. J. (2005). The simplicity of dementia: A guide for family and carers. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

MacKinlay, E., & Trevitt, C. (2006). Facilitating spiritual reminiscence for people with dementia: A learning guide. Barton, ACT: Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies, St Mark’s Theological Centre.

Davis, R. & Davis, B. (1989). My journey into Alzheimer’s disease. Wheaton, Illinois, USA: Tyndale House Publishers.

  • Save
Photo of author
Author

Judith Salecich

Writer, researcher, former secondary and tertiary teacher and public servant, wife, mother, grandmother, child of God, photography enthusiast, lover of life, history, food and all things creative.

Like this story?

Sign up to receive email notification each time I publish a new story on my blog.
Sign up
First
Last
Sending

18 thoughts on “My mother, a young woman”

  1. I’m reading this first thing Mother’s day morning, and having known Evelyn for those few years it was such a blessing to read your story. It was great to be part of your compilation of her scrapbooks and i enjoyed going through the photos and hearing the stories. Im remembering my mum today, the anniversary of her passing was just days ago on the 1st may 1985. Happy Mothers day. Judy

    Reply
    • Dear Jennifer. Thanks so much for providing feedback. I really appreciate the input and guidance you gave as I began scrapbooking – at the time I was a real novice. I’m pleased the story came at a time you were thinking of your own mum with love and thankfulness. Bless you, Judy

  2. Thanks for sharing your special memories of your Mother. It was so lovely to read of your love, care and interest of your Mother. I am so pleased that you were able to spend time with her going through her life story and understanding everything that made her the wonderful person she was. Love A

    Reply
    • Wonderfully written, interesting and made me cry! My mother also had dementia and I agree it’s very difficult to deal with as well as we would like. Thank you.

  3. This is very touching and I look forward to reading more about your Mum, who I ‘adopted’ as my ‘Grandma’ for a number of years.

    Reply
  4. I was interested in mention of Bradfield Park, a mile west of Lindfield here I grew up. After the war it became a migrant hostel and housing for those awaiting homes. It was here in 1958 I became involved in opening a sunday school which we ran until 1972 when the place was pulled down.. going in each week to tell the children about Jesus and taking them to a weekend Holiday by the Sea over last 10 years. Now area is an upmarket housing estate

    Reply
  5. Again, such a wonderful story Judy. You have so many wonderful memories if your beautiful mother, and thank you for sharing some of them

    Reply
  6. I wonder if my dad knew your Mum & her brothers. My My dad was Norman young. Dad worked for a Mr Grob around Wowan. There were 3 Grob boys, Dad joined the Army along with one of the Grob boys, one of them joined the Air Force & can’t remember what the 3rd one was. I have a photo of them in my collection. Dad loved dancing so he quite possibly would have been at the same dances.

    Reply
  7. Wow Judy.. What a wonderful tribute to your Mother. She certainly lead an interesting life. So much resonated with my own experience with my Dear Mum. She had alzheimers for many years before passing away in 2012. I remember holding her hand in the same way you did with your Mum and thinking the same thoughts about what those hands had done in their 89 years. I can still feel her hands. What spirit your Mother showed to go and leave home and join the Air Force like that! I often wished that I had asked my Mum more about her young life while she still remembered. Thank you for sharing your Mothers story. Lyn.

    Reply
    • Dear Lyn. How lovely to make contact with you today (via my Facebook post about prickly pear). Thank you for making yourself and your Guest family connection known. I’m glad you read this portion of my mother’s story, and that it resonated with you. I’m sorry to read that your mother also suffered with dementia in her latter years. Thanks for sharing about your mother’s hands (so precious). Like you, there are so many questions I wish I had asked my parents while they were still here.
      Love, Judy. xx

  8. Judy
    What a wonderful story, about a wonderful woman, who had a wonderful life.
    A great tribute to your mum Evelyn.
    She may be gone from this life, but is firmly embedded in your heart and others in your family, forever.

    Reply
    • Ken, thank you for your superlative comments. I’m so grateful you read my mother’s story and that it resonated with you. Yes, she was a very special person, and will not be forgotten. Kind regards, Judy.

  9. What a loving, moving story of your mother. I so identified with it as my mother was about the same age. She passed away a few years ago at the age of 94. She too grew up in a household of brothers and by her own admittance, was quite the spoiled girl. She also suffered from dementia and when we could no longer have conversations, I found such solace in holding her hand. She always had the smallest, petite hands, despite raising seven rambunctious children. Your story brought such precious memories to mind, of which I am very grateful to you. You are a very talented storyteller!

    Reply
    • Dear Bren. It’s so uplifting to read that my mother’s story resonated with your own experience, and brought back wonderful memories for you. Thank you for your feedback. Many blessings, Judy.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story of your loved and loving Mum. My Mum also had dementia and as we watched her fade from day to day living our hearts broke. Last year my partner and I made the long drive from Adelaide to Townsville and on the return stayed 2 nights in Wowan! I can hardly imagine a dance/theatre venue there! That big climb up Mt Morgan – never will be forgotten and then the descent into Wowan. Memories indeed. Keep writing your books – your story telling is so important . And like you, I just wished I’d asked my Mum more about her younger days – and all those photos without names!

    Reply

Leave a reply

Hi, I'm Judy


ABOUT ME
Short stories from the heart...about life, family and local history, people, places and food.

Let's connect


Copy link
Powered by Social Snap