"I‘m extremely happy to have Anglicare. Everything’s just gone right since then."
Yvonne grew up a country girl
She tells her story simply, and with good cheer. But as it unfolds, much lies between the lines.
With growing fears of bombing in Sydney Harbour during WW2, Yvonne and her eight siblings were moved to Leeton where her mother earned a living picking fruit. For a young girl, it was a big change.
“I went to a dance…and I met a farmer
“We got married and ended up outside Griffith trying to build a rice farm. The war had finished, and he won a soldier-settlement block. There were no shops - it was very isolated. But there was too much salt in the soil, it didn’t work. So we moved up nearer Leeton, and that worked better.
“It was hard work, all day. We started at 6am getting the horses in and yolked up for the day’s work pulling the headers, through to 10 at night when you were bagging the rice. But it worked. We ended up raising three children on the farm. After 20 years our youngest won a scholarship - $6 a week. I thought, ‘that’ll feed us!’. That’s when we left. Things weren’t good with my husband and we had to go.
“We moved back to live at the fruit farm with my mother
“The fruit farm was good. Eventually, when my youngest Susan got married, it was just my mother and I. When mum went down to the south coast for a holiday, I went down for a visit - and I’ve been down here ever since. I wouldn’t leave here – it’s tops. I’ve been in this house for 35 years.
“I ended up getting a job. I’d never waited on anyone before. It was at the Silver Oyster, just over the bridge! I waitressed for 15 years – I loved it. And I went to church with the Salvos. While I was waitressing, my mother was bedridden, so I lived with her. I looked after her during the day and went waitressing at night. After I finished waitressing, I got a job running the Salvos store. I was there 25 years. They gave me a recommendation. The shop’s still there, just as you leave town.
“But one day I had a fall. I was a bit of a mess
“It was down a hill. But unfortunately, there were concrete steps at the bottom. All I could think about was my glasses. I broke a few bones in my back and was getting a lot of pain. Spent time in hospital and rehab. I took a bit of mending! But I really wanted to come back home. That’s when my daughter Sue first contacted Anglicare. She keeps an eagle eye on me – I’m very fortunate.
“I‘m extremely happy to have Anglicare. Everything’s just gone right since then
“In fact I haven’t got one complaint. So you’re at a dead end there if that’s what you’re asking! Initially I was a bit of a misery so I needed a lot of care. I’m much better now and I only need help 3 days a week. They come by and say ‘hi’ and it’s like another member of the family. It’s lovely.
“They sort of oversee me. They know what to do. I have help with the garden and the house. Lately they’ve started to take me walking. They’ve given me some good tips. Walk slow. Breathe slow. Keep your hat on.”
As with many of her generation, Yvonne’s story is of hard times, loss, struggle and overcoming. Yet told without complaint, very straight forward, and with great humour. And the heart of the story is home and family.
“It’s good to be able to keep in my home. I wouldn’t leave here – it’s tops. I’ve been in this house for 35 years. And I’ve had the same doctor all that time!”
Thanks Yvonne for sharing your story with us. Some names and details have been changed to protect privacy.