Jeff’s words

With Jeff’s approval I am sharing this work –  well done Jeff   well written 

HInterland Writing shared Jeffrey Cook‘s post.    This is Jeffs beautiful contribution

Jeffrey Cook to HInterland Writing

Well, I have bitten the bullet and am putting up a story which covers both the challenges for last week and this week.

Not Without a Lot of Tears
It was the 15th of March 1947 . This was the day Nat and I celebrated our marriage at the old church in Leichhardt. The air was heady with the smell of frangipani and carnations. The organist was playing and the beautiful words of “Because” completed the backdrop to our wedding. Our journey together was about to start we had a lifetime in front of us.
In 1948 our happiness was complete Jeffrey, our first child was born. Jeff grew and blossomed into a lovable toddler. Our little family was all we wanted.
A cousin’s wedding provided us with the opportunity to visit my family. We travelled to Broken Hill and Jeffrey was introduced to his grandparents and great grandparents. Returning home, I was so excited to discover I was pregnant again.
I did not realise it at the time but, the next ten or so years would prove to be amongst the hardest times I could possibly imagine.
My beautiful baby was stillborn and whisked away as soon as he was delivered. You have to remember that’s the way it was then. I never nursed or saw him. I never knew where or when he was buried. For months on end, I continued to wonder why, how, where and when. There were no answers, no help, we just had to get on with our lives. That’s the way it was then.

Tragedy struck again Barry Thomas was born in 1953. We were so excited. I tried to hide my grief for the boy I’d lost. But, six months later Barry died. His death was related to a severe reaction to being immunised. He suffered severe and toxic damage to the central nervous system .
Could I believe that? All I had were questions. Was it the vaccination? Did I do something wrong? Why me again? Why!
I was distraught with grief. Bit by bit, another piece of my heart and soul was torn away. I coped by keeping his belongings from the hospital. I kept them for years. They were neatly rolled up and fastened with the safety pin from his nappy.
I knew I had a son and a husband who loved me and I loved them, but I was grieving, deep inside, I was grieving. That’s the way it was then. For the sake of family, I had to go on.
Two years later pregnant again and in the January, Nerida Jean was born. A beautiful baby girl. Surely everything would be alright this time? Our happiness did not last, at six months Nerida was diagnosed with a tumour in her right eye. The treatment was cruel and horrible, operations and cobalt ray treatment. We never knew what the day would bring. It was an emotional roller coaster. She fought for fourteen months but it was not to be, and in 1957 she died . No more suffering, no more god-forsaken disease. She was at peace.
Another piece of my heart and soul was torn away. I died inside a little more. No help, no answers, that’s the way it was then.
I had to have strength, the anchor for Nat and Jeff. They’d also suffered loss, heartbreak, and disappointment. They needed me.
Nat started drinking and, I know that for the rest of his life he blamed himself for the tragedies that befallen us.
Little did I know when Nerida died that I was pregnant again? Narelle Jean was born on 31st March 1958 , at five minutes to midnight, just five minutes short of my birthday the next day.
My life changed with Narelle’s arrival and every day I thanked God for allowing Jeffrey and Narelle to grow into adults with children of their own.
Despite Nat’s drinking, we were a good family and loved and cared for one another. We wanted Jeff and Narelle to understand and appreciate the importance of family. We did our best.
I hid my sorrow and always felt the shadows of failure, guilt, and sorrow. I was brave in public but, suffered from depression. My tears were never far away, I kept them for private times. That was the way it was then.
On Father’s day 1963 Joanne was born. Tragedy knocked at my heart again. Joanne was born with multiple organ failure. She passed away the following Tuesday .
It is said no parent should ever have to bury their child. I lost four babies. I could not face any of these tribulations again. I can remember each detail, every event, and I will for the rest of my life.
Life became s almost too much to bear. My family needed me. They depended on me to provide a secure and loving relationship.
We all grieved and sorrow takes its toll differently with each of us. Nat continued to escape with drinking and Jeff, I know he often thought, why them and not me? Narelle was denied the relationships with younger or older sisters.
My childbearing days were over. What was I to do with myself?
Wallow in sorrow and pity, no.
I occupied myself minding children while their mothers worked. This gave me great joy and satisfaction. I treated each of them as though they were my own and poured my love to them. In return, I received such love and attention and lifelong loyalty.
The years passed and I was blessed with five grandsons and three great-grandchildren. Nat and I always remembered the vows we exchanged when we married.
“For better and worse, in sickness and in health”.
In the 1980’s Nat’s health deteriorated, despite the fact he had curbed his drinking. Eventually, he was bed bound, I cared for him at home. By Christmas 1991, his condition had deteriorated and he was hospitalized.
Nat died in my arms on 28th December 1991 .
Someone once said to me, “you have had so much sadness losing four children.”
My reply was, “yes I survived that, but the loss of my life partner was worse”
I sold our home and moved to be with my daughter and son- in-law at Boorowa in New South Wales.
In 2005 I was critically ill and I wrote a letter to be opened after I had died.
“Well when you open this I will be gone, but don’t cry too much as I will be happy where I am and I know you will not forget me. When your father passed away my life was never the same. He was the only man in my life and I loved him dearly…
We both had so much sadness in our married life but we stood together and came through it all, but not without a lot of tears.
I do not want you to cry too much when I have gone, just say well Mum and Dad may meet in heaven very soon. I love you and your family. I hope you enjoy the rest of your life with them and grandchildren,…, Well goodbye and good luck to you all. God bless you all.
Love from Mum, Bonnie, Nan and Great Nan…
Jeff and Narelle were with her holding her hands when Bonnie died in November 2008 . She is buried in Boorowa Cemetery. Nat’s ashes were reinterred with Bonnie on the anniversary of his birthday 13th March 2009. It’s what they would have wanted. That’s the way they did things, together.


Week 7 Challenge

Week 7 Challenge


This week may be a difficult challenge for some.  My Dad passed away 18months ago.  Do I want to write about it or is it too raw an emotion?  I may just do some dot points… Don’t feel flustered or pressured take your time and see what happens.  I am adding another image from Glasgow’s Necropolis …I have always had a thing for statuary.  Have a good week.

weeping angel

Challenge Week 5

week5a1       Week 5b

These are the images in my workbook for my week 5 challenge.  My Mum is a complex woman and she has given me many gifts; a love of learning, reading theatre and music. Most of all she forced me to be independent and self-reliant.  Through no fault of either of us , we clash,  she is my Mum  but we are not good mates or even friends. this was a difficult challenge to respond to.  In a way, it was cathartic and allowed me to see her as a person, and to realise I am no angel either.   The most poignant thing was is that the two photo’s at the top of the page  were taken 67 years and 354 days apart. Mum lost her husband, my wonderful Dad,  one day short of their 68th Wedding Anniversary.






This week you can build upon some information from early questions.

What was your Dad’s occupation?

Did he have special skills?

Did he remain with one employer?

Did your family move because of his work?

Your Mum, what was her first job?

Did she become a stay at home mum?

Did she work outside the home full-time or part-time?

Did she have any special skills?


news agency union road  ascot vale 1927
News Agency Union Road  Ascot Vale  Victoria  1920s


this is what kept our food cold 


Older women Younger men

From Wexford Independent, 13442680_10153496687637234_4577064684692346608_o 1 Oct 1859, page 1.

and then there is this one ….

Ann Mobbs and William Smith were married by special licence in 1840  —-“Ann Mobbs (nee Grover) remarried in the year of 1840. Although Ann was 81 years of age at the time, she did not let that stop her marrying a man of 28 by the name of William Smith. It is believed William Smith may have worked on the property and it would also seem that age made no difference as far as this couple were concerned, as they were married until Ann’s death some ten years later.Ann Smith, Late Mobbs, Nee Grover died at Pennant Hills on the 20th July 1850 at the age of 91. She was buried on the 24th of July 1850 with William Mobbs.”  source


Week 4 Challenge Response

Week 4 Challenge Response

Week four was harder than I thought it would be. Deciding who to write about was a real challenge.

Nicki is an old friend we haven’t been in contact for a long time but she is an extraordinary person and would be my first choice , Funnily enough, I have chosen 5 women.
Nicki is one – Hope For Himalayan Kids  Founder 2003, International Director 2003-2010 & 2014- current, HFHK Board member 2010-current. Nicki Holt-Manandhar first visited Nepal in December 1997 and promptly fell in love with the country and its people. Nicki returned to Nepal twice to volunteer, before finally throwing in her executive job in Australia to live and work full time in Nepal in June 2003. Nicki successfully piloted deinstitionalisation programs that led to children’s homes being closed, children reintegrated with their families & foster style family homes opened. IN 2010 she returned to Australia and is writing a book. To Nicki every child, every life is worth saving.  An inspirational woman.

Amelia Earhart was 2nd on my list.  These are some of her quotes

Adventure is worthwhile in itself.

The most effective way to do it, is to do it.

Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.

Born 24th July 1897 and one of the first women to obtain a pilot’s licence. Amelia disappeared while on a flight in 1937.  Literally for Amelia the sky was the limit and she was an example that women could achieve anything they wanted; if they wanted it badly enough.

Next is Alexandra David-Neel born  1868 and died 1969. A writer, philosopher and adventurer. Alexandra took the world by the throat and shook it. She did what she wanted  to and threw convention to the wind. She was the one of the first westerners and the first woman from the west to travel to Tibet in 1924. She was a rebel, she climbed the Swiss Alps, bicycled around Spain, travelled to London.  All this during the time when women were still considered chattels of their fathers and husbands. She was no ordinary woman.  If you are interested in reading more  this is her website link,  you will not be disappointed.  A great role model for women.

Landscapes have a language of their own, expressing the soul of the things, lofty or humble, which constitute them, from the mighty peaks to the smallest of the tiny flowers hidden in the meadow’s grass.

Anne McCaffery 1936-2011.  Next to CharlesDickens, Anne McCafferey is my favourite author. She achieved a number of firsts.  She was the first woman to win both  the Hugo and Nebula Awards. In 1978 with her novel  The White Dragon , she was the  first woman to have a science fiction novel on the New York Times Best Sellers List.  She is a Grandmaster of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America  and inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame,  Her novels are so beautifully crafted and a joy to read and can be read over and over again.  The worlds of Pern and Ballyran come alive as do her characters.  She also had financial success. A fantastic role model for  all writers.

Last but not least is my Grandmother Dorothea Isobel Bennett- Morse.  A truly remarkable woman.  She was born in Campbells Creek Victoria in 1902. She was the only girl in a family of four boys, (William died in infancy). She lived through two world wars and the great depression.  She lost her brother Keith, KIA in WW11. She  married and raised 3 children, suffering a number of miscarriages including twins. She was a devoted wife and mother and grandmother and great grandmother.  A fantastic cook and never judgemental. She followed Footscray Football club  and loved to go to the cricket.  She and her husband Percy were both raised as  ‘Primitive Methodists’, but she never enforced religion on anyone.  She and Percy were members of the Communist Party at one time. She was well read and knowledgeable on current affairs and loved to do crosswords.  She knew how to reuse and make do. She was strong and gentle.  None of us ever heard her say anything bad about anyone. Her children adored her and so did her grandchildren.  She was the rock around which our families revolved. A great role model to all of us. we were privileged to have her in our lives.  She is missed everyday in many ways. How I wish I had asked more questions and listened to what she had to say.