02 July 2011

My Beloved Grandmother Verlie


In any persons life there will be a handful of people who truly nurture and help to guide us along our life paths and shape us into the best person we can be.
I have been very fortunate to have had wonderful role models in my own life and am very proud that I come from a heritage of strong characters.

Of these my Maternal Grandparents figure highly.
In my earliest childhood, my Grandparent's farm was a wonderland and although I have clear memories of being chased around the yard on my chubby little legs by turkeys there is also a colourful patchwork of happier moments that I can draw upon too.

Waking to a warm fire in the kitchen hearth on their farm.

Churning butter from the milk we'd gathered from the dairy cow.

Steam coming from my mouth and nose as we climbed the hills to collect mushrooms which Grandfather Bob considered an 'exotic' thing to eat!

Rolling out biscuit dough with a huge old wooden pin and relishing the sweet warmth emanating from the oven. Then of course eating the delights that had been made, my Grandmother was an award winning biscuit and slice baker and there was always something delicious kept in the tins in her pantry.

Spending lots of time in the garden gathering blooms, planting and picking vegetables, harvesting fruit  and of course inhaling deeply. My love of gardens and beautiful flowers was born here. Arranging the gathered flowers in a variety of special vessels - again my Grandmother won many prizes in the local show and beyond for her flower arranging skills.

Going to the hen house in the late afternoon to see how many 'treasures' had been left for us. Eating these golden 'googy eggs' with buttery toast soldiers - mmmmm!

Exploring the treasures kept in 'the shed' and the various display cabinets inside their home - learning about the trophies and pennants that were stored within.  My Grandparents were keen sportspeople and played well into their 90's, they also won prizes for their wheat crops and for various assorted other skills such as fine neeedlework, baking, knitting, flowers...the list goes on.  Grandmother won several prizes at the Sydney Royal Easter show.  As you can tell I am truly proud.

But it wasn't all about prizes they were very connected to their community involved in various societies and organisations in their little town of Grenfell.  They worked actively to provide 'Meals on Wheels' to people several decades younger than them, were very busy with charitable work for their church and for many years Grandfather was the curator of the local historical society.

Grandmother gave and nurtured within me a love of words. We used to play scrabble together even when I was little and I was always amazed at her huge knowledge of vocabulary as she completed the daily newspaper crossword.

Visiting their home was always a source of great excitement [especially when we moved over a thousand kilometers away to live in Queensland]. I will always remember the thrill of sitting in the back seat of the car as we made our way down the lane that lead to their home in town and the joy of seeing them and jumping out of the car to give them the first of many hugs.

They grew a huge rosemary bush outside the back door and Grandmother Verlie would often dry her tea towels on it. This was also the place where we parked our car and we would inadvertently rub against it when scooting past, so the smell of rosemary will be forever intermingled with my Grandparents.
They had a great habit of having a rest in the middle of the day. In addition to their healthy eating, limited intake of alcohol, regular exercise, myriad interests and connection to their community I believe that this was one of the contributors to their long and healthy lives [both exceeding well over a century of full lives].

At the end of the day [after an early meal] they would retire to the lounge to enjoy what Grandmother referred to as their 'sessions' and you & I would call TV viewing.  Grandmother would sit under a tall lamp and either knit, crochet or needlework and Grandfather Bob had a great recliner chair which I loved to snuggle up in with him.  After an hour the habit was for Grandfather to go and get a piece of fruit [they lived in a wonderful fruit producing area] and I loved to share the apple snakes [skins] which he peeled with a well worn paring knife. Sometimes he would also bring in the old orange 'sweets' barrel and the kids would eagerly dive our hands in to pick out a treat....or two.

Once it was time for bed I would scoot off, clean my teeth and then dive under the big feather quilt that I do believe may have been as old as Methuselah himself.  The sleeps I had in that bed were sound with lots of contented dreaming.

Our visits were never long enough and I would often sob as we drove away back down that little country lane.

Very shortly I will be making my way back down that lane and along many others in their little town as I return to pay my final tribute to my Grandmother Verlie. You see she passed away peacefully in her sleep last night, bound finally to reunite with my beloved Grandfather Bob.

Mixed emotions course through me but overwhelmingly I am grateful.
Grateful for a wonderful role model.
Grateful that she had my gorgeous Mother and that I share her genes.
Grateful that she lived a long and fulfilled life.
Grateful that I have such treasured memories.
Grateful for setting me on my wonderful life path.

Vale Verlie Eve - you are a much beloved and treasured person in my life.

38 comments:

  1. Well now F, I am full of tears and smiles. I can see why you have such a passion for nature and the beauty of the simple and important things in life. What a gift you had having those kind of loving experiences contributing to your roots and lingering around in your memory. I am very sorry for your loss and will be thinking of you and your family over thenext few days with prayerful love.
    Safe journey to you and your blessed grandmother.

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  2. Oh Felicity what a beautiful post! What wonderful memories you will have forever and ever. They sounded like such wonderful, kind, giving people. you were so very lucky to have had them influence and mold you. It will be a sad occasion for you. I will be thinking of you....

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  3. oh, felicity. this was so wonderful and touching. i am sorry for your loss, but glad she can be reunited with your grandfather now. what wonderful, loving, giving souls...

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  4. Oh Felicity I have tears in my eyes!
    Your Grandparents sound just like my Grandma and Grandfather - my Dad's parents (they have both gone to heaven now too) and your beautiful words filled me with memories of my own childhood.
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope your trip is a safe one and full of lots of happy memories and time with your family reflecting on their amazing lives.
    You always write so beautifully but today even more so. I wrote a poem when my Grandfather passed away which was read at his service and I really felt like it helped me through my sadness as I'm sure this post has too.

    Big hugs and prayers to you and your family.
    Janette xx

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  5. Oh dear Felicity. Your memories of your childhood, and times with both your Grandparents, are so beautiful and ones that everyone would love to have as their own! I am so sad to hear of the passing of your beloved Grandmother and I send you all my love for today, and for the sad moments ahead. Thinking of you and your family, sweet friend. ~ Tina xx

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  6. I've emailed me message, couldn't risk Blogger actually holding my thoughts & accepting my message, much love, love Posie

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  7. The photo is beautiful--but the memories of time with your grandmother are even more beautiful. Thank-you for sharing your family time.

    Blessings as you honor your grandmother.

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  8. What a beautiful, beautiful tribute to your grandparents. I could smell their home, and feel genuine warmth from your writing. Tactile writing. Full of love.
    How lucky you are to have had such wonderful role models, and experiences that you cherish so vividly.
    Hugs for you. x

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  9. What a lovely tribute to your grandparents. May God bless you through this difficult time.

    Benia

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  10. My dear Felicity,
    you have many happy memories about your childhood and about your fabulous grandparents.
    I think that the loss of a beloved person is one of the biggest pain, but when you have so many beautiful memories as you, that person will never be lost.
    I send to you a big hug.

    Barbara

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  11. Emailed from my dear friend Cate @ 'Keep Cate Busy':

    Oh Felicity, I'm so sorry - such a beautiful post, a really lovely tribute.
    I hope you are having a restful and mindful weekend. And that you are taking the time to stop and be kind to yourself while you grieve
    thinking of you
    xxxCate

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  12. my lovely friend - I can hear all your mixed emotions in that beautiful post. You are indeed blessed with wonderful genes - and I already know your (amazing!) Grandmother's spirit will be with you forever, and continue to live through your own family.
    I know this will be a terribly difficult time and am sending you a massive HUG. And I have a large squashy bossom, so you'll feel well hugged!
    fee ♥

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  13. This is the most beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman, Felicity. I am so sorry for your loss. x

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  14. Oh dearest Felicity, thinking of you at this time. I remember once reading that you came from 'quality' stock. Your darling grandmother sounds like a quality person indeed. I loved reading about all of these wonderful childhood memories - strong and warm and smelling of rosemary.

    Enjoy your weekend - which I know sounds like an odd thing to say - but I have the feeling that celebrating your grandmother's life with all of your kin will be a deeply felt pleasure, and an honour.

    Take care lovely Felicity. xx

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  15. Felicity no wonder you are such a grounded and decent person with influences like those in your life. You have been truly blessed to know them and be mentored by them and to enjoy their sweet and true love. I am sorry that your grandma has passed away but I know the memories of her will live on in your heart forever. xox

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  16. What a stunning tribute to your grandmother and to your grandfather also.

    What an immense privileged to have been loved by such life loving people. Everything they have given you will take you through the rest of your life too.

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful memories about their farm and your experiences with them. What a refuge for the soul, no wonder you'd sob when you had to leave.

    I know you and your family will have a lot to celebrate about Granmother Verlie. She sounds just so warm and beautiful and traditional.

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  17. So much sympathy sweet Felicity. God bless you in this difficult time. Your grandparents sound like such wonderful people.
    xxx

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  18. Oh, Felicity. I'm so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Grandmother. She sounds like she was an absolute treasure. What a blessing to have had such a wonderful role model and beautiful person to have as a Grandma. Thinking of you and sending lots and lots of love xxxxx

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  19. Dear Felicity, you have me teary at my lapout this morning. Such a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. She sounds like an amazing woman who has shaped you into the beautiful person you are today.

    Much love to you.
    xoxox

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  20. What a lovely tribute to your grandparents.

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  21. Your grandmothers gift of words she gave you has come back to bless her with this wonderful message and tribute you have share with us. What a wonderful stalwart, sweet woman she sounds and I love how you adore her. May your trip be wonderful and your heart be full of love and wonderful memories as you take a trip back into your past and own precious memories. Thinking of you and will include you in my prayers. N x

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  22. Dearest Felicity, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your Grandmother. She sounds like a wonderful person & your Grandfather too! Your post is such a beautiful tribute to them & the wonderful memories you made together. Sending you love & hugs at this difficult time xo

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  23. Dear Felicity, thinking of you and your family at this time. Yours is a moving tribute to an evidently beautiful, generous and remarkable woman. Just lovely. Kisses to you. Emma.

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  24. Touching, very touching dearest sweet Fizz. Your grandmama sounds like a very special lady and you will find yourself acting to the words and deeds your sweetest grandmama showed you. Thinking of you my friend o xx o xx o xx o

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  25. a beautiful name and a beautiful woman.

    I hope the trip was full of warmth and love for the memories of your dealry loved grandma.

    xx

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  26. Oh, Sweet Darling Girl. What a gorgeous tribute to your sweet grandmother. I am so moved. Sending you the hugest Hobart ♥ tonight. J x

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  27. My thoughts are with you. Your grandparents both sound perfect.

    What a magical childhood you had. I never knew my grandparents and had a poor relationship with my parents. So what you describe is truly magic to me.
    I'm glad that you appreciate it so fully.

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  28. Absolutely lovely post. A beautiful tribute . Hugs!

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  29. Such a beautiful, beautiful post. You took me right there with you. Sending you much, much love. xx

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  30. As I was reading your post I was wishing to borrow your grandparents and pretend they were mine for a day. I never knew either sets of my grandparents. You have been truly blessed. So sorry to hear of your Grandmother's passing. Sounds like she lead a rich life. I just got back from the 100th Birthday party of my duaghter's great grandfather (husbands grandad). Hoping I can live half the life he has lived so far. Take care :)

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  31. We miss you Felicity, thinking of you extra muchness this week my love, hugs & kisses, love Posie

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  32. Hi sweet Fizz, I am popping in to send you bunches of extra love and hugs o xx o xx o xx o

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  33. Such a beautiful tribute and you are so blessed to have so many memories. My children didn't get to know any of their grandparents on either side as they all passed when mine were young. I am in between travels so I am checking in with my favorites. See you in August my friend. Hugs to you.

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  34. What a beautiful Lady and tribute, sending you big hugs.I missed mine dearly and could not jump in the plane to say bye bye...So your post is very moving for me...
    Take care xx

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  35. She sounds like an incredible woman and rest assured, she passed some of that incredibleness on to you! Thoughts are with you and your family. What a lovely post to celebrate everything warm and wonderful about a woman who obviously left a beautiful mark on you. Lots of love and hugs xxxx

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  36. Felicity, a touching tribute penned from the heart, your grandmothers love was obviously contagious & you my sweetie caught it & have passed it on to others, I feel privileged you shared this story of an amazing woman who will be remembered now by people who never met her, but were so touched & inspired by this post... take care, love & hugs xoxo

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  37. Oh, Felicity this is such a beautiful dedication to your loving Grandmother. Thank you for sharing something of her here and of the gentle, considered routines so important in your grandparents lives. Safe travels and thinking of you xo

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  38. Just lovely words and memories. I'd love to provide something similar for my kiddos and move to the country (hopefully next year). Thank you for sharing your lovely tribute with Post Of The Month Club :) XOLaura

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Each new comment is a gift - unexpected and lovely.
Although I'd love to reply to each and every one, this isn't always possible, but know that I read and appreciate them all.

Felicity x