I was always a hard worker. I started out when I was 17 at the main street Woolworths and worked there for quite a few years, but I left when my son Dean was born.
After he grew up, I decided to get back into it and applied for work at Big W — and wouldn’t you know it, I got the job! I was so very pleased. I needed to work. It wasn’t about the money; it was about self-satisfaction and getting to know people. I always adored the socialisation of the job. I worked at Big W for 22 years, and over that time I came to know many wonderful people and make lifelong friends. Back in 2010, I had to go to Sydney for eight or nine days for a triple bypass, and my fellow Big W workers rallied behind me, offering support and kindness.
Even now, five years after I retired the uniform to focus on my health, those friendships remain strong. We’ve always kept in touch, have long phone calls during the holidays, never forget each other’s birthdays, and catch up for lunch once a month. I treasure those days with them.
My husband Ron says my work experience must be too heavily ingrained into my head; when we go down the street, many people recognise me and though I don’t know their names, I instinctively offer them a warm and courteous greeting! ‘Everyone knows you, but they sort of don’t see me’, Ron teases. I guess that’s what happens when you work as a door-greeter for so many years!
And you know, it’s funny how things turn out. Working at Woolworths all those years ago, I met a lovely woman who became a dear friend — and she happened to be Ron’s first wife. I’m sad to say that she was taken from us far before her time. We miss her dearly. But the years passed, as they tend to do, and the friendship and comfort between Ron and I grew into something more. We have now been married for 39 years, and live happily together in a home full of memories.
It is strange to think that if I had never gotten that job at Woolworths, I might never have met my wonderful husband. I suppose hard work does pay off!
Ron is now 85 years old, and I’m 79. We consider ourselves the lucky ones; not everybody sees these years, as we know from experience. Of course, our ages aren’t without certain obstacles. I need to take extra special care of my heart and Ron can’t get around quite as well as he used to, especially after he caught pneumonia last year. Our doctor suggested we get a bit of extra help, and that’s how Leanne came into our lives. She’s a real gem. She was sent by Home Nursing Group about seven months ago to do a bit of cleaning around the house once a fortnight, and Ron and I just adore her. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer person.
What she does might not seem like much, but to us it means the world. To us, it means we can stay here, together, keeping on in our very own home — a home that Ron built with his own two hands — for as long as we can. And we’ll always be grateful for that.