My 40th birthday letter to Mum

Although it has been (and will continue to be for quite a while) a mammoth task to sort through our family memorabilia, I can’t help but feel sad on finding what I believe to be the last box of memories – that is until another one somehow appears from nowhere. All the while it seems as if my parents are watching from above, somehow guiding me to stumble across just the right treasure at just the right time. Having seen the wonderful movie ‘Mamma Mia Here We Go Again’ with Amy last night, I woke up early feeling bright and breezy enough to march on with chores yet also melancholy enough to prefer resting and reminiscing. But thinking that time is running out to complete a multitude of tasks from my “while I’m on leave” list, I chose to work hard in the carport where many of my teaching resources are stored and where there should really be a parked car instead. Not a box of memorabilia in sight. Or so I thought. At the bottom of a stack of music studio paperwork was a stash of letters including one I had written to Mum in September 1997 with details of my 40th birthday. Dad had passed away two years before and though I rang Mum frequently to check how she was coping and to hear her news, I tended to save detailed stories from our end for the long letters I would write to her at night when the youngest children were asleep. A box of these letters, like a special unplanned diary, carefully saved and later found after she passed away, is indeed one of the greatest gifts she left behind for me. And every so often, like today, I find another letter that went astray…


Sept 20th ’97

Dear Mum

Thankyou for the lovely birthday card and gift of money. Yes it’s hard to believe I’m 40 now!

I had fun spending all my birthday money and received some wonderful gifts too. My bear ‘Bill’ will take a few weeks to mend – the man said I’d never find another bear like that now and he’s in good condition and worth saving. ‘Bill’ visited the pre-school before his trip to the Doll & Teddy hospital and they took photos of him so the children can see ‘before & after’. Samuel and Michael really loved their train trip to the city and were very well behaved.

My baby photo is being done in a pretty mushroom pink frame – so thanks for giving me the original, I’ll treasure it. I chose a silver ‘baby’ name brooch with teddy charm which Mark had engraved with ‘Susan’, also a silver bracelet with the matching teddy. I bought some extra charms which I hope to have put on my bracelet. Silver is much cheaper than yellow gold so I’m glad I picked white gold for my engagement and wedding rings – now I can have a bit of new jewellery for a fraction of the cost of gold. A silver charm is only $6. I think it costs more than that to have them attached!

I also received a Teddy Bear CD which the boys love. We used it for pass the parcel at the picnic. It has the ‘Me And My Teddy Bear’ song that was originally sung by Rosemary Cloony. Also a new Barry Manilow CD called ‘Summer of 78’ which is all music of the late 70’s, around the time Mark and I met. I bought a pretty mauve bear called ‘Bear Hugs’ and one with floral paw pads I called Jennifer. Amy and Daniel gave me a gorgeous green bear called ‘Forest’ and Bailey gave me a tiny bunch of dried flowers, my first To Nana card and a black and cream Panda. Tim gave me a brown bear called Tre, his favourite name. I also got a picnic basket and check picnic cloth and a big brown bear I named ‘Sebastian Koby’, same initials as mine. At the picnic there was a competition to guess his name and both Amy and Mark picked Sebastian and Amy eventually guessed Koby too. For another one of the picnic activities I asked everyone to draw a teddy on a card. I’ll have to show you, they’re all so cute and different. Ros came from their house in Toowoomba for the last time, they return to Sydney next week. Because they are moving she gave Geoff her big fish tank & fish so he’s thrilled.

I made this paper etc using one of the stamps in the craft things I bought after Amy & I went to the party at Paddy’s teacher’s house. You can simply decorate with stamps, many coloured inkpads available or use the 3D effect or emboss with gold etc. I’ve enclosed a few samples.

I also started a ‘Cherished Teddies’ ornament collection. I’ll try to enclose a picture. I got an ‘S’ bear and a sapphire September bear. They’re very sweet. Also a picnic bear in the same series, who is called Thelma! They all have names – almost any name you can think of. Only available in gift shops and jewellers, so not a thing you could collect a lot of but something to hand down to the grandchildren when the china cabinet gets full!

We’ll be home for the holidays, just trips to Grand Plaza for the free shows & I’ve promised some days at parks & perhaps a swim since it is hot now. Not as hot as it will be in a few months!

I’ll close with the words of Barry Manilow’s ‘Summer Of 78’ song. Quite meaningful since it was the year we married. You’ll have to hear the song sometime. Amy has a lovely tape of a song ‘Butterfly Kisses’ have you heard it?

‘Summer Of 78’

It was one of those summers lasting forever

Making the winter wait

A summer of music and passion

The summer of 78

You appeared like the summer, sudden and perfect

And not a day too late

I swear there was music when I found you

That summer of 78

It seemed we floated through the days

And nights were always filled with stars

And it seemed that every song they played on the radio was ours

It was one of those summers only for lovers

Touched by the hand of fate

And now when winters are long I remember

The summer of 78

Published in: on August 30, 2018 at 8:59 am  Leave a Comment  


The power of the pen……and the computer keyboard

The most precious thing my mother saved for me was not jewellery or furniture but a box of letters I had written to she and my father after they moved interstate. Each time I read them they have even deeper meaning than the time before and every word takes me back to an era that is fast becoming more distant.

I grew up in a family of story tellers and writers and have always appreciated the power of the pen and more recently the computer keyboard. Both of my parents loved to tell stories of their early years before we were born. My Dad once worked as a proof reader for the Sydney Morning Herald and through all his life continued to read and write prolifically and instill in me a love of words, in particular well spelled ones. As a child ‘composition’ was one of my favourite subjects and even at age eleven I had a penfriend in the UK. We kept in touch right up until our own children started to arrive. Since then I have both hand written and typed long letters to other penfriends and friends and family, kept journals, written letters to and articles for various magazines and more recently discovered email communication, facebooking and blogging. 

So far rather than modern technology destroying my words and stories it has increased my love of communicating by giving me options and enhancing the means to do it. I find it fascinating and heartwarming that strangers across the other side of the world are interested in what I do, whether they be fellow teachers or doll and bear collectors – and how quickly they become friends with common interests and goals.

As I enter a whole new world of sharing some of my life verbally and musically on youtube, I am determined not to entirely replace the written word with the spoken word or to forever give up my favourite black ink fineline pen for the iPad stylus.

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment