Goodbye, Farewell, Thanks For The Memories.
You might remember the photo I put up a couple of weeks ago contained the words in the title of this post (complete with the spelling errors!).
Since then a few of you have asked for an explanation, on that and a couple of other posts I’d put up recently… so here ’tis.
I scrawled those words on the wall of the shed at Mums place on February 21, 2017.
It was on that day a chapter of my life closed forever. It’s also the reason why in the months leading up to that date, some of my posts have been late, and somewhat cryptic.
On August 30, 2016 my Mum decided to sell her home.
This took me very much by surprise, because after dad passed away I’d suggested to Mum she should consider selling up and moving closer to us.
I could see that she would struggle and it would be more difficult for us to come down and help if the need arose. Not impossible but more difficult.
We discussed the idea at length, but in the end, Mum decided to stay put. She knew her surroundings, the people, the places and she wasn’t comfortable leaving Dads memory so soon.
I thought it better not to push the point any further. I didn’t want to upset her any more than she already was.
She and Dad had been in their home in western Sydney since January 1960. Their home was one of the first in the area and she knew the place like the back of her hand.
She had friends from the old country living near by. She was surrounded by neighbours who had lived in the area for years
Hec, I grew up with some of their kids and mowed their lawns when I was a young bloke!
There was a real sense of community there.
Sadly, much had changed in the neighbourhood since Dad’s passing.
Developers had moved in and bought up many of the 1000m² (1/4 acre) blocks, complete with the 2 and 3 bedroom cottages that had stood on them since the early 60’s.
As developers often do, they developed. Knocking down those cute but aging cottages and replaced them with “affordable housing”.
Did you know you can get four 3 bedroom townhouses on a 1/4 acre block?
With the new developments and resultant influx of new families, the neighbourhood where she had made her home for the best part of 57 years had changed.
It was more crowded now, there was more traffic, most of her friends from the old country had passed away since 2013 and an undesirable element had found its way into the neighbourhood.
The result being more hustle and bustle, an increase in crime, more thuggery and more drugs.
In fact a few days before I scrawled that note, the NSW police raided a meth lab about 100m (300 feet) from where my mum lives.
It was time to go.
Mum is a strong woman and has been through a lot in her life, but buying and selling a house scared the pants off her. Figuratively speaking of course.
She asked me if I would handle the logistics of selling and moving, as she hadn’t a clue what to do.
So since early September and with the help of a couple of good friends in the real-estate game in Sydney, the task fell to me.
It was my job to liaise with real-estate agents, solicitors, removalists, utility companies and government agencies in two cities on her behalf.
I also had to find her a new home here in Brisbane.
Mum knows little about Brisbane, other than it’s the capital of Queensland, that my family and I are here and that its somewhat more tropical than Sydney.
In the planning stage I thought it best for her to make two, one week-long visits to Brisbane prior to her move, which Mum agreed to.
The first visit was to choose an area to live in from a short list The Pillion and I had carefully put together. The second was so she could put a deposit on her new home in the area of her choosing.
Moving house is a big decision at any age, but to decide at the age of 82 to move 1000km (600 miles) north to Brisbane is a courageous thing to do.
But this is exactly what she did.
Once the wheels were set in motion, there was no stopping her, she even packed half of the 80(!) the boxes and filled a 4m² (45 sq ft) skip bin with rubbish before we arrived to help out!
On the day she closed the door on Gibson Avenue for the last time, I asked her if she had any regrets about the sale.
“About leaving here?” She asked. “None, I’m only sad that I can’t visit your Dad anymore.”
In the weeks since the move she has been unpacking the 80 boxes she brought with her. And before you ask, yes I did offered to help pack and unpack, but she quite firmly refused.
She reckons it will give her something to do.
So, I’ve been helping in other ways, most of which is paper work, registrations, licences (she still drives) and change of address type stuff.
She’s already met some of the neighbours and even explored the local area.
I bought her a GPS navigator last week and the first thing she wanted to know, apart from directions to my home, was where Spotlight* was and how to get to the local RSL Club* so she could play Bingo.
The up-shot of all of this is that after working hard all her life, caring for Dad in his final years and surviving three bouts of cancer surgery, she has finally, and deservedly, fulfilled her dream of living within walking distance to the ocean.
The best part for me is that the logistics of travelling to her when things go pear-shaped have been significantly improved. If she ever needs our help its an easy 30 minute drive to her place.
Oh, and I can drop in for pierogi* and a chat anytime I want 😉
I wrote about my home town last year, if you’re interested, this is the < link >
- Spotlight: Austral-Asia’s largest supplier of Fabric, Craft, Party and Home Interior.
- RSL Club: The Returned and Services League, Australia is a support organisation for men and women who have served or are serving in the Defence Force.
- Pierogi: A filled dumpling of Eastern European origin
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