Catherine ‘Mary’ Hodge
……. “It’s better to have dust on the furniture, than dust on your brain!”
Mary met me at the door using a walking frame, reserved and humble she invited me into her home. It turns out Mary had broken her hip 12 months earlier and her greatest hope was that one day she might have a chance to walk without her frame, at 91 though she wasn’t sure that would happen.
Born in Menindee, Mary was one of 10 children and growing up on the farm they never went hungry as her father had plenty of fowl, turkeys, sheep and pigs that they would butcher to keep the family well fed. Mary credits her longevity to eating good quality healthy food and to the fact that her parents didn’t drink or smoke.
When I asked Mary what the most memorable time of her life was she replied, “Marrying my husband and then going on to have our 2 children, to watch them grow and do well and see them to go on and have their own families”. Mary is now a proud great grandmother of 4 and couldn’t do without her husband, her wonderful family & all her good friends. Mary went on to tell me her dear old neighbour across the road used to say to her ’It’s better to have dust on the furniture, than dust on your brain” and another favourite quote, “Don’t look for flaws as you go through life and even when you find them it is somewhat wise to be kind and blind and look for the virtue behind you”, “That’s a saying I have lived by” she said.
According to Mary, the best years in Australia were back when John Howard was in power “Johnny Howard, nobody could come up to him”. She also told me about when she was 16 and the war ended, they all danced in the street and the local ice cream vendor bought everyone ice creams.
When I asked if she had a favourite song, poem or saying Mary broke into song, serenading me with her sweet soft voice and her rendition of ‘The Little Idle Brook’. She went on to tell me she had learnt the song at school when she was an 8-year-old and that she would sing her children to sleep with the song. Sweet and soft, just like her singing voice and not a hint of ‘dust on her brain’, Mary you are a true gem.
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