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Shirley turns 90!

Meet Shirley, a wonderful woman with a great sense of humour, who is due to turn 90 on the Tuesday 20th July!

We sat down with Shirley to have a chat about her upcoming milestone, and reflected on life so far.

Where were you born?

You know Victoria? It's right down on the coast, and that's where I was born in Queenscliff.

What did you do for work?

I did a bit of dressmaking for myself. A lady [in Victoria] was a dressmaker and she was looking for someone at the time, so I worked there for a while. Then my brothers twins were born in Sydney, so I ended up there and stayed with them for three months while the babies were very young and they needed help. Then when I came back, my dad had been in the army for 40 odd years, and there was a changeover from the artillery to a college, and they were putting civilians on. He said "if you get here in about three or four months you might get a job, so I did. There I stayed for about six years or so, and we had a recession right through the country, and I wanted to move when my parents moved to Geelong. I couldn't get a job. Oh it was murder! It was about six months before I managed to get a job, then I went to Ford to work. I hated that! It was terrible (Shirley laughs). Then I went to the International Harvesters, and that was great. That was interesting. It was a great bunch to work with. Anyway I left there and got married. My husband, Sam, came from Melbourne and we ended up living in Geelong for 25 years, on a house on the side of a hill.

How did you end up in Queensland after living in Victoria for so long?

We came up here when our daughter married a fellow from Melbourne that had an apartment up h

ere for bowling season. So when it was bowling season, she came up here with him. They got married up here, and while we were here Sam had a massive shingles attack and was off work for six months. It was horrible. He came home one night after going back to work, and he said "I'm giving up work, we're moving up to Queensland". Because we'd lost mum and dad just before that, and Chris, our daughter, was up here.

Have you travelled much?

Not much in Australia. I've been to Western Australia a couple of times, up here of course, a bit around Victoria. I've done three trips to the UK, and that was good fun. Sam came from there and he wanted me to see where he'd grown up. My brother, he was in the navy, he didn't get a scratch on him during the war but he and his wife went over there for a holiday and he got killed. That happened in 1977 and we went over in 1984, and then we went back again in 1994 and 96. I was glad we did because we saw the things we wanted to see as we remembered seeing pictures of it. It hadn't been changed by the National Trust yet, there was a big change between 1984 and 1994, and we used to say that we were glad we went earlier on when we did.

What are some notable events in your life?

We lost Chris two or three years ago. She had a double lung transplant twice and the drugs that she had to take to stop regression caught up with her eventually and she didn't have any immunity. She was only 53 and our only daughter.

How long have you been a client with RangeCare?

I went to the Nambour Day Centre Wednesdays, I reckon it must've been four years. I lost count of the time it seemed like forever. When I was there it was such a nice atmosphere, everybody took care of you. I said to the woman, who used to be in charge, "Walking in here is like someone comes along with a nice big warm blanket and wraps it around you".

What do you enjoy most about being a RangeCare client?

Just being me. When I need someone I get on the phone, if I need to go to an appointment I get on the phone.

How are you celebrating your 90th birthday?

I might say to [my granddaughter] to do a big shop for me and bring it all to my house, and then the others can pick up things as they need to along the way.

On other birthday's we've gone down to the tavern and the bowls club, and we've gone to places on the other side of the [Maroochy] river. There's been a few places that I've been twice, first and last!

Do you have advice for a long life?

Hang on and go slow! Do the things you want to do yourself, instead of what somebody else wants you to do.

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