February 20, 2023
As a teenager, Josie enjoyed dancing and her brothers would take her out to swing and then rock and roll dances. When her older sister, Eileen, began dating and then married a man from the Meningie area, she travelled back and forth to country dances held in the Ashville hall, and there she met John Webb. The two eventually married, settled in Meningie and had two sons.
My memories of Josie firstly revolve around Friday nights, and Saturdays and Sundays in the 1960s, when my parents would periodically visit John and Josie in Meningie to play cards and chat in the kitchen while I spent the evening or afternoons lost in the miracle of television in the lounge room (we didn’t have electricity or television on the farm until I was 12). These were the times of ‘The Flintstones’, ‘Wagon Train’, ‘Have Gun Will Travel’, ‘Maverick’, ‘Davy Crockett’, ‘World Championship Wrestling’ and ‘Roller Derby’ TV shows. Then there were Saturday nights spent spotlighting for rabbits on the farm. And lastly, in my early teens, there were football days, whenever the club I played for, Border Downs, played Meningie.
Josie excelled in playing local golf, and in later years she was a good lawn bowler. There were many good years for her in Meningie after a tough childhood, but life always deals mixed cards, and she struggled when her younger son died in a tragic boating accident in Lake Albert/Coorong, and again when her husband John died. At 82, battling health complications, Josie passed. This Friday, family and friends will say farewell in a ceremony at the Meningie Bowling Club.
So, novel editing this week is tinged with sadness, emphasising how important it is to savour relationships, stay in touch with family, and record life. The last time I sat with Josie, she shared her story during the time the novel covers. Much of it happened outside the scope of my mother’s life, but it’s important to know what was happening while Eileen was away from her siblings in Victoria and Tasmania, and then recuperating from TB, because it shapes her world and relationships ever so subtly.
Writing is my passion. Ideas, opinions, beliefs, experiences expressed through language - through words and images - pervade and create my life. Writing is my voice, my soul, my self. My dream is one day writing will sustain my life...