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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The forties...

I mentioned in my last post that DH and I had thought that we had 'lost' a number of computer files but eventually I found them. One file that I thought was gone forever was a word document I had worked on last year with the idea of using it as a blog post in the series that I started last year, recalling my life in decades. So I've decided to finally post the 'forties decade' right now...
My 'forties' were a time when I realised that work and study had become important again in my life. This decade was also to become a time of turmoil and adversity...but I came out the 'other side' a lot stronger and wiser.
The family at Southbank in Brisbane

I'm 41 here! At one of our parish concerts held to raise funds; I'm Eliza Doolittle :-) Those concerts were always lots of fun

For my fortieth birthday I organised  an 'Open House' garden party, which was held in our tiny back yard from 1-5pm. I cooked for the party, the weekend before and borrowed garden furniture from friends to supplement our set. I hired 2 musicians (students from the Conservatorium one of whom was a friend's son) who played in our covered BBQ area. I also hired one of my staff from After School Care (another uni student) and her friend to serve the food. They were wonderful and also tidied up afterwards even though it wasn't in the job description. It was a lovely afternoon and I later worked out that over 80 people came during the afternoon...that explained why there was absolutely no food or drinks left! lol
Last minute preparations for my 40th with DD1 as my helper

Some of the guests; I had made a photo board with photos of my 40 years , (lefthand background of photo)

The year I turned 40, I also started taking casual work as a supply teacher. In the previous post on my thirties, I explained that my former husband had stopped working when I was 37, and I became the breadwinner on a very low income. So to supplement my income from running After School Care,  I would do supply teaching at the same school. They were long days 8-6pm, but at least it was easier to manage financially. 

Relief teaching pay is very good, but I was to find out that if I had a Bachelor degree, I would get $50 more a I started the Bachelor degree through University of central Qld, external studies in 1993. I finished the degree in 1994 with graduation at Easter 1995 on campus at Rockhampton. I was certainly very busy during that time because as well relief teaching and running ASC, I took other part time jobs that came up such as a project officer in research projects and curriculum writer for the TAFE system.

Graduation day at Central Queensland University in Rockhampton

My 2 girls were growing up! DD1 was in Year 7 here! My friend Pamela is also in the photo. Little did I know that one day I would marry her cousin :-)

In mid 1994 I was offered a 6 month contract with the education department and eventually gave up the poorly paid Co-ordinator position running OSHC. I then spent the following years as a contract ( jobs for more that 6 days are paid at contract rate but were usually for a term) and a supply teacher. By now I was 'hungry' for a permanent position with the department as I was still the breadwinner. I also applied for positions in the private school system without any success. So I looked at options for further study...
Got my first dog in my 40s too; Regina the Lhasa Apso

In 1995 I began a Masters degree in early childhood at a Brisbane university; mixture of external and campus lectures as well as summer and winter schools. I finished that degree in November 1997 with graduation the following Easter. It seemed so surreal to have that level of degree and to have achieved a GPA of 6.4...I was after all a kid from a working class suburb from a family that didn't have I was sort of proud of what I'd achieved. 

QUT Graduation night at the Performing Arts Complex in Brisbane; DD2 on the left and DD1 on the right
In 1996 I suffered a 'detached retina' and was hospitalised while I had a series of laser treatments. It took a while for my sight to 'come back' in the affected eye and because of that, I had only studied one uni subject per semester in the last part of my post-graduate degree. I realised then just how precious sight is and would never take it for granted again. 

Having a break from working on assignments in the Uni library here...

The next job interview I went to was for a position where the teacher would work with both a Year 3 and a Year 7 class. I was asked what experience I had had with year 7...I'd taught that year level for nearly 8 years before DD1 was born, so I got a tick for that criterion! Then they asked me about my experience with Early Childhood and I said that I had just completed a Masters in ECE...another tick and I got the year long contract!

On one of my term- long contracts, I knitted this blanket for a colleague. She chose the colours, bought the wool and I found as many forms of basket stitch that I could, to do the squares...hardly any repeats.  Janet was thrilled with the end result and I was thrilled with how much she insisted on paying me to have knitted it.

In March 1999  I granted permanent status with education Qld, so now had job security after so many uncertain years.
My mother’s health started to decline in this decade and eventually in December 1998, she entered a nursing home. (She had lived with us in her granny flat for 19 years) It was tough for her and also tough for me as I thought that I’d let her down in some way. Going into residential care had been preceded by many months in rehabilitation and I was very grateful that I was only working part time then as I tried to see her as many times as possible during the week. I brought her home for a weekend in March when it was her birthday and it was then I realised that mum was in the best place (the nursing home) to get the care she needed...I didn’t have the strength to toilet her and assist her with showering etc  as she had lost so much mobility.

In December 1999 my brother found his mother ( mum gave him up for adoption straight after he was born) and of course, me, his big sister. 

My brother and his youngest child, Rowan and I at my birthday celebration; the first that we were reunited
My husband found this time difficult to come to terms with another man in my life.  A lot of 'stuff' went on in our little family's life and I had set my role as the one who tried to solve everything. Even with professional help things did not improve. First DD1 moved out, then DD2 and I . We made a nice life for ourselves in a little rented house and slowly started to heal. I still have fond memories of that time J

Some other posts in this series include Skirting through my Thirties... and there is a link to my 'twenties' decade' in that post as well. Going further back in time... my teenage years... and for more details of how, as an only child, I suddenly became a big sister  at 48 see here


Nurdan said...

Your personal story is too touchy and very interesting Maria!

But despite all it shows to the others how a strong woman you kept insight!

I wish you more more happiness than you have already with your DH !


Maa said...

Thanks for sharing your life Maria. You should feel very proud of all you've achieved over the years. Sue

duchess_declutter said...

Great too that you now have a blog that you can look back on Maria. It's great to look back on photos isn't it - what a relief you hadn't 'lost' them! cheers Wendy

Susan said...

What a lot you pack into each decade Maria. You have great fortitude. So glad you recovered your photos and text too.
How kind of you to have your mother living with you for all those years. What an incredible thing to meet up with a brother you'd never known :D)

Anonymous said...

what a touching story maria,and full credit to you being the wonderful person you are,take care.xx

Naturally Carol said...

You did a great job in providing for your family in your forties, keeping a roof over their heads and also looking after them emotionally through all the trauma. I am so glad that life has just got better and better for you,though you'll have to change your pic on your blog here as you've lost so much weight on your sugar free eating're doing so well!

Tanya said...

I feel a little voyeuristic but I do enjoy your life tales. You have a much better memory than I do too.