This is the final chapter of mum's book. She had a wonderful holiday until suddenly taken ill and spending time in Darwin Hospital after a life and death operation. Here she returns home to her family and friends and what a relief it was to have her home again.
Final excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston.
"Weather reports advised that it was very cold in Perth and my dressing gown, in which I was to travel, was not warm enough for the trip. I asked my young friend if she could try to find me a warm gown and, despite the fact that nobody needs warm gowns in Darwin, she searched all the shops and, the evening before I left for home, her husband came along with a most attractive warm gown which was ideal and which is always admired. She did not come herself because she said she would have cried, but she sent me along two small parting gifts - a tiny koala and a pretty coral ornament. She has now gone to Queensland, and the last letter I had from her was as she was leaving Darwin.
Before I left Darwin I had asked Peg (Margaret) to arrange for me to have a part-time housekeeper from Perth Emergency Housekeeping Service, (I thought if mum wasn't entitled to one then I don't know who was!) and to ask Silver Chain Nursing Service to call daily to dress my wound which was still needing care.
The 'plane trip was excellent and I lacked for nothing. The family met me and came home to spend a pleasant couple of hours together, so that I could tell them all together about the trip and the accident.
There was a stack of mail waiting, including the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal with which I had been presented while away, and as Peg was given the job of opening the mail, the medal was passed around before I got to see it myself. (I also have this medal tucked away with mum's MBE)
Once more cards and flowers arrived to welcome me home1 I was thoroughly spoilt and realised, once again, that it is in time of need that one finds one's true friends.
Although I missed seeing Kununurra and some of the north of Western Australia, I very much enjoyed the tour. It is necessary to travel through the centre of Australia to realise the vast outback of the country in which we live, and to appreciate the early explorers and their courage. (Mum had travelled to the north of Western Australia on a previous bus trip but but they didn't go as far as Kununurra).
The bus drivers were most kind and considerate, and our fellow travellers, both men and women, were friendly and excellent companions. When I was taken ill they sent me a "Get Well" card to Darwin Hospital signed by them all.
Much as I regret the accident. I did experience the wonderful Flying Doctor Service and the warmth and kindess of everybody during my stay in Darwin Unfortunately I still have some disabilities from both accidents for which there appears to be no remedy.
Looking back I realise that I was fortunate enough to live a fantastic and full life from my early days and am now, nearly 84, writing some of the outstanding parts which may be of interest later to my children and grandchildren, and even to the people with whom I have been associated in welfare.
Oliver Wendel Holmes said: "Man is an omnibus in which all his ancestors ride"
My life is now drawing to a close but, as a Justice of the Peace, I am fortunate that I am of use in Joondanna Village and the adjacent district. Many people draw on my general knowledge and treat me as the local Citizens Advice Bureau when they have problems.
To those I leave behind may I quote the following verse, which still spurs me on when I am slow to move:-
"The clock of life is wound but once
And no man knows when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time we own
Live, love and work with a will;
Place no faith in tomorrow
For the hands may then be still"."
I know it sounds silly but I just sat and cried when I typed the last few lines of mum's book. It may be thirty years since she left us but I still miss her so much. It was almost like saying goodbye to her all over again. She and I may not have always agreed on everything but I can honestly say we never once had cross words. She was a wonderful mother to me throughout the years and, even though I am now 83, there are still times I need her. Having related her story word for word it has brought her much closer to me again. I hope anyone who has followed her story has really enjoyed it and I thank you for your patience. I have thoroughly enjoyed re-living all those years again. I am next going to follow on in my own clumsy fashion and tell of mum's final years and beyond. I hope you will stay with me.
N.B. You will note the first line of the above poem says 'THE CLOCK OF LIFE" and not "The Clock of Time" so why Access Press decided on the latter for the title of the book beats me. I still think "From Adventurous Pom to Dinkum Aussie" would have been the better title. Incidentally, it was while mum was watching the Commonwealth Games when they were held in New Zealand, and Australia and England were neck and neck that mum found herself barracking for Australia. It was then, she told me, she knew she was now definitely a 'dinkum Aussie'. I feel this country had done a lot for her and she in return had done a lot for it.