NB. This blog is a work in progress and will be reviewed and updated, posts will change as more information comes to light. Please contribute in comment if you can shed any light – let me know if I can quote you – you can become part of the patchwork quilt.
Anita (editor in chief). Written 5th March, 2013.
Memories, dreams, reflections, stories. As a little girl I would go and stay with my Grandparents, Roy and Edith Hicks on their property “Truro Grove” in Echuca Village. They had a big old house which was a treasure trove of discovery. Even now at 46 I am transported back to the hallways, the smells, the outdoor areas with just a thought and the house is not even there anymore! In my dreams I play there, sometimes with my little brothers. As an adult I would visit these evocative places when I went to see my Gran at Truro. (I always thought it was called just “Truro” – Rainee (Lorraine Couchman), my aunt, says that the “grove” part of the sign on the gate was knocked off by a truck and never replaced.) I couldn’t wait to wander off alone and look in the rooms, look at the photos on the walls, the beautiful old furniture and features, inhale the smells and roam about in the garden and outbuildings.
Me, about two with my Grandmother Edith Hicks at Truro.
I have several items from the old house with me now. In particular a framed photo of my Great Grandmother, hereafter referred to as Margaret Hicks (nee Fegan). She was my Grandfather Roy (Charles) Hicks’ mother. She was 40 in this photo, not far off my age now, it was 1910. She looks so utterly glorious to me. I remember this photo hanging in the front hall of the house at Truro. I would go and look at it and ponder, every time I visited. When my Gran (Edith Hicks) was getting ready to move to residential care at Glanville Village in Echuca, she asked all of us what items from the house we would like. As far as I know there were no cross overs or arguments. This photo was the first thing I asked for.
Right now, Margaret is over my left shoulder watching me – with pride of place over my mantel piece. I feel her watching me a lot. Particularly when I start rearranging furniture! This is something my Mum, Barbara Pavone tells me that Margaret was famous for doing. For me it is like going on a holiday in your own home, a whole new perspective on life is revealed (not to mention some pretty scary stuff under the couch).
The only new things in my home are actually the couch, the rug and the electrical items (even some of those are recycled). The bench on which my computer sits is made from the same laminex as my Gran’s kitchen table. I look out on the verandah and Margaret’s old day bed is there. I keep some of my jewellery in her chamber pot! (Perhaps not something that etiquette would say I should refer to – but times have changed).
As I start to write, I find myself wondering, what was it like to be her? Are there parallels in our lives? Did she struggle, or did she have all the answers? She certainly looks very confident, almost regal in her pictures. Strangely, people have said that about me and the way I carry myself (round shoulders and all). However I know the turmoil which lies beneath. Was it like that for her? Why does she mean so much to me, my Mum and my Aunt Lorraine Couchman (nee Hicks)? I’ve never met her, Mum was 9 when she died and Rainee just a baby.
I want to try and get into her head and her heart, her spirit. I think she wants her story told.