In Meet the Residents each week we will speak with a resident of Dubbo - talking to them about their childhood, changing times, and what they want to pass on to the next generation. This week, we spoke with Barbara Weber from John Whittle House.
A Summary of my life...
I grew up in Southwest Queensland near Goodooga. My father managed a 40,000 acre property and I enjoyed living there. I was always on a horse. I had a younger brother and we made our own fun! We would ride horses and my mother taught us via correspondence school.
During World War II, my brother and I went away to Sydney for high school. We lived with one of our older cousins for that period of time.
After graduating from high school, we went to the bush and five years later, I met my husband at Collarenebri at a horse race. We started a long distance relationship and married six years later. We had two daughters and a son and raised our family outside Walgett. We had a wonderful marriage of 66 years, 10 grandchildren.
I can't complain, I have a great life!
My fondest childhood memory would have to be...
One thing I remember well is that when peace was declared at the end of the war, we all assembled at school and a girl sang from a long staircase attached to the main school building.
This brought closure to war time and our country had endured the hard times. It was a memorable moment. Thirty years later, I attended a school reunion and I had to see that staircase once again.
What two life changing practices may have improved your quality of life?
I always made my own clothes. I did a lot of knitting while living in the bush. I also did a lot of ceramic work and oil painting. I enjoyed playing tennis and was able to enjoy it until 84 years of age. I believe keeping active has helped my health.
What is your favourite meal and do you have any "guilty pleasures?"
I loved roast chicken with vegetables and baked potato. Chocolate is my guilty pleasure and at times I eat too much at one sitting.
For what in life do you feel most grateful? I feel grateful I married a really good man and had a happy marriage.
What would a perfect day look like?
I can tell you an example of one of my perfect days...I had a perfect day for my 90th Birthday Celebration. I was surrounded by my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I had most of my family with me. That day was perfect!
If you could have lunch with one person (alive or deceased), who would you choose? I would choose my husband. We had so much in common. He was my best friend for life!
My greatest achievement is... I have a family that keeps in contact with each other. My family is united and not divided.
What was the best decision you ever made? The best decision I made was marrying my husband. He was the love of my life.
What was the first thing you noticed when you arrived at Orana Gardens and how long have you lived there?
I used to attend the church services here once a month. I would say the first thing I noticed was the friendliness of the people. I have been here for about six months. This place is very good and I am surrounded by very helpful people and great food! You can't beat good company and good food!
My favourite thing about Orana Gardens is...
My favourite thing is that I can get around and visit with other residents in the facility. I have made lots of friends here. I talk to everybody about almost everything.
The most interesting thing about me is...
I know most things people don't know about life in the bush. I also had many adventurous experiences. I rode a camel up to the Tod River in Alice Springs. My husband and I climbed Uluru twice, back when it was legal for people to climb it.
Tell me one thing you can teach this next generation?
I would teach them to be respectful towards each other.
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