Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Memories of Nanna (Christina Carriage, Shepherd nee Lee)

Nanna (Back LHS) with family and grandchildren on the Front Verandah
 This is the final bog on the life of Christina Sterland Carriage (Shepherd nee Lee).  The period from the 1950’s through to when she passed away in 1984 is the time when her children left home, married and had children of their own. 

 What is special for this part of her story  is that I am able include  my own perspective and personal experience.  I don’t think I can pinpoint my first memory of Nanna, though it must have been from a Christmas holiday early in my childhood.  Every year our family would pack up our car and make the trek to Milton for three weeks holiday, staying with Nanna and Pop or in a rented house nearby.

 I remember her as being a tall lean lady, kind, but someone who would take no nonsense.  As a small child I delighted in being in her company and would volunteer to go to Church with her in the evenings for that special one on one time (and of course to be shown off to all her church buddies as “Malcolm’s” eldest girl). As a teenager, I loved to curl up on on the old sofa in her cosy kitchen, with one of her crochet rugs over my legs and read one of the many books from her book shelf.
Christina Carraige -Matron of Honour at the Masonic Ball

Well, before I stray too far a must get  back to the story.  The last blog finished with Christina’s eldest son, Malcolm, joining the air force and being sent to Darwin for active service..  Fortunately, the war was very close to ending and he was soon back into civilian life.  Over the next few years her three eldest children  (Leo was still quite young) left home, married and had children.  

With the house empty, Nanna took in borders to help cover expenses and these borders became part of her extended family.  Lionel (Pop) continued to work at the sawmills  and had a small home business where he sharpened saws and axes.  Their life was uncomplicated, with Nanna involved in the church and Pop was a member of the local Masonic Lodge.    With a little more time on their hands they took up golf and became members of the local Mollymook Golf Club.

As I mentioned early, my strongest memories of Nanna were at Christmas time.  All the family, would come to stay in Nanna’s house (until there was too many of us).  Children would be bunked on divans, or in beds together, (topping and tailing).  We spent hours playing in the garden, pinching Pop’s strawberries and feasting on the plums from their big plum tree.  It became a family tradition for all the cousins to put on a Christmas Holiday Concert, where we would stage a number of short skits, dances and songs on Nanna’s front verandah.  All the neighbours would be invited, and charged a silver coin for the honour of sitting on one of the rickety chairs set up on the front lawn.  Then, the next day, to our delight Nanna would take us up to buy ice cream with the takings from the concert.

Christmas Day in Nanna's house was something to behold.  During previous week we would have all helped her make the Christmas pudding.  She would buy a brand new plastic bucket to mix it in and all the grandchildren would take turns in stirring for good luck.  Then on Christmas day, the kitchen would be a buzz with all the adults sharing in the preparation of the meal (and punch) under Nanna's direction.  When it came to sitting everyone down for the hot meal a hierarchy of age was enforced.  Adults at the dining table, and then the grandchildren, depending on their age would sit at the side table, card table, ironing board (on low setting) or high chair.  What a sight to see!!!! Then when it finally came time to have the pudding Nanna would serve it with steaming hot custard and she would slip silver sixpences into each of the childrens bowls. Then when cents came into circulation, we would have to hand the sixpences back after the meal so they could be saved for next Christmas.

Nursing a new Great grandchild
The late 1970- 1980’s saw another changing of the guard with her grandchildren turning 21, getting married and having children of their own.  Nanna delighted in these family occasions and watched over the brood with a critical eye.  I can remember if there was a sad family event such as a funeral she would have a small glass of brandy for medical purposes and if it was a time for celebrations she was quite partial to a glass or two of that “nice bubbly wine”.

 Teenie (Christina) and Lionel retired and continued life in the quiet town of Milton.  Their son Leo and his family settled in the district and were of great support to them in their later years.  Then in 1982 Lionel became very ill and passed away on the 10 February 1982.  Teenie continued to live on her own in their family home. Then on a sunny morning, two years later on the 15 April, 1984 while sweeping her front path she passed away at the age of 82.  As I reflect, on her life and all that she had experienced am glad that I have been able to share a little of her story. 


  1. Thanks to GeneaBloggers, I found both your blogs and am looking forward to following. I love how you are focusing on documenting the details of these women ancestors' lives.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I hope you enjoy the stories to follow.

  2. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

    1. thank you. time is the element isn't it. I have so many stories to tell, just need the time to put them on to paper.

  3. Thank you, I look forward to reading other blogs and sharing my stories