Gwen Aspinall - Words of Wisdom
This week we caught up with Mrs Aspinall, “I’m a busy little bee and I have a great love of animals.”
Name: Gwen Aspinall
Where and when were you born? Croydon NSW, 1946
What are the most important lessons you've learned in life? I was always taught to be kind, which is important, Dad used to tell me if a jobs worth doing, its worth doing properly (which drives some people bonkers) *laughs* and my hubby always says, you want everything done yesterday! To learn to be considerate of others, not everyone can do things as quickly as you can, and to be respectful- that was always drummed into us at home.
What’s the secret to a happy marriage? Give and take, you have to be considerate of others.
What big world events were the most memorable while you were growing up? Man landing on the moon, that was very, very exciting listening to those words when he first landed. I was at work listening on the radio, there wasn’t a great deal of work getting done because we were all listening intently because we knew he was going to land any minute and he was going to step out of the module. We were all cheering and very excited, nobody could believe it, we actually had a man on the moon. One of the things growing up that your parents used to say to you was ‘Look, there’s a man on the moon’ in the shape of the moon you could see a face, when you were upset they would tell you to look up there- and then we actually had a man physically walking on the moon, it was incredible.
Although it’s not a world event, it still changed the world. When rock and roll was shunned upon, I was a teenager (1958-59) you had Elvis Presley, who would get on stage and because he wore tight clothes and wiggled his hips the older generation thought he was obscene. Because all of us teenagers thought he was fantastic and we absolutely idolised him, we weren’t always popular with our parents.
We used to love dancing, the actual dancing of rock and roll where you actually spun around, and your knickers would show was frowned upon, although they had these pants that had frills on them, so you weren’t actually seeing undies- you were showing nice clothes really. It changed the life of teenagers then.
What is your favourite childhood memory? It has got to be (we never had a car, so if we ever needed to go anywhere we took public transport)my dear old Ma (Grandma) who was 75 when I was born, her and her daughter used to take us into the city by bus to see all of the Christmas decorations in the city and all of the windows. I think it was Grace Brothers who had caves that you could go through with nursery rhyme scenes or characters of childhood books. We would then get to have lunch at this very exclusive place called ‘Carls’, we would have to sit up like young ladies. My other favourite memory is Boxing Day every year we would spend our holidays in Orange, we came on the train and if we had been particularly good Dad would say ‘If you’re really good tonight I will get you up early and we will go into Central and catch the train and you can watch them putting the coal into the fire to fire up the train.’
What were some of your hobbies growing up? Well because my parents were older, and very reserved, I wasn’t allowed to ride a push bike or play sports, because young ladies didn’t do that. As a kid I used to love colouring in and playing with my dolls. I also did a lot of sewing, my Ma taught me how to do embroidery.
What do you enjoy now? I’m the President at the Country Women’s Association, Millthorpe Branch. I spent nine years in the branch at Currajong, I’m a busy little bee, living here at Oak Tree I organise what people want to do and different activities, I busy myself with things like that. I go to a knitting and patchwork group, I love organising lunches with family, I love people, I couldn’t stay at home all day, I’m a people person. We also love to take the caravan out- we have been all around Australia, the most amazing place I’ve ever been to is actually standing, looking at Ayers Rock.
What life advice would you pass along to your grandchildren? I have nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. I would say always be considerate of others, just do your best, no one can ask anything more from you than your best, and as long as your happy with what you’ve done that’s what matters. If you’re in the wrong- apologise, it’s not always easy.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A nurse, I wasn’t given that opportunity, I came home from school in the school holidays in September, we had been dawdling, to be greeted by my mum telling me to hurry up and have a bath, I had a job interview. It had been discussed (me leaving school). I went to the job interview and got the job- it was in the sewing trade. I loved it, it was a great atmosphere working with about 18 women and one male.
What was your favourite job? In the food trade but in the retail side, because your dealing with people.
What are you most proud of? My four children, they have done a great job themselves, they all have great jobs and they are raising their children wonderfully.
Who is the person who influenced your life the most? Why? My Mum, Dad and Grandma, they were with me 24 hours a day, they had a great input in my life. If Mum and Dad went dancing, I’d stay with my grandma, we had just us time, she would show me how to sew or knit or even just listening to the radio. If I was upset or anything Ma would always sense it and she would try and distract me.
What was your favourite thing to do for fun? Dancing, ballroom or rock and roll dancing- I met my husband Ron at a dance.