by F and B Lenane
Our Mum, Dora Victoria Lenane, was born in June on 7th April 1919, making her 94 years young. Dora’s many friends knew her by name, but her very large family always knew her simply as Mum or Nana.
Neither name reflects the amazing energy and joy of life that Mum brought to all around her. I can’t tell you the number of people who would always ask what she was taking! I can tell you today that her simple secret was, she loved life, and she loved people. In fact Mum was selfless. It was never about her, and only ever about whom she was with at the time — family, friends, members of the bowls club, the historical society, and the local gym, to mention a few.
Mum grew up in the St George area in a blended family of 10 children. She was particularly close to her brothers Basil, Clem, and Allan. Her own mother was the centre of her world and they were more than mother & daughter, they were great friends. Our grandmother Ann was the glue that bound her family together, and as time has passed, that is how our Mum has become to her extended family. She did a great job in this role and we have all benefited from the love & support she has always given us.
Mum left school early and went to work at Clooney’s clothing factory as a seamstress. She met her lifelong friends, Jean Conden, and Jean Healey about that time. They both became our Aunty Jean’s, for the rest of their lives.
Mum was also a scout mistress when her younger brothers were in the cubs & scouts. In the war years she was in the VAD helping the nurses. Unlike the girls of her time, Mum learned to drive and was still doing so until last year. Mum loved driving! She always made regular trips to and from Drummoyne, Rockdale, Turramurra, Turrella, & Castle Hill to visit us all.
Mum met and married our father Vince, a young man from Goulburn, who had been in the army during the war. They shared a great love of ball-room dancing. Sadly Vince passed away when Patricia was only 11 months old. Mum was left to raise two children in difficult times. She gained strength & support from many different avenues – in particular from her brothers. They were great role models and helped enormously with house repairs, painting, or car repairs. Our Uncle Allan spent a huge amount of time with us all.
He visited several times a week, particularly on a Saturday at lunch time, to make sure we were up to date with world championship wrestling, and taught us all the moves too. He also took us all away on camping trips, and has been at every significant event in our lives.
Mum went back to work when Patricia was 3 years old, first in clothing manufacturing, and later as an office Manager at Green Cabs. She stayed in this position for many years, and the directors & staff treated her like family. I think they admired this woman who was raising two children by herself, and driving from Annandale to Rushcutters Bay every day. When we were older and not in need of babysitting, Mum even decided to drive cabs on the weekend when the company were short staffed. She even worked at our shop, helping out for many years.
Mum took herself off to night school to learn woodwork, in order to be able to do more repair work around the house. It was nothing to come home from the beach, to find her on the roof of the house at Annandale, doing a bit of patchwork to the iron roof! You might also find all the furniture re-arranged whilst you were out, without anyone helping her.
Mum was a member of the Leichardt Bowling Club and was playing (although not frequently) until the end of last year. She also joined the historical society at Rockdale, and was an active member until recently.
Mum joined Five Dock Leisure Centre a couple of years ago, as part of a government initiative “living longer —livings stronger”, and was featured in the local paper as the cover girl – for this endeavour.
Her very proud achievement was being a volunteer at the Sydney Olympics, where she had the role of driving dignitaries around to different venues — she was 81 years old at that time!!
Mum had a continued association with the 2nd – 3rd Field Regiment that our Dad served in. She went to great lengths to keep the Anzac Day March tradition alive. When very few members of the Regiment remained, Mum started enlisting her grandchildren, and then marching with them, so the Regiment would still be acknowledged.
Mum is best known to her friends as the chief organiser of “theatre parties”. She loved bringing people from her different groups together, at least twice a year, to watch the latest musicals to hit Sydney Ticketek will miss the 40 people she would book for.
One of the things Mum would like this day to be, is a celebration of a life well lived. She was a party person who loved getting together with her family, listening to music, and dancing, and we feel sure that she is now dancing with our Dad in Heaven. Rest in Peace Mum — we will love you forever.
This article was first published in the June 2013 edition of our magazine.
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