AUDIENCE: People who like to read biographies.

PURPOSE: To inform people of what life for the less fortunate can be like.

Being one of seven children and being left by both parents had a huge impact on the way my motherís life has unfolded.

In her early years, before the age of five, she was one of seven children running wild in the streets of Broadmeadows. Her father was in the military and was not home very much. Her mother, now she canít really remember to much about her, however she can remember the abuse and neglect that was dealt out in her first years of life. She has many reminders of those days, she has a burn on top of her right arm that was caused by hot water spilling over her. She also had stitches in the back of her head after a bad fall. She was stealing from the local supermarket, to this day she doesnít really know how she got away with it maybe no one thought a five-year-old would do such a thing. She was constantly in trouble in one way or another.
One day during her first year at school all of her family came home for lunch only to find a neighbour waiting to tell them they were not allowed to go into their own home, this did not make much sense to her at the time. She later found out her mother had separated from her father and had taken up with a man with criminal record. He skipped bail taking her mother with him; she sold everything of any value to neighbours the night before. The money from this was their way to escape. They ran off leaving seven children from the ages of 15 months to 11 years, she never saw of heard from her again until after she was married. The police became involved and they became wards of the state. They were then all taken to Alambi a place for temporary care, they were there for about 4 months. During this time she was very sick and was sent to Fairfield infectious disease hospital with scarlet fever. Soon after this her older two brothers were sent to Burwood boys home and the rest of them went to East Camberwell Salvation Army childrenís home. She stayed at that childrenís home for about 3 years, they were all well provided for. The people who looked after them took a special interest in her family and tried to keep them together as much as possible, they even kept them in touch with their older brothers in the boyís home. They were then shifted to cottages at Box Hill, which was again run by the Salvation Army. They were put into a family situation with two cottage parents Graham and Barbara Coward, they were now a family of 12. Whilst in their care she went to Sunday school and two services every Sunday, she was in the Junior Soldiers, singing company, timberals and what ever else was available to her at the time. At fifteen she committed herself to become a senior soldier of her church. She basically had a lot to thank god for then, only she didnít know how much. Over the years she found that some of her friends were less fortunate than herself, one girl Donna fell pregnant at 14 and another girl she knew ended up in prison.
At sixteen she met Garry who was from a caring Salvation Army family. They were married two years later and soon followed their first child Kristy-lee. This was her first real sense of security. Their own home, someone who loved her and of course her child. She thought she had it all, many times she was told she was too young to get married and that she was getting married for all the wrong reasons, but the more they told her the more determined she became. They are still happily married today 17 yrs later.
This determination seemed to drive her in everything she did. Her first job was a machinist in a factory. After seven years she became a shop assistant and worked