With the help from two local organisations Bundaberg’s Terrie Smith has recollected her past to pen her first memoir, A Handful of Pennies.
Terrie, 77, retells the relationship between herself and her mother Vera, who was a stock drover at just 17 during World War II.
“My story is not the usual mother/daughter story, there are strong glimpses into an Australian woman’s life spanning from 1939 to 1978,” Terrie said.
“Vera, my mother, had a hard road to travel down.
“Her journey often left us, her children, to muddle on in her wake as best we could.
“She made decisions with the best of intentions I’m sure but – the big but, what did it mean for me?”
Because of this relationship, the great-grandmother said she had spent a lifetime feeling as though she didn't belong, until she moved to the Bundaberg Region in 1987.
“In 1987 my journey led me here to Bundaberg. I found home, and a place where I did belong,” Terrie said.
“In 2010, newly retired, I embarked on a three-year family history search.
“I knew so little. This led me to reflect on the relationship between my mother and myself which had not been the best. We had held each other at arm’s length.”
Terrie said a story began to stir within her, and it needed to be shared, so she reached out to the local writer’s groups.
“I joined the U3A Writer’s Workshop and later, the Bundaberg Writers Group,” she said.
“Seven years later and a lot of angst, I finally held a book in my hands. My book! Wow, I’d done it.
“My memoir, A Handful of Pennies weaves a tale of a mother’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Terrie said she was proud to finally tell her story, combining a “few jumbled memories”, her wonderful old black and white photos, and a couple of family legends.
“With these, I stitched together my memoir. Parts of the story might make you cry but most I hope, will make you laugh,” she said.
“I am seventy-seven but young at heart.
“This is my first book. I’m now scribbling away at a couple of children’s stories and dabbling in poetry.”
“My mother Vera is featured in their Unsung Heroes section,” she said.
“The Pioneer Women’s Museum, Alice Springs, has taken copies for their gift shop.”
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