I’ve written about my life growing up on Mumby Farm, my primary school years, boarding school but nothing about our three children. So I thought I should remedy that.
Bob and I were married on 22nd December 1973 at St Lawrence’s Catholic Church in Bluff Point, Geraldton. We started our married life in a little 3 bedroom house in Rangeway. Dad called it a dolls house, but it was just right for us.
Then just about exactly 12 months to the day, our firstborn daughter Helen Elizabeth arrived on the 7th December 1973. Helen was the first girl born into the MacKay family for 21 years. We had Bob’s uncle, Jock (Jannetas) living with us at the time, he was in his 70s and his one wish was to see Bob’s first child born before he died which wasn’t to be for another 20 years and he actually got to see all three of our children born.
Helen was named after my school friend and bridesmaid, Elizabeth Helena. When she was first born, mum came down and spent the first week with me after I came out of the hospital and she went home in time to prepare for us to go to the farm for Christmas. On Christmas morning, I remember mum coming into the bedroom and telling me that Darwin had been wiped off the map when Cyclone Tracey had come through and destroyed the town.
Melissa Jane was born on 19th June 1976. She is named after a character named Melissa Jane on one of those radio serials we used to listen to a lot in the 1970s. It must have been a very busy time for us as there are no photos of Bob and me with Melissa when she was first born. As it was mid-June, Bob had taken holidays from his work at Jennings Mining in Narngulu and was helping his brother Angus with the seeding. Although he had taken time off to be there for her birth and to bring me home, however, it was Mum who came down and spent another week with me, while I settled in at home. Melissa was only 6 months old when we sold our house and went to live with my Grandmother (Nanna Cripps) in a flat at her house, while we waited for our new house to be built.
Then on the 1st November 1979, our son Peter Robert was born. Peter is named after my brother and his second name after his father. I’ll never forget the look on Bob’s face when he knew he had a son. We never found out what our babies were before they were born, it wasn’t really something that was commonly done or could be done for that matter and regardless, we were happy no matter what their gender. The girls were born at the Geraldton Regional Hospital, however, I had Peter at St John of God Hospital. This time Bob was home and had taken some time off work, so Mum didn’t come down to help me settle in. With three little ones now to look after, life was about to get extremely busy.
Helen was at pre-school by this time and I got to take Peter down to the Waggrakine school so that she could show off her new brother for news.