Jeanine’s love for her family shines through in the daily texts she sends on the family chat, greeting everyone with a heartfelt “Good morning, everyone” accompanied by a cheerful giraffe and a thumbs-up emoji. As we celebrated Jeanine’s 89th birthday on June 26th, she was joined by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild in honouring her remarkable life.
Jeanine’s childhood began in Gundagai. Being one of ten children, her grandparents kindly offered their support and she lived with them until the age of nine. When her parents moved to Cabramatta, the entire family was able to be reunited.
Jeanine attended Cabramatta Primary School and later Liverpool High School. An interesting detail about her school days is that she would ride a horse named Blackvest, covering a distance of five miles every day. Jeanine also recalls a humorous incident when she and her friends had to walk a very long way to attend a dance. They were offered and then declined a lift from a band member, unaware of his fame. Her parents’ wise parenting skills surely earned them top marks for not getting into cars with strangers!
In 1959, Jeanine married her beloved Peter Metcalfe. The following year, they welcomed their first child. Over the years, their family expanded with the addition of two more children, it was a common occurrence to have three children in the 1960s. Jeanine’s dedication to her family and the joy of being a mother became the central focus of her life. Jeanine has had the pleasure of witnessing numerous family weddings and celebrations, considering her large family of ten siblings. She is now a proud grandmother to six grandchildren and one of the proudest moments of her life was the recent birth of her first great-grandchild.
While raising her children, Jeanine pursued various jobs. She worked in a restaurant in Parramatta for two years before taking up a position just a street away, manufacturing plastic raincoats. For an impressive 14years, she skilfully crafted raincoats in Cabramatta, protecting countless children from the rain. Later on, Jeanine transitioned into the role of a devoted stay-at home mother, dedicating herself to her family’s wellbeing.
Although Jeanine’s travels have been limited to Australia, she has had the opportunity to explore various destinations within the country. She embarked on a memorable bus journey to Queensland and Darwin, allowing her to experience the beauty and diversity of these regions. On another occasion, she visited the vibrant city of Melbourne, soaking in its unique culture and sights. Jeanine’s fear of flying has prevented her from venturing overseas.
A few moments stand out as particularly funny and memorable. One day, her husband embarked on a trip to the shop to buy cigarettes, only to return with a dummy meant for a crying baby. This unexpected purchase brought tears of laughter.
Jeanine has witnessed significant changes in the world throughout her lifetime. One particular change that stands out for her is the advent of television. The introduction of television transformed her life, and Jeanine cannot imagine living without it now. For her, television serves as a vital link to the outside world, bringing news, entertainment, and connection into her home.
Advice for Younger Generations
Reflecting on her experiences, Jeanine imparts wisdom to younger generations. She emphasises the importance of “Listen to your parents and don’t forget about them when you’re grown up!”