Whispers of a Lifetime, Margaret Lee (Peggy)

Peggy was born at the Governor Phillip Hospital in Penrith and grew up in St Marys, where she lived for most of her life. She fondly remembers her childhood spent in a close knit community where everyone knew each other, and playing with friends on the street outside her home. “As kids, we loved to lay on the grass and look up at the clouds, and make up what we thought it looked like,” said Peggy.

Another childhood memory, Peggy recalled laughing, was when her mum gave her money for the church box, but she ended up spending it all at the Milk Bar instead. She only confessed this to her mum when she was in her thirties, much to everyone’s amusement.

Tennis was another joy Peggy discovered in her youth, introduced to the sport by her mother and auntie who played often. “I played when I was about 14 or 15. I loved playing tennis but wasn’t quite good enough to play professionally,” she said.

At eighteen, Peggy met Mick, a charming young man, at a local café. “I loved his blue eyes,” she said with a smile. Their connection was instant. They were engaged within three months and married three years later, before raising their family. “Having my four children, three boys and a girl - was a wonderful blessing,” Peggy says with a gentle smile. Each of her children has grown up to be strong and determined in their own ways.

Peggy laughs as she recalls her children calling her mother Noon, instead of Nanna, copying a cousin who couldn’t say it properly - and how they learnt to swim together. “Mum used a car tyre tube to keep afloat but was always scared it would burst, so knew it was time to learn. My children had fun learning to swim with their grandmother,” she recalled fondly.

Peggy held various jobs throughout her life. She worked in a government job handling repatriation, where she met the famous Australian actor Chips Rafferty. “He was very lovely,” she said, reminiscing. She also worked in a shoe shop and as a waitress in a café, though the shoe shop was her favourite. Later, she became a cleaner, a job she appreciated for the people she worked with.

In her late fifties, things got difficult after Peggy suffered a stroke, which is when she came to live at SummitCare St Marys. But Peggy stayed strong and found enjoyment in activities like bingo, quizzes, and talking with other people living at SummitCare.

Peggy also talks about what’s important to her in life, like communication and compromise in marriage. She relies on her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness for strength and comfort, especially when things are hard.

Looking at the world around her, Peggy feels a mix of worry and hope. “The world is changing, and not always in a good way,” she says with concern. But she encourages the younger generation to explore and connect with others, despite the challenges they may face.

Peggy’s life has been filled with love and laughter, as well as life’s ups and downs. But it can best be summed up by her son, Shane, describing his mum Peggy as, “the best thing that has happened to my life”.

Peggy finished by saying, “I’ve just found out I’m going to be a great-grandmother. I’m so happy and so proud,” with absolute joy, she continued, “Life is wonderful.”

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