Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mary Olive Duncan 1931-1997

Mary cuts her 21st cake
Today my Aunty Mary would be 83 years old. The youngest of the five Duncan girls from Cobar she died aged 66 in 1997. My Mum the eldest of the five is the only sister still surviving - longevity is a game of chance.

One of my earliest memories of Mary is at her 21st birthday party held at the Masonic Hall in Kensington. and I also remember the day when she married Laurence Wellesley Jackson, a musician,  in  1957.  After Mary separated from Laurie she began a relationship with Noel Tate that lasted until her death. I remember Aunty Mary as being a fun-loving and generous woman who loved her nieces and nephews and their children.

During her time with Laurie and her early years with Noel Mary had an ongoing battle with alcohol. Eventually she joined Alcoholics Anonymous and managed to remain sober until her death due to the strength she gained from membership of this organisation coupled with her determination.

We younger members of the family heard rumours that Mary had borne some children but were kept in the dark about this. My cousins and I think that Mary had two or three children who were either adopted or fostered out. I seem to remember being told about a new little cousin born at The War Memorial Hospital Waverley probably in the late 1950s and then not hearing anything further on the matter.

Mary aged 4 in Cobar
I was surprised to learn at Mary's funeral in 1997 that her son was in attendance (I had wondered who the young man in the front pew was). This was quite a bombshell. Apparently he had made contact with Mary and had been visiting her for a while.

My mother offered this young man, Tim Jackson, who lived on the Central Coast a lift in my car part of the way home from the funeral. I chatted with Tim on the long drive from Jamberoo and realised after I dropped him off at Epping Railway Station that I didn't ask him for his contact details.  Tim had told us that he also had a sister, Susan.

I have thought long and hard about writing about living people in this post but Mary's children are my first cousins and I want them to be able to find me if ever they decide they need to have contact with  members of their birth family. I have quite a number of photos of Mary and her family that I would love to share with her children. I hope that some day they do a Google search for Mary's name and contact me.


Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

I think your search is discreet enough it's unlikely others will know who's being referred to, except the individuals concerned. I do hope you hear from them one day - they now know the door is open and they are welcome.

Celia Lewis said...

Lovely photos and respectful write-up, Jill.
Those photos should certainly catch a cousin's heart, eh? Beautiful. Here's hoping....
- Celia

Sharon said...

Very well written Jill.

I hope that they contact you.

Mary is beautiful.


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