This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write and give, but I feel blessed to have been given the privilege.
What a huge honour it is to be here today to pay tribute to my mum. To me she was Dame Patty, and to each and every one of you she was your beloved Mum, Mama, sister in law, Aunty Pat, and true friend. Mum had the capacity to hold each of us in a special spot in her heart. In all of us and in our children in turn, mum would find a connection, be it a sense of humour, an arty skill, a great way with words, a quirky spirit or just plain simple love, she managed to embrace us all and to make each of us feel unique and loved. The biggest spot in Mum’s heart was for dad.. Her Jim... their love was truly eternal. Through all life’s ups and downs they remained in love and fully committed to each other.
Mum was irrepressible, dynamic, cheeky, full of love, gratitude, and spirit. Never one to mince her words, you always knew where you stood with Patty, especially if she was chasing you up the hall with the feather duster.
Mum and dad together were a loving but formidable force. How else could they have survived raising nine wonderful unique and diverse children, and in turn helping to raise their grandchildren as well. Not only were they busy raising us, they also cared for mums mum Myrtle Ivy who had a massive stroke while they were on their honeymoon. Our home was an open home. At times it would swell in numbers. When mum lost her dear brother John in an accident our darling Aunty Maureen and our six cousins came to stay. Other times we would visit the cousins and as the packing up commenced we might smuggle one or two of them into the station wagon,safely hidden in the back under a blanket... often the giggles gave us away but mum and dad took it all in good spirit. Our families have a close bond and respect that has never wavered. Country cousins and friends would also come and stay for a while .....there was always room at the Goodlet table.
Family came first, but Patty truly embraced the people of Apollo Bay. Whether it was at CWA, the Catholic Ladies Guild or out for lunch, I’m sure Mum always had something to add. As a family we are very grateful for the care and love she received at Apollo Bay hostel and hospital. I’m sure she told you each of you were beautiful: especially her Sean who became a bit of a favourite. I was told with that raised pointed finger to stay well away from her Sean!
Mums mothering style was a tad unconventional. Our biggest fear was being sent to the Burwood boys home. When Mum had had enough she would pick up the phone: “Sergeant Walrus, is that you? Pat Goodlet here!
Yes, it’s three of them this time.
How soon can you come to collect them?”
We would cry and beg for clemency, and then the hand would be held up. “I’m sorry for wasting your time, Sergeant Walrus. They seem quite repentant........yes, yes I have your number.
Goodbye for now!”
Hollywood missed out on quite a star!
Mum loved a party and would regale us with stories of dances and balls. Uncle John was a major VFL player so they would get invited to some excellent parties... sometimes they’d all drop in late and get mum and dad out of bed and drag them to the lounge room where mum was known to sit on Jock Spencer’s knee. She always enjoyed the attentions of a handsome man. Sometimes they’d even drag Patty back out on the town while dad went back to bed for a much needed sleep.. some would have seen that as very unconventional behaviour, but incredible trust and love was the cornerstone of their relationship... Of course late night partying while breastfeeding caused a bit of a dilemma. The perfect solution was to pop home at one in the morning, pick up the Bub that needed a feed, head back to the party and then pop you under the table in your bassinet! Not the only time one of us has finished a party under the table!
Mum had a very refined phone manner, especially during our years at East Ivanhoe. To maintain some sense of order, with that many kids Patty would occasionally resort to screeching, a sound that stopped us dead in our tracks. Sometimes mid screech the phone would ring and mum would pick it up...hold her hand up for quiet and in her best Mrs Bouquet voice would answer...Hello Patricia Goodlet speaking. It was always important to keep up appearances.
Appearance wise mum always like to adopt new styles, whether it was the muumuu, the caftan or the fabulous dress that she had tailored for her mother of the brides outfit for Jill and Tonys wedding.
Her hairstyles also chopped and changed and at times caused her great consternation. I remember an unfortunate do in the 70s. On arriving home from school we were greeted with a mother with hair that was tightly clipped at the sides and a tight curly bouffant on top... it was not her best look... poor mum was quite distressed and it was hard to convince her it looked good... she kept checking the mirror horrified of what dad would think.... The poor man walked in the door and didn’t say anything at first... it was almost like he was trying to avoid looking straight at the travesty... Mum marched up to him and demanded..well Jim what do you think of my hair?? I’m sure if he’d had time to prepare himself he would not of replied “You look like a chook” Not the wisest reply, he was lucky to escape with his life... though in his defence at the time I did have a pair of chooks with very impressive topknots.
Dogs loved Mum, and over many visits Mum grew to love our Thelma Louise. That was until the fateful afternoon when we were sitting around the lounge room: Mum, David, Janey, Trish and I, whilst dad busily stacked the dishwasher. Mum called out and told him to hurry up and keep the noise down. Thelma Louise, who was sitting on my knee, suddenly piped up with: “oh for Gods sake, just shut up, Pat!” For once mum was speechless! The girls nearly choked on their champagne, and poor dad was leaning on the bench top with tears of laughter running down his face: “oh gawd Pat, even the dog is telling you to shut up!!”
Dad loved his dog Rusty. One day as dad headed off to golf mum noticed that Rusty, was out on the street. She dutifully brought him inside, fed him, and popped him in his basket. Dad came home from the 19th hole, and mum greeted him with “I’m worried about Rusty, he doesn’t look quite himself”. To which Dad replied, “that’s because it’s not our bloody dog!” They did keep each other amused!
We are all going to miss her terribly. ...Most of all I will miss my chats with mum....Unless Patty was off out to lunch or Sister Margaret was coming around with communion, she always had time for a chat. We’d cover the kids, David, Thelma Louise, the odd inappropriate joke and sometimes the entire storyline of the latest movie she’d seen. If life wasn’t that great for you at the time, mum would pick it up in your voice. The kindness as she enquired “ what’s the matter darling?” Would quickly be your undoing. My big hope is if anyone can work out how to make a direct call from heaven it will be mum..
In summing up, mum was a warm, witty, irrepressible woman. If she loved you, you knew it. If she didn’t, then she probably didn’t hide that too well either. She had a generosity of spirit, and the capacity to feed multitudes. Family meals were always fabulous and eventful. My mum was truly a character and lived the life she wanted to live surrounded by her family and friends. We will miss her every day.
It is a huge help to us all to know that she is at last reunited with her true love Jim.
If we weren’t in a church, I’d say “let’s raise a to toast to the Patty we love.
Oh what the hell,
let’s be upstanding.
Here’s to you, Dame Patty! We love you.
I wrote this little poem in the early hours of the morning after a huge day celebrating the life of our mum. After a good hour looking at a beautiful star filled sky and having a chat with mum I composed these few words
Don’t leave me mum
I am not ready
I may be grown
But I’m not complete
I crave your love
your words so true
For who else will ever love me so
I crave your love
Do not let me go
For only ever will I have one mum
Don’t leave me now I’ll come undone.
Stop the clocks and turn back time
Just hold me close just one more time
I’m blessed that you were mine
And I was yours
My heart breaks that our time is done
But forever I’ll be your loving son
Give a huge hug to my darling dad
For you we’re happy
For us we’re sad
You made a family
And held us together
You know we’re blessed
to love you forever
And in my smiles and in my love
I’ll live on in you and share your love
Be at peace my darling mum
I’m not quite ready
I am undone