Monday, 8 May 2017

Remembering My Mum


I want to celebrate Stella Violet Kinnear, my darling mum, on this coming Mother's Day. She is now with the Lord but still remains in my heart.

Did I receive my writing abilities from her? No. Stella was one of those active, on-the-go wives and mothers who didn't have all that much time for reading. But she soon realised I loved reading and encouraged me.

Her mother, Beatrice, was a real dreamer and always to be found with her nose in a book. Oh, yes many a time wisps of smoke came from the kitchen where a nice dinner was sacrificed to the arts. Thinking back, I wonder why my mum didn't resent that and make sure her daughter would follow a more practical turn of mind.

Stella was also an artist (from her father, Harrie Mackie Kinnear, a Scot.) It came to the fore when, during the Second World War with Dad in the RAAF, money was scarce. She actually made jewelry from bread! Beautiful little flowers coloured and baked in the oven. She also designed patterns for Patons Knitting Co and I was the recipient of lovely little jumpers, cardigans and hats. All this was enough to make a deposit on a small house in Oyster Bay.

By that time she'd become a savvy business woman and some years later she sent me to art school and began a ceramics studio in our backyard named Gymea Pottery. Dad cast various shapes of clay, and we two women decorated it with Aboriginal Art and Australian flowers and fauna. Then it was fired to the bisque state, glazed and fired again to 1,000 degrees Centigrade. It was a real hit with American business folk who were involved in the Kurnell Oil Refineries at the time. Many would come to buy and ask about the stories behind each piece. I loved telling those stories!

But similar to the book business today, the markets became flooded. How could we compete with cheap pottery from China? Never mind that it wasn't authentic Australian Art.  We closed up and gave the big kilns to Gymea Technical College. (They had the expense of hiring a crane and removing one of the walls.)
My darling mother was never able to read even one of my books, because she'd gone before they were published. That still hurts me, because in her later years, she too had taken up reading. But there's a lot of my life with her and Nan among the Aboriginal folk in my first book, Fire in the Rock. All changed of course in its fictional sense. And she would have loved my Victorian Trilogy, Signed Sealed Delivered, The Tie That Binds, & A Parcel of Promises.  I became aware my heroine's longing to find her mother is a part of my longing for my mum who has gone to be with her Lord.
Everything can change in a heartbeat is my brand.  And the logo is represented by the little open heart. 

At the moment I'm almost halfway on a third novel in a series - late 1800s where each of my heroines are searching for something,
1. Recognition and fame. 2. A husband.  3. Her voice.

That is such a truism in all our lives. We are all just one heartbeat away from changed circumstances whatever they happen to be - wonderful or tragic. 
Is there any one of you who have been estranged from your mother? Please dear ones, change that situation before you'll have to live with regrets for the rest of your life. Forgiveness comes from God.

 Do you have special memories of your mum?


  1. Thanks for sharing those memories of your mother, Rita. What a fascinating life she led!

    My mother was a reader, so that's one trait I've inherited!

    1. And what a reader you are, Iola! Mothers/grandmothers who encourage their children to read are truly giving them a wonderful gift.

  2. Hi Rita,
    What a lovely tribute to your mother. I love how artistry tends to go through family lines. Even though your mother wasn't such an avid reader as your grandmother, you've inherited both their loves for the literary and the artistic :) I love how your mother supported your passions and dreams. We can't ask for more in our parents.

    My mother encouraged me to read too, for which I've always been very grateful.

    1. Thanks Paula. I'd never thought of inheriting a different trait from each of them. And you certainly inherited both the reading aspect and the writing. Looking forward to your next one.

  3. Great post Rita! Mother's day can present a challange to many. A great reminder to administer forgiveness.
    Thank you for sharing a snippet of your precious Mum with us.

  4. Yes Di, often mothers & daughters don't get along because(though often not admitted) they're so much alike. But holding onto hurts only escalates the problem.

  5. Thanks for your post Rita. Some interesting stories about your mother and grandmother and what connects you. Both my parents were readers, though I probably take more after my dad than my mum, but I appreciate all her love and care over the years. It's good not to hold on to hurts or to allow them to form a barrier.

    1. Yes, Jeanette, they're very special people and I guess we all wish we could hold onto our mothers for a whole lot longer!

  6. What a beautiful post, Rita. I loved the way you described your Nan's preoccupation with the arts. '... many a time wisps of smoke came from the kitchen where a nice dinner was sacrificed to the arts.' But how grateful you must be for a mother who recognised your giftings, even though incongruent with her own interests, and ensured you were able to develop them. Wisdom and love.

  7. Thanks Adele. Yes those burnt sacrifices are part of my heritage.:)