This week I attended a memorial service for an old family friend. It was well attended and full of joy and praise for a woman who had connected with hundreds of lives over an 80 year lifetime. Her last years were difficult as are the last years of many older people, but she had put enough scores on the board in her previous years to more than compensate. She was the ultimate multi tasker, mad as a hatter, trying to improve the world according to her laws of justice based on fighting for the underdog and fearless in her opposition to exploitation whenever she saw it.
In my mind she has been Mrs Teapot for many years, because hospitality and connection to people came ahead of business always. Hospitality included carrying a tray of china for a tea party down through ti tree scrub and across 4 lanes of highway to the beach complete with tablecloth or doilies for her guests who visited in the summertime. If it took 2 or 3 trips to get everything down to the beach, she just did it, scones, butter, cream, milk and sugar and cordial for the children and all with joyful satisfaction in being able to provide the best hospitality. Her endless energy just kept everybody else around her moving too.
She made no differentiation between animals and humans and chatted to them all, and when her cat Lindy died at 23 years of age she felt it was important to notify all those who had ever known Lindy so that they could share their grieving. A cat living with an outgoing person like her could meet a lot of people in 23 years!
Her life was as an educator, and she was of the old school variety which found strength and something positive and interesting in every human to build upon. She worked and raised 4 young men who have gone on to lead competent and fulfilling lives and did it all without the benefits of government handouts and without compromising family life.
I’ve been a bit stuck lately, feeling a bit like a congested whirlpool outside the mainstream, in a world that is streaming past at a great and unconscious rate. My world has been revolving around political agitation and every day there is more to depress and alarm me about our current situation.
I went to the bakery the other day and was deeply impressed with the cheerfulness of the girl who served me. On asking her about her upbeat state she told me that serving was her job and she would make the most of it because no one cares if you have a bad day but you can spread happiness by being cheerful. Well Mrs Teapot would have agreed with her about spreading happiness and doing what you can with what you’ve got but if you can’t care about someone when they are down, especially all the ones who need our help then no amount of fairy dust is going to stop those bad things happening.
Mrs Teapot was a doer and a fighter who listened and then tried to put people in connection with their own points of strength. That a woman of 80, who has been out of circulation with ill health for 5 years, can still fill a church upon her death is a testament to the strength of human connection and service of others. In this week of International Women’s Day we recognise the grass roots work of ordinary women doing and doing. Hers was a lifetime of teaching , by examples of common sense kindness and fairness and recognising the hope in everyone she met. She was a roll up your sleeves person and just do what you can with love, sandwiches and endless cups of tea and washing up with others or alone. Blessed are the weird and energetic and God bless Marjie. It’s been an honour to be connected to your story.