Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Phyllis Myrtle Lester

Grandfather Ambrose Walker
and Phyllis Walker
Phyllis Walker

Phyllis Myrtle Walker was born at Yallourn, Victoria, Australia on the 14th December 1926.  She is the eldest child of Gordon and Rita Walker.

I would visit Aunty Phyll every time that I went through Moe and she would always make me (and the family) feel welcome.  Many of the Walker photos and items that I have today were from Aunty Phyll's estate.  We would often discuss family history when I went to visit, but for some reason I never found out where or when she married Uncle Frank Lester.

Phyllis Lester

Memories of Aunty Phyllis:

  • I always loved her garden.  There was a huge tree in the backyard.  There was lots of ivy and ground cover.  It had an enchanted "fairy garden" feel to it.
  • When we were kids, they had a dog that they would feed chocolate bars to!  I think it was a collie.
  • Visiting Aunty Phyllis was like visiting a museum!  Her house was full of interesting antiques and family memorabilia.  
  • I always loved the family pictures on the wall (two of which I now own).
  • When Aunty Phyllis and Uncle Frank danced, it was like watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!  They didn't dance, they glided!  Beautiful and mesmerising!
  • Aunty Phyll would always have a tablecloth on the table and there was always tea and cake/cookies, served formally with sugar bowl, milk jug, cup and saucer and little plates.
  • She was very involved in the community.  She did a lot at the Moe Historical Society (note to self:  I really need to visit it) and for the anti-cancer (as Uncle Frank died from cancer).
  • Cousin, Bob Walker (background)
    Father, Gordon Walker
    Phyllis Walker
    Stratford  Dec 1976
  • She hated that I was a smoker and would remind me that Uncle Frank had died from cancer. She would be proud that I have finally given up!
  • Aunty Phyll was a lady, she always seemed very prim and proper but when she got together with her sisters and brothers she was a real character.
  • When making a speech at my father's 50th, she had written notes on the back of a coaster, which she was holding for the entire speech.  Little did she realise that the coaster said "on tap" and she was holding it at her chest all speech! 
  • We visited Aunty Phyllis in hospital not long before she died.  We knew that we were there to say good bye.  I was amazed at her strength and character. She was always a lady, polite, attentive and smiling.  She was ready to go and to be with Uncle Frank.
Feb 2008 - Tasmania
Cousins - Bob and Phyllis Walker

Aunty Phyllis died 27th May 2008.  She had arranged her own funeral, which was one of the best funerals that I have attended (Is it bad to say that?).  It was like Aunty Phyllis was speaking to us from beyond and it really was a celebration of the things that were important to her.  At the end of the funeral, the Can Can was played, which is up-beat and not a song that is normally played at a funeral. Someone behind me, commented "that is not appropriate".  However,  I thought it was totally perfect and it made me smile and cry at the same time.  The Walker girls would often dance the Can Can together after a few drinks so it was the perfect finale!

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  1. Interesting memories. I always thought chocolate was toxic to dogs. I think its great that she had the kind of funeral she wanted.

    1. This dog lived for a long long time! Maybe it is primarily the dark chocolate?

  2. I love that she wanted the can-can played at her funeral. She wanted people to dance, to remember her with joy! That's a beautiful thing.

    1. It brought tears (and laughter) to those who knew her!

  3. I love people like Aunt Phyll - refined yet not afraid to cut up and be herself. The Can Can - priceless! Funerals should be a celebration of life, not a dreary or scary event like one I attended in which the preacher kept reminding people of the importance of being saved NOW before it's too late. Good grief!

    1. You have described her so well! Yes she was refined but also knew how to have fun!