Sadly in the last weeks, My family lost an important loving member, My beautiful grandmother.
My brother asked me to pen a few words for the service and today, after laying to rest my dear Nanna yesterday, I am sharing those words and a few images as a tribute to my biggest inspiration.
Joyce Valerie Oxley
21st September 1922- 16th January 2020
I have an internal glow when I think of the love I have for my Nan. A Queen within my heart and mind. She is a woman who shaped my sense of being.
Queen of Quality - in her style and presence, in her words and actions, she appeared to me almost regal. Although quiet and not one to want to be the centre of attention, she was a warm-hearted lady who always made one feel welcome.
Queen of Uniqueness- with a cultured adventurous outlook, I was fascinated by her living in inner city Surry Hills. For me, a child who grew up next to the sea, traveling to “the BIG SMOKE” was always a much-anticipated experience. The smells of the city, the variety of nationalities and the culture from which they came was before us, the city scape, colour and movement. Nan and Pop where instrumental in introducing me to the vibrancy and excitement that the city offered. A particularly helpful tip was her ability to shoo away beggars, with a hand up and a firm “No…….NO” as we would be negotiated around and through the highly populated city streets.
My Nan. My Queen, who raced both Micheal and I through the Royal Easter Show, to “avoid the crowds” , who would take us on day trips around the city to share its beauty and fun. Ice skating at Macquarie rink, Movies and Pancakes in George street, Ferry rides to Manly with ice cream on the peer. Meeting “halfway” for dinners in China town when I was living in Ultimo. Rummaging through the tables at Victoria’s Basement in the QVB for the nicest tablecloths we could find. I will hold these memories as treasured times and the happiest of experiences.
My Nan, My connection to my Dad, whom we lost so early. Her hugs were not only from her, but from him. There would never have been enough hugs, never enough time to share together. Her stories of Robert as a cheeky child and an enthusiastic young man, helped my heart deal with his absence.
She was there, when I needed a place to crash after a last night gig or when Tafe training ran late. She was there at Sydney airport with beaming excitement and absolute knowing, as I said goodbye to Australia to live abroad. The joy she had for travel absolutely enriched my passion for foreign ports. She was there to share the joy of all her Great Grandchildren. To watch their important milestones as they were ticked off. She was there to hold your hand, to share morning tea with fine china and sweet treats.
My Nan, in later times was forever an incredible inspiration. Still sharp and mobile even after her recovery from her accident in her early 90’s. Our lunch dates to the her local pub The Shakespeare would see her negotiating the uneven brickwork of the aging footpaths around John Northcott place and years of roadwork due to the light rail instillation in Devonshire street, the splayed out comatose alcoholics, homeless folk with full bedroom setups and paranoid addicts asking for change; skillfully without fuss or complaint.
As a child when I was asked who I was like in my family, I always proudly proclaimed “my Nanna Oxley”, as she was always smiling a happy smile and was a happy lady, despite the sadness that she endured during her life. She was strong of nature, a hard worker and proud of her family and their amazing achievements. Plus we also shared the same haircut for many years, which at the time was questionably funny because of our age difference and the fact that mine was natural and she went weekly to achieve the desired look.
I carry a piece of her every day and will remember always the importance and beauty of the Queen of my family.