by Kim Kelly
REFLECTIONS OF YOU
It’s the loveliest pleasure to introduce you to our next intrepid Reflector – Jannine Smith. Jannine is someone I met through my writing – she’s read all my stories – but I didn’t meet her face-to-face until the launch of my fourth novel, Paper Daisies, last year, at A Reader’s Heaven bookshop in Lithgow. She’d festooned the shop with a jaw-droppingly gorgeous display of flowers she’d made from old book pages. I’ll never forget it – I have a bunch of those ‘paper daisies’ sitting in my office.
But it’s Jannine’s bright, generous spirit that is most gorgeous of all. She’s one of those people you want to stand next to at the party, to listen to her wonderful stories, and just to be near her warmth.
So, here she is now answering our Big Seven questions on life and love – take it away, Jannine…
Who are you and where were you born?
My name is Jannine Smith. I was born in Waverly, New South Wales. I grew up in the Orange area and have called Lithgow home for almost 40 years.
What’s your most treasured childhood memory?
Memories of family times… My mum’s baked dinners on a Sunday and her ‘light as a feather’ sponges. My dad taking us for long drives on country back roads – we never knew where we would end up. Spending time with my grandparents, we always felt so loved… My grandmother Sylvia would take my sister and I to the horse races with her. It was such fun. She loved to dress up and wore beautiful hats. Visits to my other grandparents in Vaucluse –their house always seemed so big and from the front room you could see views of the Harbour Bridge – it was magical! Moving to Millthorpe as a teenager, our Dad bought an old pub and restored it to its former glory. To this day I cannot walk the streets of Millthorpe without feeling nostalgic and shedding a few tears. It will always hold a piece of my heart.
What does home mean for you?
Home to me is where I am surrounded by the ones I love and where family and friends will always feel welcome.
What makes you smile?
My granddaughters Betsy and Agnes – they are so entertaining and I love them to bits.
What was the hardest lesson you ever had to learn?
That I was stronger than I ever thought I could be. When I was pregnant with my first born child Daniel we discovered that he would be born with his brain exposed and may not even survive birth. As young parents, barely 20, we were in shock but somehow we coped. It was the other people in our lives who didn’t handle it all so well. And here we are 38 years later, Daniel survived, we had two more beautiful sons Luke and Jake, and our lives are rich with so many life experiences.
Who or what is the love of your life?
The love of my life is my husband Charlie. We have been through so much together. I love him more as each day passes. So glad he rode into my life all those years ago.
What does your past, your history and family heritage mean to you?
I am surrounded by pieces of my family history, constant reminders of who I am. The oak table in my kitchen where my family & friends gather was handmade by grandfather Bill in the 1920s. My kitchen cupboards and the cedar mirror in the hallway were made with love for me by my father. Memories of my grandfather Jack, another talented carpenter, come to me in the house he built – where my Mum lives now. My grandmother Margaret’s hand-knitted bed jacket. My grandmother Sylvia’s beautiful ‘fancy worked’ aprons. A tin of milliner’s tools belonging to my mother. All these things evoke stories of my parents and grandparents. They make me who I am and give me a sense of belonging.
Thank you so much for sharing these precious pieces of you, Jannine. And here is the woman herself larking about last Halloween – totally rocking it in orange! Always creative, always shining…