Happy Birthday Mum !!

~~~~~~ “On the Occasion of Lorna’s 8Oth Birthday !!” ~~~~~~

Saturday 24th May 2008 – Elwood Beach House afternoon tea party

I have known this lady for quite a while now …. [51years lol]
When I first knew her she was six feet tall !! (my brothers and sister will agree!) As we all grew up and got taller Mum seemed to shrink down into this tasty little package you see before you today! [4’10"] But you know what? She seems even taller now in so many ways.
People say “Well the Grays are …. the Grays!” I’m not sure exactly what that entails but I do know the heart of it is this extraordinary person.
She is resilient, strong, uncompromising, always caring and forgiving, and always always there for us one hundred percent! We have been blessed to have her as a parent and grandparent – to both benefit from and take on and learn her many qualities and principles and we are doubly blessed to have a parent who as we have grown has also become a close friend!
You can always rely on my mum for her time friendship advice sometimes a good argument !!!! She’s always available to listen and will offer whatever help she can give. We are all blessed to have experienced this generosity of spirit through knowing mum and are so pleased to be here to celebrate together today

Happy Birthday Mum!

~ Heather Gray ~ [my big sister!]


A quick rundown on my Mum the most influential person in my life.
This woman was an artist at school who wanted to be a mechanic and a racing car driver – she still has an uncanny knack at hearing the motor’s off ping and knowing what is wrong and what should be done to fix it!
She was a leading ballerina in Australia’s leading Theatrical companies – Borivanski & National Theater – in the 1940’s & 50’s. The company toured all over the southern and eastern coast of Australia and also New Zealand and My mum was not adverse to standing up to the company to make it be performed Right! One patron – Dame Elizabeth Murdoch – still remembers her and smiles at the memory of “Such a good little dancer that one!” :O)
By day she was a bank clerk as well and good friend to many influential people who have gone on into big business in Melbourne and indeed making huge acting and dancing careers too! [Her best friend was the voice of Dr Who’s Dahlects!!! :O) “Exterminate!” lol :O)]

Marrying my father, who was an Opera singer in the same company and a fitter & turner by day, stopped her dancing and working – marriage did that in those days – and so she had us 5 children and became a hard working house mother and helper at kindergarten and school – mother’s club, canteen and school committee. She also fostered our love of scouts and theatre and assisted with costumes in both the local scout production – a thing she still does today – and in the school and various amateur productions we have been involved in over the years of our development.

Yet up until just before my birth she nursed her [100yo] grandmother and her 65yo mother until their deaths [just 3 weeks apart]. And then nursed her 75yo father until his death when I was 8. When I was 10, my mother suffered a humiliating break-up and divorce yet during the break up, with no help from any one but one pair of friends, she still kept us children fed sheltered and ignorant of the trauma. At the same time during this break up she also nursed my father’s mother until she was hospitalized and died with no help or thanks from my father or his family.

My sister went to teachers college my brother and I were in high school and my younger brothers in primary school and finally Mum went back to work. She had no knowledge left of where banking had gone, could not do ballet any more or teach it and so turned to her other skills – childcare and cooking. she ran a creche during the day at the local sports club – even looking after the children of prominent actors and politicians – Victoria’s one time controversial premier Jeff Kennett being one.
But by night she worked at a coffee lounge – “The Greenman” where entertainers began their careers – “The Seekers” folk group, Tommy Emanuel, Joe Dulchie “Shuddupper yer face” and many many more Australian artists have all begun, played or been seen at the Greenman Coffee Lounge in the 60’s 70’s & 80’s.
Mum moved on to Pizza deliveries and became Lady Lorna in Fitzroy St St.Kilda pizza shops of Topolinos and co. Finally we tried to keep her home with all our grandchildren needing her and eventually the need for one of her knees to be replaced ended her gallivanting about lol
But as I said she is still doing costumes for Camberwell Showtime [scout show] although she keeps saying “This year will be the last!” it never is :O) And last year [January 2007] I even took her on the Australian Scout Jamboree! A two week Camp with BP’s grandson and 10,000 teenagers! :O)

This lady has 5 children and 9 grand children. [I’ve tried to add to that with a few step children over the years! :O)] But the amount of people throughout the years all over Melbourne who have considered my mum as theirs or their friend or have just benefited from her work is immeasurable!

When I was little I just wanted to be a mum – like her.
I have spent my life trying to be like her and failing miserably
This tells me that :
- though I may want to do it all even more spectacularly … and I try and fail …
My mum just did it!

I raise my glass to my mother I know I will never be as good as her!
But I’ll still keep trying !

!!! B R A V O Lorna Edith Smart Gray B R A V O !!!

Happy Birthday Mum !!


Frankston, Australia

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Artist's Description

On the recent occasion of my mother’s 8Oth birthday My sister [the eldest of the mob] was the one to deliver the eulogy ….. er …. speech! :O)

I was having a hard time thinking of anything to mark this occasion and pay tribute to my mother and all she means to me to post in here as I have for my father. For me my mother is both my saviour and my antagonist. It was easy to encapsulate my father and I realise it is because I could … where as my mother is not so easy to put in a nutshell! I know her so much better and I have so much to love her for [and loads that has annoyed me!] Thankfully my sister’s speech said it all and I have asked her for a copy so I could post it in here and keep it for my own treasure!

I am my mother’s daughter in so many ways both irritating and honouring.
Where I want to be like my father I am …..
but I am who I am because my Mum loves me for whatever I am!

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