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A Life Well Travelled

Wednesday, 04 March 2020

How did a wee Scottish lass born in 1944 come to find herself knitting jumpers and more and loving life in Warwick, Queensland in 2019?

Rosemary Rasanen is that lass who journeyed to Australia by ship at seven years of age for what was meant to be a six-year stay. Her father was in the British Army and received a transfer to the Australian Army – it was certainly a very exciting time for the family. So, Rosemary with her mother, father, two sisters and one brother bid a fond farewell to their Celtic homeland.

They arrived in Port Melbourne and settled in Victoria but within 15 months of arriving Rosemary’s father had deserted the family.

“It was suggested to my mother that she put all of us children into foster care,” says Rosemary, “but mum wouldn’t hear of it. Her children were everything to her, but those times were certainly tough.”

Fast forward to 1966 when a now-married Rosemary moved to Queensland for the first time. Her husband was in the military, so she was not to call Brisbane home for long. There were several postings, including two years in Malaysia. There were also four children from the marriage that lasted 15 years.

Look ahead now to 1986 when Rosemary married Joni Rasanen. The pair met when Joni dated Rosemary’s younger sister for a very short time. Thirty-three years later in 2019, Rosemary and Joni find themselves still very happily married, living in Warwick and loving life.

“We lived in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast before calling Warwick home,” says Rosemary. “Joni was a carpenter by trade, so we moved as new work opportunities arose for him.” When the couple retired in Warwick, they did so with a house full of beautifully handcrafted timber furniture, built by Joni to perfectly suit their needs.

Rosemary retired shortly before Joni – a cook by trade she spent 40 years satisfying the appetites of many, including residents of nursing homes.

“As Head Cook, it was nothing for me to have to need to feed 300 people in one sitting,” says Rosemary. “People often wondered how I managed to cook so many meals – I said it was easy, I just put a bit more in the pot!”

Retirement for Rosemary and Joni was prompted by a series of family events, including Joni requiring a liver transplant in 2007.

“We had a lovely home in Warwick, but it was on a big corner block and it was just too much for us to manage, especially after Joni’s operation,” says Rosemary. “So, we made the best decision we’ve ever made and moved to a new, smaller home at Oak Tree Retirement Village Warwick — and in doing so, we have actually upgraded our life!”

“There’s nothing better than living amongst friends,” adds Rosemary.

A long-time knitter, Rosemary has joined the village craft group with the annual Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival in Warwick a real highlight of the year for her and the other craft group members.

“Our craft group generally creates a window display and last year we were awarded a Highly Commended and the year before that we won Second Prize!” says Rosemary

It seems Rosemary has plenty more to put in her ‘pot’ of life, and Joni too!

To find out more about Oak Tree Retirement Villages, call 1300 367 155.