A tree falling in a storm made Pat Pierson see life very differently. It also resulted in her packing up her home of 59 years and returning to her birthplace. She says she couldn’t be happier with the change.
Born in Moss Vale, Pat Pierson grew up on a dairy farm in Kangaloon, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. The eldest of three children, she enjoyed an adventurous and carefree childhood. She spent her primary school years amidst friends at Kangaloon’s one-teacher school, and when it came time for high school she travelled daily by bus to Bowral.
Having achieved well and enjoyed school, Pat set her sights on becoming a teacher. After receiving her leaving certificate, she bid her family and fond farewell and moved to Sydney to attend teachers’ college.
It was a dramatic change, but Pat loved it and thrived there. She returned to visit her family as often as she could and looked forward to her first posting after graduating, which she expected would send her back to the country.
“I laughed with the posting came,” says Pat. “I was sent to Wollongong, one of my friends got Newcastle, and the rest got Sydney. They were hardly country postings!”
Nevertheless, Pat loved her new role as a teacher and spent two years in Wollongong. At the same time, she also started to see a long-time family friend and handsome young man by the name of Ron Pierson through different eyes.
“I’d known Ron all my life and if anyone had suggested to me when I was young that I would marry him one day, I would have run a mile,” says Pat. “But I did – marry him, that is!”
After the wedding Pat and Ron settled in northern Sydney, first in Seaforth and later in Forestville, where they lived for 59 years.
“It was a wonderful life,” says Pat. “Ron worked as an engineer and his job required him to travel away from home reasonably often, but that was just the way it was.”
“We raised a family of our own – three boys and a girl – and when the youngest started school I went back to teaching. I worked in lots of different schools in special education and I absolutely loved it.”
“We went on lots of camping holidays, Newnes campground by the Wolgan River in Wollemi National Park was a favourite place for us.”
“Later, when the children had grown, Ron and I bought a camper trailer and we continued to travel to places on the east coast. We did have plans to go around Australia, but when Ron retired he took up lawn bowls and we were so busy we couldn’t find the time to fit our around-Australia trip in!”
“When I retired, Ron encouraged me to take up bowls too. I eventually did, very reluctantly, and I fell in love with it. I should have listened to Ron and done it much sooner.”
Ron passed away in 2016 and Pat’s life changed. She continued to keep busy, not just with the bowls, she held the position of secretary for a disability organisation – it was a role she had held since the organisation was established many years earlier. She had her friends and her family too, including her much-loved grandchildren.
However, after arriving home one day to discover that one of the big trees in her garden had fallen in a savage storm and caused damage to her neighbour’s property, she decided she’d had enough.
“Seeing my neighbour so shocked and upset by the damage really got to me,” says Pat. “I decided to sell and find somewhere to live that meant I wouldn’t have to worry about a thing.”
“I first came across the Oak Tree name one time I was visiting my daughter. Not too long after that, I came across it again and saw they were opening in Moss Vale. So, I looked into it, and I loved what I saw.”
“Some think that leaving the home I’d known for 59 years, and the local area and friends that I loved so much must have been a big decision, but for me it wasn’t. I could see that I had so much more to gain than I had to lose.”
“I now have a beautiful home and not a worry in the world. My family visit as often as they can and I’ve reconnected with friends and family who live in and around Moss Vale, some of whom I hadn’t seen for years.”
“I really couldn’t ask for better,” says Pat.
Pat holds the honour of being the first to call Oak Tree Retirement Village Moss Vale home, and she loves seeing the village roll out the welcome mat to other new residents.