They knew it was time to give up their big home and move to a retirement village, but they weren’t sure what their children would think of their decision. It turns out everyone was thinking the same.
Rose and Len Wallder were married on 15 February 1958 at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Condobolin, New South Wales. Rose knew Len all her life. His aunty lived next door to Rose’s family, and Rose would sometimes see Len when he visited his aunty.
“Len turned up one Saturday and asked me to go to the pictures with him,” says Rose. “The rest, as they say, is history!”
Rose was born in Parkes and grew up alongside her two brothers and three sisters in the family home in Condobolin.
“I was six years younger than my closest sibling, so I didn’t know if I was an afterthought or a mistake!” says Rose. “Whatever it was, I had a lovely childhood.”
“I attended Saint Joseph’s Primary School in Condobolin and was sent to board at Santa Sabina College in Strathfield, Sydney for high school. I was only 10 years old when I first became a boarder, and I will say, I didn’t think much of it – I was terribly homesick.”
“Sadly, Mum became unwell when I was doing my intermediate certificate, so I finished school and spent my teenage years looking after my parents. I didn’t mind leaving boarding school behind!”
Years later when Rose and Len married, they made their home on a pastoral property called Glenmore. The property was at Tullibigeal, about 70 km south of Condobolin.
“It was a small home with two good rooms,” says Rose. “Len employed a carpenter to help build a new kitchen, bathroom, dining room and bedroom, and we made it into a lovely home.”
“Our son and daughter were born while we lived there, and we called it home until 1973 when we moved to Bowral so our children could attend high school as day pupils rather than boarders.”
“Bowral was going to be a six-year plan, but it extended well beyond that. Len bought a trucking business and made a great success of it. The business is still a success, and it’s owned by our son today.”
Rose retired from the business when she turned 60 and Len did the same at 65. They bought a caravan and spent lots of time travelling. They’d often head to Queensland in the Winter months – one year they even spent three months caretaking the Boulia Caravan Park.
A desire to build a nice new brick home saw Rose and Len make the move from Bowral to Moss Vale in 2006, and they continued to enjoy their happy retirement there.
However, when Len’s health started to fail, they both felt their home was getting too much for them. They sought the assistance of gardeners and cleaners, but it was still too much.
“I just felt I couldn’t cope,” says Rose. “So, we had a look around and we found Oak Tree Moss Vale. We really liked the worry-free life it offered and so put down a deposit. Len actually chose the unit I’m in now, but sadly he passed away before I moved in. We’d been married sixty-one and a half years.”
“When Len and I decided that the move to Oak Tree was right for us, we realised we’d better tell the kids. We didn’t know what they’d think, but they said they’d been going to suggest the same thing for ages but weren’t game!”
“I miss Len of course, but I know he’s at peace and I’m at peace too living here at Oak Tree.”
“I’ve always had an interest in music, and I’ve set up my second bedroom as my music room – I play the piano regularly for my own enjoyment and I currently teach piano to four talented young students.”
“I’ve always enjoyed pottering in the garden and can still continue to do that in my own small garden.”
“As I look back at all the different times in my life, it’s all been wonderful. But I think I could very well be in one of the best times now, and I know there are lots more wonderful things to come.”