As a wee bairn, Annie always hated it when her mother made her eat the porridge leftover from the day before. It was cold, gluggy and inedible, a sign of the harsh conditions of her childhood. Annie was born in 1925, in Cockburnspath, Scotland, the youngest sibling of four. At three years old, her father passed away, leaving her mother to raise the four children. The family survived by running a roadside cafe on the A1, just east of Edinburgh. It was not uncommon for Annie to give up her bed for a lodger, and they all had to pitch in to help.
On VE Day, 8 May 1945, Annie's mother passed away. The years of struggle and the tragedy of war had taken a toll on her mother, and Annie wondered what her post-war life would be. Now in her early 20s, it was time for Annie to spread her wings, so she moved to London.
Though the war was over, it was a period of austerity and London was a city in a desperate need for large-scale rebuilding. Annie found her feet, working as a seamstress on elegant dresses and fabulous coats. Like a groupie, she would frequent the London theatres' backstage doors to get signed pictures from famous American performers, like Ronald Reagan, Gregory Peck or Van Johnson.
In 1949, she heard about the "Ten Pound Poms" scheme, a migration scheme offered by the Australian Government to attract British citizens down-under, for the paltry sum of ten pounds. After a long sea voyage, she first arrived in Perth, eventually settling in Melbourne, the start of her new life.
Annie met and married the love of her life. They built a home and raised five children together. As a child of the depression, Annie's harsh childhood was never far from her mind, and it shaped the way she raised her children. She never complained, as she always made sure the children had the best she could afford and always put her families' needs before her own.
She was a long way from her Scottish roots, but the values she learned as a child remained with her for the rest of her life.