My eldest sister sent me a short presentation on the retirement of my grandmother. I had no idea of the influence she had had. There were newspaper articles celebrating her contribution, in particular founding the school library at Roosevelt in what was then Rhodesia.
I knew she had been a well loved teacher. But I was completely unaware of the influence that she did have. She retired at 71 – four years before I was born.
In this month when we celebrate the contribution of women, it is perhaps fitting for me to salute this woman. She clearly had great courage and great strength of will. She came out to Rhodesia from Scotland when she was 25 in 1925. No small move in those days.
She worked as a teacher for several years before marrying and having children. When she returned to full time work she took a position as an income tax assessor – the first woman in the country to have that role! She returned to her passion – teaching – ten years later.
She raised three children on her own. And took on this task of building this library when my mother was still a teenager.
As I look back now I recognise there must have been so much more to her than I ever realised. But families are never simple and she died when I was 15.
It is decades too late to speak in person, but I salute my Granny Appleby – my mother’s mother – nonetheless.