Peg (Margaret) Walsh
If you can’t laugh at it, it’s not worth knowing.
I hope you realise that it’s difficult for me to remember. You know what gets me, I say to somebody ‘I’ve forgotten’ and she says, ‘don’t worry I forget everything too’ and that’s the next line. They’re being kind to me.
I was a teacher. I taught kids with learning disabilities. And that’s what I had, basically in the end, a real problem with remembering who I was. That’s recent. I’ve forgotten so much, I really have. Now I’m not terribly much in control of my memory.
I remember working with kids with learning difficulties, and one of them sat there playing with this floppy bit under my arm and laughing all the time. Isn’t that funny? I thought ‘ok well you go for your life darling; I’m not going to fight you about it’. I didn’t worry about it. So what. It was a reality. I think laughing is good for your health. Why would you want to be sad all the time? Laughter is a very good medicine. It’s honest.
I had a horse called ‘Gonoff’ he was a racehorse, he was always ‘gone off’. He was determined that he was going to take me where he thought I wanted to go which was a wallaby or kangaroo. He had it all worked out. I’d just sit on his back and he’d take me there. I was just there for the fun of it all.
There were some blokes who were actually invading our house out in the bush…. Sorry, this is not working out, sorry. My memory’s shit. As I keep admitting.
I’m an environmentalist from way back. So was my mum. Jackie’s (one of her daughters) an environmentalist. I think the mayor of Redcliffe was glad to hear I had gone. I was always stirring the pot. What right have we, to carry on as though we can make all the decisions about the planet? The environment is fundamental. This is a planet which we are in the process of wrecking. Somehow, we have to take responsibility. Individuals can make a noise. Whether we will win, I don’t know. The next generation will realise where we’re going. Extinction. We can let the planet extinguish or we can battle for it. We’ll just wait and see what happens.
Peg is a wonderful, lively, hilarious woman who is full of laughter. I asked her for a joke, she said, ‘I’ll try, I’m very trying’. Throughout our interview she made us laugh so much, but I was also full of tears, feeling her frustration at her struggle to recall her memory. Her most easily recalled memories were those surrounding magical moments with animals and her daughters. Peg lives at the Feros Care village in Byron Bay.