Mary Leonora Smith, better known to her friends as Noreen, has just celebrated her 100th birthday (27th September) and still writes a very good poem.
She has been writing poetry most of her life and has had many poems published in the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News. She has also published a book containing over 200 poems and pieces of prose called In My Words as a legacy to her family.
The current poem she is writing is called On The Way Out.
She grew up on a farm on Seven Hills Rd, Baulkham Hills as Mary Leonora Brown and was given the nickname Noreen when attending Baulkhams Hills Primary School and it stayed with her. The farm that she and her brothers Noel and John grew up on was where the Wagon Wheel Nursery and now SummitCare now stand.
She left school, studied stenography and started work at the age of 15. Her secretarial work included a job at radio station 2GB. She met her husband when she was working in Baulkham Hills for the Broadfoot family who ran an irrigation business and a horse stud. Bill was a plumber.
Miss Brown became Mrs Smith and she still lives in the house that her husband built in 1949 after they married and where they bought up their three children, Debbie, Jeff and Bill.
She started writing again as a young mum and now writes for her three grandchildren and two great, granddaughters.
Her short stories and poems have won numerous prizes including first prize in the Henry Lawson Festival of Arts. One of her poems was also accepted for the ABC publication: The Year of the Outback.
Her parent’s story is contained in Slices of Life, a book that’s in a time capsule buried by Hills Shire Council in 2003 to be opened in 2056.
She celebrated her 100th birthday with family and was thrilled to get birthday wishes and cars from politicians and dignitaries including the Governor General and the Prime Minister.
Her biggest thrill though was a card from His Majesty King Charles and Queen Camilla (pictured).
One of the 200 poems to feature in her book is this one: At The End of The Day.
At The End of The Day
When the rose has dropped its petals, And each bird has gone to rest Seek solace in your inner self If you won or failed the test. If your step is light or weary Grieve not for things not done Rest easy with a quiet mind At the setting of the sun, And then again at sunrise Embrace the coming day, If you take a little, give a little There will be nothing to repay.
By Noreen Smith