Presentations to Groups of Seniors

In August 2006, when ‘Queenie One Elephant’s Story’ was launched at the Melbourne Museum by Barry Jones, I immediately started receiving requests to speak about Queenie at clubs like Probus, Red Cross, Rotary, Retirement and nursing homes, even some church groups. Word of mouth did its trick and without even trying my diary filled with speaking requests for these groups of seniors.

For me it was a delight and the bonus – I was always the youngest person in the room (except for one retirement village which invited grandchildren too.) Many of these people shared their memories, their photos and their stories of this beautiful elephant. They told me about the joy she brought to their lives, many visiting and riding on her back during the war years and some even came wearing their elephant jewellery and telling me of their elephant collections.

Over time I expanded my presentations to include my other books as they were released – The Dog on the Tuckerbox, Flame Stands Waiting, Chasing Shadows, Little Dog and the Christmas Wish, Bob the Railway Dog . . . and they were always happy to hear about the ‘Hey’ books for younger children – Hey Baby, Hey Mum I Love You, Hey Dad You’re Great and Hey Baby It’s Christmas.

Along the way I’ve seen and spoken to some lovely people and I feel privileged to have met them – some I am still in touch with from 2007.

Last Wednesday I spoke to the Gladstone Park Combined Probus group and for a number of reasons I’ve decided to make that my last presentation. Below are some photos (I always asked the Queenie riders to pose for a photo) and they were mostly happy to do so (even with the risk of Facebook!)

I’ve enjoyed it all . . . perhaps with the exception of the time I returned from the toilet following my presentation, only to find two dear ladies had rested their full tea-cups on the front of my laptop!!!!!  I never carried my laptop with me, after that.

And the highlight – the elderly nursing home lady, who, in the middle of my presentation announced loudly,  ‘I remember Queenie!’ I couldn’t understand why some staff and other patients were in tears – it turned out that this lady hadn’t uttered a word for 2 years.


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