I spent my childhood in the Far North Flinders Ranges of South Australia, at Nepabunna. It was an incredible childhood. As long as I was home for meals (not always lunch), did my school work, and slept in my own bed, I was free to wander the bush with my friends, where and when I wanted. There was so much to do that there was no need to ever be bored. Whether it was climbing huge Gum (eucalyptus) trees, walking along dry creek beds, climbing hills (actually mountains), playing rounders (a game played with a broomstick and a tennis ball, a bit like softball or baseball), watching the boys race donkeys (if they could get them to move), hopscotch in the dirt, marbles, setting traps to catch rabbits then going out early in the morning to bring home dinner, helping dad fix windmills or anything else that took our fancy made our days very full and fun. The excessive heat, the dirt, dust, and flies, could have been a problem but, as children, we didn't seem to notice any of that. Maybe the flies!!!, they were a problem, a huge problem. In the Australian Bush, we have something called the Aussie Salute. It is the constant waving away of the flies from our faces.
My early education was by Correspondence, which arrived by post from Adelaide every two weeks and was taught by my Mum, as well as School of the Air which we listened to twice daily on our Transceiver Radio. By mid-year four I had transitioned to the local 'Mission' school, which was the public South Australian Education system. As a 12 and a half-year-old, I needed to board in Leigh Creek, a coal mining town in the Far North of South Australia. Dad would drive the 45 miles to Leigh Creek on Friday afternoon every second weekend to pick me up and take me home, then on the Sunday afternoon (or Monday morning) he'd drive me back for school. He did this for three years! Sometimes Mum would come with him if she needed to do shopping in the 'big city' of 1100 people and two stores.
After attending Secondary School at Leigh Creek Area School for three years I moved to Adelaide, South Australia, Australia to complete High School with the goal of becoming a Secondary School teacher. By the end of one year at Unley High School I chose to leave school and move into the workforce, as I realized that four or five further years of education would be a huge financial burden on my parents who, as missionaries, had sacrificed so much in order for my brother and me to be educated and have all we needed.
After two short term jobs, I was, accepted by, and worked for, the Electricity Trust of South Australia for four years while I saved to go to Bible College, and attended the Bible College of South Australia through 1971, before marrying. I love to teach the Word of God in order to see people reach their full potential in life, and apart from my husband and family, that has been my joy for the past 45 years.
In mid-1970 my brother, Ted, introduced me to a group of friends from a small church group he was attending while doing his final apprenticeship year in Adelaide, and it was there I met my future husband. Maybe I should say, he met me. He suddenly started traveling 35 minutes to pick me up for events when my brother who lived 5 minutes away was more than able. I discovered later that this was Ted's plan all along! Hans & I were engaged at the end of that year and married the following year
On 11 December 1971 I married Hans Strikwerda at Burnside Christian Church, Burnside, South Australiaand we had four sons.
|After the Wedding of Hans & Eileen Strikwerda|
Tony, who was a great blessing to us all, died in tragic circumstance in December 1997 as a 23-year-old young man and Hans died from Mesothelioma in April 2004, but regardless of those events leaving huge holes in my life, I have had and do have a wonderful life and plan to continue to do so as I share it with my three other amazing sons, their wives, and my grandchildren. I am truly blessed!
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