what happened is I got back from Brazil & I had finally purchased a smartphone. This video started playing it was just going & I look & I saw people were commenting on this video from all over the world. One woman said this is gross! The mother is irresponsible! Dogs should not lick babies. This was four four-&-a-half years ago. Then there was a blurb that somebody had wrote about their pet border collie. It was a beautiful blurb. Do you remember what it said? Oh yeah the basics. I just grew up with this dog. We went everywhere. It was a mental connection. We had a lot of fun together. Exploring. Beau. You got seven thousand likes. Yeah seven thousand. I just read it & was like oh that is so heartfelt that’s so sweet. So I hit the little picture next to it. I didn’t know what I was doing & there was this man he was about my age & he was alone in the pictures. I guess I was stalking! Haha! Anyway. I was a widow. My husband was a Vietnam vet he died of Leukemia. Agent orange. I was two years not dating. My finger slipped & I pushed the call button I didn’t know you could call people. Haha. It called him & he picks up the phone & starts laughing & he goes did I call you or did you call me? I just need to tell you I have a slight heart disease. The minute he tells me he passes out! & I am in Florida. He has a built in de-fib & it went off & he gets up & says I just woke up with my face in my shoes! It just brought back my husband dying. I was like man I better go over there & meet this guy before something happens. I lost my house in a hurricane Ivan before Katrina hit in New Orleans & I owned property & I thought I am just going to give this property away sell it & go to Australia. He didn’t promise me a bed of roses he said you know I am in housing & I have a heart condition. I said I would rather be with someone.. I told him I’ve been dating Jesus Christ for two years I’m not looking at men! I sewed I worked I learned to live by myself. It was so bizarre & too good. We walked this whole city. He knows it all. Saw it all. He’s had heart surgery. At our age you go for the gusto you know? I’d rather stay with somebody instead of being alone. There are a lot of things that are compatible. It’s companionship you know? I told her I wish I was more healthy & more economically viable just to make things a little smoother. The doctor says that he is a Ferrari with a Volkswagen engine! It’s not that I am a bible thumper or anything. I’ve just been saved from alcohol & drugs. You get reborn. Whatever he believes in is fine. His heart condition. I’ve been with someone as they were dying I’ve lived with that. I am not afraid of death I’m not afraid of dying. But like I told you I’m sixty-five now. I can’t get US help I can’t get this or that but I have this & what a blessing! I am very cup half full! My son always says Mum why are you always so happy? I left the US because I am from the deep south. I wanted to get away from all the prejudice & I thought here wouldn’t be the same. But when I got here I was like whoa! Is there prejudice! Especially living in Redfern. I’ve learnt a lot being here. I am trying to get into the community more as much as I can. It is starting to happen. I get permanent residency in a couple months. That’s our story. It is a miracle story! When I tell young people they get goosebumps! Like oh oh YouTube! In the US they thought I was nuts! The old people are like you met him how?! It’s beautiful & unique. In July this year it will be four years. I had come when they had just changed it to seven thousand dollars partner visa & you had to pay for your health check ups & all these other charges. Plus it has taken four years just to get permanent residency. I was manager of a design group in myer pitt street. I was getting paid so much that they cut his pension off & they raised the apartment rent. So you become the working poor & then I realised it’s not worth it. I got a document to say that I have three days housing approved to do free alterations for people in housing & who knows what a few months will bring. So our plans are basically to hang tight here. I’ve had a really interesting time here & I think it is because of volunteering.
Shelley & Donald live in Redfern. Donald is retired & Shelley has a clothing, textile, pattern-making & alteration business that she operates in Redfern.