A new beginning

The Shoemaker's Daughter. A memoir of days, both past and present, by Rhonda Mason.

Welcome, my dear friends. It means so much to me that you are here.

Thank you for choosing to share this journey with me.

I have spent the last three weeks working on this new space, and I’m delighted to finally be able to share it with you. Four people in particular have made this possible. My husband for his constant support and encouragement. My mother-in-law Mary for looking after the boys so that I could have time to think outside the house. Tash for her beautiful butterflies. And Dave for his attention-to-detail in converting my design to code and for his endless patience with my emails titled ‘One more thing’ which eventually became ‘One last change’.

For the longest time, I have wanted to find out more about my parents’ childhood. Their stories are ones that I am not familiar with. I know only bits and pieces of information. Not enough to even fill one page. This saddens me deeply. How is it that I am thirty-four, and yet I know so little about my parents’ lives?

Three weeks ago, my mother called me to say that she has a cyst in her brain. It was a complete shock. I remember sitting there, at the cafe, eyes brimming with tears and my heart clutching with anxiety. As if on reflex, my head played out the worst case scenario, and it was like someone had pummeled me in the stomach. In that moment, my mind was made up.

I needed to spend more time with my mother, and I needed to find out about her story. If I didn’t seize the opportunity now, what would I tell the boys when they were older and wanted to know? After all, I would not be here today without my parents. My boys would not be here today without them.

By God’s grace, we have since learnt that mum’s cyst is benign and that, in all probability, she’s had it since birth. The relief has been overwhelming.

Nonetheless, my resolve remains. I have procrastinated on this for too long. The time for me to take action is now.

And so, The Shoemaker’s Daughter is all about stories. Not just my stories, but also my family’s stories. Which are, I guess, mine as well.

This will be a personal memoir, of days past and present.

I am here to preserve our story.

I hope to document conversations with my mum, and whatever I can share, I will share with you.

I plan to journal and write for myself, and whatever I can share, I will share here with you.

I will also endeavour to tell stories with my camera – my trusty Fujifilm x100s. My hope is to master the art of capturing moments and creating imagery that speaks for itself.

Ultimately, this will be both a written memoir and a visual memoir.

Some days, there will be words here. Some days you will find only imagery. Both, I believe, are essential in documenting this life of ours.

Life moves too rapidly.

I want to slow down every day, to stop, and to record. I want to pause long enough to cherish the little details of life. I want to document where my children are at today, where our family life is at right now.

I don’t want life to become a blur.

In ten years’ time, I want solid memories to grasp hold of. I want to remember milestones, meltdowns, events, discoveries, jokes, words, conversations, and emotions. I want to remember the things that made me laugh and the things that made me cry. I want to remember the things my boys said and did and the million ways in which they’re different and the same all at once. I want to remember the colour of the sky on a summer evening, the flowers from my mum’s backyard, the smile on my boys’ faces, the golden light in my studio on a Sunday afternoon, and the way twilight transforms day into night in the most beautiful way possible.

And in honour of my mother, I have named this blog after her.

My grandfather was a shoemaker. He had one son, four daughters, another son, and another four daughters. Tragically, two of his children died when they were young.

My mum was Number Six.

And for me, that’s where it all began…

  • jodi said:

    Ronnie,

    It seems only right that I leave a welcome comment here instead of a goodbye comment at PR.

    There is no sadness, only change, and this, my lovely friend, feels like a wonderful, wonderful new beginning.

    Pure beauty. I can't wait to read and witness more.

    J x

    • Rhonda Mason said:

      Thank you, my dear friend. Your support means a lot to me.
      Been thinking of you, and also your friend.
      Ronnie xo

  • Kathy said:

    I look forward to hearing your stories and reminding me to document and record mine apart from the actual photos. You will get a lot of satisfaction discoveries your Mother's Stories. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

    • Rhonda Mason said:

      Thank you Kathy, both for being here and for your constant support.
      I also owe you a gift voucher. :)
      Ronnie xo

  • Riz said:

    I love stories and clean slates. Thanks for inviting us to this new adventure.

    • Rhonda Mason said:

      It's lovely to have you, Riz.
      Ronnie xo

  • Bron said:

    Very exciting to read the stories you will share here in this space. X

    • Rhonda Mason said:

      Thank you, Bron. I'm super excited too.
      Ronnie xo

  • I love that the oral tradition of storytelling is likely the oldest, most precious aspects of our humanity... In the frenzy of ideas/aesthetic/opinions I come across - it's the stripped back spaces - the stories that inspire and inspire me most. Bless you in everything you do Ronnie!

    • Rhonda Mason said:

      Thank you, EmilyClare. I have always appreciated your kindness, love, and support.
      Ronnie xo

  • Kelly said:

    I love the sound of what's to come Ronnie, and look forward to reading along. All the best :)

  • Nynke said:

    First I was a bit sad to read the latest pinkronnie post was also your last. But luckily you told me to have a peek over here (: Looking forward to all your new stories and your posts at life captured!

  • Stephanie Morrison said:

    What a lovely tribute to your Mum. I think of you when you pop up in my Facebook feed. Hope yr all going well. Can't believe how old your boys are now!!!!

    • Li Yen said:

      I've enjoyed reading all that you've so beautifully and honestly written on Pink Ronnie and am already taken with your new sites-they are such lovely,calm spaces. Am pleased that you have found a new creative direction and one that invigorates you. Have to admit I was also quite selfishly relieved to hear that you would continue blogging so I would have your posts to look forward to!
      Am sorry to read about some of the hardships you and your family have had to endure these past few weeks - I hope the spring brings you all warmth and comfort. Take care.

  • Cerys said:

    what a fantastic idea! I look forward to reading the stories.

  • juni said:

    Hi Ronnie, just wanted to say hi at your new space :) I think this is a great tribute to your mother, and a great way to preserve her story. My fiance's mother is very ill, and his dad recently wrote and published a book about her life - she is sadly in no condition to recall details of her life and to tell him about her life before they met each other, so he had to interview many of her relatives and old friends to get more information. He mentioned that he wished he had taken more time to talk to her about her story when she was healthy and well... I enjoyed his book very much and am looking forward to reading more about your mother over here :) Especially since I already know from Pink Ronnie that you are a wonderful writer!

  • Cara said:

    As a shoemaker's daughter myself I look forward to reading more.

  • Ronnie!!! I will admit I'm sad because I love your organising and simplicity posts, but I totally get why you feel like you do.

    I'm very impressed that you just DID IT!

    Looking forward to following your stories here, and on the memory-keeping blog too.

    So glad your mom's cyst is benign and yes, agree it's important to get her stories too. I had the same revelation about my parents because they're just not "sharers" at all. My father will answer if I ask, but my own mother just brushes any questions aside and doesn't answer. I thought about it the other day that I know more about many online friends than I do about my own parents and that saddens me too.

    xxx to you!

  • Sue K said:

    I love what you are doing Ronnie. Trying to get stories out of my mother is difficult and she usually tells me "it's so long ago, I don't remember." That makes it hard. My Grandfather passed away about 3 years ago and I regret not spending more time with him to gather stories. I was unwell for a long while and was so wrapped up in my own life that I feel I have missed the opportunity. Your mother seems to be open and willing to share and that is such a wonderful gift for you and the boys. I look forward to following you on this journey. xx

  • Amanda said:

    This space sounds wonderful Ronnie. I look forward to following your stories and photos xx

  • Fiona said:

    What a lovely space, Ronnie. Thank you for inviting us to join you here, and share your family's stories. My Dad had a mini stroke 2 months ago (after a major one 3 years ago), and I was so afraid I wouldn't see him again. I really wanted to hear his stories and write them all down. I am really thankful that we're coming home to Australia this Christmas so I have the chance to hear them (I've pre-warned him!). The idea behind your new blog really touchs the family story teller nerve in me. I am looking forward to following in your stories, and being, as always, inspired to write my own. Hugs, Fi xoxo

  • Alison said:

    Loved Pink Ronnie and now will love this site! Your intention for memory-making and tending is so inspiring! I'm so thankful that you're still writing.:)

  • I'm looking forward to visiting this new space, and seeing what new adventures lie ahead for you all! Well done for making what must have been a tough decision to move on, I can't imagine it was easy xx

  • Heike said:

    Dear Ronnie,
    I love your Pink Ronnie space, I visited it almost daily and I will surely come back to it from time to time. But there is no regret or sadness. Everything in life has its time . When I read your words I feel you calm and grounded and the evidence to change your destination. I am very honored to be allowed to follow your new path here in this beautiful place and to read your stories. It is a wonderfull place of simplicity and subtlety and I will always be inspired by your words and photos. I am also very happy for you that your mom's diagnostic turned out less dramatically. Take care - you and your beautiful large family.

  • This space is going to be so beautiful. I can feel it already. You truly are gifted Ronnie.

    (ps I recognise that room, were you staying in the cottage near Berkelouws bookbarn? I have a very similar photo of myself).

    • Rhonda Mason said:

      Yes! What a perfect cottage, it was!
      Ronnie xo

  • Chantel said:

    I can't wait to read your words here and watch this space as it grows!

  • So excited about this new beginning. Hope this brings everything you're hoping for! I'll be following along, wouldn't miss it!

  • Jane Y. said:

    Hi Ronnie, I read this last week but didn't get a chance to comment. But I wanted to come back and leave you a message. I look forward to this amazing space you created. I love stories as well. I find myself lately these past few years telling the stories of my childhood, my parents and family. I think they are so important to pass down and share. I do regret that I also don't know much about my mother and her side. When her mental illness took over I have had a harder time asking her things.. on her good days when she does tell stories I can't tell if they are made up (because of her illness) or if they are true. I used to say how I would love to go to Korea and retrace her life somehow by going to her old school and looking at school records, finding her friends and family but that has never transpired. Sending you so many good thoughts and vibes. xx

  • Rachael said:

    Really excited to hear your stories, and for the change in direction! I love delving into the past of my family and the stories of simpler times - they are such a world away from our modern society and I love that you are keeping this part of your family history alive! My grandfather is writing his memoirs and reading about his life as a child has been just incredible (he remembers the introduction of power to their home, for example!!)
    Am looking forward to seeing the evolution of your new space! xo

  • Lucy said:

    I'm only catching up on your new venture now Ronnie and what a beautiful first post! They found a cyst on my Mum's brain too before it turned out it was benign and probably there all her life too when I was twenty weeks pregnant with my first baby and I'll never forget the feeling either. Can't wait to follow your blog along as I too am a memory keeper. Until now it's only been my immediate family's story that I've chosen to record but you've inspired me now to document more of my parents and indeed parents-in-law's stories as life is so fleeting you're so right.

  • Denise said:

    I discovered your blog through one of the blog's I've been following. I always take time to read the about me page, and yours is just too lovely to begin with that I started track backing the posts to read your first one up to your latest entry. I've only read this one and I'm already tearing up a bit. It's refreshing to know that there are still blog like yours that exists in a sea of "branded" ones. Consider me now as one of your readers, looking forward to reading the rest of your stories. ❤ ❤ ❤