As another offering for Mother's Day, The Australian Filipina is glad to feature the interesting story of a 92 year old mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. This lady is popularly known as Norma Crane of Central Coast.
Norma's Life and Loves
"Norma" was really born as Narcisa Solideo in Loay, Bohol (a province in the Visayan Region) on March 18, 1929. We'd go later to the part how her name got changed. She was born by a convent bred mother, Lourdes Solideo and with her father Higino Sepulveda, being the only heir of the first Chinese merchant in the Philippines. She has five sisters and one brother, and came as the fifth child in the brood of seven. She worked as a primary school teacher and a dietician.
Norma's love life is very colourful almost like a movie love story. When she was in her 20's, she was swept off her feet when she met Ramon Dado Jr who was assigned in Bohol as the Provincial Treasurer for the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). Her ultra religious family objected to her romance with Ramon as he did not believe in God. He was also 34 years her senior. The love struck couple decided to elope, with Ramon changing her name to 'Norma' (a rumble of letters in his name) so her identification will not be known as they moved around.
They became common law couple in the 1950s, with her maiden name declared as Norma Solideo. She became Ramon's third wife. Like her parents, they also had seven children - Tita, Paz, Edna, Ramon, Raul, Romeo and Avecita. They had nineteen grandchildren and subsequently eleven great grandchildren. Ramon rose in the public service arena and became the right hand of the late President Manuel L. Quezon. Sadly, Ramon Sr passed away in 1971 due to a cardiac arrest. So in her early 40's, Norma became a widow with seven children to bring up on her own.
Eleven years later, Norma, came to Australia in 1982 to meet her then pen pal Harold Boyle, a retired Australian soldier. She found another chance to happiness when they married soon after. As fate would test her again, she experienced great sadness when Harold also passed away in 1992 .
After being widow again for few years, love knocked on her door once more when she met Jeffrey Crane who was at the Central Coast at the time. He offered to cut her lawn and thereafter they became a couple. Jeffrey was a landscaper for Bundaberg Council so they moved to Bundaberg, Queensland. Her beauty and positive outlook continued to make an impact on people she met. It was no surprise that she was crowned Mrs Australia Filipino Association of Bundaberg. For the third time, found she found happiness but this was cut short with the passing of Jeffrey in 2001. She then moved to the Central Coast to be with her family.
On Being a Mother
Norma has weathered many challenges in life, from being a single parent and then going to foreign land in search for chance for happiness, and becoming a widow three times. TAF asked Norma a few questions on motherhood and is glad to share her responses.
What is the best part of being a mother?
The best part is successfully raising my children and then being happy with my grandchildren and subsequently my great grandchildren.
What challenges did you have as a mother?
The challenges I had as a mother was having seven children who have different personalities. Being a single parent when their father passed away, I had to face the issues of day-to-day life. My children's difficulties are also my problems.
What is your advice to mothers who are finding difficulties in bringing up their children?
Just give them guidance and lots of love. And always pray for your children. I pray every night for all my children, grand children and great grand children.
Norma is still going strong at her tender age of 92 years and looks glamorous when she attends community events, albeit now on a limited scale. She lives with her daughter Edna Dado-Wacher* who is her primary carer. Edna is helped in caring for Norma through a home care support worker funded by the My Aged Care and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The family looks forward to celebrating Norma's 100th in a few years' time. With Norma's resilience and positive outlook in life, this is not far from happening.
* Edna is an awarded community leader based in the Central Coast area and is a breast cancer survivor. She is a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness and is proud to hold an event as part of Australia's Biggest Morning Tea on May 30, 2021 from 10.30 am.