Marj reflects on life’s travels

BELOVED COMPANION: Marj Sanderson with her beloved poodle Gina. “She was 18 when she died, she was with me for a long time,” Marj said.

MARJ Sanderson can still vividly recall the year she moved into Penola’s Tandara Lodge retirement village – it was the year her beloved Adelaide Crows won their first AFL premiership.

“The first year they won the grand final was the year I came here, back in 1997,” Marj said, speaking to The Border Watch 20 years on.

“They played well on the weekend, it would be good if they could make it all the way again this year.”

Marj said over two decades she had seen a number of people come and go at Tandara Lodge.

“I’ve seen a full house, with every unit occupied, to a few occasions where we had a few empty,” she said.

“I probably never imagined I would still be here 20 years later.”

Born and raised in Penola, Marj said she “never lived anywhere else.”

“I grew up in town and I had a happy childhood,” she said.

“I was an only child and I was always Marj, the only time I got Marjorie was if I was naughty.

“My first job was at the newsagent in town and I later shifted down to the office at the Gambola Garage and I worked there until I was married.

“My husband and I bought a shop in town with my in laws – it’s where the chemist is now, we had it as a deli and cafe.”

The pair moved the business across Church Street to a new location some years later.

“After we shifted across the road my husband and I ran it on our own,” Marj said.

“When my husband died I kept it on – we would have had it there 50 years.”

“Our business was where Divine Cafe is now.”

Marj was widowed when her husband died at just 49.

“My husband had cancer, he lived for nine years after he had surgery but passed away before he turned 50,” Marj said.

MIGHTY CROWS: An avid Adelaide Crows supporter, Marj Sanderson hopes the team can replicate the success they had in 1997 – the year she moved into Tandara Lodge retirement village. Picture: BRITTANY DENTON

“I have one son, Gavin, who is 65 now.

“He lives in Adelaide, though he does visit quite often.”

Marj sold the business when she retired and travelled extensively before she settled in at Tandara Lodge.

“I went to England after I retired in about 2003, so I was around 74 at the time,” she said.

“I travelled around Europe and the UK with my son and daughter in law, we visited Paris and Ireland and a few places.

“I went to Singapore and Malaysia and we did both islands in New Zealand – I thought New Zealand was lovely, very pretty.

“I went to Western Australia and I came back on the Sunday and left for New Zealand on the Wednesday and I was so glad I went to Western Australia first, because New Zealand was so beautiful, it would have wiped WA out if I had visited there after.”

With books scattered across her dining room table and a large collection of movies and concert DVD’s, Marj said she fills her days reading and watching the football.

“I love watching movies too, I love ‘The Great Waltz’ which is about the life of Strauss – I love the music,” she said.

“I went to two Andre Rieu concerts when he performed in Adelaide.

“I always watch the football and I love watching Downton Abbey.”

Marj maintains an active social life, catching up with friends every weekend and spending time with her neighbours.

“I had one very close friend living here too but she passed away,” she said.

“I go to lunch with a friend every Saturday and another lady over the road takes me to church every Sunday.

“My next door neighbour takes the washing off the line for me – it’s a friendly community and we do get on well.”