Remembering Ann and ‘Betsy-the-witch’

Ann Catherine Lockington Wendt with her children Clifton, front left, Sarah and Otto. Picture: SUPPLIED

MOTHERS undeniably leave a lasting impression on their children. Tasked with the upbringing of their children and looking after families, it isn’t difficult to see why mothers are cherished beyond compare.

Such is the story of the late Ann Catherine Lockington-Wendt, a woman whose staunch devotion as matriarch of her family earned her the moniker of a “strict but loving mother”.

This month, her children gathered to not only commemorate her life but celebrate the impact she had on the family.

Her third eldest son, Allen Lockington, says his mother was born in Ravitaki, Kadavu.

“The reunion was just about our mom and her seven children,” he says.

“The Lockingtons are originally from England and settled in Kadavu in the 1800s and the Wendts are from Samoa of German extraction.”

Mr Lockington, a third generation member of the family, says his mother was born in 1930.

“She was the daughter of Daniel Lockington, a sea captain, and Frances Johns and (Ann) had 12 siblings.

“She went to school in Kadavu and to Lomary Catholic Mission in Lomary. She came to Suva as a teenager and worked all her life at Suva Motors, part of a group of companies of Carpenters Fiji Ltd. She was also a devout Catholic.”

The late Ann Lockington-Wendt lived with Malcolm Ah Sam, with whom she had three children — Joan, Clifton and Allen. She later married Edmund Allen
Wendt and they had four children: Otto, Roseann, Sarah and Edna.

Her daughter Joan, married William Wye and had five children, 16 grandchildren and one great-grandson. Clifton, the second born, is single and lives in Sydney, Australia.

Allen, the third child, married Sera Lidise and had three children and two grandchildren.

Otto, a father-of-two, married Lucy, while the fifth-born Roseann tied the knot with the late Moriti Silikula. She has a son. Roseann remarried Peni Vakarau.

Sarah is married to Paul Freeman and they live in Auckland, New Zealand, while the youngest Lockington-Wendt child Edna married the late Anthony Patrick, with whom she had four children.

While recollecting, Mr Lockington says upon retiring, his mother opened an eatery called Wendt’s Restaurant at the Raiwaqa market complex.

“After she retired, she started having severe pains and went to New Zealand for a check-up where the doctors found she had cancer which was too far gone.”

She died on October 1, 1994, seven months after cancer claimed her husband Edmund.

Ann was cremated at the Northshore Crematorium in Albany, Auckland, after which her ashes were brought to the country and she was laid to rest alongside her husband at the Suva Extension Cemetery.

Describing his mother as a private person, Mr Lockington says some of her friends have passed on and a few live in Fiji and abroad.

“Our mum was strict but very loving and it made us what we are today. Edna, our youngest sister, remembers some things because she was very close to our mum. Here are just a few of what our mum taught us.

“A belt hung on the wall at our home which mum called “Betsy-the-witch”. Mum would talk to us only once. If you didn’t do what she told you to do,

Betsy would do the rest of the talking. Our sister Sarah was very close to Betsy-the-witch because they met almost every day.

“When stirring your tea, the spoon was not allowed to hit the side of the cup. Likewise, when you were eating, you were not allowed to scrape the food off the plate making a scraping sound. You had to eat with a closed mouth, not making any noise. You were not allowed to lift the plate and drink soup or gravy.

“When you finished eating, you were to say, “May I leave the table please?”. If mum said, ‘okay.’, then only would you stand up.

“When buttering the bread, if you took too much butter, you were not allowed to put the leftover butter back on the butter tray. She would always say, ‘Don’t bread your butter’. There was no talking at the table.”

The family is now looking forward to hosting another get-together in about five years.

Ann’s legacy is now being shouldered by her seven children, 16 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

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