Dressed in her school uniform, the freckle-faced 11-year-old girl with bangs and her hair tied back with a ribbon wears a cheeky smile and looks proud as punch as she poses for a photo.
But that infectious smile hid the pain that Wendy Harmer and her three younger siblings – Phillip, Helen and Noel – were suffering after their mum had a nervous breakdown and their furniture was repossessed.
The author and radio and TV star last week revealed her heartbreaking childhood of poverty and loss to encourage others to support The Smith Family charity.
“I survived a fractured childhood... as so many of us who’ve come to be successful adults do,” she says in the post to encourage Aussies to give generously to the charity, which helps disadvantaged children to get the most out of their education.
But even in sharing intimate details about her childhood, including the terrible day the family’s furniture was repossessed, Wendy, now 65, says she and her brothers and sister understood there were kids worse off.
“It’s difficult for me to claim extreme privation as so many experience it, but I do remember the day the Big Men in the Big Truck came to take our furniture away,” she writes.
“The Big Men barged into the house and took the master bedroom setting – bed, wardrobe and dressing table. Next to go was the lounge room furniture – the sofa, armchairs and new television.
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