NannyGranny’s Olden Days’ Middle Years 23

Being a bit of a beachcomber, I loved the seaside, and decided to sell my Wainuiomata house and buy another one on the beachfront at Paraparaumu. The one I picked out, really appealed to my creative side, all the outside walls had been covered in white plaster, very fittingly embedded with seashell patterns.

The view from the upstairs lounge was breath taking. As far as the eye could see in both directions, the vast, ever changing waves of the ocean were rolling in, and directly across the water from us was Kapiti Island.

With a back gate that opened directly onto the beach, we all spent hours playing on the sand and paddling at the water’s edge. My experience of having my little girl drown, had left me very fearful around water, making me nervous and over protective with the other children when they ventured out into the waves.

Often in the middle of the night, we were woken with the engine noise of large fishing vessels, covered in lights, fishing right in the channel between us and Kapiti Island. We guessed they were Japanese fishermen poaching. Every time we were able to get a break from the shop, we headed over to that coast, for some time out from the world.

In August 1971, I gave birth to my sixth child, a new baby girl, at the Featherston Maternity home. Since the time of my previous visits, their over the top, strict regime, had been relaxed making life more bearable for both the mothers and babies. The days I was covering for my husband in the shop when he was away shearing for extra money, if customers rang the bell during the baby’s feeding time, I had to leave her laying down with her bottle carefully propped up, so she could carry on sucking.

My mother surprised my sister and I, when after thirty years of being single, since our father did his runner, she got remarried again. After meeting her husband while working as a barmaid, her new occupation, in a pub at Hamner Springs, she sold her house, and they purchased a dairy in Otaki together, where they now lived and worked.

Also living with them and helping out working in the shop were my Nana and my sister, who now had a little girl. In the school holidays, my second boy liked to go and stay with his Nana at her shop, and help her with odd jobs in exchange for a little pocket money. Whenever we visited, I thought it a bit odd and penny pinching to be charged by my mother for any food we or the kids ate.

Considering we were living in a little country town, we had a very strong and successful, local, amateur wrestling club, lead by two brothers, Keith and Neil Scott, who had lots of medals to their names. Hoping to get the boys involved in a sport, I suggested we go along for a, look see, on the club night. The eldest girl was already enjoying the Girl Guides and their activities.

The younger boy said he only wanted to do boxing, which I thought was too violent, but his older brother decided to give the wrestling a go. It wasn’t long until he discovered, his wiry body shape gave him an advantage and allowed him to wriggle out of his opponent’s holds. Traveling with their team to competitions at other clubs around the country, he began winning some medals.

The children were also going to school holiday visits with their father and the older girlfriend. The court had decided he was to pay twenty dollars a week maintenance for his children, which was no help at all for four growing kids.