Glimpsed memories in New Zealand

Actually, I don’t remember much about New Zealand ….so I will attempt a few
little glimpses.
I remember playing “ring-a-ring-a-rosey”…at school and I always got the giggles when we all fell down…I also remember the polio epidemic and to the delight of all of us, we had to stay at home, the worst part was we were not allowed to mix…so we called out to each other over the fence. It was difficult for me because I was an only child and therefore a bit lonely… however we had a Maori housekeeper… whom I loved and she kept me company.
She was so funny… the house we lived in was a little timber place, as they
all were, and had a long hallway which led from the front door to the
bathroom… she was getting very fed up with my uncle Alec arriving home
from uni and stripping off and just dropping his clothes bit by bit down the
hallway…so that by the time he reached the bathroom he had little or nothing
on. Now may I explain the Maori people are a very patient race… however fed up with this behaviour and no notice being taken of her requests … she got a
hammer and nails and simply nailed all his strewn clothing to the floor…
I don’t remember whether she stuck around after that.

“Glimpses of my life in New Zealand”

My grandmother Tina was a tiny Scottish woman…. about 4’11” and she was
married to my grandfather Tommy Fraser, who, might I add stood 6’6″… a very interesting match…especially as they managed to have three children: Alec, Jean, and Daphne… the two girls were 6′ and Alec was 6’6″….
The lady next door was teaching me the piano on a piece of paper… which
had a printed key board on it…I was all of 4 or 5 years of age…
One day my grandmother asked my grandfather to please go down the road
and buy a loaf of bread… he disappeared for hours and Gran was becoming
more and more cranky. The streets of Christchurch are very very flat, and after a long period, grandpa, was seen wheeling a piano down the street.
When asked about the loaf of bread he answered with out any remorse…
“Oh, I forgot. Anyway. Hellhound, (my nickname), can now learn the piano
Needless to say all hell broke loose.
When I was sent down the road for a loaf of bread… I was worse… because
the bread was freshly cooked and square and wrapped in tissue paper. I would open it up where it was joined together… eat the contents and put it back together (half empty), wrap it back up in the tissue paper, hand it to my
grandmother and run like mad.
Poor old Gran…she had such a lot of problems just getting a loaf of bread.

“Little Glimpses….”

The Avon is a particularly beautiful river in Christchurch. I remember my
father rowing us up the river, which was as clear as a bell, and had gorgeous
trees lining the banks. The day sparkled. Needless to say I made one
attempt to fall in…but to no avail.
The Salvation Army band would march around the streets and I loved them
because they gave you these tiny pretty little pictures, which had nice sayings
on them. I must have got a crush on the captain because to my mother’s
horror I brought him home for dinner.
I remember having to visit my mother in hospital and wondering what the heck
was wrong with her and what the fuss was all about…It turned out that it was
her big toe. My gosh!!! I would have hated it to be more serious. St Margaret’s was a lovely school and I remember having to take elocution
lessons because my mother decided that she wanted me to speak “proper-like”. Now as you can see I was a little tub of a child with long plaits.
At the end of the year the class had to get up on stage… each one dressed in black (which I might add slimmed me down… a bit)….
Each child represented a letter from the word, ELOCUTION.
Well the kids stepped forward individually and all said their line beautifully
e.g.” I am the E” and dutifully would step back into line…Then it was my
turn…this little, plaited, tub all dressed in black stepped up and said….
“And I am the full stop.”
Needless to say that brought the house down with both my parents laughing
hysterically. It was one of the worst moments of my life.
However to day…I can see the funny side.
My childhood was quite wonderful… those days were much safer and as long
as I reported in to my grandma after school… I could roam free until six
o’clock. Grandma was now in business and running a boarding house.
Her residents were Mormons, a wonderful people. They were very kind and
taught me how to walk on tall stilts and how to fly kites…. and if I was very
lucky I would get a ride on their motorbikes. Many years later, in America the
Mormons were very kind again…. they are unutterably delightful and so caring.
But that’s a tale for another time.
I hated the dentist…as most people do…but this one was  particularly
nasty…I loathed him…he hurt….one day he hurt too much …so I bit him…..
W…E…L…L!!!  He deserved it!!!!…I should have bitten him harder!!!
I cannot remember who was with me…but we were in this huge department
store…when we all smelt smoke…. everyone ran and went out onto the
street…. there were firemen and hoses and police everywhere…it was very
exciting…I was holding this person’s hand…and watching in awe as the
flames took over…. I believe that I was removed from the scene …much to
my disappointment…. it was all so spectacular. The building was totally
After we arrived home we were all sitting around the kitchen table
when a shout of horror went up….”Who Farted????”
“The dog ” was the reply.
“Crikey!” The darn dog wasn’t even in the room.
My mother was and is a very clever woman…. she decided…because my
Father was still at sea, that she would start manufacturing clothing for the tall
woman. She started a very famous business called “Stewart Gowns”. Within a very short space of time she had about 20 girls working for her. My father
did not renew his commission and retired from the sea to join her in this very
successful business venture. He did a couple of things which have stuck in my
memory…by comedy of errors and communication with the salesman he
ordered what he thought would be one gross of toilet rolls…apparently it
turned out to be a gross gross from what I hear they were finding every
excuse to give the toilet rolls away.
Now the girls who worked in the factory were young and complaints were
starting to come in, from their parents, about their daughters learning
swearing at work. Naturally, my father being ex navy was the culprit and so
my mother demanded that he lecture the girls.
So…o…o…he dutifully lined all the girls up one morning and gave them a
wonderful lecture…
However his final statement blew all the good he had done into the water…
“And if I hear any one of you girls swearing ever again I will bloody well have
Daddy was a great debater, a highly intelligent man, who decided that he was
going to run for politics…however he went to the Ashburton shop, and had a
couple of drinks with the manager…. prior to a big political debate, upon which
rested his political career…however he argued brilliantly…
FOR the opposition.
And that, said Jack, was that.

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