This weekend is my parents 60th Wedding anniversary. Their anniversary is today, but we are celebrating with them this weekend.
Sixty years with the same person by your side, walking together through the ups and downs of life … growing older as the children also grow older. I am proud of my parents!
I am one of their children. In the pecking order, I am the fourth child of six, and the third daughter. I have three brothers as well.
In looking over the last fifty years (that’s all I can, as that’s my age) – I feel so fortunate to have been brought up in the era that I was born in. As children we were able to freely play outside on our bikes, or in our street. We could walk quite safely to school in the various towns we lived in, visiting friends – climbing trees, we could ‘play outside’ for hours on end …
As a family we had an annual furlough (holiday) and usually this was usually taken around August. Often we would travel from the North Island to the South Island to get together with various cousins and their families, and our Grandparents on the coast. It was great fun. I remember many holidays with great joy – some were epics, others probably more ordinary.
One particular holiday occurred when I was about 12. My father, sister and I left my Mum with the two younger brothers in Christchurch, and we trailed around the south of the South Island in a camper van. It was really special to have Dad to ourselves for those few days. I do remember one camping ground we stopped in where I had to dry myself on the tee shirt as I hadn’t brought a towel out with me. Oh well, never mind.
I tried to take pictures of each place we stopped at, However back then nothing was digital, and my camera wasn’t the greatest (though I thought it was at the time). I can remember trying to get badges of every place to sew onto my duffell coat. Where are they now?
Ah the memories that spring to mind when remembering my upbringing.
Being a christian family meant we were taken to church every Sunday (Dad was the minister, so it was his preaching we went to hear). I enjoyed that side of it, with all the trimmings – singing group, sunday school, kids clubs, Bible classes, tambourines, band … the list goes on. One place we lived had the Girl Guides and Brownies under the ‘Red Shield’ banner. I enjoyed my time being a brownie, then a guide.
We moved around a lot – I loved that part. Every three years or so, we would find out where we were going to shift to. Wow, the guessing games that went on … out would come the map as we tried to ascertain what place would be suitable for such a wonderful family as ours. I would race home from school to find out (if I hadn’t managed to find out sooner). Even if we did know, we weren’t allowed to ‘speak about it’ till lunchtime. Murder! Me not speak? It was so, so tough to hang on to such exciting news.
I wasn’t one of these kids who hated shifting, I thrived on it and wondered why we couldn’t move ‘every year’. (Looking back, I think that would have been very, very tough on my Mum … packing up for the six of us children – not to mention their own stuff as well). My favourite day of the year, apart from my birthday would have been ‘Farewell Orders Day’. The day the news came out.
I do remember writing to those who ‘made the shifting decisions’ and wanting to live near the snow, or be put on a farm – I had to wait till I left home for that one. And now I live in Dunedin where it does occasionally snow!
Even now, I get itchy feet every so often as I wonder ‘Where to from here?’
Shifting evokes such memories … mustn’t hoard too much as it all gets cleaned out in a couple of years anyway. Its such a great opportunity for a clean up!
Shifting is an opportunity to make new friends, and have penfriends to write to – and people to visit in different locations around the country. Its an opportunity for new beginnings … to say goodbye to a teacher you didn’t much like, or people who got on your nerves.
I am so grateful to my parents for going off to the Salvation Army Training College when I was just six months old and giving me such a wonderful upbringing, and to know I am part of a world-wide church family as well.