Yes, it does seem like a “slice of life” but it has taken me nearly 75 years to realise that life has slowed down, even though on the other hand “time is flying by”!
My first memories go back to about 1945, as a young four year old, growing up in Clive, where I spent the first 23 years of my life. Looking back, I appreciate now how very lucky we were. A great era despite all the restrictions and disciplines.
Buses went from Hastings and Napier through Clive every half hour. We attended Clive school, up to Std. 6 and then caught the bus either to Napier Girls’ High or Napier Boys’ High, at no charge if we were in school uniform.
The local butcher came around door to door every Friday, with a van filled with fresh meat. We had a box at the front gate for bread and milk, which were delivered daily.
We had a busy blacksmith and of course a post office with a house behind for the post master and his family.
The telephone system brings back memories. I do remember the ‘party line’. We were on with around six other families, one of whom was a prolific talker! Sometimes it would take hours to get a free line. Our call was ‘one long and two shorts’. Then we progressed to a dial phone.
Half of Clive was on the Napier exchange and the other side of the road was on the Hastings exchange – a toll call to ring from one to the other! I do remember the night we had an emergency at home and we had to phone our doctor, he lived just over the road but it was still a toll call. Around the 1950s we actually had two doctors in residence at Clive.
I remember the excitement at school when the fish and chip shop opened and they delivered orders at lunch times on Fridays. I can almost smell and see those newspaperwrapped parcels and the passion with which they were devoured!
My grandparents built their own home just after the 1931 earthquake, just next door to the Police station, and Gran lived there until her death in 1956. She enjoyed living next to the ‘bobby’ as she always called the policeman!
I also well remember the Chinese market gardeners and their huge plots of all sorts of vegetables. They worked so hard with no tractors or special aids to make their job easier. They always had a Chinese lolly to give any children who came … fascinating wrapped toffees with Chinese writing on.
Of course we had a village hall, still standing and used today. A school ball was held there every year and I remember the fun we had sliding up and down on the slippery floors. Then of course we had to do the Grand March and other dances we had learned during the year. We were dressed in fancy dresses, nurses, ballet dancers, fairies, cowboys, red Indians. We were lucky to have a very imaginative aunt who enjoyed dressing us up.
And of course the village hall was the venue for weekly pictures (movies). Also the cause of a bit of strife in our family! My “best friend” was always allowed to go. I should have mentioned the pictures were always on only on Thursdays. Fine during the holidays, but I was Never allowed to go during the school week! Oh dear, I was not happy.
My ‘best friend’ was also allowed to wear stockings before me and lipstick too as we got older!! Poor me and therefore, I now realize, my poor mother!
However, as I mentioned at the beginning, restrictions and disciplines made us into responsible adults with lovely memories to treasure and remember and to pass on to the future generation.
Just my thoughts for today.