Friday, January 8, 2016

April 1945



So we are up to 1945, I’m not quite 4 & a half in this one. I can only vaguely remember living, playing outside & sleeping before I went to school so there’s not much to tell before then except perhaps that I was looking forward to starting school, who knows. The above photo was taken the same day as this one with Grumps, she’s not smiling, doesn’t feel obliged to do what Mum is telling her and there’s me the proper little angel:-


This one is taken on Browns Bay Beach, also with Grumps along with Grandpa Courtney Parks & Dad in their Sunday best. Note she gets the bucket & spade and I get an old tin & stick!


Boy was she spoilt, I was invisible after she was born! I was just so jealous I guess, I remember trying very hard to please my mother so she would know I existed. She didn’t believe in filling us up with bread at meals like a lot of families did in those days but sometimes she just had to and would ask if we wanted white or brown bread, she was always drumming into us how much better brown bread was for us so I’d say brown bread thinking she would give us brown anyway and Karin said white and she got it! I was most put out because I wanted white too.

Taking the opportunity here to add a photo of each of my parents when they were babies:-


Gwendoline Eleanor Parks 1912-1983


Ronald Charles Whitney 1910-1966


Not sure of the date of this one but looks to be around about the same year, I had to clean this photo up as it had a very thick crayon mark right across it, I wonder who that was? Not me surely…

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 1944

Three years old, what do I remember? Absolutely nothing!
The next photograph in my Crichton d’Ora album, taken when I was 3 yrs 2 mths old.

By now my younger sister, Karin, was 17 mths old so I have lots of photographs of the two of us. This next one is probably the first of many I have that were taken at the Auckland Zoological Gardens. Because we lived only a 5 min walk away most of our relatives & friends came to visit us first then we would all walk to the Zoo.

With Mum (left) & her friend, this was before the end of the war, is that an Army uniform, possibly the WAACs.

In those days the main entrance to the Zoo was the top entrance in Old Mill Rd and just inside the gate is where the photographer would pounce and line everyone up sitting on the stone wall. In this old map of the Zoo, c1950, it shows the Old Mill Rd entrance on the right and it was those first few caged areas as you walked down the hill towards the main part of the Zoo that the Lions, Leopards or similar species were housed. Although the maps don’t say the Lions were there I’m about 99% sure that I remember seeing them there at some stage during those early years. I remember thinking I wouldn’t like to have lived in one of the houses that backed onto those caged areas!! Or maybe I’m just remembering a very fanciful imagination. 
(One memory I do have, although it would have been a few years after this, is that we used to hear the Lions etc roaring for their dinner every day and one day one of them managed to escape the Zoo and all hell was let loose! We were all warned over the radio to stay inside our homes until it was caught, eventually it was cornered in the garden of a house in Old Mill Road and shot with a tranquiliser gun (I think).)

The old Zoo entrance as it is today, well 2012, from Google Maps! 

Not quite as I remembered it but near enough! A shame they had to kill it though, grenades & sten guns are a bit over the top!

Well, I’ve digressed slightly from 1944 but if I don’t mention things as I remember them I might not remember them again!

At home in 42 Wellpark Ave, the buildings in the back are no longer there, there’s either a new house or an extension to the old one on this spot now. Some photos aren’t scanning very well but what can you expect when they’re as old as Methuselah?

Taken at Browns Bay where Mum’s parents lived, that’s grandpa Courtney Parks & Dad standing.

Me with a Kangaroo of all things! Little did I know that I had an Aussie grandfather, oh the ignominy of it, but that’s a story for another time. I think I was a bit younger than three in this photo.
Food rationing started in NZ in 1942 and by Oct 1943 we were up to the third issue of rationing books, they were printed in three different colours, to signify the three different age groups they were for: children six mths to 5 years, children 5 to 10, and everyone else. In this photo two women are examing their new ration book, it also shows the clothes fashions of the day.

Which brings me to another memory, again I would have been older than three as I had gone to the shops by myself to get a half loaf of bread for our next door neighbour Aunty Caddy, there was no sliced or wrapped bread in those days and not many choices of what sort of bread, white or brown and I don’t think it was even wholemeal, probably white was coloured with treacle or similar. On my way home I gradually ate most of the soft stuff so there was just the hard outside crust left and my excuse was that I hadn’t noticed I’d dropped it and when I went back to get it the birds had eaten it all! Oh dear, the things we remember!

Events of 1943:-
New Zealand troops take part in the invasion of Italy.
Eleanor Roosevelt arrives in New Zealand for a visit.
NZ general election, Peter Fraser was still our Prime Minister.
The top song was Paper Doll by the Mills Brothers and the top Broadway musical Oklahoma.
The Academy Award winning movie was MGM's Mrs Miniver starring Greer Garson.
The Jitterbug was the dance of the 1940s.
George Harrison and Mick Jagger were born.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra provided the most popular music.
Stockings were very scarce so woman would colour their legs with gravy browning and draw a straight line down the back to make it look like a seam, that was before seamless stockings became available. I remember wearing seamed stockings (when I was older) and what a pain they were to keep the seam straight!
A woman's clothes essentials were a turban, the tied headscarf, a basic sensible military style suit and the sturdy wedge shoe.