1968 started with lots of excitement for the family as a new arrival was expected. Of course we didn’t know if it would be a Boy or a Girl as their was not pregnancy scanning as there is today and it would not have really mattered The basinette and pram from my sister and I were still serviceable, the layette was all in neutral colours of white and cream, and the nursery was in Mum & Dads room so no decorating required.
After a small amount of persuasion my baby brother, Christopher Floyd Malcolm Smith, made his way into the world on 17 February. Early memories of this are hazy but I do have a memory Dad taking us to the hospital and looking at babies through a window so I guess that was my introduction to my bro.
I recall not always liking my brother but as the middle child (for then) it was my right to be annoyed by his existence but by the time I was eight I know we were getting on better and now – I love him to bits.
His looks haven’t really changed all that much either!!!
It was later in this year that I graduated from Carlyle Kindergarten and started school at Port Ahuriri School in Napier.
- We walked to school – up the track, down Park Road, across South Pond (actually a park) along the road and into school.
- We walked to school – it took at least half an hour – longer if Anne-Louise and I were reluctant to go or if the magpies were swooping, or if there were flowers to pick etc.
- We walked to school – rain, hail, frost, storm or heatwave.
- We walked to school – carrying our bags with our lunches and library books inside
- We walked to school – and at the end of the day we walked home the same way except we walked UP Park Road and that was a monster of a steep road!!!!
Around this time I lost a limb. OK, so I exaggerate a bit, but it was traumatic none the less. Anne-Louise and I were at Dees house on Battery Road. We went here often and Anne-Louse was having a push of the lawn mower. I’m not sure if she had permission to do this…but she was. Well I wanted a turn but, being the big sister, she had claimed it and wasn’t sharing.
Now over the years I have thought myself not so good at science but on this day I understood physics and mechanics. I knew that if something was jammed between the rotating blades it would stop her pushing the mower and that is how I lost the tip of a finger and gave up on science.
Oh…. the ensuing panic, crying, screaming, blood, hospitals, and bandages….