5. 1968 Gaining a brother and Losing a Limb

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.

Baby brother Chris
Baby brother Chris

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.

Dees mower was sharper than this one and not as rusty I'm Sure
Dees mower was sharper than this one and not as rusty I’m Sure

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….

I loved those bandages
I loved those bandages!!!

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