7. 1970 Grief, loss and odd happenings

I have been stalling on writing up this episode of my life.  When I set out to chronicle my 50 years so far I was fully aware that not all my memories would be happy or pleasant to recount…and this post, from the year I was seven is one of those harder ones.  Today is Sunday as I decide to tackle this head on…it might not get finished or posted today, but I will have begun.

Look at this picture, look at his handsome man, this is my Grandfather, Gordon Huia Floyd, known to all as Dee.  Even now, I still like to look at his picture and try remember as much as I can.

Dee
Dee

Today is Thursday.  I cant even think about continuing this post without tears coming to my eyes. I think it will be a few drinks and just do it.

So half a bottle of red and a couple of scotches..here I am – and here I will stay, until it is done.

Dear Dee

I will never forget you. I remember you in so many ways. 

  • Stirring the Gravy for Sunday lunch at your house in Battery Road
  • Your neighbours Aunty Ruby & Uncle Jimmy on one side and Auntie Francie and Uncle Alf on the other. I took Riki and Alisha to Auntie Francies for lunch when I lived in Napier and I took Dianne to visit her too.
  • Visiting Your Sister in law Auntie Cathy out the back of Taradale – I took your great grandchildren to see her too. She loved thenm so much
  • Your love of Belgium Biscuits
  • Your Crystal Lolly jar that was never empty
  • The pensioner flats where you chopped the finest kindling for all the old ladies to light their fires
  • The day I lost the tip of my finger in your lawn mower
  • When you came to stay with us when you were sick – I was so scared when you coughed up blood
  • The 101 Dalmations book and 45 record that you got for my birthday. I brought it for my grandbabies too
  • The Lemon and the Jam tarts you got from the bakery at Ahuriri – they had the little bit of pastry in the middle.
  • Making a phone request to the radio to play “Grandad” for you
  • Visiting you when you worked at a printers and the small metal name stamps you made us

I remember your love and your smile.   I remember a hard worker, a charmer, a gentleman and a soft touch for a good story.

I love that you helped other people and were there for us.  I love everything you did for my Mum – she turned out pretty good.   I remember being very put out when we had to go home so you could spend time with your God-daughter – I didn’t want to share you – but that was you being there for others.

I remember a car trip in your prefect with my friend Missy.  I don’t know where we went but I have a strong memory that as we went down the road it became a river.   As I have matured I have had many occasions to recall that the road probably didn’t become a river. It may have been a bend in the road lining up with a bend in the river or a ford, or any number of things….. but it has been a lesson for me through life. Things are not always as they seem – or even as I remember them to be.    Sometimes I have to step back and see what really is rather than what I think it to be.

I remember when you were sick and in hospital and I knew you were going to die. I didn’t know what that meant, not really.   Then you died.

I remember your funeral, at the Knox Presbyterian Church, and the realisation that you were in that box, and you were not coming out, and I would never see you again.  I  hadn’t said good bye – and now it was too late to tell you how much I love you.   I was only a child so I was sent home with the ladies, I went to my room and cried.  I’m crying still.

The ladies from the church and Aunty Pam made me a cup of tea from the big church tea pots.  It was hot and sweet. I remember drinking lots of cups of tea that day.  The following week I went to my ballet exam and passed – real trooper. 

I saw you after that –  You waved to me as I walked to school past the hospital.   I couldn’t tell anyone because I wasn’t allowed to walk to school that way – but I did because you were there.   later when I was older you were there one night, encouraging me… the people I told didn’t understand and you went away. 

I know that you were forbidden to speak Maori at school, I learnt it in your honour – I even passed it as a School certificate subject  ironically failed English.  My children, grandchildren and dog are all familiar with the basics of Te Reo – you deserve that. You deserve so much more.   The children and I erected a memorial for you – I hope its OK.

The first tattoo I got was for you.  It is on my thigh and is a combination of small mementoes and memories I had.  I have your prayer book that you were awarded in 1917 as a conduct prize from PakiPaki Sunday School and from  that I used a cross as the background for my tattoo, on the front of this is a rose.  The rose is red, I don’t know why I chose red but Nan Wilson later told me that Red roses were your favourite. Below the rose is a simple banner that says “Dee”.    You are part of me forever.

Its been so long since you died, I have done so much with my life.  Some of it acceptable and other parts maybe not so. but no matter what you would be so proud of me, I know.  You loved me so much and I will miss you forever.

You Loving Grandaughter

Janey

Please enjoy these memories of my Dee

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