13. 1976 Music, Sport, Mayhem and becoming a Teenager

The year I became a teenager was the same as all the other years before it, yet it was different in so many ways.   Actions, decisions and plans made in this year have continued to swirl around me as my life evolved.  While in previous years it was the input of others that was shaping me – this year it was me finding me and starting to have input into my own future.    WOW – I never realised it at the time but this was a pivotal year in my development.

This was my second year at Napier Intermediate school, a 2 year school, where children from about 20 primary schools are thrown together in a new environment, without their familiar teachers and given the opportunity to ‘transition’ to high school through new experience, people and opportunities.

The teaching style was very different to primary school and we had to move to different rooms and teachers for different subjects.  There were two teachers who made an impact on me as I transitioned – Mr Colin Campbell who was my form 2 class teacher and Mrs Zoe Schofield who taught Home Economics.

I recall a Home Economics class where we did some sort of career planning exercise at the end of which I declared boldly that I wanted to be a Home Economics teacher… and in 1996, 20 years later, there I was, in Rotorua,  teaching Hospitality in a Tertiary setting and teaching Cooking at the local Intermediate  school as a visiting teacher for their options program.  Who says goal setting and dreaming is a waste of time.

For me I can summarise 1976 as Music, Sport and Mayhem –

Music – I was given the opportunity to try out for the orchestra (whatever that was) so off I went and came away as a Cellist.  Now this was a bit cool, I was accepted, I was deemed good enough and I was in an orchestra – all I had to do was learn the basics of playing a cello – a what?.  Thats right – I had no idea what I had been selected to play.  Imagine my surprise to discover I played the biggest instrument which I was required to transport between home, school and music lessons.  Dad rigged up a shoulder strap for me so I could carry it as I walked … and I rigged up a way to take it on my push-bike which was much easier.  I liked playing the cello, I liked doing the theory work-books, I loved the performances we did as an orchestra but I hated the annual exams.  I hated being judged by some crusty old demons who always found me ‘not good enough’…so although I loved it – after 3 years I quit.  Who knows – with a bit of support I may have become a famous cellist who loved to play the rich melodic tones that a cello can produce, although I didn’t really get to those tones in my short career.

Popular music started to have an impact on me and I fell in love with Lief Garret, Peter Frampton and Rod Stewart.  Of the three, Rod Stewart has been my enduring love and I finally spent an evening with him in 2012.

Sport – I have mentioned previously that I was not chosen for sport however I had a fairly fast older sister who was involved in Athletics and Harriers. For some reason I was encouraged to go along with her – this gave Mum & Dad some time out from me and opened up a whole new world of socialising for me.  As with music, I enjoyed participation but rarely never excelled at an Olympic level.  I did compete at provincial level competitions although I think these were open to any one who wanted to give it a crack rather than being selected on ability.   I have many certificates from 1976 that attest to my participation and one that shows success – as part of a team of really fast girls.  I also participated in gymnastics and table tennis… not sure why, but I gave it a go.


Mayhem – That whole philosphy of mixing us up with other children had some good and bad aspects and by 1976 I was getting into the bad.  I rather felt that if doing my best went largely ignored, then doing my worst might get some attention – and it did.   I don’t think I was really bad but I do recall a playground brawl with Anne Errica and some chocolate yoghurt one lunch time.  We were friends again by the next morning.    One of the sad aspects of Intermediate schools is that having thrown us together, we were then torn asunder as we went off to the High Schools around the area and I lost track of Anne Errica and Patricia Maulder after only knowing them for a short, yet intense time.

Big family Pic
Big family Pic

Family holidays still played a big part in my life and during this time we had the first BIG family get-together that I recall in Timaru – if you cant work it out, I am in the front row, second from the left .

Note – as with all families there are horror stories of wrong music being played, failed cooking attempts and the like which are often hard to attribute to the correct child – therefore I have deliberately left them out.

Oh – and in 1976 – I became a teenager and discovered boys, but that’s another story…..


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