Reality check. I was 20, he was a couple of years older, we had a baby that was under a year old, we had no car, we were living in a bus, in Tokoroa, in the winter. For those who don’t know Tokoroa – it is a small timber town in near the centre of New Zealands North island. It does not snow in Tokoroa but it does get some very very cold frosts. Luckily the people of Tokoroa were very warm and welcoming – not only the Phipps clan but also their friends and I was very fortunate to meet the Harnett family.
Ken & Lloma lived with their three girls on a farm just out-of-town. They had recently moved out of the farm cottage into their newly built house and were taking the family to Disneyland for a holiday. These awesomely generous people asked us if we would house-sit for them while they were away for a couple of months, in the middle of winter, complete with a big stack of firewood for the fireplace. I must confess we were most likely not the worlds best house sitters – but we were most grateful.
On their return we moved back into the bus but remained parked at the farm for a while and got to know the family who hosted my 21st.
It was during this time that I finally had the opportunity to join the Girl Guides with Lloma mentoring me into being a Lone Guide Leader. The Lone Guides are a branch of Guiding that provided correspondence guiding activities to Girls living in remote areas of New Zealand with occasional camps and other get togethers. My leadership in Guiding continued after I left Tokoroa, moved to Napier and later in Rotorua with both my girls becoming guides and Alisha going on to become a Brownie leader in New Zealand and now Australia.
As we moved around we have had ongoing contact with the Harnett Family with visits and electronic contact.
To the Harnett Family – “Thank-you for the part you have all played in my life”
Sadly Lloma passed away in 2012, but not before I was able to write to her….Dearest Lloma. A colleague recently asked me about how I knew you and what our relationship is….and I struggled to answer.
You must know I see you as a dear friend – a non-judgemental accept me with my faults kind of friend.
I also see you as an older and more knowing sister, from whom I have learnt so much.
As a mentor mother, if I can be half the mother you are I will feel so good – but Oh you have set the bar so high.
You are the exemplar wife, and your loving relationship with Ken is the type of relationship I aspire to have.
But Lloma, you are so much more, you are an inspiration, not just to me but to Riki, Alisha and Dianne. There is not a hypocritical bone in your body. You live life how you believe it and you love unconditionally – and for that we love you. Just had a lovely family get together and were looking through some old photo Albums…. and you were in so may of this pics when Riki & Alisha were little – such a big part of our live – lots of Love
Check out Llomas Sponge recipe.