Tuesday, June 14, 2016

He's married, he works, go on sleeping/ On the other side of the world (Jack Kerouac)

Get Back (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 1, part 7)

John lennon and the Quarrymen were looking for gigs wherever they could find them, Jack Kerouac was labouring over On the Road, Sibelius and Toscanini were heading to their respective graves while Ricky Nelson/ Elvis/ The Everly brothers and Sam Cooke were having hits, nuclear tests were continuing amid protests from the Pope, and Dulcie Purdy was pregnant with her first child.

According to my mum, I was 'made in Pihia, born in Auckland'. Fairly appropriately, I arrived right on tea-time, 5.53pm.  I was a big baby, robust and bald.

Perhaps Christina, now Grandma, was momentarily disappointed not to have a grand-daughter (the doll stayed permanently in position at the top of her wardrobe), but I was pretty pleased to say hello to the world. 

My initial days on earth were not entirely auspicious ones. Being born in the shadow of One Tree Hill was symbolic enough, Maungakiekie is my mountain,  but space at this temporary hospital, a left over from the American forces building programme of the war years, was very limited. Therefore, I received my first visits from my new father while living in the service room where all the linen was kept. 

In our family stories, this became known as 'the broom closet'.

Most people's early memories are hazy and imprecise, if not unreliable. From the oak shaded hospital I decamped to 5 Oak St. - the flat, only a few houses away from Royal Oak Primary, that Dulcie and Graham let from Mrs Wells.

I kind of remember the house but I was only two when we left it. I can dimly picture the back of this house, made up of weatherboards and happiness.

Mum walked everywhere with me - around Royal Oak and Greenwood's Corner and One Tree Hill. I remember being frightened by a big pig dog on one walk, which has led to a lifelong suspicion of dogs.

Ma and mum show off the newbie - Ross Purdy
Two years and 18 days after I was born, I got a playmate - son number two: Ross Graham Purdy, or Dusty as our Uncle Jack called him.

Ross' emergence coincided with a move to a new house at 18 Korma Rd., Royal Oak. Our grandfather, now and forever called Deedoo by me, did all the plastering and white-pointed the bricks, as was the custom of the day. I helped out by bringing croncrete (sic) in my barrow, and painting 'the toadstool' - well it looked like a toadstool, in reality a much less romantic sewer air vent.

The family was as complete as it was ever going to be. We had Grandma and Deedoo; we had Ma (mum's mum, Lucy) and Uncle Jack: we had Uncles Roy and Mel and their families. 

But most importantly, for a long time to come, the four of us had become a strong and inseparable unit - DulcieGrahamandtheboys.

Love and peace - Wozza

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