Thursday, December 1, 2016

I was born a ramblin' man (The Allman Brothers Band)

Rambling Man (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 10 part 1)

Here's to the Purdettes

By now it should have become clear that I'm a rambling man:

Lord, I was born a ramblin' man,
Tryin' to make a livin' and doin' the best I can.
And when it's time for leavin',
I hope you'll understand,
That I was born a ramblin' man.

(The Allman Brothers Band)

Up to age 15 I 'd pretty much lived in the one house in Royal Oak. Up to leaving for my first job in New Plymouth I'd only lived in Auckland. My parents' marriage was solid for all of those years. On the surface - it's a very stable background.

But really - all of our lives are divided into chunks. I loved Royal Oak Primary, but I left for two years of Manukau Intermediate. I loved MAGS but after 6 years of that I went to Auckland University. I loved that but after 5 years went to teachers' college. And so on. I loved Macleans College but left to find adventure in Nelson. 

We managed to amass a (nearly) five year stint in Nelson. These were happy times - enjoying time at Waimea College and with our friends in Spring Grove and Jackett's Island (off Motueka).

By 1994, though, a few things conspired to make us think we needed to leave Nelson.

Along the way, we'd decided to move from Lord Auckland Road. Jacky's 'asthma' reactions were attributed to the pine pollens all around us in Wakefield. We looked at places in Brightwater, 88 Valley and Hope, but in the end Jacky found an old villa she loved and she bought it (I trusted her and went for a look after the deal was done - she was right - it was great).

Only trouble - it was in Wakefield, a few streets from where we'd been before. Ha ha...ha.

The rock steady crew in Whitby Road
The 'asthma' didn't stop at this place (on Whitby Road), in fact, it got worse. The use of quote marks on asthma is because we later found that Jacky was experiencing respiratory complaints not linked to asthma - at the time though all the GP's we saw prescribed steroids in the hope it would help.

Meanwhile, we again set about improving the house - painting the outside and fixing up the grounds. Along the way I fell off the roof and injured myself and Samantha with some dodgy scaffolding arrangement. No harm no foul. Oh and Jade got 'sumfing in her boomat!'

With Leda's awesome  birthday cake
The other mitigating factor in our decision to ramble once more was Jacky's decision to retrain as a nurse/midwife. 

After getting some tuition from a local GP and picking up senior school biology and chemistry, she was determined to get a qualification. 

She had been a stay home mum since 1984, ten years ago, and I can really understand why this was so important to her. In terms of new locations, this meant either Dunedin or Auckland.

A job came up for me at Mount Albert Grammar for 1995, leading the English department, and so, back to my old school I went.

In classic moves that have been replicated often since, I flew up to Auckland for a weekend to find us all a suitable house. Which I did. In Glenfield, on the north shore.

The kids headed off to new schools, I battled the bridge traffic each day, and Jacky took a job at a rest home while also going to UNITEC to study for her nursing degree. Phew. Life got hectic fast. Naturally, we were both exhausted. 

School House! 
(BTW - Dining room is named after Kel White)
Luckily some respite came when a job as Senior Housemaster came up at Mt Albert Grammar's boarding hostel for 100 boys, called School House. It would mean working two big jobs - Head of English and Senior Housemaster but what the heck.

Now Jacky had to commute across the bridge - she'd moved her studies to AUT on the shore, but her days were easier, even though she took a job as Matron at School House.

This all worked out well. The kids headed to new schools - Gladstone Primary and Kowhai Intermediate, and Jacky completed her Bachelor of Health Science degree. What a feat. Raising four children, working as Matron, putting up with our 24/7 hostel life, AND getting her degree. Amazing.

Of course, there were some sticky moments along the way - frustrations, tantrums, and lots of ripped up paper that is thrown around the room, is the life of any student, but she battled through and got her degree.

Now it was time to get a nursing job. But wait. After four years of being in charge of School House (and a record FIVE years at one school) I also needed some further stimulation and challenge. 

I wanted to be a Principal. But first I had to get a Deputy Principal position. That wasn't happening at MAGS, so at the end of 1999, I looked elsewhere.

Love and peace - Wozza

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