« Higsy | Main | Yellow Pansies »

Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine: 60 - An Exciting Challenge

…It seemed that as our children grew older, all the women were questioning their roles at home with the kids. I was the only one among us who had a part time job with no chance of promotion and study that had come to a shuddering stop. It seemed that while I had lit the candles and all my friends had followed the inspiring light to better their lives, I had been blinded by the candle glare. But up ahead, all at once, I could see another possibility…

A move back to Auckland opens up new opportunities for Gayle Woodward.

To read Gayle's wonderfully frank account of family life in New Zealand from the beginning click on Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine in the menu on this page.

My feminist mentoring to my friends was working. Kathy and I attended night school to learn to type and both passed our Pitman’s Intermediate Exam. Linda and I had started university study. She decided to apply for a place at Teachers College to continue her studies. Another friend, Jeannie, applied and was accepted as well and Carol decided to follow her dream and become qualified in Real Estate. I helped her with the correspondence study she had to pass.

It seemed that as our children grew older, all the women were questioning their roles at home with the kids. I was the only one among us who had a part time job with no chance of promotion and study that had come to a shuddering stop. It seemed that while I had lit the candles and all my friends had followed the inspiring light to better their lives, I had been blinded by the candle glare. But up ahead, all at once, I could see another possibility.

It happened when one night Woody came home and announced that he had been promoted again to National Sales Manager. I was pleased and proud but panicked when I realised that we had to move again, back to Auckland and Head Office. I felt that I had carved a strong niche for myself in Upper Hutt and hated the thought of leaving my friends, my job and the town I had come to love. But Woody was so delighted at the thought of moving back to Head Office, I knew we had to go.

We realised that the house we still owned in Auckland had only three bedrooms and small ones at that. The children were not used to having to share a bedroom. It would be necessary to sell this house and buy a bigger one somewhere in Auckland for our family of five.

We saw a lawyer and arranged for estate agents to sell our rented Auckland house on our behalf, but not until we had painted and primped a house that had been rented for ten years and not cared for as we would have wished.

I was angry when I found that the house had been badly cared for. Grass had grown over the paths and there were cobwebs hanging to eye level in the hallway. A hot iron had been left hot side down on the carpet in one of the bedrooms leaving a large, scorched hole, the bath was dirty and the oven interior was crusted with burnt on grease. I was very upset that the house we had planned, built and loved had not been cared for while we, in our rented houses in Upper Hutt, had cared for them as if they had been our own.

I did not want to go back to see this mess again. We drove through the night to Auckland and while Woody and the boys were prepared to give the cleanup a good try with help from my parents and my cousin Trish, I stayed at Mum and Dad’s house with Karyn. They cleaned, painted and mowed. The house was left sparkling clean although still unfinished downstairs; there was a possibility for the new owners to deal with this as they chose.

The children treated the idea of moving as an exciting challenge. Mark would be entering secondary school in Auckland and would be making new friends as a matter of course, but Jeff and Karyn were rather unsure about leaving good friends behind. Both would have to continue with the same level of schooling they were attending in Upper Hutt, secondary for Jeff and primary for Karyn.

I was sad at leaving my band of women friends behind. We were all close and they urged me to be brave. It was a given that although we were forging our own niches in life, we still followed our husbands wherever their careers would take them and without question.

I felt so settled in this small town. I could walk down Main Street and know almost everyone I met and chat with many of them. I was known at the library, the schools, the Scout Group, the kindergarten, the local store and the doctors. I knew all my neighbours and wondered if I could do it all again in Auckland.

But a small thought was growing in the back of my mind. I told Woody that I would help with the family finances when we had a new bigger mortgage by getting a full time job. I did not know what this could be but I did have the feeling that it just might be a new start for me.

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.