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Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine: 64 - A Proud Announcement

Gayle Woodward lands a new job within three days of moving into a new home.

To read earlier chapters off Gayle’s engaging story of family life in New Zealand click on Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine in the menu on this page.

The next morning I found a local newspaper in the letterbox. I was very keen to find work and turned immediately to the Situations Vacant section. There I saw an advertisement for a Resource Centre Manager at one of the secondary schools we had looked at for the boys, Macleans College. I hand-wrote a letter of application, including the reference I had received from Birchville School and the passes for the university papers I had completed. I copied my new Auckland phone number carefully and waited for a call.

When it came I was very excited and confident that I could do this job successfully. I was told an interview time and place and immediately drove my car to the school to make sure I knew where the parking area was and the best way to get there.

I had great trouble in driving around this new area and often got lost. There were several roundabouts in this mostly residential suburb and I often mistook one road leading out from the roundabout for another. The children had to be enrolled in their new schools, and this cost much time as I went up the wrong streets and ended up miles away from where I really wanted to go.

At Pakuranga College the boys and I were led into the female Principal’s office. The most striking noticeable thing in that room, keenly noted by the boys, was a glossy framed photo on the wall. It showed a former pupil, Lorraine Downs, who had been crowned Miss New Zealand and Miss Universe a few years earlier.

Jeff would be attending Form 6, although he would repeat his Form 5 Technical Drawing class as he had not passed the School Certificate exam in that subject. He was happy to note that the seniors at the school did not wear uniform and this prompted much discussion between him and me as to appropriate clothes to wear to school. Mark would enter Form 3 and seemed to be excited by the possibility of new friends and new subjects.

Karyn was duly enrolled in Standard 3 at a primary school close by. Wakararanga School was not, in fact, the closest but it was an open plan school which she had been used to at Birchville. I had to buy new uniforms for Mark and Karyn. The money went out as fast as it came in and it was imperative that I get a job quickly.

On the day of the job interview I arrived at the school office and was welcomed by a woman with striking white hair and a warm manner. She advised me I would be interviewed by a Jim Lonergan, the Teacher in charge of the Resource Centre. I was a little taken aback as I had decided in my infinite wisdom that I would be working for a woman.

Jim and I stepped into an office and I was interested to note it was the Careers office. Jim was young and friendly and explained the job structure to me. I would be in sole charge of all the photocopying at the College and would be responsible for all the textbooks used by English, Social Studies, Geography, History and Science departments. I would have to prepare new books for use, maintain these books and issue them to individual students on a six weekly cycle. I would also be in charge of maintaining audio visual equipment which would be sent out to staff requiring use of it.

I was unsure of the photocopying part as I had never used a copier at all let alone a big fast one like I saw here. But I smiled confidently and did not let Jim know of my reservations. He left me momentarily and when he returned he told me I had the job if I wanted it and should now prepare for an interview with the Principal. I was told to follow him.

Now I was nervous. I was nearly there and did not want to ruin my chances at the final hurdle. But Colin Prentice, legendary in the district for the high class academic school he had established and ran so strictly, was warm and appeared interested in me and my family. I liked him immediately. I would be starting my new job at 8.15 am on the 1st February, the same day that Mark would start at his school.

That night, I proudly announced to Woody that I had the job I said I would get, all within three days of arriving in our new house. We settled in. It was summer and the pool was very popular. The house had been closed up and empty for a week until we arrived and we could still smell the doggy odour left by the last owners’ much loved dog, which we had seen sleeping at the top of the stairs on a previous visit.

It wasn’t until Mark began sporting small groups of itchy bites all over his legs that we realised the dog had left behind more than his smell. The house was overrun with fleas. An extermination company, who sprayed nasty smelling mist around the house, was called. The fleas disappeared, as did flies and ants and spiders. We thought it lucky that our pet canary, Fruju, had not succumbed too.


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