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The Day Before Yesterday: 136 - The Family Home

...We had a woven stool, one of the boys had made earlier in the woodwork class. It stood at the side of the stove. A warm place to sit with Mark on my knee, as I gave him his feed. Each time I made a move to sit on it, 'Whisky' the cat would beat me to it. Many's the time he almost got squashed...

Gladys Schofield remembers with affection her family home.

That lovely old house filled with young adults and babies were amongst our most cherished memories.

We had a woven stool, one of the boys had made earlier in the woodwork class. It stood at the side of the stove. A warm place to sit with Mark on my knee, as I gave him his feed. Each time I made a move to sit on it, 'Whisky' the cat would beat me to it. Many's the time he almost got squashed.

The carry cot soon had to be abandoned, at four months Mark would push with his feet on the bottom and bang his head on the top. It didn't seem to worry him as he bounced up and down but it did us, so we transferred him to the larger one. We had never had to worry about the breathing of our babies. 'Cot death' must not have been called by that name then, as we never heard of it. All my babies slept on their side, changing sides with each feed. If they brought a little bit of feed back up, it came away safely. Laying a child on its back, it could easily choke on its own food. I never propped a bottle either, feed time was cuddle time and I would be as busy as anyone I knew.

Alan came home for a visit when Mark was seven months old, looking a little leaner but quite well. He was doing well for himself in the new country and unknown to us had been having a written courtship all this time with a girl called Anne. We had only met the girl once before he left and had thought she was only a passing acquaintance but we were wrong. He asked her if she wanted to go back with him when he returned.

He brought all the girls small dolls dressed in National costumes. One was an Indian complete with tiny beading on his leather outfit and miniature bow and arrow and feather head-dress.

He visited his old workmates at the company where he took his apprenticeship. On seeing how well he was doing in Canada, quite a few of the young men decided to try their hand there too. There was such a drain on the company, they banned Alan from visiting anymore. After his short visit, he flew back to Canada, accompanied by his girlfriend Anne.

Rod was about to take his Higher National Exam. This was his final one at the end of his apprenticeship. He had passed all the others with high marks so we didn't worry at all about this one. If it ever worried him he never showed it, rather like a brother of mine.

Cliff saw an advertisement in the Saturday paper for a man with his skill, to work in a woollen mill in Mosgiel, New Zealand. Our large family would not be a problem. He had corresponded for a while now with a firm in Dunedin but as yet they had no vacancy, in his line of work.

He wrote right away and a few weeks later heard back from the Manager, saying they were interested in his application and letters started to travel forward and back to the other side of the world. He was very excited at this point. All the adverts for New Zealand painted a pretty picture. Cliff promised the children they could have a horse and caravan. They thought they would go to school on horseback. I was not so sure, thinking of the loneliness in the strange land and said "I would go if he promised to stop the sport and spend more time with us as a family". He said he would. Rod told us he intended to follow Alan as soon as he was able, so I said "Alright, we will go" and all this time the year was slipping by, with our youngest child reaching his first birthday. He had just started taking a step or two and did this for the nurse who called to check his progress at this time.

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