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Written by Margaret Lorraine using original material from interviews
Following are some excerpts:
In 1986 I met five North Canterbury women who spoke to me about their lives. They were all born around the turn of the century. The oldest was born in 1892. It was a wonderful experience for me. I cried and smiled privately at what they described and it gave me some understanding of them.
I was born in 1901 in a nursing home in Sydenham. When I left the nursing home I went to live at Mt Thomas. I really only have memories of Mt Thomas, as I was there for 85 years.
My mother did not want me to be a tomboy but I was allowed to climb trees. I got to know every stone in the creek. As a child I remember pushing myself across the creek on the weeping willow branches. I was not lonely really, as there were always lots of people staying.
I was born in 1906 at home in North Loburn. I was called Hazel because that was a pet name of my father’s.
We used to have a horse named Casey and we used to take shortcuts going from Loburn to Rangiora. There was no bridge and I can remember going through the cuttings and up the other side. Casey was a pretty good horse and one time there was a lot of water on the road and Casey jumped the water. Dad and I went up in the air. It was nearly too much for my father.
Alice May Holbrough
I am a North Islander by birth. When I was about 3 or 4 years old my family came down to the South island. At first my father had a shop in Southbrook which is a mile or so out of Rangiora.
I started work at the Kaiapoi Woolen Mills before the first World War about 1908. I started on the winding. There was a long stretch of machinery and there were big bobbins side by side. I had to wind the wool on to the bobbins and go along the row and replace bobbins that had already filled. I had to work quite fast.
Miriam Dodsworth Watson
I originally came from Clarkville.
When I was ready to leave school and decide what to do with my life, there were my parents, who really wanted me to stay home and help them. Really though I felt that I wanted to be a working person and able to earn my own money. There were not many career choices, so I decided to go for something safe. I had been brought up with teachers and I liked the thought of teaching, and I decided to be a teacher.
Ivy Horton Geddis
I was born in Rangiora in 1892 and I left school before I was fourteen.
At last I bought a car. It was a Ford and I was able to take my mother out. If I had paid board I would not have been able to save enough to buy a car. It was very rare for a woman to have a car in those days. I did not have a licence and I did not need one. There was no examination. A friend of my brother in law taught me to drive. Fords were very fashionable at the time.