More Family

Standing outside the Taheke Hotel, here I am with my mother, my father’s father, and my sister. I’m the slightly disturbed looking one in the front, the short one.

Pater, as I had to call my grandfather, was someone I saw on very few occasions in my life. I only have a couple of images of him in my mind. He died not very many years after this photo was taken, in Gisborne, at the age of 88.

I have impressions though. He was dressed in a fashion I was not exposed to much. I don’t remember him in anything else except a three piece suit. I remember how he was different, he was English, having emigrated here as a young man.

He was very strict and formal. Even the name, Pater, was formal. Strangest of all perhaps was that he liked to write poetry. Believe me, to meet a man who was proud of writing poetry was something of a mind bender for someone liked me who was being schooled in the cultural mores of the time. How a proper male should behave was clearly proscribed and strictly enforced. Homosexuals went to gaol.

Something else about him impressed me. He had an air of being somewhat educated. Apart from the priests, teachers, doctors, I didn’t know anyone like this. If fact I have no idea what his education was like, or if his poetry was worthy, none is extant.

Somehow he influenced me though. I’m not sure how, perhaps he opened a window on a different world.

In this photo, I’m also interested in the dresses that my mother and sister are wearing. My guess is that Louisa, my mother had made them. She was extremely adept with her hands, and skilled with a sewing machine. When she left school she worked as a seamstress in Karangahape Rd in Auckland.