It is my Dad’s birth date today. He would have turned 95 if a heart attack had not caused his death at the age of 62 years.
He was a warm, affectionate, loving father who believed in being very involved with his children. He believed that reading to children was vital and so bed-time routines were a happy, secure time in my daily life growing up. He was also funny, humorous and very quick witted.
His musical and sporting abilities and clever brain meant I had a childhood full of his very skillful piano playing, singing, ball games, bike rides, walks, visits to libraries, the Dominion Museum and many other enriching events and places to visit.
My love and interest in nature was inherited from my parents. We lived in Johnsonville and a remnant of native bush still existed within walking distance of our home. It was part of the Old Coach Road and it was there that Dad shared some of this area’s early European history and taught me about various native plants such as: Rangiora, Kawakawa, Ongaonga, Tataramoa, and other flora and fauna. We had many visits to Otari Bush, exploring the vast area of native trees, ferns,mosses and lichens. My curiosity was nurtured and encouraged.
Earlier this year I decided to research my Dad’s life. He was a teacher for 38 years, a father to me and my 4 brothers and a very loving husband to Mum. He had provided so very well for us all and given us sound foundations. But what more was there to learn about him and other aspects of his life away from his family?
I have discovered via letters, documents, records, old newspapers (thanks to National Library’s Paperspast) and people off Facebook groups all manner of details that have filled out the character, values and service to others that were so very much a part of my Dad.
He loved New Zealand’s native birds and with his keen musical ear he could tell the songs of many. He did not live to see the re-population of so many native birds into our suburban gardens but he would have been utterly delighted by it. I see and hear so many and they are a daily tangible link back to my Dad. RIP Dad xxxx