Plenty of experiences shape our lives I reflect on my memories and my mothers. How her life was shaped that she had no control over, spending some considerable time at the Western Springs Camp Auckland New Zealand.
I have been told that I was one of those babies who would held their breath on purpose till I turned blue. That makes a lot of sense, as only the other day, after yet another personal melt down, my hair dresser and I discussed that I was one of those people who are classed as highly strung. Explains a lot.
Now I remember that my parents argued like 24/7 and let me tell you it wasn’t fun. You spend your life on tenterhooks, as you don’t know what is going to happen next. I have a photo that I remember with sadness. It didn’t start out that way as I was getting to spend time with my dad, it was a sunny afternoon and he had been playing ball with me, I remember the ball being rolled down the hill, playing catch, mother came out and was asking us to pose for a photo, I don’t remember her being there up until then.
Dad lay down and snuggled me close into him. I distinctly remember her saying ‘don’t hold her like that she is getting to old’ for that.
What may have been very innocent words have stuck with me ever since. Was it that she wasn’t an affectionate person; this is a fact, as she spent more times beating me than loving me. Had she seen or felt something that she thought was inappropriate, or and I think this is the ticket, that she was abused and unloved as a child, failing to identify family love.
|The one when I was younger and clearly it was still okay to hold me close.|
|A bit older and for some reason was not okay.|
She was and still is a tortured soul, coming from a dysfunctional family, a habit that she couldn’t break, and has raised her family as one very dysfunctional crowd.
The small amount of her background that I know is that, she was abandoned by her mother and had to live with her father, who was in a relationship with another woman. Lived in what I think were classed as slums or state housing by the Auckland Zoo in Western Springs. I couldn’t locate very much information about this place of paradise, but have found a very small amount of information from a site and have copied the only reference to the accommodation near the zoo in Western Springs during that time. As the article states, children were expected to contribute and I do know that my mother is very bitter about white washing wall’s, she was covered in burns from the solution they used. I don’t think she had much of a childhood. She did tell stories of listening to the lion’s roar and stories of the occasional escape of animals.
It was different times then and not many speak of the despair, the hopelessness, the war, the poverty or the lasting impression it has left on their lives or how it has altered their lives, could it have been any different? How lucky we are to be given and offered so many different opportunities. We or I mustn’t judge just be grateful for what I have got and have managed to achieve. Raising my own family has been a gift and making the change has been another.
During the Second World War, Western Springs provided a camp for US soldiers. When the war ended, the camp became a cramped residence for families who had nowhere else to live, and partners and children often had to live separately. The 42 units closed down in 1959, when there was finally enough state housing to go around.
Times were often tough in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and many children were expected to contribute by helping out around the house or earning a bit of extra cash.