Sunday, July 24, 2011

Last Sunday …

we decided to go a little south and visit the Karikari Peninsula.  We stopped a few times on the way – like we always do.  At Horahora Heads we parked beside this sign.  Internet wasn’t there that day, the door was locked.

 The tide was in so we couldn’t go for a walk on the beach but headed off in the other direction to have a look at the old jetty to check out the fisherman and see if he was catching anything.  He was, he was well pleased.

 We ignored the steps down to the beach, looked a bit tricky.

 These are private grounds but the gardeners assured us we were welcome to wander around the old Subritsky property.  They were busy working in the garden of the old restored house which they think will be open to the public some time in October.  We must remember to drop in when we next return to “the window”.

 If we hadn’t lingered for a cuppa from our thermos before heading off again we would have missed the boat rescue.

boat rescue
 The rescued looked rather subdued as they put their boat up on the trailer.  Look, one of them is on crutches.  Wonder if he needs them because of an accident – living dangerously perhaps?

 The gallant rescuer didn’t linger before heading back out to sea, the tide was running out fast.

This Sunday I am in a totally different place.  Both physically and emotionally.  I received word that Denise, my friend since childhood, has died.  We started school as little 5 year olds in the same class although I can't remember her much in the early years of primary school.  We went to different high schools but linked up again when we started work.  She is there in all my mid to late teen memories, the years of discovering boys and a social life.  Oh, the fun we had. 

My heart is aching, too, for our other friends, the other girls we went everywhere with in those wonderful days of carefree youth.  Joyce and Gayle.  The hours we spent with our hair in curlers, Denise to straighten hers, me hoping for at least a kink in my straight hair, Joyce looking for improvement in already lovely hair and Gayle a bit like me, just wanting to look better.  I don't think we ever stopped chatting although the subject matter was never deep but boys were an important topic.  By a great stroke of luck, none of us fancied the same guys, we never competed for attention.  Denise and I, in particular, always found something wrong with whoever the other fancied.  There is one name that is etched in my memory, Pat Mc N, one of her boyfriends I simply could not stomach.  To this day I'm glad she eventually broke up with him.  Strange then, that I took an instant liking to Barry, the man she married.  That didn't work in reverse, she never like the guy I chose and he didn't like her.  Used to say there was something "unnatural" about our friendship, that we were too close.   

The weekend hours we spent laying on beaches working on our tans in the days before we had even heard of skin cancer.  

The mid week hours Denise and I spent on blonding my hair.  And the memory of the time my hair had gone so blonde we decided my eye brows and eye lashes were too dark and applied peroxide to them, too.  The weeks and weeks thereafter that I had to wear big dark sunglasses to hide my weird eyebrows and speckled eye lashes.  And our mothers' horrors at what we had done.  

Times were different, of course.  It was the sixties.  We went into town at night and returned home by train,  usually on the last train of the night, walking from the railway station to our homes.  We weren't street wise by today's standards, the streets were safe at night so we didn't have to be but we knew how to avoid drunks and anyone we didn't like the look of.  

The years passed and no trip home was complete without a visit to Denise and Barry and their boys.  We'd drink too much and talk nonsense and laugh.  In all my memories Denise is laughing or making me laugh.

My daughter, Justine describes her as vivacious, honest, loud and funny.  Yes, all those things.  And fiesty, opinionated, and pig headed.  A bit like me in that respect.  But we rarely argued.

Justine posted this photo on Facebook and reminded me of the one big row we had, when she refused to partner my groom's best mate in my wedding party (because she didn't like him and he was showing signs of liking her a lot) I nearly sacked her as my bridesmaid but our dear friend, Marie (another of the girls who started school with me in the first grade, the one with the golden nature) offered to swap partners and all was well.  That's Denise on the left.

Then Alzheimer's disease claimed her, still so young and vibrant and I thought I was resigned to her eventaul loss.  But I wasn't.


  1. Pauline, I'm so sorry that you have lost your dear friend. What wonderful memories you have - and you describe so well the things that we were all into in those years - you over there and I over here.
    You were a beautiful bride and the three of you make a picture of friendship and confidence in the future.

  2. I'm sorry to read of your loss. She was a loely bridesmaid. You're fortunate to have so many good memories of her.

  3. such nice memories, your eye brows ok now? LOL

    Love the threesome wedding photo and the story of how your friend didn't like the guy, and he adored her.

    Sad about her Alzheimers, far too young. Some one says if we go on the computer and write, it will prevent this cruel disease.

  4. Hello Pauline,

    Love and prayers to you. Many happy memories.

  5. Oh dear heart, you've written so eloquently about your friend. What an honour you've paid her.

    The beach photos are lovely.

  6. Pauline I don't know what is up with my blogger but I did not get our last few posts... and this one is particularly special, I am so sorry that you have lost your friend, it must be very hard for you... I am sending lots of love your way! Enjoy the memories, they last forever!
    (Lost one of my besties to lunch cancer a year ago, sooooo hard!)


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