Saturday, August 18, 2012

MY FATHER WAS BORN 100 YEARS AGO TODAY


FRANK ABOUT 60 YEARS OLD

231 DAYS MAINLY WHEAT FREE 

7/31 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANT ACTIVITY


TOTAL WEIGHT LOSS FOR 2012:- 23.5 kg/ 51 lbs


Thoughts for the day..........


Welcome to my new readers. 

It's never too late to change your life for better.

I do not generally remember significant dates. For instance whenever I wanted to know the date of someone's death or birthday, except for my immediate family, I would ask my mother. This last week I have been thinking a lot about my father who died in September 1974 aged 63. Dad had been a heavy smoker most of his life. He told me he began as a 14 year old on strong, cheap, tarry tobacco and despite some futile attempts to give up was never able to do so until the day his body rejected cigarette smoke. By then it was too late. He was already dying from lung and liver cancer.

A few days ago I was looking through a file of photographs which revived so many memories.

My father was the middle son of a farmer who became wealthy through hard work and clever deals. I doubt if he was 'sharp' but he was certainly 'smart'.

My grandfather was an amazing man. He was one of many children, born somewhere among the first four or five. His parents were Polish. His father left Poland in the 1800s to escape the constant warring or so I was told. In fact he went AWOL from the army to escape Court Martial for stealing horse fodder belonging to an officer, or something like that. He wended his way across Europe and the globe finishing up in New Zealand as a foreman constructor of our Railway Lines in the southern part of the North Island.

Grandfather began to make his fortune by travelling to the Pacific Islands on what were termed Banana Boats, to buy horses. The horses were brought back to NZ and traded. He must have had a good eye for horse flesh which later was carried over into beef stock. Whenever he had accumulated enough cash he bought a block of land. He bought the cheapest land he could find in the Manawatu/Horowhenua  area and that meant he bought swampy and/or flood prone land.

MY PARENTS WEDDING JANUARY 6TH 1937
By the time I was born in 1939 Grandfather had several farms, some with share-milkers, and the Rangiotu farm where my parents lived. During the Second World War he became known as the Cattle King and sold prime beef cattle, much of it going to the US Army which was stationed here before their assaults on the Japanese held Pacific Islands.

KEILAWARRA
DAD'S SHEEP STATION IN THE TURAKINA VALLEY
In 1948 Grandfather bought 4000 acres of what we call high country hill farm in the Turakina Valley, not far from Wanganui. This was hard land, covered in scrubby manuka bush, and my father was told it was his. Dad worked exceedingly hard and paid back the purchase price to my grandfather within a few years. Although we only owned this farm for 12 years it had a huge impact on all our lives. Dad became comparatively wealthy on this difficult and beautiful land through good farming, honest dealing and a little luck. There was an exceptional wool sale in early 1952 and half his wool clip was in this sale until the wharfies ruined it all by going on strike. The price of wool had been spiked by the Korean War.

THE BRIDGE THAT DAD BUILT
THIS SWING BRIDGE REPLACED A TUMBLE DOWN BRIDGE ACROSS THE TURAKINA RIVER
GIVING BETTER ACCESS TO THE BACK OF THE FARM
THE NEW BRIDGE WAS STRONG ENOUGH TO CARRY A SMALL LOGGING TRUCK
OR THE BULLDOZER DAD USED TO BUILD FARM TRACKS

In 1960 he sold this farm and moved to the Waikato where the land was easier to farm and he was closer to his beloved Simpsons Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. This is the seaside property he bought on New Years Day 1955 for what we believe was the price of 3 or 4 cattle. Today that property is worth around 100 or even fewer beasts. This is the property which our family now plans to sell following my mother's death, aged 96, at the end of January this year.

Dad did not seem to spend much time with us when we were children. He was always busy but then his was a generation where the men worked and women ran the home and that included bringing up the children. Dad was also somewhat Victorian in his outlook. He would be horrified by the openness of Gay relationships, his grandchildren living together before marriage and so much more that we  have come to accept. On the other hand Dad was ahead of his time as far as technology was concerned. I'm not sure what he would have thought of the Internet but he would quite possibly have enjoyed the convenience of a Kindle and appreciated the business advantages of the internet.

I have wonderful memories of holidays. He worked hard and he played hard, and I don't mean drinking.  He loved to go out fishing in his 16 foot open boat with it's 100 hp Evinrude outboard motor. There were many adventures and many stories all lost as the men he fished with have gone too. One story that will survive him is this. When we got married catering for the Wedding Breakfast was quite a modest affair compared to what I see today. Dad told the caterers he would provide the meat, (from the farm), and some smoked tuna. First he had to catch the tuna. He and a friend went to the beach and the friend swears that Dad would have gone all the way to S. America in his determination to hook the fish. They caught a fairly large blue finned tuna, considered a game fish, and had it smoked before giving it to the caterer only days before our wedding.

I'm so blessed to have wonderful memories and great respect for my father.

Reporting back............

I enjoyed putting together the above story with photos. I was the eldest child and always felt I had a special relationship with Dad even if we were not particularly close. I don't often indulge myself in memories. It's been a very special day.

How did I do?

Not the best start to my day. The fact that I went to bed far too late, 1.30 am after eating a stack of rice crackers could have nothing to do with how I felt this morning....   or could it? All I felt like was toast, (gluten free), with butter and honey and black coffee. I was still hungry when I'd finished so I made a cheese and herb 2 egg omelet. Things became a bit more normal after that.

Breakfast:- Gluten free toast with butter and honey, Black coffee. 2 egg omelet with brie and herbs


Lunch:- Mid-afternoon - piece of salami and brie, HB egg


Tea/Dinner:- Pork chop with roast pumpkin, onion, and kumera.

Snacks:- Almonds, rice crackers, kiwifruit

Drinks:- Water x 0
Flavoured teas x 5 or 6
Black coffee x 1

Daily Goal:- 1.5 lt or 5-6 large cups *yes*

Exercise:- Walk or Cross-trainer *yes/no*

? minutes cross-trainer = ? km

21.75/75 km for August


BP 11th May, 2012 147/75
BP 23rd May 2012 135/75
BP 15th June 2012 135/85



1ST JULY 7.30 am - 90 kg/198 lb
3RD AUGUST - 91 kg/200 lbs
Start weight:- 114.5 kg/251 lbs

Weight loss history for 2012
January: - 10.5kg/23 lbs
February: - 3.5 kg/7.5 lbs
March: - 3.5 kg/7.5 lbs
April: - 3 kg/ 6.5 lbs
May: - 1.5 kg/ 3 lbs
June: - 2.5 kg/5.5 lbs
July: - + 1 kg/2 lbs

Next Official Weigh-in September 1st

4 comments:

  1. There's something gratifying about setting one's family history to print. Feels solid, somehow to lay out the story of "how we got here."

    I enjoyed reading it.

    Deb

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  2. My Dad would have been 100 last year. Lovely to see your photos, I love to see old family photos - maybe I could do the same sometime.

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  3. Oh I just loved reading this, and seeing the photos. What a wonderful family history. I particularly loved the wedding photos, of both generations. It just made me smile. There is something about seeing us when we are young and just starting out, all beautifully dressed up on such a romantic and hope filled day... it just touches me. Thank you for sharing this.

    I hope your children and grandchildren, and generations to come, will see this post and treasure it!

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  4. Thanks for pointing this out to me Margie Anne, what a fascinating read, I loved reading it and seeing the photos. Very special :) My dad also died from Liver Cancer (not with the addition of lung cancer like your own dad had) I was only 9 though. xo

    ReplyDelete