Elizabeth Goldsworthy started writing to her husband, who was serving with the Special Air Service Squadron in Malaya (Malaysia), when she was fifteen years old. After he returned to New Zealand they got married and over the next thirty years Elizabeth wrote many more letters while George was on tours of duty overseas. She is now writing her memoir, with encouragement from her daughter, who thinks her story should be recorded.
It was a sunny Saturday morning and I was weeding the garden when my husband wandered out, clutching the “Employment” section of The New Zealand Herald. I had taken a year’s leave without pay to complete my degree at the University of Auckland, so all was well in my world. George, a major, and near retirement after 34 years in the army was looking for new challenges, “There’s a job I’d like to apply for.”
"Okay. What is it?"
"Deputy Director of Public Works, Niue Island."
"Well, apply for it then."
"What will you do?"
"I’ll just keep writing more letters and join you at the end of the year."
I paid a visit during the August vacation which proved an interesting experience. George had spent months cleaning a house needing attention. He had also cleared the large section of umu pits and piles of beer cans. Two weeks before I arrived George had rescued a tiny ginger kitten during a tropical storm and it was clearly very much their home, not for me to make any changes. Kayu proved to be great company when I returned to New Zealand. George was however, very happy for me to move in and make his home our home at year’s end.
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Deborah thanks Rangimarie Kelly and Pikau Digtal for website design and artist Karen Jarvis for her image ‘Writers at the Devonport Library,’ (2023)