Childhood memories by Evan Mayson
Evan is nearing retirement from a career as a consultant civil engineer in New Zealand and overseas. His career as a rural aid development advisor and project manager has taken him to projects in South and South East Asia, Africa, Melanesia and the Pacific. He is writing about his life for his family, present and in the future.
My father was a primary school teacher on country service for most of my childhood. My memories are about the experiences, places, sights and smells of rural New Zealand in the ‘50s and ‘60s in the Whanganui districts of Ngaturi and Whangaehu and the Southern Hawkes Bay district of Rua Roa.
I remember the delights of swimming on hot summer days in small country streams and the distinctive smell and colour of the water, the soft warm feel of it on my skin.
I remember climbing the hills near the school-house to fly our homemade kites, or to sledge down in ruts we’d made in the slope and using water from a small spring, that bubbled out of the earth near the top of the hill, to create a muddy slide.
Lying among the uncut grass beside a stream with Bruce, my best friend, fishing for eels on long summery afternoons after school.
The smell of long grass and hay in summer.
The smell of cowsheds and shearing sheds.
The distinctive scent inside macrocarpa hedges and the thrill of sliding off the boughs to the ground below.
Golden poplar trees in autumn marching beside dusty country roads.
The winter feel of frosty grass and mud on bare feet during the rugby season.
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