Sunday, July 10, 2011



I was born in Christchurch 20 October, 1928, the younger child of Fred and Lily Stevens.  My brother Frank was three years and three months older.  My first five years were spent in that city and then Greymouth became home for a couple of years when my father, a  bank officer was transferred there.  When seven I started in Brownies and began what was to prove a long standing interest in the Guide Movement.  I attended Greymouth Main School. 

My father was again moved, this time to Invercargill where we lived for fourteen years.  North Invercargill Primary School continued my education until I was Dux in 1941. I was then enrolled at Southland Girls' High School.  1942-45. 

During this time I had continued at Brownies and then moved on to Guides where I was a foundation member of the North Invercargill Guide Company.  Saturday mornings found me as a Pack Leader of the local Brownie Pack. 
World War 2 came along at this period and we were encouraged to join the branch of St. John Ambulance at High School.  Strange to relate, my mother had also been a member, but during World War 1.  As a school we practiced for air raids by hiding in trenches dug in nearby city gardens, our navy gym frocks pulled over our heads to hide our white blouses so as to be invisible from the air.  (Just as well it was not a co-ed. school!)  Another time, a whole class took off across to the gardens, much to the amazement of the mistress in charge, when a whistle blew and was mistaken for a practice signal.  It was only the postman delivering his mail.  We were allowed to go home during an alert for the city if we could cycle in a given time.  Needless to say, we pedaled like mad and left our duty teacher well in the rear.  For sports I played basketball (netball) and tennis. 
After leaving school, I started work in a photographic studio.  My first choice of occupation was to train as a chemist but apprenticeships were hard to come by because preference for training was given to returning servicemen.  In those days, the course was undertaken by correspondence while being apprenticed to a local chemist.  I enjoyed my work however and learned all aspects of photography. 

It was during this time that I became a leader of my church Lifeboy Company and also a Sunday School teacher. 

When my father was transferred to Wellington, firstly TeAro Branch and then Head Office, I went to and found work at Spencer Digby Studios.  After about a year or so I decided to make a change and went to an importe of dress materials, Makower McBeath.  There I was in the sample department taking pieces of all incoming fabrics and making sample ranges for travelers and customers throughout New Zealand.  I was also involved in choosing color ways for new materials.  As I have always been interested in sewing my own clothes, I found this work most enjoyable.  In Wellington I continued as a Lifeboy Leader.  My sport in summer was tennis and I joined a table tennis club in winter.  It was there I met Murray. 
After I had known Murray for about a year, he took an overseas trip and we were engaged to be married fifteen months later, the day he returned home. 
I had been lucky to always live at home with my parents but my mother died a year or so later, just before Murray and I were married on 1 February, 1958. 
Our first home together was a flat in Blenheim where Murray had been transferred after returning home from overseas.  For a few months I found work firstly in the publishing department of the Marlborough Express and then in Beatsons souvenir factory making paua shell jewelry and ornaments.  Then Allan made his presents felt and entered this world 31 January, 1959.  When he was three months old, we transferred to Nelson and built a house in Wakatu.  The next few years were busy ones as Murray laid out the section and I became labor's mate.  In order to supplement our income, I colored postcards until Allan got big enough to want to help and I could not carry on.  Postcards in those days were printed in black and white and tinted by hand afterwards.  Lynn arrived 11 January, 1961.  The children kept me occupied. 

When Allan attended kindergarten, I served on the committee and became secretary until we moved to Motueka on transfer.  David arrived after we had been there a few months 4 December, 1964.  We again built a house and had a section to plan.  Once more I became involved in the Guide movement and after being on the committee was a Brownie leader for three years and then became District Secretary for five years.  I also packed fruit in season and graded tobacco one year.  I was offered a job at the primary school as a teacher's aide and part time clerical assistant and was there until five years later when Murray was transferred back to Nelson. 
Back in Nelson we again decided to build and the section kept us busy particularly as we chose a hillside for our home.  I did voluntary work for the Crippled Children's Society and set up a toy library--the first in Nelson.  Other toy libraries began as a result of this.  I also helped with the swimming therapy.  Even made it on to TV in my swimsuit when one session was filmed!  That didn't bring me any Hollywood contracts though! 
Outdoor bowls had always attracted me, so I decided it was time to try my hand.  I have enjoyed my bowling  and have made many good friends, served on the committee for ten years, five of those as treasurer.  Now Murray is playing too, it is even better. 

Our first child, Allan William was born in the Holmdale Maternity Hospital, Blanheim, 31 January, 1959.

Lynn Judith was born in the Nelson Public Hospital 11 January, 1961

David Morris was delivered by Cesarean section in Nelson Public Hospital after a hurried trip from Moueka, 4 December, 1964. 

I am pleased to record that we have been blessed with three fine children.  We have brought them up as a family unit with reasonable discipline and encouraged respect for others. 

We have received much pleasure from their personal development and are very proud of their achievements.  They have excelled in their chosen careers.  Allan has become a Senior Police Sergeant, Lynn a qualified accountant and David a Computor Consultant with ten years overseas experience (U.K. and U.S.A.). 

My parents were both children of pioneering families who settled in Dunedin.  They were raised not to far from each other and attended the same Church of Christ as young people.  Eventually, three Clark sisters married three Stevens brothers and one couple of these were to become my Mum and Dad.  Before marriage, Mum worked as a tailoress and Dad's career was as a bank officer.  He was a member of the staff of the Commercial Bank of Australia (now Westpac) for 47 years. 
When they were first married, they lived in Dunedin where Frank was born in 1925.  Mavis arrived later after they had transferred to Christchurch in 1928.  Dad's next position was as Manager in Greymouth for two years and then to Invercargill.  They remained there during the war years.  Mum attended Red Cross meetings and Dad was in the Home Guard as a Quarter-master Sergeant.  In 1950 another transfer came along and it was of to Wellington for Mum, Dad and I.  Frank was already living in Christchurch after serving in the Airforce.  First appointment was at TeAro Branch and then on to Head Office.  After Mum died in 1958, Dad did some relieving work until he retired. 
My memories are of good, loving parents with an upbringing in a Christian home. 


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