~ The End of an Era ~

Posted: July 10, 2020 in childhood, FAMILY, Family stories, FATHER, holidays, kids, loss, love, memories, Mother, Whanau
Tags: , , , ,

The unthinkable has happened in my world. The family has sold my parents’ home, the land we’ve owned, worked on, developed and made our little slice of paradise in the Coromandel Peninsula- my father’s log cabin by the sea. They have sold this plot we have tended and populated during the happiest days of our lives, the “creative wellspring” where I have gone seeking inspiration for my stories. Mum’s and dad’s home by the sea has featured repeatedly on this blog over the years. After my mother’s death in 2015, I wrote posts about the “boys’ trips” my brother and I took with our sons to visit dad every school holidays, A Visit to Grandpa, A Boys’ Trip! A Winter Trip, and so on.

Growing up, I didn’t know how lucky we were.


Mum and dad bought the section in 1963. Dad told us the story many times, about how he had sold his bread business and the buyer could only afford to pay  £20 a week, “So I said to Shirley, we could put the money in our back pocket and carry on living high on the hog, or we could invest the money in a section for a bach.” The trip to the little Coromandel township on partly gravel roads over perilous mountains took my parents four and a half hours in a little old Ford with four kids. But as soon as they drove down out of the hills and saw the seaside town laid out before them, “it looked like paradise and mum said, this looks more like it.”


They bought the section for the equivalent of a year’s wages, £900.

Growing up, we would start every vacation there with “the hundred bracken” game, we spread out in a line as a family across the property and we moved up the slope pulling bracken out stem-by-stem. Once we reached a hundred stems, we were let off the hook and could play. We developed the section slowly over many years from a bare plot of earth on a slope into a lovely retirement home for the last twenty years for mum and dad.


There were views of the entire district from the peak behind their house, there was forest walks, fishing, rock-pooling, swimming at the surf beach and off the wharves, there was a grassy reserve below the house, there were playgrounds and basketball courts, a great little community with facilities and our favourite cafe where my family has gathered to dine for years.

The place had everything a child could want.


I spent my childhood in kiddie heaven. In our holidays we could go wild, running free, riding down hillsides on cardboard boxes, jumping in the long grass, making tunnels through the bracken, taking off into the bush, exploring, climbing, trekking, and bird watching. In the early days, there was no electricity or running water.


We had to take everything with us in our caravan. We cooked over an open fire, went digging for pipis to bait our fishing rods, we fished off the beach or the wharf and then cooked our fish on the fire, boiling the remaining pipis to eat on thick buttered crackers called cabin bread. We couldn’t all fit in the caravan. I loved sleeping under the awning. My brother and I would lie in sleeping bags on stretcher beds. We’d peek out the awning flaps at the moon shining on the black ocean and the immense vista of stars and talk for hours into the night.


My sons and I went there to say goodbye over the weekend, along with other family members.

We pored over mum’s and dad’s memorabilia, photos and records. Dad had kept all his scouting books, and his scouting achievements, just as my mother had kept her dancing certificates, charting her childhood progress in dance class. Dad’s rise from apprentice to 1st mate in the merchant navy, recorded in his “Seamen’s Record” book, noted that Terence stood 5 foot 9, had brown eyes, brown hair and that his complexion was “fresh.”


His marks were always “very good” and every year he achieved “very good” in “sobriety.” It was a little window into my father’s life. He had kept every letter of commendation received on his rise through the navy, even the epaulets from his uniform.


We walked up the mountain; we played basketball, and we ate at our cafe. Then we packed up and shed many tears saying goodbye for the last time.

Farewell creative wellspring, farewell to our little slice of paradise. We remind ourselves we will get through this together. How about you, how are you doing? Any major changes in your world?


Talk to you later.

Keep creating!

Yvette K. Carol


The darkest night is often the bridge to the brightest tomorrow. – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

  1. Lynn Kelley - Author says:

    So many beautiful memories, Yvette. It’s wonderful you’ve written them down and preserved them here for future generations to read about. My heart goes out to you and your family, but I’m also jealous my family never had a little piece of paradise like your family did. We are getting ready to sell my folks’ house. It will pay for Dad’s memory care at the best facility around. That gives us peace. Can’t wait for the Covid restrictions to be lifted so we can visit him in person. I have a lot of anger about my mother being in the hospital during Covid (for a heart procedure, not the virus) and no visitors allowed, no advocate to help calm her when she was afraid and confused. So many crimes to be answered for after this is over as far as the way it was handled. At least they allowed us to visit her when she was unconscious and dying, but she wasn’t able to talk to us. I will stop there since I have nothing nice to say about allowing dying people to be alone and afraid during their last moments on earth. All for a virus that killed less people than the actual flu, and they lied about how many actual deaths there were because the U.S. hospitals got paid lots of money if a death certificate said Covid. So much corruption.

    I got off topic. Thank you for this lovely post, Yvette. What an amazing childhood your parents gave you and your siblings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks for the response, Lynnie. I’m still in shock and grief. It will take a long time to get used to the loss of my parents and the family seat. Sigh.
      I did not know the story around your mother’s death. I’m so sorry! How heartbreaking to have your mother pass away without any added drama. My sympathy dear friend!
      Somehow, we have to find the strength to keep going. 🙂 Stay strong.


  2. You have written such a heartfelt story into you and your parents’ lives. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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