How far we’ve come
We kids had our school days during the horrors of World War II. Many fathers were overseas in the forces. Mothers were often on war work, and so grandparents and older people took over. Younger male teachers (of which there were more back then) were also in the forces.
Our school principal was past retirement age, and wasn’t prepared to take any nonsense from pupils, parents, Education Dept or anyone. In spite of his age he could bowl the rest of the staff out playing cricket, and was a strict but excellent coach. We dared not get smart, but we liked the old boy.
Our class teacher was older, and with a rugby injury which made him unfit for military service. He was a super teacher, able to patiently explain maths and the difficult skill subjects, and would quote poems, Shakespeare, to suit the occasion. All pupils in his class of 45 — plus Ma¯ ori did have a good grasp of English.
A big class of 11 and 12 year olds, a mixed-up bunch. I guess we were spoiled kids.
After-school tennis on our lawn with the net made out of an old flounder net. We mowed the grass with push mowers, and Grandfather had somehow produced some white lines that were near enough. To cool off we had a beautiful river pool handy. That crystal clear pool is still there but polluted these days, and unused.
We all had push bikes, some made from parts, but in summer we could all bike to the beach or to the sailing club to rig up our little home-built P class yachts to race or sail to an island for a picnic. (Mine cost 12 pounds ($24), with a loan from a great aunt and from Gran, plus mowing lawns and chopping firewood forever.
There was food rationing, but from the garden and the sea plus wise use of ration tickets for food and clothing (you are pretty old if you remember them) we had a healthy diet. Old uncles and grandfathers exercised with the Home Guard and kept their 303s clean.
There was real fear of a Japanese invasion, but we kids were able to have security, care and aroha. Sea Scouts and Girl Guides, a choice of sports, and plenty of adult help. We were, in spite of childhood worries about family members at war, too happy and secure to get into trouble.
Most said grace before meals, and Christian principles were respected. A girl asked our teacher if he believed in God and got a simple “Yes.” We sort of guessed he did. Society is now starting to have to cope with (sorry editor) crap TV mad psychological theories, smacks with a wet, bus ticket punishment for drug pushers and bullies who need psychological help. And for goodness’ sake don’t read the straight answers to our social problems as laid out by Christ, because they work.
We have these mounting crime and violence figures in our beautiful islands. Time for the old Kiwi practical common sense and Christian values to speak up. HAMIORA