New Zealand Woman’s Weekly




Iwas sitting in my car, stopped by the traffic lights at the bottom of our hill, when an unusual sight crossed the road before my startled gaze – two sets of twins, identical by the look of them, in two-seater prams, one pushed by a young man, one by a young woman.

I turned in wonder and locked eyes with the driver of the car idling next to me. It was a warm day in Wellington and our windows were open. The other driver said to me, “I always wanted to have twins – get it all over at once.” Then she smiled and drove away. It quite made my day, though I can’t say I ever wanted to have twins myself.

There was a bit of a line in twins back on my mother’s side, but the thought of having twins always made me nervous. So I had six kids, one at a time, instead – though not without some help, of course.

My mother mentioned all the twins on her side of the family again just the other day when we were having one of our regular chats on the phone.

I’m not sure she has any family history she hasn’t told me before, but I don’t mind hearing it all again.

It’s how we pass stuff on, I suppose, and maybe the best way to get me to remember the old stories is to repeat them over and over. Mum likes to say that memories are what it’s all about later on. She does a lot of rememberin­g these days, she says. Mainly because not that much new happens, she also mentions.

Though, at 91, she still gets out and about. Her retirement village puts on bus trips about the place and, often as not, she’s on board. Usually, they go for a drive somewhere out of town a little way for lunch.

Mum likes it if there’s a roast on the menu. Now she’s living alone, she never cooks a roast. I’d go down to Christchur­ch and do her one, but whenever I visit, she won’t let me cook. “Don’t be silly,” she says. “Relax. I’ve got it all planned. Look in the fridge. I got you some of that fancy beer you like.”

But Mum’s still making new memories now and then, so long as she remembers them. In another recent chat, she casually mentioned she was going on a protest.

“A protest?” I asked, a bit surprised, Mum not being one for wanting to attract undue attention or for standing out in the crowd, never mind holding a placard and shouting. But she said the local council was planning to cancel the bus route that runs past the retirement village to a mall down the road somewhere.

So Mum and a crowd of her upset fellow villagers bussed downtown and staged a bit of a protest outside the council offices, where they were apparently almost immediatel­y served cups of tea and then got on the evening news.

She’s not sure if they’ve saved the bus, but she said it was all a bit exciting. And certainly something to be filed away with the rest of her memories.

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