I remember after arrival in New Zealand (on my Birthday) that we lived in a little cottage on Pettigrew's farm, out at Pihama. I remember Mother taking us for a dip in a drain. We went in our nickers and singlet! and it was muddy at times.
We all slept in one room on the floor.
After being there for 18 months we shifted to a farm on East Road, Stratford which was covered in ragwort and wood, which we all helped to clear. We all went to School on horseback - the horse's name was Dolly. We had it for a good many years.
We milked cows by hand when the petrol motor didn't go. Many times it wouldn't go, so all the family that was old enough, got out and helped to milk so that Dad could take it to the factory. He used to take it in cans on a cart which Prince the horse would pull. After we milking we had to get our breakfast and go to school. I remember one time we had a flood which washed over our bridge that we went over to school making it unsafe, and we had to walk. We would hurry up and get over the bridge as quick as we could to catch a ride to school on one of the wagons that used to go to the factory just over the bridge. During days when the bridge was under repair, we had to walk along a plank. If we didn't get a ride on one of the wagons, we had to walk about 4 miles.
Mother used to send us to School with shoes and socks on, but when we got home Mother used to growl at us for taking them off. We said the kids at School didn't wear shoes, and they used to call us sissy as Mother used to dress us prim and proper.
When I left School I went and kept house for John and Lyall, when they went share milking for Harry Washer up Scott Road. I used to feed about 30 calves by hand, and I had to carry the milk quite a distance - they were all pedigree calves.
We used to go to dances at Tokaora Hall where I met my husband. We married 19th February 1941. The first three months that I was married, I took sick with kidney trouble, and I was in bed for about six weeks. After I came right, I helped milk and make silage and hay on the farm we were on. We used to milk for town supply. Rupert used to take the milk into town. After a few years later we bought a milk round. We delivered milk by dipping a dipper into the can to give a measure to each customer into their billies. We did that for a few years.
After my six children grew up, and Gordon was 12 months old, we bought a Milk Bar shop for our two daughters Fay and Diane to look after. Then we went into a catering business. We then took another shop in another street for three curse dinners, running the two shops for a few years. Then we sold one shop and took on a bigger one, where I used to cook meals for up to 100 people. At the same time I kept on doing the catering for all functions, which we enjoyed doing. We were kept busier than ever when we used to take a caravan up to the New Plymouth Speedway for a few years on a Saturday night selling pies, lollies and drinks. Following that, we took the caravan to the Stockcar Club at Stratford Showgrounds selling hot-dogs and pies etc. Dot Pitcher was one of our helpers at all the functions we did - she was a great help as she could drive the van when there weren't enough drivers.
The catering job was a lot of hard work, carrying the dishes in and out of halls. After about ten years we sold up the dining Rooms and the small farms we had, and bought the farm where we are now. This was the best thing we ever did.
In 1986 Rupert died, leaving me to carry on until Gordon took over the farm, and this is where I am today.
Stallard Family May 1979