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Recently a writer to these pages who is a grandmother to a young teenage family, visited her own Mother to catch up for a family get together after the ravages of lockdown.. The youngsters were to have a pleasant visit, not only to Grandma, but to be part of a four generation ‘get together.’ Four generations together ...now that is something else and I would venture to suggest that is a fairly rare event in ones greater family. It should be an occasion to remember well into old age.

I have a photo of a child of eight months sitting on his great-grandmother’s knee, along with his father and his mother, the babe’s beloved grandmother ...years later. That little boy was to inherit much of his great-grandmother’s spirit and determination .

She was known affectionately in the family as ‘Grandma Boddy’, a pioneer of the Greymouth District on the West Coast of the South Island of NZ. She and her husband came from Lincolnshire. They settled just south of Greymouth, at a place that was to become Boddytown.

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My Dad’s grandmother was Grandma Boddy, and he used to tell me two stories of when he was a boy and took part in a street march. He would have been probably about 12 years old and the march was raucous and loud.

Suddenly a hook of an umbrella was around his neck and a furious old lady, hauled him out and said for everyone one to hear ’No grandson of mine is going to grow up a little Bolshevik’. Dad remained a Labour supporter until died.  

Grandma was a mean shot as well. Apparently they had an orchard and she would give fruit to all and sundry when they dropped by. However she drew the line at dishonesty. One day she caught a young fellow up one of the trees.

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She loaded the gun up with shot, took aim and the little bugger fell to the ground. Next day it was the talk of the town as ‘Grandma’ in her hurry to teach the thief a lesson had forgotten to remove the ramrod before firing.

This of course was a story that became a family favourite and I guess none of us ever questioned it. 

Grandma Boddy also left two pearls of wisdom, that I imagine would have gone down like a lead balloon with the two young in the article ladies that Shaydee Lane, wrote about in Tick Tock.

Spare the rod and spoil the child” and the other, “Children should be seen and not heard”.

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You wonder when these two young girls, in Shaydee's article,  show such little respect for their elders, just where the finger of blame lies. An oft heard phrase “Give me the child until seven and I will make the man’. It comes down to discipline, and that inevitably is the responsibility of the parents. I grew up with two sisters and Dad always impressed upon me to respect them and my Mother. Only twice did I ever remember him taking the strap to me and one of those was for disobedience to my Mother. 

Today we live in a world that has been moulded by the need to have everything now. Where as we grew up with butter-boxes as makeshift furniture, put the real thing on layby and paid it off over time and shelved the idea of having the luxury of a new fangle TV that ran a test pattern for most of the day, today they mast have a car in the garage and a fully furnished home. Something had to give.

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Mum when out to work and so began a cycle where she went from the home to ultimately become a corporate executive . The kids were university bound, they wanted for nothing and the dogma of socialism was instilled that eventually produced the young ladies that morphed into what our generation called ‘little brats’.

It is a greed, that our generation never knew of. We struggled...and yet for all of that I and many of my age can be heard to say “We have lived in the best years ‘

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I think that those who believe they are the enlightened ones are about to be tested as to resolve and character.

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