Sarah Elsie married Leo Garry after World War l. They had been sweethearts during the war years. Elsie's life was not as spectacular or as interresting , as some , but, nevertheless, it was equally as colourful. She had a happy personality and her laugh was infectious.
Her first home was in Whangarei township where Leo was a blacksmith. The second home was in Puriri Park Lane in Maunu, a lovely spot with lots of bush and old puriri trees.The property had a family home on it with a big kitchen-cum-dining room and an "Old Black Joe" stove. Elsie spent a lot of her winter evenings with the oven door open, sitting in a rocking chair and her feet in the oven (fire going of course). She never suffered from chilblains either. Lucky her. The rest of the family gave the oven a wide birth because of that very reason. Chilblains are not funny!! Winter time was when they suffered fron the old common cold (yes even in those days), and out came thecamphor oil, which was heated on the stove, and ,with those hard working hands, chest and back rubbing was the order of the day. It worked too.
Our Elsie worked on the farm, hand milked, fed fowls, boiled leftovers for the pigs-- some of which ended up as bacon and ham, cured by Mr Harold Snell in his smoke house. Imagine cured ham and long rolls of bacon hanging from the pantry ceiling, as they did in the large home. Luckily the ceiling was high enough to cope.
Elsie was a dab hand at making brawn,too, out of the head and trotters. Sometimes it set and sometimes it didn't. How could she face a pig's head !! Gardening gave her a lot of relaxation and flowers were her pleasure. Cooking, too, got a lot of attention and she could make a beaut Christmas cake in that bloomin "Old Black Joe" oven. She used to say that Christmas cakes should not have a lot of eggs, but be made dry. Was that an old wives tale, or were the hen's off laying at the time when fruit cakes were rquired?
The hardest days were those of haymaking-- trays ana trays of scones, buckets of barley water, billies of tea,which had to be carried to the workers, morning, noon and afternoon, but she never complained. Sewing was both a necessity and a pleasure and from those sugar bags and flour bags came some mighty interesting articles. Some really classy,frilly frocks were created out of crepe paper for the Maypole dances at the school functions,and a proud mother watched, with delight, as her family, so gracefully, danced around that pole.
Later Leo decided to go into the icecream manufacturing business and this was a very interesting venture.Now,more cream was required, more cows had to be milked and there was more turning of the hand seperator but, that ice cream was a good desert and all the neighbours thought so too. Ice cream aplenty,but only in one flavour and that was vanilla.As well as all the other chores ,
Elsie kept Leo's books, paid all the bills and turned out to be a good accountant. Some of her interests in the district included the Country Women's institute, the Red Cross Society and a number of other activities.
She had a very happy relationship with all the neighbours and loved a chat on the party line. Sure, there was gossip, even in the good old days, Keeping in touch with her family was important to her, either by phone or visits. At no stage was she a hermit in Puriri Lane.
Her family of four, Ava Marie, Ronald and Colin, were the greatest interest and all agree that she was a good caring mother and a great help to Leo during their years together-- come good times or bad.
As time went by more property was purchased,another home was planned and built, but, unfortunately, Elsie did not live long enough to enjoy this as she died of a heart attack at the age of 53. She was buried in Maunu Cemetery, after a very moving "Farewell" from her family and relatives.