I’ve had the opportunity to visit New Plymouth on business and its occurred to me that I haven’t been here for a very long time. Over 20 years if memory serves.
Whilst I grew up in Palmerston North, both my parents were born and raised here. I remember being bundled into the Kingswood every available holiday (it seemed) and driving up with the family.
Mum grew up on a dairy farm which was used as a military installation during WWII. It’s been sold off over the decades and is now home to some of the newest houses in the region. The Old Communications Bunker remains. Good construction is hard to remove, apparently.
Between all my meetings I managed to do drive-bys of the places I have recollections of:
Mums parents house in Gilbert St.
Dads house in Govett Ave.
There was little or no change to Gilbert St, but Govett is unrecognisable. Apart from the driveway and the building positioning. A conifer I remember spending hours playing in is now a stump. I’m a bit miffed.
Pukekura Park is still beautiful.
The thing that strikes me the most is how much smaller everything is in reality. Through a child’s eyes I recall much larger homes, longer driveways, bigger sandhills and parks.
I also have little recollection of the city itself. Except for one memory where at the age of 8 I was captured by a large guard and accused of shoplifting. (I hadn’t been, and I was let go by the manager after proving my case). Wow, that one came back strong. Surprising.
I wonder if my parents really only spent time with the parents, aunts and uncles in their homes rather than drag us around in the hope of entertaining us. Interesting.
The Baptist Church where my grandfather died and was sent off, as well as my other grandparents is unchanged. I spent a lot of time there.
The model train club. Still there. Still fond memories.
It’s been great coming here. Good for work and good for the soul. There is a sense of belonging and history. But no, I’m quite sure I couldn’t live here.