29 March 2014

Moving on

Johnny lived with us (sleeping in the out-building where I now sleep) from the beginning of 1998 - end of 1997, actually, I think.  Helen, still at home, was in her third and final BMus year at Auckland University.  Eddie, likewise, was still at home, and (I think) in his 7th Form year at college.  And Adele was commuting on the 6:05AM 'bus with me to St Mary's in Ponsonby.

By the end of 1998 - in fact, from the same day, 14 November, 1998 - only Adele was still at home.

Johnny, at some point - perhaps he can comment on this post - began negotiations to find a job working at a hotel in Sydney.  My own involvement with this must clearly have been slight, since I remember neither when he said he was doing this, nor the name of the hotel he landed a job at.  But land a job he did.  He told me and Susan that he would be moving there in November.

Helen's situation I know more about.  New Zealand universities (like, I believe, English universities) award a Bachelor's degree after three years' study.  One may then seek to enrol in a Master's programme.

More common, however, is to tack on a fourth year - the 'Honours' year - to one's Bachelor's.  This is not, technically, I believe, an additional degree.  If your Bachelor's degree comprised three years' study, you have a Bachelor's degree (Bachelor of Music in Helen's case); if you do the fourth, Honours, year, you don't end up with two degrees; you have a BMus (Hons).

Helen elected to do her Honours year - at Victoria University in Wellington.

Why (you may ask) Wellington?


We became Catholics at the end of 1995.  At the beginning of 1997, Helen attended the Hearts Aflame Catholic Summer School - which was held, that year, in Wellington - and met Robert.  She attended again in January, 1998.  This blog is not the place for me to detail the history of Helen's and Robert's relationship.  Suffice it to say that as Robert is now Helen's husband of 14 years duration, this must have had something to do with her decision.

Not, however, everything.  Uwe Grodd had been Helen's friend and flute tutor before she went to University; and her flute teacher at Auckland University.  It was an excellent idea for her to choose some variety.  And Alexa Still had been flute tutor at Vic; was now the principal flute at the New Zealand Symphony, and would be in Wellington that year.  Bridget Douglas - who now occupies that position - would be Helen's teacher.

University didn't start until the beginning of March, 1999 - but Helen moved to Wellington in November.

But the 14 November date was determined by Eddie's wedding.  He and Eveline were married that day - and, naturally, moved to their home (at the time, in Waimauku).  I suppose it may not have been that actual day that Helen and Johnny both left - but it must have been within a day or two that Helen left for Wellington, Johnny for Sydney.

Susan and I were not yet alone in our house.  Adele was with us - and would be for two more years.  Yet it was a major event in our lives.  I suspect it must have been a major even for Adele, as well - perhaps of greater import for her than for us.  Our family had been tightly-knit, and the children's relationship with one another of great importance for them.  Adele was bereft of three people whose lives had always been part of hers.

Whether connected with this quasi-orphaning or not, I don't know, but by the end of 1998, Adele was very ill with what turned out to be glandular fever.  The long days commuting on public transport, the pressure of school, all combined to make it impossible for her to contemplate continuing at St Mary's.  We were able to get her enrolled in the New Zealand Correspondence School, which she continued in for the next two years.

1999 continued for Susan and me as previous years had done.  Each year we each attended an Opus Dei retreat.  Susan's came home from her retreat in August, 1999 with something on her mind.

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