Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Life speeds by ..... but includes so much.

A really old typewriter ... many assignments,  Gestetner stencils and letters have been typed on this 
The snappy "modern" portable we bought about 1980.
Tools for art work on Gestetner stencils.
A film strip/slide projector ... so "modern" at the time. 
Feeling young still. 
I was driving in the city and a van turned in front of me. It was sign-written on its panels inviting people to explore building apprenticeships.  While driving I read the invitation and excitedly said to myself, "I'd love to do that! ... maybe I could?" Then I remembered, I'm 67 years old, and 67 year olds do not do apprenticeships. Polytech's and universities are advertising courses at this time of the year and I read enviously. "I'd love to try that!" On Saturday I absentmindedly browsed the "situations vacant" pages of the newspaper. I saw jobs that I thought I could do... my heart still thinks its young. (I was reminded this afternoon of the "University of the third age," that maybe I could attend?) 
I am constantly surprised at how old I am. It doesn't seem long ago that I was a teenager! When did I get old? Where did all those years go? What have I done in that time? I still feel like I want to adventure and try new things? 
Archeology in my cupboard. 
I have been trying to tidy up my office. Two big boxes of waste paper have been burnt. Some other stacks of paper have gone into the recycling bin. A big box of books is ready to go to a local charity book sale. Then my attention turned to the cupboard in my room. This cupboard has been the place I push stuff I can no longer store elsewhere. It has been a nostalgic journey. 
Changes in technology mapped... As I cleaned things out to see all that was in the cupboard I discovered interesting changes in technology over the years of my career. When I started doing youth work in Church as a teenager, I remember editing a youth paper and printing it on a "Gestetner". For about half of my career we still used "Gestetners" to print newsletters, hymn sheets and studies.  The more recent ones were electrified and you didn't have to turn the handle. You typed up a stencil and on that could do drawings with a "stylus".  I found in my cupboard styluses and guides that enabled me to enhance documents with art work and lettering. Now of course we use computers and printers.  I found two old typewriters. One so old it may be of interest to a museum. I bought it for $5 when I was in college in Australia in the early '70's and used it to type up my assignments. Another is a little portable one we had when we lived in a caravan as Church "Fieldworkers".  I could type up documents for studies, letters to churches and reports. But then technology moved on. I discovered in my cupboard a big 5 inch floppy disc that our first office computer used. Of course there was also the smaller discs which have given way to Cd's, and now memory sticks.  I found too a slide projector I purchased in the early 1970's. It has an adapter on it that enabled me to show film strips. I have a case of hymn slides and slides of the life of Jesus I inherited from an elderly man in my congregation.  But then I found two boxes of old overhead projector transparencies, some old videos, and then an old laptop on which I first explored power-points.  Time has seemed to speed by, but in my time there has been dramatic change.
Memories of life and a journey in Church ministry.  I unearthed a box that had been labelled "crayons". In that box there were two boxes of crayons which my parents had bought me as birthday and Christmas presents when I was attending a Saturday morning art-class as a boy! I have dabbled with them on a few occasions since. I found too a partly knitted jersey I started to knit soon after we were married. Forty six years ago my bride taught me to knit and I was going to knit myself a warm work jersey. It has never been completed.  I found in the depths of my cupboard documents that brought memories flooding into my mind. There were photocopies of two letters my father wrote to my mother while he was overseas during World War II.  Photocopies of their marriage license and birth certificates. There were newspaper articles about some of the things I have done.  There were articles about ministry movements and the fieldworker journeys. A newspaper photo of me leading a prayer with a line up of city firefighters at the time of 9/11.  There were photos of Habitat for Humanity ventures. The invitation and instructions I received to an ecumenical service with the Pope when he last visited NZ. Photos of trips, holidays, camps, conferences and friends. There were three boxes which held the notes from the many weddings and funerals I have led over the years. Another box held university course notes, while another articles and magazines I had contributed to. There were the official letters related to the "Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit" medal I received. Along with that newspaper articles, cards and letters from well wishers at the time. In there too there were "get well" cards I received when I was in hospital, but also farewell cards and letters I got when I retired.  I did not go slowly through all this stuff. I just packed the stuff I wanted to keep in accessible containers and replaced it in an ordered way back in the cupboard.

"It has been a constructive journey with a lot of variety and a great amount achieved." was the sentence that ran through my mind as I closed the door on my now tidy cupboard. Time has flown, but there has been a lot of living packed into those years. ... And there's more to come!  

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