Celebrating southern history
Everyone invited to book launchPAT VELTKAMP SMITH
Seventy years in the living, 20 in the researching and 10 in the writing, Jeannie Barnes' study on the characters of the south is in the hands of the printer now.
Swaggers, Tinkers, Hawkers and More Deep South Tales will be launched upstairs at the Invercargill Public library on November 13 at 5.30pm and Ms Barnes says so many Southlanders helped her track down these tales and shared their stories that she wants everyone to celebrate the launch with her.
That this comes within a few days of a significant birthday is a bonus she says: another reason to tick off something in her bucket list.
''I have done it. I had to do it, to find out about people I remembered from childhood, calling at our house, selling things. Others remembered this and that. It meant someone had to find the stories and so it was me.''
She lived on a main road near Wallacetown and remembered hawkers calling and people in other parts of Southland recalled a woman pushing a black hooded pram holding fabrics and laces and somewhere else a woman selling from a cream cane pram.
The earliest of Ms Barnes' own memories goes back to the 1940s but other tales are of people in the depression years from the mid 1920s up to 1939.
Southland at home in the following war years is another section, with tales of defence precautions and the setting up of the Home Guard.
''Younger people are surprised about all that, blackout curtain and dug-outs at home and children having trench drill at school.''
Ms Barnes' book will be a timely addition to the Southland history section of schools and libraries, to the bookshelves of older people who will share these memories and to the book collections of others interested in the past.
Her book will be available at South City Lotto and Stationery and at Sycamore Print in two weeks' time. It may prove a timely Christmas gift.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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