Sea meeting sky - a very special memory

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 18/07/2014
Sumner
HILL WITH VIEW: Alan Clarke visited Sumner in the 1930s and saw the horizon for the first time.
Alan Clarke
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ
EARLY MEMORIES: Alan Clarke grew up in Sydenham, on Cadogan St in a square house with a front verandah.

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When Alan Clarke was 4 years old his father, a foreman's clicker in a factory, died while working as a builder's labourer.

His mother was now the sole carer of her six children, of which Alan was third-youngest.

Alan's mother kept them all clothed and fed on the widow's pension. With six young children, she didn't have the time to go out and work.

Alan remembers living in Sydenham at the time, on Cadogan St in a square house with a front verandah.

The children didn't get many opportunities to stray far from the area, but Alan remembers one special trip where he left the city proper.

A classmate's parents took him out to Sumner for the day. He was the only one of his siblings to be invited, possibly to give his mother a break, and was driven out along the coastline in a car.

Despite being only 7 or 8 years old at the time, the trip is firmly lodged in Alan's memory.

"For me, this trip is a moment I have never forgotten.

"The only thing I remember was seeing the horizon for the first time," he says. "Sea meeting sky."

Now 80, Alan vividly recalls realising the horizon wasn't flat after all.

Alan now lives in Burnside.

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- The Press

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