When I was little I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house. They’d actually tried to persuade my parents to let them have me (or so they say) but it worked out pretty well for me. My childhood memories are days spent naked running around the pool, getting a Jellytip on the way from school with Didie (my grandma), performing songs from Les Mis and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and refusing to leave for a week when my cousin Nora came to stay from Athens. She taught me how to do the Macarena and we played Barbies.
When I was seven my parents and I moved to Auckland. Soon after my grandparents left Hamilton and moved to Otaki. Visiting them became about the long long drive down the island, being spoilt whilst staying with Aunty Janet and being an unaccompanied minor on the plane. I actually changed the sticker so that it read ‘Unhappy Maddy.’
I remember racing my cousin Felix, desperately to see who could hug them first when we’d arrive in Otaki and trying hard to hold back tears when it was time to go home. As I’ve gotten older it’s gotten easier to leave. I think it’s related to the lethargy at the prospect of the drive home, but I’ve also become more interested in keeping them with me.
My Papa carves. He carves beautiful gourds and bone carvings and I am lucky enough to have one of each. My gourd is placed high high up in my room on my bookshelf where I can see it but noone can break it. One day, I hope that I’ll be able to persuade my Papa to draw me something that I can get put on myself. I know that he’d hate the idea, but if there’s anything I’d want, inked on me forever it would be that.