Early Childhood

I was born on the 7th of October 1966, the first child of Ross and Robin, in Palmerston North, New Zealand.  I was named Bethli, after my paternal Grandmother, and Vivienne, after my maternal Aunt and Great Aunt.  I don't remember much of the early years, except our cat Fluffy, a grey part-Persian, seeing snow for the first time, and our next door neighbour, Doris, in Masterton.  We moved to Masterton when I was a one year old.  My sister (and only sibling) Kylie was born on the 15th March 1971, in Auckland

Bethli at 2 years, 1 month.  1st November 1968.

Bethli at 2 years. 1st November 1968

Just before my fifth birthday I started school, and remember learning how to make woolen pom-poms and also falling over in the rain and breaking my nose.  I was starting to get sick at this stage, which took the form of fevers, inflamed glands and vomiting attacks.  I was also bruising easily and badly.  After living in Auckland for four years, my father's job took us to Hawera, in the shadow of Mt. Taranaki

I was in Standard One in Hawera.  I started to learn the piano, from a Nun in the convent by the large (and scary) Catholic church.  My friend Brighid had a pony called Weetbix which we rode after school, and I learned to ride a bike on my other friend Donna's older sister's bike, going through the knees of a number of pairs of trousers.  I sometimes had difficulty eating by this stage, and my vomiting attacks were intensifying.  I was becoming jaundiced, but my family hadn't noticed as it was so gradual.  Shortly after my eighth birthday, I became very ill (the Saturday of Labour Weekend, last weekend in October).  This was the first time my liver completely failed.  I was in the local Hawera hospital for a couple of days, and then Teddy and I were transferred by ambulance to the larger Taranaki Base Hospital.