Karangahake School and District 70th Jubilee 1889-1959

I think the thing I remember most of all was the flood.

We had a terrific thunder storm in the night and then it rained very hard. When our father came home from shift-work in the mine, he said the river wasn't very high. But when we awoke we all gathered in our brother's bedroom overlooking the river. What a thrill we got when we saw the big trees come floating down. We made so much noise shouting "Look at that big one." that Mum had to come in to tell us to be quiet or else we would waken Dad.

My brother lit the stove and then came back to the window and it was he who noticed how far the river had come up and that it was very near the house. We never saw the danger; we were too interested. He called Mum and when she saw it she called Dad and it seemed just in a few minutes it was in the house. By the time were all dressed the water had put out the stove so we all had to leave without even a cup of tea for Mum and Dad.

Dad lowered us out the window. My big sister carried a little one and big brother a younger brother and I carried "Dinder" the cat. His name was Ginger, but my little brother called him Dinder and all the way he was saying "Don't get Dinder's tail wet." I could have drowned him as he had all his claws in me. I had to hold him over my shoulder as the water was up to my armpits. Dad had the baby and Mum had just what she could gather up in a hurry. We must have looked a bedraggled lot heading up the road to an Aunt's place. Poor Aunty had fun trying to fit us out in dry clothing. She had most boys and I was the unlucky one, for she had no girl's clothes to fit me so I had to wear the boy's. I didn't mind. The worst trouble was Aunty tried to dry my underwear in the oven and scorched them so badly they fell to bits.

Poor Mother! I can still see her face when we went back home when the water had receded. She had put all the bottom drawers out of the chests on beds and table, but the water had reached them. It had gone right over the kitchen table, so you can see how high it had come. We only had a tank for water so you can just imagine what it was like trying to get the mud out of the house, and washing everything. We children thought it all good fun naturally.

Right up till we left Karangahake, we still had the water marks on the walls and used to tell any visitor all about the flood.

- J.E.M.