A place where all manner of things blossomed

Post date: Sep 25, 2016 3:2:16 AM

This weekend we think marks 40 years since the & came into Tony & Sandra. I am sure you've heard it all before but in case dementia strikes for us let's get it recorded again. In 1976 I was a first year student at Otago, staying in St Margaret's College, a Halls of Residence. I went to Dunedin knowing no-one, and it turned out that many others in St Margaret's were in the same boat so the girls on the same floor did lots of socialising as a group. Roseanne Levis, a farmer's daughter from Te Puke, was studying science trying to get into Med School, was one of the group. In August of that year Janet, my next door neighbour was looking for a group of girls to join her at her boyfriends 21st party. Peter, her boyfriend, had male friends but not many female ones. So about 10 of us joined Peter's 21st. Peter and 2 of his friends Garry and Tony, came to pick us up and take us to party.Peter's friend Garry was very impressed with Roseanne Levis, and Peter, Janet & Garry made plans to find another occasion to get these 2 together. So the 3 drivers offered to take group of girls, including Roseanne to see the Alexandra Blossom Festival. I went along because I had never been to Alexandra and my roommate Stevie was very keen to meet up again with the dark enigmatic Tony. So the green Torana XU1 (Garry); modified purple Escort (Peter) and the bright yellow Monaro (Tony) set off full of girls who had never got out of Dunedin.

Garry & Rose certainly hit it off. Tony & Stevie didn't- but I found him quite good company. When the Monaro broke down at Roxburgh on the return journey I volunteered to keep the driver company while others piled into 2 remaining cars drive back to Dunedin. Garry with Rose to keep him company came back to collect Tony. The & have been part of both couples ever since - Garry & Rose; Tony & Sandra. Actually there is still Peter & Janet though they have lived in Britain for most of the past 30 years.

We count the blossom festival as the start of us. Didn't realise until recently that we were part of the 20th anniversary festival. Apparently Dr Suess was common theme for festival floats in the 1970s.