Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sepia Saturday 42: Thinking of Lambs...

This photo was in The Waikato Times this morning.

Spring is a time for thinking of lambs.
It is often said there are more sheep in New Zealand than people,
and it is a joyful sight to see frolicking lambs in the springtime.
There are always a few orphan lambs on a sheep farm
and the farmers work hard at having as few as possible.

Every year while teaching I would borrow an orphan lamb from Hugh,
a friend and neighbour with a sheep farm,
and take it to school for the town children to experience.
It was always a great hit.

My Aunt tells of a city boy in her class years ago,
who while patting a lamb exclaimed
"It feels just like wool!"

This spring though, we feel sad when we think of lambs.
The big storms down south and the big dumps of unseasonal snow
has caused the death of thousands of newborn lambs.
Our springtime joy is dampened with sadness.

So, for my Sepia Saturday I have chosen a photo of me and my little sister, Linda.
This is a favourite photo of mine, taken by Mum on the trusty Brownie Box camera.
I would be almost four.
I was born at the end of World War 2.

I have, tucked under my arm, a toy lamb made of real sheepskin.
It was a gift from my Godfather, my Uncle Ivan.

My mother's youngest brother Ivan was overseas in Italy, fighting for King and Country
when my mother was pregnant. She decided she would name her coming baby Ivan.
However the baby was not a boy so Mum invented my second name... Ivette, with a long vowel i.

I hated the name for some reason. Probably because everyone remarked how unusual it was. Children hate to be different.
When I was twelve my teacher in class one day pronounced it as Yvette. (With a short vowel sound). Yvette Williams had just won gold for NZ at the Olympics, high jump.
My friends were impressed.. so from then on I secretly pronounced it with a short vowel i .

Thankfully my Uncle Ivan returned home from the war alive and well, and married his sweetheart Jessie.
He was a lovely gentle man and I am proud to have his name whatever form.

Just as a postcript.. I have to tell you I cut the tail off my toy lamb. My mother was not pleased, but we had lambs on our farm and Dad always cut off their tails.

I think the lawn needs mowing Dad.

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  1. This is all so precious, like the little lambs who have been in such peril in this rough New Zealand spring. How devastating this weather has been on the sheep and the farmers, Joan.

    I love the thought that you could bring an orphan lamb to school. How exciting for the city children. It reminds me a bit of the childhood poem you may know, Mary had a Little Lamb. When we stayed at the Wayside Inn in Massachusetts a few years ago, the Wayside's site had the actual school from which the poem was written. Somewhere I have a picture.

    What a darling picture, even if the little lamb lost his tail, Joan, and I love the story of how your got your name. Names are tricky with young children. I truly enjoyed this post.

    For some reason, blogspot will not let me use my wordpress account. I will try to comment this way, Joan, and hope you know that WOW is me, Penny, at

  2. Wow Penny! You did well to get here. I have been having a few issues too. Thank you for persevering. I hadn't thought of Mary Had a Little Lamb. I never knew about the origins of that poem. I'd love to see the picture. Thank you for calling Penny.

  3. I am still laughing about the lamb tail. Wonderful story an beautiful photo of you an your sister - and the lamb.

  4. A great story "ivette". You weave so many stories together to make a post that keeps us warm whether it be a late spring or an early Autumn.

  5. Thanks, Joan. I lay awake wondering what was going on in cyberspace about 8 hours ago. What a darling picture. Let's see if I can send this my original way.

  6. Joan, I love your story and the photo to illustrate, the bow in your hair and your sweet lamb. I have always loved lambs, how they feel, their little bleats. It is so sad to think of losing all those little ones. I like seeing photos of those times, when mowing the lawn was not a priority. I have a few of those, too. :)

  7. What a sweet wonderful photo of you two and the lamb. When I was young my dad had sheep but sold them before I was old enough to enjoy. Thanks for stopping by my sepia post. I hope all is well there with the past earthquakes.

  8. Your little stuffed lamb with a short tail -- children learn so well by example. Do you still have the lamb? Seems like something one would keep for many years. I'm sorry about the little lost lambs because of the snow.

  9. Thanks everyone for calling.
    All seems well again in cyberspace Penny! I'd hate to lose you!
    You can drop the 'Ivette' now Alan!
    Obviously my Mum didn't mind the lawn needed mowing Teresa Evangeline. Indeed..simpler times back then. Hand push lawn mower too.
    Thanks for joining my blog LD.
    I don't have the lamb Nancy. My Mum was not a hoarder.

  10. Seems pretty logical to me that you cropped lamb-y's tail. My daughter used to give all her dolls haircuts.

  11. A charming picture from your childhood. So sad about the lambs lost to bad weather -- as we were saying over at my blog, Nature seems cruel at times.

  12. Joan, I love how you weave your stories together. I could read on and on. Sepia tone photos make my day. As we say in the South, you were a right purty little thing.

    I could so relate to cutting off the lamb's tale. I cut the long hair on my doll. The doll was so real I thought the hair would grow back. Ahhh, kids!

    But the photo of the baby lamb with his mother in the snow, oh but I felt a pang. These critters just don't deserve that fate. I fear global warming is a long-time curse.

  13. I loved the stories and the photos. Not the part about the poor little lambs, though!

  14. love the postcript, and how you emulated your father!!! poor toy...
    nice post Miss I. !!

  15. hey! A Beautiful Photo.You Look Really Happy.
    Ivan Sounds A Fine Bloke.A Pretty Cool Name!

  16. thats such a sweet picture, and a lovely bit of personal history