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Rummaging through life’s scrapbook

Don Farmer’s new book Rummaging Through Life’s Scrapbook. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

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Tales of “colourful” Wairarapa folk will be immortalised in Don Farmer’s new book, ‘Rummaging Through Life’s Scrapbook’.

Don Farmer. PHOTO/FILE

Farmer said he had the idea for the book after he’d written Walking Back to Happiness, which detailed the story of growing up in Greytown in the 1950s.

“I was asked about writing a sequel and why I’d stopped at the end of primary school, but there’s no way I’d be writing about what I got up to as a teenager. So, I thought of this. These are stories that were mostly passed down orally from generation to generation, but no one seems to think to write them down.”

He said the new book was designed to entertain and to spark memories.

Unlike the first book, Rummaging Through Life’s Scrapbook covers all the main Wairarapa towns, and a few rural areas, with a different town per chapter.

Farmer said the book covered some of the “incidents” that had happened in each town.

“There’s no sex, drugs, and rock and roll in this at all; most of it is about happenings in small town Wairarapa that people either remember or have heard about from their parents when they were kids.

“They’re all true with either documentation or confirmation.”

He said the stories weren’t detailed like something you would see in a newspaper, and very little if any had been published.

Farmer said one of his stories came from his grandmother, Francie Bassett, who kept a diary from the day World War II broke out.

“She began on September 1, 1939, and religiously wrote in the diary every day, take or leave a few in the later years, until 1968.”

He said it detailed some of the happenings on their farm, giving him one of the stories.

Another story was about a “hard case man from Martinborough” and the amusing things he’d done.

Farmer said his family had been happy to talk to him about his life, “it was just gold”.

He said one or two stories in the book were on the more serious side, but he hoped they were all interesting.

“That’s why it’s called Rummaging Through Life’s Scrapbook. I’ve justified that name because it’s rummaging through the scrapbook of your mind rather than an actual scrapbook.

“It’s a scrapbook of little things that we’ve heard. It’s little pieces of things that are stuck in your mind, and you don’t really bring it out.”

Farmer said his book was “an attempt to put those little things on the record”.

Rummaging Through Life’s Scrapbook will be launched with a signing on November 17 at South End School in Carterton from 5.30pm to 7pm.

  • Books will be available for $34.99 [cash only] at the launch but will also be available at all leading book shops in Wairarapa and across the counter at the Wairarapa Times-Age.

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