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People Making Changes Issue 4 -
Fulfilling retirement

- Dorothy - 30/1/97

“Creating a skills fund for a 'rich' retirement.”

Save for your retirement! Build up your retirement funds! When you get to sixty there'll be no pension!

In this money-driven society we hear it over and over. What the ads don't say is, "You'll probably have to stop work early! You don't want to vegetate or die of boredom! Build up skills for a richly satisfying retirement! Insurance policies and investments don't ensure this." Coping successfully with change can mean that you reach the sixties with a blend of skills that will open the door to stimulating new interests.

Pauline's story
Pauline Pellett grew up in East Anglia, an only child in a happy family, with her great ambition from an early age to be a singer and actor. When she was nine war broke out and with twenty five airfields within a radius of between one and twenty five miles the sound of war was constant, and the children at her school were machine gunned in the playground - luckily with no casualties. When she was fourteen her mother died, and with all these traumas the secure world she had lived in no longer felt secure. She began to question the meaning of life and its relevance, but she still wanted to act. Her father was very caring but did not want his daughter to go on the stage.

She managed to persuade him to let her apply for drama school and train in acting and teaching. In spite of the huge number of applicants, including many returned service men and women, she was accepted for training at the Guildhall School of Music in London. At the same time she studied film technique at the New Era Academy.

Next came acting in repertory with a new play each week, but Pauline wanted to use her training in film for the exciting new entertainment world - television. To get a foot in the door she took a job as receptionist in a television company. It led to change in her career, but not to television acting . Instead after a whirlwind courtship she married Maurice Pellett, a New Zealander studying television for Philips. New Zealand seemed a mystery destination. At ten years old in a geography test Pauline had put New Zealand in Bermuda!

Her father complained that she could not go further away, and her grandmother warned her that marrying a colonial she would have no nannies. The trip to New Zealand was in a small boat, the Mataroa, but through stormy weather this little boat remained steady because of its ballast - "half of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in the hold".

Many changes and surprises lay ahead. The first shock was being told, on the first glimpse of Great Barrier Island, that there was New Zealand. She could not believe that the country was so small! She lived at first in Auckland, She loved the beauty of Auckland, but missed terribly the antiquity of the buildings where she had grown up.

Then she and Maurice had to learn to look after a baby as they were both the only child in the family and their mothers had died young - and of course there were no nannies! Pauline marvelled at how capable the New Zealand women were. She met country women who could cope with high society dinners and also help on the farm and feed shearers.

Three moves and three children after her arrival found Pauline living in Sumner, Christchurch, where she has stayed for thirty five years. Her husband specialised in medical electronics and Pauline taught speech and drama at a school and in private practice. She has written for the theatre and produced plays and radio programmes for the Speech Communication Association.

The death of Maurice, and soon after her son-in-law, led to more changes - helping look after her grandchildren.

At the age of sixty Pauline had a Golden Age party - a celebration of being a senior citizen, the beginning of a new and exciting phase of life.

Pauline People's rights have always been a concern for Pauline. This led her to join Greypower and stand for the committee. Once elected she inaugurated the association's newest venture - a radio programme with interviews and a talkback on Plains Radio. This programme celebrates the Golden Age and the amazing achievements and contributions of senior citizens. She finds it immensely stimulating and spends many hours on it every week.

The changes and traumas in Pauline's life and her training have given her the skills she needs to interview, to write comic skits and to host a talkback for Greys.

What about looking at what you are investing in your skills account and aiming for a fascinating hobby in your retirement!

The Greypower radio programme can be heard on Tuesdays 3.30 - 4.30 on Plains FM 96.9, Christchuch.

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