Age is no barrier to Cromwell woman Effie Cockburn.  The octogenarian, who retired to Cromwell with her husband Bob in 1999, has recently launched book number five – a memoir which chronicles the lives of the her family, along with the lives of their many friends, neighbours and school-mates, growing up in Mornington, Dunedin, between the two World Wars.

As the youngest of five in the Jelley family, Effie decided to make some notes on their family life.  She says,

“I started off not really intending to write a book, but once I got going, it grew like topsy!”

Effie’s older brother Arch, a youthful 98-year-old, was a ‘tremendous help’ in the trip down memory lane, and the e-mails went back and forth between the siblings as the book developed.

“Our family was a great sporting family, except for me,” she says. Her father, Albie Jelley, was a test cricket umpire, and her brother Arch coached many runners including John Walker and Hamish Carter to Olympic glory.  Effie, however, preferred the arts, and became a drama, speech and singing teacher.

She describes growing up in the Great Depression as “a time when children had to use their imagination and make their own fun” – a time when there were no ‘labour-saving devices’, televisions or expensive toys.

Many well-known Mornington identities are remembered in the book, and Effie says those who lived in Mornington at the time will no doubt find their own names.

Effie credits and thanks her husband Bob for his administrative role in record-keeping and in compiling the book’s detailed index.  She herself did all the typing, sourced the photos, and together they did the layout.  Effie is full of praise for Quantum Print as printers of the book.

“They do a great job, and they are very obliging and pleasant to deal with – especially Darren”, she says.

Her previous books are poetry collections Gold in the Shovel and Sixty Poems and Images, a book of short stories Black and White Rag, and the autobiographical Wings of Song, of her musical life in Dunedin.

Copies of Mornington Memories are available from Effie by e-mail or PO Box 7, Cromwell, for $35 plus $4.50 postage if applicable.

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