17 January 2015

Jack and Jean Rogers - more heroes.

As I grew up in Christchurch one of the outstanding individuals, and influences on my life, was one of my fathers workmates Jack Rogers. Jack loved his walking and I sometimes wonder if he was also an influence in getting Dad into walking and climbing. I remember Jack and Jean about home sharing weekends and family meals. Jack had been a CO during WW2 and I often wonder if my father, who spent the best part of four years in the airforce, didn't think that Jacks view of the world was the more sane one. Dad would have nothing to do with any of the ra ra after the war. When he got back from WW2 late after spending time flying out POWs in SE Asia he was too late for any housing and we spent two years living in a pair of army huts. Meanwhile Jack had been interred at Hautu Camp for the duration, but the benefit for him was that he met the wonderful Jean, a dental nurse from Taihape. The story of their clandestine courtship is the stuff of legend.

The first time I went out tramping with Jack and Dad was up to Mt Herbert via the Packhorse Hut from Gebbies Pass. I was only about 13 at the time and it was quite an effort. Then followed trips up Mts Torlesse, Cloudsley, Enys, and Hutt with Jack and several of Dads other workmates and WW2 friends. Over the years since that time Jack and Jean were always a constant presence in my life. Over the years he and Jean completed a longitudinal traverse of the South Island and I well remember how he and Jean, when they stayed at our holiday house at Pukawa for about a week climbed nearly every peak in the area or on the horizon with their son Allan. Jean was his greatest supporter.

The first Canterbury earthquake was traumatic for them - they were shaken out of bed to find the kitchen totally awash with Jeans preserves but the house that Jack built himself up above the Halswell Quarry withstood the shake. Jack died a few years ago. He certainly left this world a better place for his having been here.  John, my brother agrees wholeheartedly, Jack was one of our heroes.

JackR (left) with me, my Dad and Kelvin Lewis on top Torlesse c. 1953