Learning & Information | Rukuhia Te Puna Mātauranga

Elisabeth Carr – Upper Hutt


“One of the biggest things in my life is my doll collection that I keep in my room.

I have over 300 dolls from 52 nations. I started collecting them when I was 12 because Mum and my stepdad went overseas and brought me a doll back.

I already had some dolls. I had won a doll dressed in a wedding gown at a Crippled Children’s event. It was so exciting when I won that doll. And I had Suzy.

Suzy is the most important doll and is very precious to me. She was in the car with me when I had my accident. She came to the hospital with me and came back home. Suzy is my child really.

My dolls are from all over the world and in traditional costumes. Mum bought me a doll whenever they went overseas. They’re in a glass cabinet in my room. I also have some China dolls people have given me as presents and I love them.

I came here five years ago. I used to live with my husband Graham but I came here when he got sick.

Mum and my sister Lynn live nearby and we’re all very close. I could not see them during Lockdown and that was hard. I rang Mum every day and kept in contact with my sisters.

My other sister Bev lives in Hamilton and visits me too. She gives me a hard time and we joke around. You know how it is with family, you can do that.

I turned 60 during Lockdown and we couldn’t have a big party but we celebrated at home. My niece made a beautiful pink and white cake. I loved it.

I like keeping busy and keeping my mind active.

Monday is cleaning day. I clean my room, do the dishes and go to PACT (Patients and Community Trust) cultural group.

On Tuesdays, I go to Laura Ferguson (recreational programme) in Lower Hutt and do baking and crafts. I missed that. It was quite hard because I am either doing my art or my cooking.

On Wednesday mornings I do exercises at the pool with weights on my arms and legs to help my strength. I’ve got new weights for my feet for this.

I visit Mum too and she visits me once a week.

On Thursdays and Fridays, I have free time for sewing and I enjoy doing art. I draw scenery and landscapes and give away a lot of my pictures.

During Lockdown I started sewing again. I learned sewing at intermediate and college, but I hadn’t done it much since. The staff found some material and set me up and we made tunics.

We made the first ones from old hospital gowns because we couldn’t get fabric! Then we got some colourful fabric and made nice bright ones.

The staff like wearing them and putting their phones in the front pocket. I’ve got the sewing machine in my room now and I enjoy doing it.

I found Lockdown a bit upsetting because I couldn’t go anywhere. I felt frustrated because I couldn’t go out the door.

I missed going out on trips. I like the arts, going to movies, ballet and opera shows.

The only time I left the house was to use my walking frame on the front path for exercise.

I was so glad to see Mum after Lockdown. I’m so lucky I have her. She is very good to me and supports me a lot, and so does my sister Lynn.

I have a good life. I am happy with my life.” – 17 September 2020

  • This article appeared in Life in a Pandemic, a book about disabled and autistic people in Covid-19 Lockdown, 2020. © Life Unlimited Charitable Trust (now known as Your Way | Kia Roha).

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