About the Book
25 March 2008
Wendy was born on 9 Feb 1950 in Birmingham England and she was the 3rd youngest of 6 children
Her Mom, Jessie, died when she was just 12 so after that she was raised mainly by her dad and her two older sisters, Judi and Dawn.
Her 2 brothers also played a big part in her growing up years – although to hear her speak, Peter’s role seemed to be to tease his sister and younger brother Brent was the one that she had to look after at school!
Wendy was bright and was the first Waterhouse to attend Grammar School after passing her 11+ exams. She was also a really fast runner (maybe Peter has something to do with this..) and an avid reader.
Unfortunately, her schooling took a dive in her early teens – SHE blamed her friend Audrey Ford – who got up to all sorts of mischief – of course, with Wendy right beside her
Wendy left home at an early age and lived with her sister Dawn for a while – I have heard stories about what a great babysitter she was for Dawn’s 3 boys …
She also lived with a lady named Edna – who would become a life-long friend – Edna now also lives in NZ – she is 85 years old and sends her love to Wendy and her family.
It was in that time that Wendy met a guy named Barry Binding at a nightclub… and long story short, they fell in love. They married in March 1973 in Birmingham when Wendy was 23 and then lived in Edgbaston
Wendy was a telephonist for around 4 years for the Post Office and loved it (Maybe that’s where she developed her love for talking!!)
In July 1973 Wendy and Barry immigrated to NZ and settled in Paraparaumu. Wendy worked for James Smiths woman’s dress shop in Coastlands where she and Barry made a lot of life-long friends.
I know there are people here who could tell lots of stories about Wendy during this period – one of my funniest memories was of Wendy and Judy trying on new jeans that came in and they were actually lying on the fitting room floors trying to zip them up –– tight was the fashion back then!
When I first arrived to work there – Wendy terrified me – she was so beautifully made-up, lovely clothes, 6-inch high platform shoes (I never really knew how tall she was until I saw her climb down out of her shoes one day!)
I was very unfashionable – but she was so friendly – I soon forgot about how different we were in looks.
After 2 years at James Smiths, in 1976 Wendy and Barry decided to go back to England and travelled via South Africa, where they stayed with Wendy’s sister Judi for about 8 months – while they were there they were lucky enough to be able to travel around Sth Africa and see quite a bit
Then it was back to Birmingham, to be near family – Wendy went back to retail fashion work, which she was good at – she had an eye for colours and a wonderful dress sense and she was good at talking to customers.
On the 3rd of May 1979, Daniel was born - after a 39 hour labour Wendy’s first and only baby was born – Daniel was, is and always will be the light of Wendy’s life… even though she often reminded him that it was he who ruined her lovely figure!
Wendy became a full time mum and in 1981 she and Barry decided to return to NZ – sadly, not too long after that Wendy and Barry decided to go their separate ways – well that’s not exactly right – they split up but they certainly did not go their separate ways.
Wendy moved around NZ a bit – she lived in TePuke and Tauranga – she worked part time when Daniel went to school, she had a few relationships and in 1985 ended up back in Paraparaumu.
In March 1988 Wendy met Dave Portsmouth at the Cobb Coach Tavern where she went one night with her friend Sue …
This might come as a surprise to some of you but Dave was playing a game of pool when he met her – and said (get this!) once he had finished his game, would she like to have a dance!!
Well, Dave was soon to become the second real love of Wendy’s life. Wendy and Daniel moved in with Dave and his two children Tracey (14) and Richard (5) and they all became a really strong family unit.
Wendy and Dave had a beautiful family wedding at the Country Life in Waikanae in Nov 1989. Those of us who were there will remember just how beautiful and happy Wendy looked (Dave didn’t look bad either)
Of course, all through all this, Barry remained a close friend of Wendy’s, dad to Daniel and he became really good friends with Dave and the kids.
In 1990 Wendy’s dream came true when they designed and Barry built for them a lovely big house in Te Horo on a rural piece of land.
Wendy has such a knack for interior design and she used her flair on this house … it used to really bug me … she would go to the Warehouse and pick up a couple of things and a room would look like an interior designer had been through it.
Wendy’s family jokingly talk about her obsession with her walk in wardrobe and the huge black corner bath that she spent hours in. But she loved that house and they had many adventures with kids and animals there – the stories are lots of fun to listen to.
As well as the ups, there were the downs – and things like family illness and the distance from town led them to sell up and move to their house in Percival Road, where they lived from 1992 to 2005.
Wendy really made this their home – it had a huge section for the dogs and a flowering cherry tree that she loved
Wendy always loves entertaining- and there would be a lot of people here that will be thinking about some of those BBQ’s and dinners…
The house may have been small, but Wendy (and Dave’s) hospitality and sense of fun were huge.
As the kids were getting older, Wendy worked more hours and had jobs at Tactics and Centre Menswear in Coastlands for three years before getting a job at the Kapiti Club in 1998.
Wendy worked at the Kapiti Club until 2004 and here she made so many really good friends – Wendy loves socialising and that is partly what made her so good at her job.
Some of Wendy’s highlights during that time would have been Tracey and Eddies’ marriage (Wendy approved of Eddie)
And most certainly, Daniel and Amanda’s wedding in Nov 2004 (Wendy approved and loved you too Amanda – and that is sometimes a difficult thing for a Mother with her only boy!!)
After 6 years, Wendy left the Kapiti Club and took a job at the Family Corner being a cook for the children and also helping as a teacher’s aid
Wendy loved this job nearly as much as the children loved her – she made more good friends while working there and was really upset when she had to finish in March 2007 to concentrate on fighting her battle with cancer.
By that time Wendy was so attached to some of the children at the Family Corner, she had pictures of them up at home!
Although the work at Family Corner was full on, Wendy always loved walking – Sue and Wendy were often seen walking 3 dogs down to the beach. She loved getting the exercise and so did the dogs…
In March 2005 Wendy and Dave had moved to Redwood Close – another house that Wendy put her flair to
She loved getting a few new pieces of furniture and made the house look fantastic – inside and out
Wendy loved the privacy and the sunny lounge and the outside deck at this house – it proved to be a good move as Wendy was diagnosed with cancer not long after they moved in.
Cancer is a horrible disease and there is nothing good you can say about it. But cancer brought out strength in Wendy that many of us had not really seen before.
She went through a lot of ups and downs in her 3-year battle.
That determination to live – to enjoy her family, her friends, her ‘Bear’ and Sarg and to lead as normal a life as possible… just incredible
Wendy joined the Mary Potter Hospice group at Kapiti and again made more very special friends – friends with a common bond.
She loved going on Thursdays – catching up with others, having a few hours of pampering and putting to use her artistic abilities – some of the crafts she made were displayed at the Kapiti library.
These are all the sorts of things that Wendy did to embrace her cancer
Wendy – we know you wanted your 10 years or more and that you feel cheated – but we are so proud of the really positive way that you lived the three years that you did have.
Now of course Wendy wasn’t perfect… but for those of you who don’t know – Wendy had a perfect memory – and if someone disagreed with ‘her version’ watch out!
I used to listen with amusement to the MOSTLY gentle arguments with Brent and her sister Dawn about events that happened as they grew up – Wendy never backed down…
And we all know Wendy could talk – that’s part of the reason why she has so many friends
But does anyone remember the time when she was working on the family genealogy??
Oh boy… that was pretty hard going for me and if Brent and Dave heard her start talking about it, they would start their own conversation and leave me to listen to her!!
A few Chardonnays under her belt and she was off – if I had to hear about Daniel Shreeve one more time…. sorry Wendy … I hope you didn’t notice my eyes glazing over and a couple of stifled yawns….
But… there is a positive side to Wendy’s talking – it helped her in her fight and her acceptance of cancer… to talk about it – and good on you Wendy for being able to talk openly about it – I hope most of the time we were good listeners for you…
Wendy has always been a ‘spiritual’ person – she meditated, believed in reincarnation, tarot cards, attended spiritualist meetings, and loved crystals and talking about her previous lives – she told some incredible stories!
And she was always having her ‘gut feelings’ and inevitably she would be right – and for a sceptic like me, sometimes it was un-nerving
I will never forget her exact words as we worked together in James Smith’s, standing behind that counter 32 years ago and after having known me only for a couple of weeks said “I have a brother you might like” – hmm …
Wendy never wavered in her spirituality - and I get such a REAL feeling that Wendy’s spirit is around us today – her body is there but it feels like she is all around us…
I would like to finish by mentioning one other thing that was important to Wendy… looking good
She prided herself on her clothes, her hair and make-up – she loved to shop but even when she couldn’t she always looked good – she took great care even when she was quite sick – this photo was taken just weeks before Wendy died –amazing…
Wendy, you are a beautiful person on the outside and most importantly you are a beautiful caring person on the inside
Keep watching over your family and friends who are missing you so much and Wendy…. “Go gently in spirit”