Mary MacLean Macky's Memories
I wish I had kept a diary or even travel books to help me "remember". I have to just think back before 1960—my childhood—my education—my teaching—my mission life—even my marriage and trip to New Zealand are only recorded in my memory. Many times since writing this volume I have remembered things I have omitted and maybe some day I will write notes on things that I finally remember.
This book is not a true autobiography. It's probably not always true to fact—it's just what I remember, the way that I remember it. I won't worry about dates, or chronological order of events, exact places and names of people. I'll just try to remember, and if I forget important things, I'll have a "flashback" to where it fits into the story. Sometimes I'll write a sort of essay on how I feel now about the things that happened to me during my "three score years and ten"—perhaps "Friends", "Education", "Religion", "Children", "Missionary life", "Trips", "Voluntary Work", " Membership", "Old Age". I'll try not to hurt anyone's feelings—but probably no one will be able to read it. And anyway who would want to!
Mary MacLean Whitfield Macky
I. I Was Born
At this point I must admit I can't "remember"—I can only remember what I have been told by my parents and what little I can add is from my Baby Book.
It was in a cold dreary day, December 21, 1903 that I was born to Homer David and Lelia Ada Stitt Whitfield. My father was the Methodist Minister in the small town of Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh. My new home was a two storeyed brick parsonage next to the church. At that time beside my parents, my brother Harold (a couple of years older than I) and my maternal grandmother lived there.
As it was near Christmas and I was a bit late (as usual!) my father went to Pittsburgh to visit his parents and exchange presents, and so wasn't at home when I arrived. When he got home he was pleased that it was a girl and named me Mary MacLean, for his Mother. Mother was just content that I was well and healthy as they had already lost one son (Homer) and Harold was never a very well child.
My Baby Book says I weighed 8 lbs 8 oz at birth, nothing about my looks except I was always very pleasant and cheery. I had pneumonia at 2½ months and was scared by the water treatment which meant putting me in a cold bath when my temperature reach 102°F and then rolling me in blankets and letting me sleep. After three days of this treatment I recovered. I had my first tooth at 6 months, and walked along at 14 months. After that all doors and gates had to be fastened as I ran away and when chased ran all the faster.
My first word was "papa"—a name I'm sure I never used again! Also "mamma", "Harold", "thank you", "bye-bye", and "Daisy" (my next door neighbour of whom I was apparently very fond).
My baptism service must have been unique—I was taken at five months to the home of a very old minister friend of the family. He was very slow and read everything and I guess I got bored. I played "peep" with the guests, called Harold who was standing at the ceremony near me, and pulled his hair, pulled my father's nose and took his handkerchief out of his pocket and tried to wipe his nose, made a sound like a dog and then like a lion—altogether I must have enjoyed it very much. My mother doesn't say a word about how they felt.
At 22 months we moved to Allegheny (north side, Pittsburgh) to the parsonage which wasn't very far from the church.
II. Childhood in Allegheny
My Baby Book gives a few details of the first months in Allegheny. For some reason or reasons not given I was miserable all the winter of my second year. Then in the spring I picked up and was fine.
Our home was a duplex brick house right in the sidewalk with three steps up to the vestibule and front door. At the side of the house you went through a wooden gate to the back yard. There was a large porch, then some garden in two levels. Although it was small it was pleasant because father had flowers and vegetables planted everywhere. We often played in the sidewalk as there were no parks or playgrounds to go to.
I faintly remember some events when I was 3 or 4 years old. My father took me in a sled in winter, just pulling me along when we went to the shops or just for a walk. I vaguely remember Sunday School where I went at 3. I always was in any entertainments, learned my little verses or song easily. Mother said at 3 I could give the name of any song I knew from the first few tones.
My brother Harold died when I was about 3. He had never been very well and at a church picnic, he got what possibly was heat exhaustion and collapsed. As the train taking us all home from the picnic didn't arrive until 4pm, and we couldn't find a doctor, he died that night. I can't really remember him or what effect his death had on the family. As that was the second son who had died, I presume my mother especially was very upset.
The only friends I can remember were the Orrs who lived in the other half of the duplex. Mrs Orr was always good to me and I loved to play on their side of the garden fence. Caroline, about my age, was my "best friend".
When I was five my brother Lawrence Kennedy was born. It is hard to believe that after losing two sons, the third should also be a sick boy, especially as I was so well and strong.
My most vivid memory of Red (so called because of his gorgeous red-gold curls) is of him being in a pram in the side porch, and being pushed back and forth as my mother swung on a porch swing. When he was small I wasn't allowed to do much for him, but I must have felt he was getting all the attention because by the time he was two years and fairly well, and my mother wanted me to push him up and down the sidewalk I rebelled, and said if I had to take him with me when I went out on the sidewalk to play, I wasn't going out. Of course I had to do what I was told, but I remember tears and grumbles. I even once let the pram run off the sidewalk and nearly tip over. I was never quit sure whether I let it run away, or just didn't notice it.
I also remember, as Red grew older, I had to let him play with my things—toys and games, whether they were suitable for him or not. Many times I complained when he had broken things, or scattered the parts. But I was told he was only a little fellow and I shouldn't be so selfish.
During these early years, I can't remember doing things with my mother. But father being in and our of the house was good company. I helped in the garden, and ran his messages. he read to me every day as a rule, and in the evening I would sit in his lap as he sat in a rocker, and rocked back and forth, singing "daddy, daddy, daddy" to a tune I made up as I went along.
I remember Kindergarten very well. I went when I was five to the regular public school in our neighbourhood. The Kindergarten was in the same set-up as the primary school—a large stone building with concrete playgrounds. The kindergarten room was far ahead of its day—at least to lots of places I've seen since. The small tables and chairs weren't fastened to the floor, we had a piano, and some simple musical instruments, lots of blocks and pictures and lots of time for games, music, and free play. I particularly liked "Cooking Time". The day before some of the children were asked to bring ingredients—an egg, a cup of sugar, or flour. The we'd all sit in a circle on the floor and our teacher prepared some kind of dish while we watched and gave advice. I'm not sure where they food was cooked, but we each had a sample before we went home at 1pm.
As usual parsonages having to be near churches, are often not in the kind of area one would choose to live in, especially in big cities. So the kindergarten group of children wasn't quite up to my mother's standards of cleanliness, language, or general behaviour. Of course I didn't know this, but I later realised that mother didn't let me go to the other children's homes. nor did I invite them to mine. One thing I do remember—I had a Red Riding Hood raincoat which at first I thought was beautiful, but when I found no other child had one, I used to take it off as soon as possible and hide it. I guess we like to conform!
One other memory—I guess I was the liveliest and talked the most for I often found myself sent off to the cloak room, where I went through everyone's pockets, not to take anything but to keep myself busy.
I was very fond of my teacher and she set the pattern for me to love school. I took part in everything, enjoyed everything to the fullest and always wanted to go to school from them on. Once or twice in later years I had to stay home for sickness in quarantine and was most upset.
During these years we used to go to visit my mother's sister and her husband—Aunt Annie and Uncle Jack. They had a small farm in a rural area not far from Pittsburgh. We went by streetcar, a rather tiring journey for a small girl but I would never go to sleep no matter how late. I remember best the "Corn Roasts" my Uncle put in for his town friends. He dug a pit—put in large stones, build a big fire over it which burned all day. In the late afternoon he put ears of corn still in the husk and wet, into the ash and hot stones. When you pulled off the husk the sugar from the corn was brown and yummy and you added butter and salt and set to. I have seen men eat a dozen ears each a foot long as well as lots of other picnic fare. Then we'd all sit round the hot pit and talk and sing.
I remember too mother and I used to help Aunt Annie bottle fruit and can vegetables from her own place. And of course we were always given all we could carry of whatever there was of fruit or vegetables, of eggs and sometimes country butter from a neighbours farm, and for a week we would relive our trip to the country.
In Allegheny my parents had two special friends, a Mrs Bowman who used to give me nice gifts on occasion, and Aunt Mame, my mothers girlhood friend. Also there was Aunt Grace Johnston who was a dressmaker and milliner in Hornes who made many beautiful clothes for me and always spent holidays with us.
My fathers parent I remember vaguely. At this time I was taken to see them from time to time, but I don't have any feeling about them and what I know about them I gleaned later in life.
My paternal grandfather was a very simple hard working man, a house and sign painter going about in the community painting homes and making signs at home in his spare time. Money was scarce, and as he didn't favour too much education, he wouldn't help my father to go beyond high school. However in a way he did help him in that he hired him as a helper whenever father wanted to work. So my father was able to go to Allegheny College in Pennsylvania to get his B.A. degree. In order to train for the ministry he had to alternate study years with work years, and finally got his Divinity degree at Drew Theological College in New Jersey. Whether my grandfather was pleased and proud of my father I have never heard.
Not only did grandfather not believe in "higher education", but he didn't believe in spending money on conveniences for his wife around the home. Water was carried from the well in the yard, stove was ancient and difficult and no "help" was hired for spring and fall house cleaning. I wouldn't like to say my grandmother died of overwork, or of lack of help and concern from her husband, but certainly he didn't spoil her! He later felt sad, and perhaps guilty, because when she died he said to my father at the graveside "I did it all for Mary, and now when we are older and could enjoy it, she is gone" (bitter words—"it might have been!"). I don't really think my grandmother was unhappy. Like most women in her day and in her situation she accepted her husbands word as law, and never attempted to make her life any easier.
I don't remember their home or much about what they did for pleasure. I know my father was always loyal and helpful to his father, but it was for his mother that he had a deep close tie. I think as he grew up he would have given much to help his mother—I think he understood her and loved her very deeply. He never failed to visit her whenever possible, especially on her birthday, Christmas and when he happened to be in town on business.
I was named for her, and when my two brothers were born Father said "when we have a girl she is to be Mary MacLean". His brother had a daughter a few months before I was born, and he wished to call her "Mary" but fearing my father's wrath called her Mary May! I later had a year at Allegheny when she was there and what fun we had about mail and parcels. She was called "Little Mary" and naturally I was called "Big Mary" which didn't endear her to me. However we were friends of sorts and I saw her for the last time I remember at my father's funeral.
My maternal grandparents were also people of a simple, quiet, and hardworking clan. My grandfather I never saw as he died from the result of his years as a prisoner in the infamous Andersonville prison. This was a Southern prison where many thousands of Union prisoners were kept in dreadful conditions. He did return but was never well again and died of lung damage.
He had a large family, 13 I think, and my mother was the youngest and his great favourite in his last years. He called her "Doll" and to my mothers close friends she was always "Dollie".
My grandmother was an orphan, and no one seemed to know who her parents were or how she came to be friends with my grandfather. Theirs was a different type of home, move sharing of authority between my grandparents - a great affection on both sides and a constant trying to help and comfort each other. The family centre was in Blairsville, Pennsylvania, a small farming community, but at some time they must have moved to Pittsburgh where my mother went to school. My grandfather at some time worked on the railroad, as a conductor or flagman, and mother remembers all the lovely food he used to bring home from the country—some bought, some given by his country friends. She especially remembers how excited they would all be as he came home from work and unwrapped the butter (kept fresh in wet leaves), eggs, fruit, and vegetables (in season).
When my grandfather died, my grandmother came home to her daughter's house. I remember her fairly well, quietly working about the house, helping the housekeeper, and sharing the care of me and my brother Harold. I have no remembrance of her death, but it was sometime while we were in Allegheny—perhaps I would be about 6 or 7.
It seems sad to me that I knew them so slightly when we all lived within a short journey of each other. I hope my grandchildren will be able to remember me a little more clearly, despite the fact that we are thousands of miles apart.
IV. Greensburgh, Penna.
In the Fall of 1910 we were sent to a new charge. Why the time for all the new appointments should have been after every one had settled into the new school year, I don't know but on the last day of the Annual Conference the Bishop read out the appointment list and within a week or two everyone who was moving moved. I well remember my first night in Greensburgh. I don't know how we got from Pittsburgh, train probably but we were met by Captain Wirsing and taken to his home. His family was prominent in the Methodist Church and they lived across from the parsonage.
When we arrived we found a whole case of citrus fruit which had been sent from Florida as a welcoming gift. To children who had little fruit this was wonderful.
During the night the house-keepers hot water bottle broke in her bed and caused quite a stir. At breakfast we had boiled eggs in egg cups, and as we had never seen an egg cup we had great fun trying to eat the egg and not the shell.
Captain Wirsing was a retired man (retired from what—the sea?). He was big and noisy and bossy and all his family even though grown up, and some married, did what he said and kept out of his way. he had a tiny wife who let him always have his way, although he used to go out and buy great quantities of food in the days when all we had to keep food fresh in was a wooden box with a great chunk of ice in the top, and the ice had to be replenished daily. They were always good to us, gave us gifts on holidays and always let us visit in their big home and lovely garden any time we liked.
The parsonage was only a block or so from the centre of town, but with several nice blouses in the street, and deep sections with gardens, you seemed quite rural.
That is one house I remember well—especially the front room called the parlour which was only used by my father when people came to see him or when we had company. A stairway was on the left side with a hall down the centre leading to the family room with dining room to the right and kitchen behind the dining room. There were 4 rooms upstairs and a bathroom. At the centre of upstairs the front stair way met an small hall and back stairs went down to the dining room. Well I remember that back stairway because when I was small I used to go sleep-walking always down the back stairway. At the foot of the stairway was a door which was usually closed but never locked. For some reason I couldn't open the door but would sit close to the door and cry until someone would take me back to bed. As I got older I would wake, realise where I was and go back to bed myself.
My father was famous for his gardens, both floral and vegetable and I guess this was his favourite and his best. We kept chickens, and rabbits—beautiful Flemish Giants and black ones whose name I forget. We always enjoyed the new chicks hatched in an incubator, and also the baby rabbits which we didn't see for weeks as it was felt the mothers would kill them if we bothered her.
During the nine years we spent there. father really worked hard and experimented with things. We had celery and asparagus (not easy to grow there), a big patch of corn, long rows of beans (runners and limas), potatoes, carrots, cauliflowers, cabbages, pumpkins, and other things. There was a grape arbour from the back porch to the hen house, covered with lovely blue grapes, but my father also had 3 or 4 other kinds of grapes, raspberries, strawberries, red and black currants. For some reason which I don't know, we had no fruit trees. We were always being given fruit by the congregations. He also had lovely roses and flowering shrubs. My favourites to this day are lilacs, and peonys which I've never seen except in U.S.A.
When Red and I were back in school each September, father and mother (after they had a car) used to go East into a farming area and buy things that would keep—potatoes or pumpkins, apples, winter pears, root vegetables and a crate of eggs. These they would put in a big earthen crock in a solution of water glass. These eggs would keep all winter but were only used for cooking.
Mother was a great one for preserving and bottling fruit and vegetables. In the cellar father fixed a hanging shelf about 6 feet by 6 feet where mother kept things. There would be dozens of bottles of peaches, peace beans, jams and jellies. My father liked elderberry jelly and mother made many quart jars.
Once the shelf fell and all the food and broken bottles had to be shovelled out by the wheelbarrow load. It was only hours before mother was entertaining some ministers for lunch. She got through it, of course, but I don't think I ever felt sorrier for her than I did that day. Of course when folks heard about it we were flooded with gifts. I believe when I was quite young father was often paid for things he did with gifts of food, butter, buttermilk, chickens, eggs, etc. We certainly never went hungry.
My father only sorrow about the many gardens he made was that the ministers following him let them fall into ruins. That always hurt him!
In many ways this was a country town and every Saturday night farmers came in by buggy and tied up all along our street. We used to sit on our front porch and count them and see if we knew any of them once in a long time, we could walk "up-town" just to see the shops all lit up.
Fourth of July was always a big day for us. We were allowed to have some fireworks, usually small fire crackers and lots of "sparklers" which were considered "safe". Then in the evening the town had a community fireworks exhibition which was very special to us children. Perhaps we went on a picnic that day, but always got home by dark to the fireworks display.
The coming of the circus was a big summer event for most children but for us it was a day of joy and sorrow. Mother would let us go "up town" to see the parade, get a balloon and an ice cream cone, and that was it. We never were allowed to see the circus performance. I'm not quite sure what my mother objected to—but no amount of tears would change her mind. She felt "movies" weren't suitable unless they were travel pictures which she took us to see. The only other pictures I saw were by standing out on the sidewalk and watching through a courtyard doorway when wind blew the curtain aside. My father must not have felt as strongly because once when I went to a convention with him, he let me see all the missionary films, stories on film that they had—I spent the best part of four days watching films! I saw my first circus when I was teaching school and a group of us went. It wasn't much of a circus but I enjoyed it.
In many small towns around us there was a Chataugua week. Chataugua N.Y. was like a camp where they had all kinds of concerts, speeches, musicals, children's shows. Then small group would tour and we would have a whole week of entertainment afternoon and evening in a big tent set up for the occasion. They had rehearsals in the morning for the youngsters and on Saturday night we put on a show for the grownups. I used to be there the entire week and though perhaps I could become a singing star when I grew up. It was always the highlight of the summer as we never went anywhere or did anything very exciting otherwise.
The only real holiday I can remember during those nine years (not quite true—we did go to Chataugua several times) was a trip to Asbury Park—near Atlantic City. Father and I loved it and were in the sea all the time. Mother couldn't stand the seaside smell of fish—although she had looked forward to eating fish every day. She enjoyed not having to do any work and she visited all the shops on the boardwalk where they sold materials and embroidery, or knit or crochet and she sat by the sea and worked. I don't think Red enjoyed the sea, only the shore and the sand.
Mother always was concerned about the children I played with since our neighbours "down the street" weren't just what she liked. I went to school with them and was allowed to play with them until early evening when the street lights went on—then I had to come home. If I ever were allowed to go to an evening party, I was the first one to leave and usually my father came for me. I wasn't allowed to stay overnight with the children or go off with them by the day, or even stay for meals, and I seldom was allowed to invite them home for meals.
My friends during those years seemed to fall into 3 groups—those I have just mentioned, the church friends, and later my High School friends.
My church friends were of various ages. When I was young I took part in Sunday School affairs, especially concerts, but was not especially with children my age. When I was 12 or 13 I was allowed to go to an Epworth League Camp each year for a week. These people were quite a few years older than I was but it was something I was allowed to do as I went. It was there when I was 12 years old that I just suddenly knew one day what I wanted to do and be. I wanted to teach school, but not where children didn't want to go to school—so I'd be a missionary. I told one of the leaders but she thought I was too young to know what I wanted to do. However when they saw I really meant it, they let me stand with a group on the final Sunday afternoon and pledging myself to be a mission teacher. And I never wavered from that goal until I finally did become a mission teacher in Malaya.
When I was a little older I was allowed to sing in the choir and after church on Sunday night I was allowed to walk with some friends to the railway station to mail letters and watch the trains fly by, catching the mail bag stuck out on an arm. I surely must have been in need of companionship and a little excitement!
Of course all I could do on Sunday was go to church and sit and read. I went to church at 11 am, Sunday School at 2:30pm, Epworth League at 6:30pm, and church at 7:30pm. Everything else was not suitable. I had a friend an older women who went to N.Y. every few months as a buyer. She left at 5pm on Sunday! So I would steal off when my mother was asleep to see her before she left. We couldn't buy anything on Sunday or go out for meals (my mother changed a great deal later and used to love to go out for Sunday dinner) so I guess that is why I enjoyed my church friends although they were older than I was.
The third group were my High School friends—or rather acquaintances. Many of them lived "on the Hill"—the better class areas and had far more money, nicer clothes, nicer homes than I had. I never felt exactly left out of things but as I didn't dance when there was a high School dance I helped with the refreshments. I probably wouldn't have known them as well as I did if I hadn't had the soprano lead in the school operetta my third year. Through rehearsals, working in scenery etc. I felt part of things. The operetta went over very well. I nearly didn't have a Princess costume which they were renting from Pittsburgh because it was too small—the Prince was rather a small lad and thinking back over it all, I must have looked a bit like some of the large prima donnas of opera. I hadn't taken any voice lessons then, but our English and Music teachers were good. I was to have the same part the next year when I transferred to Crafton High in my 4th year, and when I began teaching and could afford it I took singing lessons.
Singing reminds me of the many times when I was growing up that I was taken to funerals, or the jail or the "poor farm" to sing. I really loved singing, but funerals made me unhappy. The coffin, open, was usually in the parlour and the family all in black, sitting back in the dining room or hall or bedroom, usually crying. And I had to sing the favourite hymns of the dead person and that would make them cry louder. I didn't mind the services at jails and places like that, so when I went to the mission work I was able to sing anywhere, even in leper colonies. Sometimes my father would ask me to sing for him his favourite hymns—"Rock of Ages", "Lead Kindly Light", "Nearer my God to Thee", and I was never very happy about that: I liked people around and joining in, and I never seemed ready to sing on request. Years later Miss Bunce and Wallace used to ask me to sing and I always found it difficult, don't quite know why.
In both Junior and Senior High I was taught some sewing and cooking, although I never did much at home. The housekeeper we hat got older and more useless and didn't like me underfoot.
I can't remember how I did in school. I never failed a year, and once or twice I was put up a class, but I don't remember thinking I was a smart student. I always loved school and usually tried to do what I was told. I must have been a great talker, as I remember my Latin teacher used to say "Time for work, Mary". I asked her why she always named me and she said "Well, things seem to quiet down when you're quiet!".
One small incident I do remember about my trying to please. I was being transferred to Crafton and all my grades had been sent on and I was in my last week at Greensburgh High. We were to write a paper on something—I don't remember, and I really didn't have to write it as it wouldn't affect my grades. My English teacher asked me if I had written one and I said I had, so she asked me to read it as it was my last class with her. When I finished she said it was good. Then she gave the class a brief lecture on doing work you don't have to do to increase your skills. I guess it was a good thing I was leaving or that wouldn't have made me too popular!
I can remember a lot about my classes—4 years of History: Ancient, Medieval, Modern and USA; 4 years of French; 4 of Latin, 2 of Chemistry; some Mathematics, lots of English. Most of my teachers were good and students worked much harder than they seem to do today. Of course you tried to ask enough questions in Latin class, so you didn't get caught out with the translations you hadn't done, and several of the teachers could be side tracked by being very interested in their pet subjects. But only in Music classes did it get a bit chaotic. I can't remember any P.T. or swimming or games. I suppose the boys did something, but our school grounds were very limited. I don't remember ever going on any trips, or visiting places of interest, or taking part in any community projects. I had a 15 minute walk to and from school, and usually went home for lunch—wonder that didn't take some pounds off! We didn't have a cafeteria or even a lunch room, but students did bring their own lunch if they wanted to.
When we had been in Greensburgh for 7 years, my father expected to move as 5 years was usually the limit. He was sick so came home a day early and didn't hear the appointments read. We had been given farewell parties, bookcases for father, a watch for mother, and various things for Red and me. When he went out to get his newspaper, he saw one of his church friends who said "Well, we're all very pleased about the appointment". Father was a bit taken aback but went inside and read his paper which said he wasn't moving this year. Actually we stayed 2 more years and had more farewells!
I wanted to stay in Greensburgh with a girl friend to finish my last year, but of course my mother wouldn't hear of it. She used to say she left most things in God's hands but she wanted to look after her children herself. I suppose if you had lost 2 children it was a natural feeling. Looking back I don't think it mattered much whether I stayed or went. Certainly my studies were harder because they used different books and different methods. But I enjoyed Crafton High, partly because of the operetta being given again: and I finally got enough credits to enter Allegheny College in the Fall of 1919.
I might add my remembrance of the First World War. In high school we raised money to feed a French orphan and as I raised the most money I had the medal and the picture of the boy and the letters sent from France about him.
We all knitted. I made socks and put my name and address in the toe and several of the soldiers wrote to me.
During the big flu epidemic the older girls in high school were put to work in hospitals, country clubs, and various institutions, helping the nurses mostly doing kitchen work, but often playing with the children. Many in our area were orphans whose parents had died of flu. I remember putting on a gauze mask and playing for hours in the children's wards—also peeling potatoes and mashing them.
We were working when the first false armistice announcement was made. It was several days later when the real one was signed. We went to town and joined thousands walking about singing and making all sorts of noises to celebrate. I don't really think it meant very much to us as we were too young and it was too far away.
I suppose if I spent more time remembering lots of small and unimportant things would come to mind. How we enjoyed getting a pail of beautiful ice cream from a small factory near by and the best ice cream cones I've ever had. They were made on a frill from a batter poured on—making a circle of about 5 inches in diameter. When it cooked to a lovely brown a wooden cone was rolled over it and the cake stuck to the cone and when cool would drop off. We bought a few cones with our pail of ice cream and ran home to have mother fill the cones, and we went out on the porch steps to eat the ice cream, saving the cone. Then we went back in and got a refill—perhaps 2 refills before we finally finished the cone.
I remember the sound of my fathers footsteps on the wooden walk under the grape arbour if it had snowed and had frozen hard. I could tell by the sound if that would likely be a day for sled riding. They used to close off several streets to traffic and we youngster pulled our sleds to the top of a sloping street, slid down to the bottom, across a street and up the next block, racing each other to see who could go up the farthest, and had to walk the shortest distance to the top and then slide back down the hill again. This seemed to my mother a safe play area, so I was allowed to spend quite a few hours out in the hills.
Christmas was always pretty special to my mother and she tried all her life to make it special for everyone. We spent weeks before either making, or buying gifts then wrapping them and hiding them high up in dark cupboards. My mother had never believed in Santa Claus as a child and she thought we shouldn't be told something which presently we knew wasn't true. She made us feel that we were all Santa Clauses, and it didn't seem strange to us that there was a Santa on every corner, ringing a bell and asking for money to be dropped into his chimney for children who wouldn't have any Christmas at all.
We had a set formula for Christmas morning—breakfast first, lighting the tree and then opening gifts. In my early days we had candles about 4 inches long in various colours stuck into a metal clip and clipped on to the branches. It was fathers job to light all the candles with a lighted wick stuck in a long handle, and we only saw the tree when it was lit. This was a dangerous way to light a tree and later we had the usual strings of electric lights. The decorations for the tree were mostly German made and were far more beautiful than anything you can get today. Shapes of animals and birds, lovely balls, an angel on the top. Mother didn't want us to spoil the effect with strings of Cranberries, or popped corn, or paper chains which were all many poorer people had to trim their trees, so sometimes we helped a friend to make these simple decorations. My parents standards for Christmas trees have made me a bit disappointed in the trees we had in Bermuda and Australia. If you have seen the big Christmas trees in Pittsburgh or a thousand other places, you are scornful of the tree in City Square, Brisbane! We always felt that if anything wasn't quite right in the weeks before Christmas that everything would right itself for December 25th, and it usually did. I can remember we used to get mail even on Christmas morning—rather different from present day mail deliveries! My birthday was too close to Christmas to have much made of it, but I had a cake, and after all Christmas was nearly here—poor Dave shared much the same fate for his birthday on Christmas Day.
And of course I will never forget the thrill of the curtain calls at the close of our High School operetta, when I made 3 appearances with the whole cast, with the Prince, and on my own—and was presented with flowers, and I though the applause would never stop. Amazing how much applause your family, friends, and school chums can make. I don't remember the second time around (in Crafton)—it was old hat by then!
Another big night was when my father was presented with a car (our first) when he had preached for 25 years. Mother wasn't well (she had a few unpleasant years at change of life) and I was allowed to go with father—I suppose I was 10 or 12 then. We had the program in the church—lots of speeches and I accepted the basket of red roses telling them I was on my mother's behalf. When it was over we got into the car which was parked on the front portico of the church, and drove away and I'm sure no owner of a Rolls felt any prouder than I. My father and mother hadn't known about the gift of the car and my father was nearly speechless. My father couldn't drive then and I could tell many tales about his learning and later adventures. I really never knew why he had no serious accidents and was never arrested. I only know he was about as uncomfortable a driver to be with as I ever knew—his greatest sin being tearing along and suddenly slamming on the brakes.
At first mother was nervous but she got so used to him that all she might say was "a bit fast, Homer". In her later years they went on short trips here and there and she felt secure with him, while the rest of us were chewing our finger nails and nearly putting our feet through the floor boards if we had to go anywhere with him.
I suppose if I wanted to I could recall some unhappy incidents—but I like to forget them. I ruined my mothers best dress, by polishing my shoes where I shouldn't have been and spilling the black polish down the crack in a clothes chest.
The grocer always gave us a bag of sweets (candy to us) when we paid the bill. This time I had about $10 change and I sat down on some steps to look at the candy and someone stole my purse behind my back. That time I had to wear my red coat for a year longer, because I hadn't come straight home as directed.
Lots of times I got blamed for things I didn't do. Once my brother left the water running and the bath ran over and ruined the ceiling of the room below. At least he says it wasn't he, so maybe it was the gremlins.
And once my father gave me a basket of food to take to my mother in hospital with strict instructions not to stop and play jacks on the way as my mother's watch was in the basket. I went straight there and straight back to be met by an angry father saying the watch wasn't in the basket. I was in disgrace for several days when my mother found her watch in her cupboard. Father hadn't looked where he had dropped it under the napkin cover! He felt badly and tried to make it up and it was gradually forgotten. I used to think of it when I accused my own children. I never knew whether to believe them or not in certain instances. I feel now you should accept their word and if the fooled you perhaps they felt sorry themselves afterwards. Not so easy when each son has a different story!
Only once did I really upset my parents—when I started taking money from a drawer in mothers desk which she called the "Lords box". Looking back, I can't really see why I took it except I wasn't given an allowance and as other children in Grammar School (Grades 7 and 8) had money I wanted money, too. I knew the money was used to give away to people to help them and I guess I felt I needed help too. I would go to the 5 and 10 cent store and buy jewellery and candy and pencils and give them to my companions. My parents knew about it and I admitted taking it and promised not to take any more, but before long more was missing. Finally one day after my father had talked to me again, he just sat quietly in his chair and cried. I never took any money ever again!
I guess I was lucky in growing up that mostly I didn't mind doing what my parents told me to do. And later when it came to college and going overseas I always had my parents backing, and I knew just what I wanted out of life. Red had a harder road because he was a boy and mother wouldn't let him go.
Crafton doesn't figure very largely in my memories. I didn't want to leave Greensburgh High in my last year. I knew things would be difficult and they were. I got through but it wasn't easy.
We had a nice home next to the church. Not much garden as the hill fell away at the back. I don't remember much about church, only about school. I did enjoy being in the operetta again and was very fond of our music teacher. I have no friend now that came from Crafton, but I was close to several families but the older people are dead and the ones my age drifted away from Crafton. I don't now know them.
My family were in Crafton during my three years at Allegheny and my first two years of teaching, but I wasn't home much of the time and certainly my interests were elsewhere.
VI. College Years at Allegheny
September 1920 - June 1923
My choice of college was nearly automatic. My father had gone there; it was a Methodist College and I had more hope of scholarships; it was near so I could get home easily; I wasn't clever enough to dream of being accepted in a really high class college; I didn't have the money to go to such a college, if I could have got in.
So I went to Allegheny. It was and is a very good small college, from which students can go on to more advanced degrees. All the girls lived in Hurlings Hall, 2 in a room, with a House Mother and a system of prefects and student government.
The men were allowed to live in fraternity houses, but the sororities had rooms in the top floor of Hurlings, room big enough for initiating services, entertaining, and the usual Saturday night meeting and social gathering. There were more girls than places in sororities so there was always a fringe of unhappy girls who took themselves off to the movies on Saturday night.
Even at that time when the sorority movement was thriving, there were some in sororities who felt it was undemocratic. The new girls were chosen soon after coming to college and if you weren't known and recommended by someone, you didn't get in the first year. I wasn't "pinned" as it was called because when you were chosen you got a pin to wear. If you got fair grades and didn't blot your copy book you were fully initiated during your first year.
My roommate and her close friends were Catholics and weren't pinned, either, that first year. But we lived through it—I was in the Glee Club and Drama Club and got about average grades so the second year I was asked to join the Alpha Chi Omega (ΑΧΩ) the 3rd oldest of the four sororities. My father only new the oldest two and didn't think I should join either of the 2 newer ones. But it meant I would have a much wider experience in college because all sorts of boards and groups had representatives of the different sororities. Also it was lonely not really belonging fully. I always enjoyed my sorority jobs and activities and was always happy to be an ΑΧΩ.
My roommate was an outstanding scholar so she also was "bid" ΑΧΩ and as her friend was the Beauty Queen of the Freshman - she too was pinned. I don't think we really minded waiting a year as we felt we were chosen when people knew us and felt we had something to contribute. We did a little service work—collected money for crippled children, took orphans out for treats, etc. I never got involved in wider sorority life after leaving college and never attended any conventions. I get "The Lyre" a national magazine for life and I quite enjoy reading it. The girls are far more active and enterprising than we were.
I enjoyed my studies during my three years and two summer schools. I wanted to finish as soon as possible partly for financial reasons and partly because I wanted to get my 3 years teaching over, get my permanent certificate and then go out to the mission field somewhere. I wasn't interested enough in what I was doing to try and do very well—only to get on with it. I never was very good in languages although I took Latin, French, and German as well as lots of English which I enjoyed. I did well in Mathematics, quite fair in Chemistry, History, Philosophy and Education, etc. I didn't have much Science—and not really much practice teaching. However it all added up to my job when I graduated in June 1923.
I didn't go out on dates, but I always enjoyed our "all girls" functions—luncheons and even dances. As I wasn't going dancing with men, I didn't mind leading and we usually danced for a while in the gym after dinner and I always had plenty of partners. I hadn't much time for amusements with studies, drama club, glee club, and sorority jobs. We used to go to the local Methodist Church on occasion, and to the Movies, and to the homes of ΑΧΩ in Midvale. I was very happy those years and envied no one anything.
I remember I used to send my laundry home to mother each week in a special laundry box, and when she returned it she always sent some special treat—candy, doughnuts, cake. Why on earth we didn't wash our own clothes I can't imagine! But when my laundry box arrived, I always had lots of visitors dropping in for "treats". One year my cousin Mary May Whitfield was in college and what a time we had with mixed up mail—as her first name and second initial were mine. She only stayed a year so that resolved itself. She was a cute little blond—"Little Mary" to my "Big Mary".
I never really joined in Sports although I played a bit of tennis. The year after I left the girls had to qualify in swimming before they could graduate and I was always sorry afterwards that I hadn't been made to swim.
We had a good Graduation week—plays, concerts, dinner and various end of year parties. My family came for the Graduation Ceremony and several friends from Crafton, also. Some of my friends of those days I still see after 50 years, and others I write to but haven't seen for many years; but we still have firm ties because we are ΑΧΩ's. I still have my pin I got when I was initiated—in the shape of a Lyre with little seed pearls and ΑΧΩ across the scroll. As a safety pin I have a Δ shaped pin also with pearls to show I was in Delta chapter the fourth oldest chapter in ΑΧΩ. This is on a chain and fastened to the Lyre pin in case it comes loose. I believe that sororities are going out of fashion, but I felt they had much in their favour. You were helped when you were new by a "Big Sister" assigned to you; you had to make passing grades at least or you were in trouble; you tried harder to make your "sisters" proud of you and not let them down; you learned to fit into a social group where what others wanted and expected was important; you felt a certain security in any trouble, financial or any other, because the girls would try to help you work things out. I don't imagine that girls of today are as anxious to belong and to be disciplined and regimented as we were. Also they want people to be free and for everybody to have the same privileges whether they deserve things or not. I'm sure a sorority has to be far more attracting to hold girls than it was when we were young.
My husband feels my education was rather limited because I never reached the standards he did in book studies. I never had any "Physics"! But I feel for me, it was satisfactory and adequate.
VII. My Parents
I don't know whether what I remember of my parents would be a true picture of them or not. My feelings I do remember, but I may have understood them very inadequately. Nowadays we often wonder and think about our relationships to people, but I can't remember doing so then. My strongest impression of my relationship was of wanting to be independent, not to be fussed over, not to be depended on for emotional support, not to be blamed because I didn't feel like my parents felt I should feel. I don't remember of being a rebel—I always accepted what my parents wanted me to do—some things made me cry. Others made me withdraw from them. I never said "no" to my father or mother to their face, and when they said "do as you think best", I almost always did what they wanted. I've often wondered why I did so. It wasn't that I was afraid, physically (or financially) of what they would do to me if I did go against them. It wasn't that I thought they were so wise, or understanding, that they couldn't be wrong. I think with me and even more with Red, that it was a mild form of emotional blackmail. Also I felt my fathers position and thought I couldn't shame him in front of his friends. And of course I wanted his backing for my future which I knew from the time I was twelve.
My father was short and rotund and a man of many moods, with real ambition in his early days of training, but later a humble man who left life to his superiors, and never tried for prominence or favour for himself (or his family). He was sensitive, a bit emotional on occasion, sympathetic to all in trouble or sorrow—and very greatly loved especially by older people. I don't know, of course, why they married each other. Mother was engaged and so was father. Mother's fiance was a good sport and released her. But father's girl was not only upset, but bitter and stubborn, and until she did at last release him he wouldn't break the engagement. Mothers friend used to visit us and would say "How'd you like to have me for your dad?". We always joked with him, liked him, but always said "No" both to him and in our hearts. We never knew fathers girl, but she died an old maid—which I guess was not unusual for a girl "deserted at the altar". My father always felt badly that she didn't marry and have as happy a life as he had.
The marriage was certainly of opposites. Father was untidy, did things when the spirit moved him, was more understanding of people, wanted to be closer to life than he was because of his profession, which put limits to what he could, or should, do; and when he was emotionally upset it made his body sick.
Mother on the other hand was an organised person to her fingertips. On Monday morning she could tell you what she would be doing all through the week. She was friendly in many ways sharing food she had prepared with the sick or poor or newcomers and visiting and taking her full part in church work. But I don't think she cared much whether people like her as long as they respected her. She had very high standards of moral conduct, and couldn't seem to feel enough for people who did what she thought was wrong, and to try to understand or help them. Her criticisms, I felt, were too strong but there wasn't much point in discussing it with her. She felt cards were "of the Devil", but she played dominos with which Asian people gamble away their wives (I never told her that!). She was very particular about entertaining all people who entertained us, and was criticised by parishioners who felt that was playing favourites. More than that, she dared tom have a few personal friends whom she entertained and who used to come in after church. If she felt she was right she held to her views.
She was very loyal to her husband, although at times he must have irritated her greatly. When things should be done, she didn't want father sitting up in his study reading (and sometimes only "thinking") and she would speak to him several times—saying "I wish you would do so-and-so, and get it off my mind". She was always upset and yet annoyed too when he was ill—he wouldn't go to the doctor or take her advice but would just sit about and brood. I think now the reason he had digestive trouble all his life was that his tummy was the first thing affected when things went wrong, or he was under tension or pressure. We used to say to mother "when he doesn't feel well leave him alone. He'll come out of it"—but she could never leave him alone, and when she pressed him he got angry and withdrawn. Many a time we've sat out days at a time of father's moods. He wouldn't eat or talk or do anything he didn't really have to do and presently he drifted out of it as he drifted in to it.
Mother was always very well and except during change of life saw little of the doctor except as a friend and doctor for the children. Old Dr Jameson was a Homeopath (I'm not quite sure what this includes) and we always had sugar pills with a liquid medicine which we enjoyed. One bottle was called No.4, and as soon as anyone sneezed we had to take No.4 which seemed to stave off many a cold. Often Dr. could come to our home for a sauerkraut dinner with pork, mashed potatoes, and dumplings.
At mothers change of life she was quite ill, and had a much younger doctor. During that time she did very little work and wouldn't go out. We had to depend on our housekeeper who was utterly useless. Mother often went to see this young doctor who lived near us, and some people said she was getting too fond of him—but nothing developed. I don't remember how long this trying period lasted—to us it seemed years. I remember the doctor said she should have some diversions and she and father bought a bedroom suite. I suppose she just slowly grew well again.
Ministers as well as doctors run the risk of women growing too fond of them. The one time I remember well was when one parishioner whose husband died, decided she needed father's help. He visited her home and she came to our house. She had a daughter, and we were all friends going to Chataugua together and I often stayed in her home. However things must have gone too far and one time when my father was ill, she insisted on seeing him and he wouldn't speak to her. I guess he felt for mother's sake he would have to be cruel. She never came to the house again, but on the surface we were still all friends, and I still keep in touch with her daughter.
By the time my brother had become a minister, father had developed a feeling that to try to choose your place in the church and to try to advance to better churches with better salaries was quite wrong, and Red was held back by my father in many ways. Also my mother held so closely to my brother not letting him go away to college etc. that she must have been a great concern to him. After he was married, mother always wanted to furnish their home (with second hand things which they didn't want), buy them a car, and insisted that they come home regularly whether it was convenient or not. Red would like to have trained as a Family Guidance person but, knowing how his parents would react to his leaving the church, never did. His escape came when he joined the Navy and later when he made the decision to stay in California. Mother broke up several near-engagements of Reds, and perhaps if they had stayed in Pittsburgh, his marriage might have been affected.
Red was wonderful to mother as she grew older and was the only one who could handle her in time of crisis. Of course mother thought the sun, moon, and stars rose and set in him. Had I been of a jealous nature I might have resented his place with her. As it was I was glad to be free. I felt some for Red's wife because mother clung to him so tightly.
I was always glad that I didn't live near my parents when I married and had three sons, because I'm sure my ways weren't their ways. Mother knew Ian best and thought he was so good when we visited her because he could play alone happily and took good care of his toys. Peter she knew through letters. Dave she hardly knew at all and I never knew just how she felt about his divorce and other problems at college both at Yale and Allegheny. I guess she knew enough not to come down too hard on my children. More of parents later—as they years passed my feeling for my mother changed and I will write about her years of devotion to my father in its proper place in time.
Mother was a very good manager: could save money and make it go further and enjoy doing so. She always handled all money matters putting one-tenth of everything that came in in the Lord's Box. She always said that her nine-tenths went further than ten-tenths would if we had been selfish. She certainly always had money for church and charity and tried to distribute it fairly. If father had been giving away money we would have been in a mess as he was an impulsive giver. The only thing he wouldn't do was give a tramp money for a drink. Father was a real hater of the "Demon Rum" or any other liquor. During prohibition he collected bottle being sold illegally to be used as evidence in trials. All these bottles were hidden in a cupboard under the front stairs and although the cupboard was locked he was scared to death someone would find them and accuse him of secret drinking! We had two different women who came in to clean, both Irish Catholics and used to their drink. He used to say what would happen if they opened the cupboard somehow and told everybody. Actually the evidence was used at the right time and he didn't lose his reputation.
I have said I was lucky in my upbringing. I was loved, disciplined, educated, and given a free hand with my life once I got my degree. I had friends or at least many acquaintances, variety of homes and schools, and a chance to adapt to various environments, which stood me in good stead when I went overseas.
Of course there were lots of things I didn't like then: I hated my clothes which were made after one pattern by a dressmaker because I couldn't buy clothes to fit. I resented not going to the movies and circuses, or being allowed to stay with friends overnight or to go on trips with them. I didn't like Sundays with 4 meetings a day and not allowed to do anything else. I wanted to dance, and play cards, and go on dates, but my way of life didn't offer much opportunity. I danced with girls at college and learned to play cards in Singapore! But I was so sure of my course and so busy getting there that I didn't really mind. I think my parents thought me very undemonstrative and I guess I could have shown them more love.
VIII. Teaching in Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
September 1923-June 1926
I had 3 years teaching experience before I left for Malaya. I can't say they made much impression on me, partly because I wasn't a very good teacher, and partly because I was only putting in time for 3 years to bet my State Teacher's Certificate.
My first 2 years were spent in a Junior High, teaching an assortment of subjects to 7th and 8th Grades. The school wasn't a very good one, due mostly to a very poor Head who did nothing to train or help a new teacher. I worked as well as I knew how but I had very little practice teaching—only a few courses in theory of teaching. The pupils were a mixed lot—some from ordinary white homes, others from Negro families, and many Europeans whose fathers worked in mills near by. Many were very poor and lived in house boats not floating at the riverside but permanently fixed there so that when the floods came, everyone had to get out. In Winter they put on woolen underwear when it got cold and never changed again until Spring. The coloured children were slow and lazy and used to go to sleep with heads on their desks after lunch. Lunch was limbroges cheese sandwiches which had to be kept out in the hall until time for lunch.
Few things made up for everything else. There were 4 women teachers in Grade 7 and we were fast friends—the other 3 were old hands which helped me. Another friend was the Home Science teacher. We used to go to one of the teacher's home for dinner or lunch or to stay over night. The other thing that helped was the annual Operetta. We worked for months on that—after school time! But we and the children go to know each other and it was the nicest thing that happened to many of the pupils.
The 3rd year I was not asked to return—I suppose because the Head thought I wasn't a good enough teacher, or perhaps he knew how little I liked or respected him.
By then my parents had moved to another part of Pittsburgh and I quite easily got a job near them. I taught seventh grade there too for a year and don't remember anything very unusual that happened.
Now that I had my State Certificate, I applied to the Board of the Methodist Church to go to Singapore where I had a friend. I wanted to go first as a teacher for a short term of 3 years, with the understanding I could leave at the end of that period and my return fare would be paid.
I was then nearly 23 (Dec. 1926) but the Board said I must wait two years—also they said I was overweight. However I had friends in court and when they realised I was well prepared and in excellent health they commissioned me to leave in December 1926.
I was given various farewell parties and had to attend many functions of the church. I was given gifts for myself—typewriter, bedding, books, etc. and supplies of one sort and another to take out to the mission.
I think my father and mother were pleased to have me go, at least they never said they were afraid for me, or I couldn't go because they couldn't live without me! Our home had always been a training place for mission education, and we'd always known and entertained missionaries. As a 5 year old I had my picture on a mite box which all our church children had to keep their mission contributions in. So I guess I was headed the way I went for many years before I finally went.
I might say, if I had it to do over again, I would do just as I did. You were needed, the work was interesting and rewarding and travel was a tremendous bonus.
IX. My First Overseas Trip
I think we would all agree that there is never another trip as exciting as the first, especially if it is a long one, overseas, and the first time you are really separated from your family.
I was 23, in some ways a young 23, and I had been brought up in quite a sheltered background. When I left by train from Pittsburgh for San Francisco, I was told by my mother to speak to no one but officials. I spent all the trip by myself—having my meals alone, reading and practicing on my new typewriter. What fun I could have had talking to other people!
Even when I finally got on the ship, and a tall thin man passed me in a narrow corridor I couldn't even say "Good Morning". I found at lunch he was a minister and one of my party!
There were 12 of us in this party some married couples and both bachelors and single girls. We all sat together and were all fast friends after a day or two at sea. I don't remember the name of the ship but it was a single class, and several hundred passengers.
We had some studying to do to learn something about our new home and the work there—especially the education as most of us would have all or part of our work in our mission government schools. However we had lots of free time for deck games, movies, reading, and teaching.
We had a day trip in Honolulu. The Bishop's secretary and I paired up and we did most of our sight seeing together. Between Honolulu and Japan we had a terrible storm. The waves were high enough to smash plate glass windows of the upper decks. The water poured down the stairways much of it making the dining room more than a foot deep in water. Not many people felt like meals, but Bishop, a little girl and I were the only ones in our party to make it to every meal.
In the cabins your luggage went from side to side and the fruit, knife, and plate which the steward insisted in putting in our rooms had to be hunted for in the farthest corner of the cabin. I can't remember how long the storm lasted. No one seemed unduly frightened, as we didn't realise how bad it all was. When we got to Japan three days late, the Captain said that if anything had happened to our engines we would have sunk.
It was a great disappointment that instead of three days in Japan we had only one, so could not go far afield. We had a proper Japanese dinner, seated on the floor, and enjoyed the shops and street markets in Yokohama.
We had 2 days in Shanghai which was lucky, for most of us were never able to go there again.
We had 2 days in Manila, but there we were entertained so continuously by mission friends, that we saw very little of the city old or new. Our final stop was Singapore.
I suppose that first trip gave me just enough taste of the East to want to go back again and again. No visits to Europe later, interesting as they were, could change my interest in China and Japan. I presume it was because everything is different in the East, where Europe is not that strange or different from what I had known.
The costumes, food, homes, religious institutions, and shops are what one remembers from a first trip, and only later when one makes friends and sees the life and work or a country, does one really love it. I imagine I will be going again and again as I am able. If there weren't children and grandchildren I don't suppose I'd go to U.S.A. at all. And I haven't the faintest desire to see Europe or Africa. India is my furthest outpost and I would like to visit India, Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, and Malaya, where I haven't been since 1933. Also of course I would like to go to Korea, which I haven't seen, China, and Japan.
I forgot to say that the Captain bought a Christmas tree and let the younger members on shipboard trim it. We had a beautiful Christmas dinner complete with caps and crackers, carol singing, the lot.
We always had a Captains dinner before we arrived in each port—in our case, Honolulu, Yokohama, Shanghai, Manila, and Singapore—extra special food and often concerts by the passengers, or costume parties. I can't remember as much drinking and gambling as I saw in later trips. I think this ship tended to be a family party.
X. I'm Finally a Mission Teacher
When I was appointed to the work of the American Methodist Mission Board, it was as a teacher not a full term missionary. I couldn't be sure I could fit into a Mission as I had my own beliefs, and concerns and desires, and I wasn't at all sure I would fit in. Also I was young, and at this time was only interested in regular school teaching not church work. My term was three years; I could go home then, stay on as a teacher, or ask to be appointed a full missionary.
The entire A.M.M. met each January in Singapore for our Annual Conference. The set up was as the Methodist Church in my home, Presiding Elders and a Bishop, where word was law. At the conference there were business meetings for men and for women when their work was separate, much discussion in groups, much "getting to know you" as all workers from all of Malaya (and Java, Sumatra, and other places) were there together, both living and eating in groups and thoroughly enjoying it. We also were entertained officially and unofficially by church people and a wonderful time was had by all.
The last day appointments were read by the Bishop, and that's where things weren't always so happy. If you liked what you were doing, or if you had set your hear on a certain job in a certain place, and the Bishop ruled otherwise, you were under orders and that was that.
I had wanted to stay in Singapore because of various friends and the school and the city itself. After a few weeks I knew that Singapore was my kind of city. Many races, many languages, many celebrations and ceremonies, wonderful streets of shops selling the worlds beautiful things at fantastically low prices. And I was appointed to Kuala Lumpur! I spent more than three years in Kuala Lumpur—happy, useful, and interesting years. I liked my hob especially as acting head of the school in my 3rd and part of my 4th year. I loved the children, enjoyed visiting families of both school and church children, when I went about with the girls as interpreters. But I never stopped hoping I would some day be sent to Singapore.
My life in Malaya beginning 46 years ago is as clear, and as filled with vivid memories, as if it were only yesterday.
Our school, mission home and boarding school were together in the near-centre of Kuala Lumpur opposite the railway station and hotel. We had some playing lawns in front of these buildings but not enough for anything except play at recess; physical exercises, and, at times, badminton.
The school was a wooden building—open on all sides on the ground floor, with 2 floors of class rooms above. It had wooden stairs and looking back it seems a real fire hazard.
Our teachers about 20 (at times) were of various nationalities, Indian, Chinese, Eurasian, a Malay, and Europeans, that is American, English, and sometimes a Canadian. The classes were from 5-year-olds in Kindergarten to those taking Juniors and Senior Examinations from Cambridge.
When the children first came to school, they spoke many languages or different kinds of Chinese. The teachers couldn't understand the children so from the first hour of the first day everyone spoke (or tried to learn to speak) English. They learned such simple directions as "sit down", "stand up", "get out your books", "write", "draw", "read", "sing", "play", "get into line", "march", "be quiet", "go home", just by repetition and actions by the teacher.
With pictures and flash cards, looking at everything they were or had with them or ate and the teachers naming it in English, they learned. How they learned! In three months I could go into a primary class and have quite a happy time chatting to those 5-year-olds who were learning so fast.
The school was run by the mission, using their own members and those they chose to hire to teach. However everything was supervised by the Education Department, and in general paid for by them. We accepted a small salary from the mission and the government salary which was much larger went into funds for the school for the many projects we had to help the children and their families (this was different from the missionaries under the Men's Board. Where as we under the Women's Board were paid the same salary whether we were brand new or had years of experience, as it was supposed to just be what we needed to live, the Men's Board paid family men one salary and single men and women another, and there was often trouble over salaries and allowances. We were free of such problems. I don't know what the Men's Board did with the salaries from government.).
Looking back I am very impressed with the success of our girls in Cambridge exams. The teachers we had available were not outstanding. Everything was done in English, a language which not many of them spoke in their own homes. There were some adjustments in the exams sent to Malaya—a special English paper, a special Tropical Hygiene paper, some exams in the girls own language, much as we have French and German exams. But on the whole the exams were the usual Cambridge exams and our girls passed, often with high marks. My only explanation is that the girls who cam to school were those who wanted to very much and so they worked harder as success was important to them. Many of them got married after they left school because there were few professions or even jobs for women. But, their children benefited and would almost certainly have their chance for an education in their time.
One interesting fact about the teaching of different subjects to girls of different races—in general the Chinese are good at arithmetic or any thing that is exact and can be learned by rote. The Indians on the other hand are good in English and subjects that need good language and imagination. Consequently one had to help the girls in the subjects they were weaker in—making really two streams of teaching. You really notice this in church too—the Chinese speak much less while the Indians can pray on and on and on! In dance too the Chinese have stylised dances (sword dance) while the Indians go in for more free swaying movements. And what a wonderful opportunity to get to know girls and their families when I visited their homes.
Outside the school were set up the food stands, where the teachers and children could buy the foods they fancy. Many bad small stoves with big black frying pans on top where they prepared hot foods, and there were vegetables, rice and fruits. School started at 8am and as many children didn't have breakfast before that, they used their recess time to eat. We closed school at 1pm and many had their lunch there before they set out for home.
An interesting sight at 1pm. was the crowd of rickshaws (usually with an amah or an ayah) gathered on the lawn and about the gate to pick up the younger children. And how often it seems to pour rain at 1pm!
School had the usual sports days, with races and fun games. Also concerts of various sorts. Looking back I don't think we used the talents of the children our the great wealth of culture the children represented in their families. We were just happy that all nationalities lived so happily together. We looked to the future where they would be one people. We didn't stress their differences even thought it would have provided enrichment in the lives of the girls.
We had very few Malay girls. The British Government did not permit work by missionaries among the Mohammedan Malays. Large tracts of land were reserved for Malays because the more "up and coming" Chinese and others would have overrun the Malays. Also as the Mohammedan women have a very low place in their religion and in custom, not many Malay girls could be considered worth educating. The women and girls can't go to the Mosque as they are not supposed to have souls. On big holidays the men and boys all go to the Mosques dressed beautifully in loose shirt and sarong with a snappy velvet hat and a walking stick and sandals of heavy leather. The boys are dressed exactly as their fathers and are darling small editions.
When the service at the Mosque is over the women and girls join the men in walking up and down the streets and roads, eating, visiting friends and showing off. The women and girls dress alike too, in a blouse and sarong, hand embroidered slippers, lots of gold chains, anklets, bracelets and pins on their blouses, hair braided (usually) and arranged over their ears with sweet smelling flowers around the rolls, and a soft scarf to cover their face if necessary. Little girls and mothers present a very appealing sight. Most youngsters of any race are attractive, but little Malay boys, putting the back of their hands to their foreheads in a salute and saying "Take Tuan" are among my favourite.
When I was in Malaya (1927 on) most of the clothing for Malays was hand woven and hand designed. The men's sarongs were often of a single colour with a small border, but the women's were either very bright or the brown and tan batik cloth. The blouse was usually embroidered in designs made by Singer sewing machines (even very simple Chinese homes had machines and did most of the sewing and embroidery for both Chinese and Malays). In Singapore there was a large group of Chinese people whose forefathers came from China but who had been in Singapore they had adopted the Malay language and Malay clothing. They were called "Straits Chinese".
Most of the Chinese people in those days wore Chinese clothing - except business men who wore clothing similar to British dress. The Chinese girls styles varied; the peasant class wore a jacket and pants of dark materials; school girls wore brighter dresses, sometimes Chinese, sometimes not; the better class women wore whatever style became fashionable, usually a emaplim robe—slit up the side (a little) with frogs to fasten the dress from high collar to hem. They were always clean and looked as if they had just ironed their clothes. The secret was to fold the clothing in a regulations way and pack them into boxes and trunks. Even in homes with earth floors, which seemed to have no facilities at all, the women were neat and clean.
There were some Japanese in school—not many. It was always said that the Japanese were spies. They had photographic shops or shops with cheap Japanese trinkets and curios—from one end of Malaya to the other. They had to report to the police every time they moved about (we Americans also had to tell the police what we were doing, so that it wouldn't look like the Japanese were the only ones needing watching).
Most Japanese women especially in Singapore wore western clothing then—because their Japanese clothing was hot, and expensive. But for special occasions, all the Japanese community gathered together with the women all in their kimonos with big sashes (ohis) around them, their hair very stylised with ornaments. Their kimonos were not supposed to be too bright—that was left too the dancing and tea house girls. I knew a few Japanese families and have attended both the girls' and boys' birthday celebration. All girls have their birthday on the same day—so their can be a matter of nearly 12 months between girls celebrating their first birthday. For the occasion the mothers set out an elaborate platform of shelves and place on these shelves all the dolls that belong to the family and are handed down from mother to daughter. Some of the dolls represent high officials—actors, great men, etc. They are not played with as our children play with dolls but are carefully packed away until next year. They have visits from friends and relations, food and gifts for the girls.
The boys' birthday is celebrated by flying kites in the shape of a fish—the carp—which represents strength. The also have visitors and gifts to celebrate their big day.
There were also many Indians in Malaya—roughly of 2 classes—the indentured labor to work in the rubber estates, and the business and professional people.
The women and girls always wore saris—probably no people in the world hold so firmly to their own costume. A sari can be a four or five yard piece of cheap cotton with a tight cotton blouse. They wrap them about the hips and roll them at the waist with pleats in the front and the end over the head and shoulders. They also have very valuable saris embroidered with gold and silver and coloured metal threads. Indians love jewellery—gold with lots of big stones, rubies, etc., in sets of necklaces, rings, bracelets.
The other large group I had much to do with were the Eurasians—English and Asian of infinite variety. I found them the most difficult to work with—as they were so sensitive and were always expecting slights and snubs from everyone. This is probably because they feel they are not a true race and that both sides of their ancestors ignore them. In handling the staff at M.G.A. one had far more problems with them than any other group. They tend to dress rather drably—European dress but in black or very dull colours and look drab, not very robust, and an bit dowdy. They badly want to marry Europeans, especially the girls as they understand their dark blood could fade in a generation or two (?). Many of them have rather sad lives because they chase Europeans and get hurt when nothing happens.
Looking back however, I feel they worked pretty well together and gave the children a fair education in English and other exam subjects. I don't really remember whether the girls were happy about school or not. They didn't have to go to school.
XI. My Day-to-Day Job in Kuala Lumpur
Our days had a usual pattern and few emergencies arose to change this pattern. We had breakfast fairly early, 7 to 7:30, as school for me began at about 8am. I'm not quite sure about school hours but I think it would be 8am to 10:30am; break for half and hour for eating and playing; classes 11am to 1pm.
I didn't have to do any housework as "Cookie" and "Boy" did the shopping, cooking, and cleaning. We had a gardener, a Malay syce (? Car driver), and the boarding school girls washed and ironed our good clothes and a dhobi (washerman) took all the household things somewhere where he beat them on stones and dried them on bushes. There were many tailors and also women to mend and sew. If we gave them a picture of a dress or an old dress they copied it beautifully and cheaply.
From 8 to 1, I was usually in the school building. The first 2 years I taught maths to Senior and Junior Cambridge classes and helped the Headmistress with lots of odd jobs. Then for a year and a half I was Acting Headmistress and taught very little. I did the double entry book keeping for the government and mission friends, correspondence, supervising teaching, planning curriculum, settling problems, was house mother for our boarding department, dealt with Education business with the Government, paid all the bills, bought most of the supplies, etc., etc., etc. There were often problems with the servants, buildings to be kept in good order, equipment to be maintained. This is all very slow work because there were many long waits, many misunderstanding because of language, much bargaining which was time consuming, quite a bit of cheating and promises which were never fulfilled. Very interesting!
At 1pm we went home to lunch. I don't remember much about the food. We each took it in turn to see the "Cookie" twice a day, to give orders for marketing and to plan meals, and later to have a report of what was spent for what. This I found trying as I never really settled down to even simple European Malay which is just words strung together with no grammar. The meals were varied due to how much "Cookie" understood, how much he was given to spend, and how we planned the meals. There was almost always curry at least once a day. We always bought in the local markets and shops rather than at "Cold Storage" or big European shops as it was much less expensive. There was little fresh milk except for children and we used condensed milk and tinned butter and tinned meats, all imported. When he had visitors from overseas, we never knew whether to give them our usual food or do something special for them. In the latter case we would go short ourselves for some time afterwards, and we heard that the visitors said back home that we lived "very well indeed" for missionaries! This rather influenced us to let them "share our cruet". Actually it is quite true we never went without anything we needed and mostly had what we wanted in moderation. I realised when I visited Missionaries in Sumalia and Java, India and Burma that we lived unusually well.
After lunch we always had a rest until 3pm. Then we usually had a shower (of sorts), afternoon tea, and then set off on either shopping jobs connected with the school, or on calling.
The shower (of sorts) meant standing on a platform of slats in our concreted bathroom, and dousing ourselves with a big dipper from a great pottery jar some four feet high (which "Boy" kept filled with water), soaping if need be, and then drying off. Of course a new missionary is never told how to take this shower and it is said that some really tried to get inside the jar. Actually by the time you had the shower, dressed and had a cup of hot tea, you were so wet again it seemed a waste of time to have the shower!
There were no toilets as such, but seats with removable containers which the "night-soil" men removed during the night. It was something you got used to, but never found pleasant.
About 4 o'clock at the latest you went out about your school or church business. Because of the very many languages (many kinds of Chinese, Indian, and Malay) you didn't learn a language as you might have done in many other mission areas. Also we were appointed to a church each year and as you were likely to be moved around the city, it wasn't sensible to learn a language. I should have learned Malay better, but I always depended on finding English spoken many places and going with a school girl or Bible woman as interpreters when I visited homes.
I usually enjoyed the 3 or 4 visits we were able to make in an afternoon trip, with only one complaint—the things we were offered to drink. The cakes and biscuits I enjoyed but the drinks were something else! It might be tea that had been made at dawn and kept in a tea pot under a pot warmer on the back of the stove all day. It was so strong the spoon stood up in it. Or it might be coffee which they got from a nearby coffee house—lukewarm, think and muddy with either condensed or sweetened condensed milk in it. There were also many kinds of fizzy drink—the worst of which was a pear drink pale blue in colour and, except under dire stress, undrinkable. However as it was polite to take what was served and as I had a very strong stomach, I never was in real trouble. It was better than drinking polluted unboiled water.
Usually when we visited the homes of poorer or middle class people they would be in the midst of beginning preparations for the evening meal, and so not to hinder the cook or the housewife we often gathered in the kitchen. Along one wall was built a big concrete oven with big holes on the top, with wood or other fuel fed into an open front. These fires went all day and at night made a warm place to sleep near or even on top of.
Utensils were just sharp knives and great flat shallow rim bowls which went on the stove. They prepared the vegetables and what little meat there was, bit by bit, and put the cooked food aside in dishes or pans. I understand at dinner time the rice was hot and the vegetables, meat, fish, etc. could be either cold or reheated. They cooked the food in oil, frying it and although it was usually cooked more than the Japanese cooked their food it was still a bit raw for my taste. The simple people hold their bowl close to their mouths and rather pushed the food into their mouths. However, there were more elegant ways—the hostess with chopsticks served each person from a centre dish—very skillfully—she could open up a fish; take out the back bone and serve with sharp sticks. Of course all the more liquid foods had to be taken straight from the bowl, or perhaps china spoons could be used especially for visitors not skilled in chopsticks. You sometimes saw the mother feeding small children with balls of rice with bits of other food in it. Lots of tea, of course, also for seasoning fish pasties which were made of fermented fish. Fruit and small cakes for special occasions, also sunflower seeds. They have curries and like food hot with chillies (I once look a large spoonful of mashed potato at a church function, only to find the bright coloured bits were not sweet peppers, but chillies. My mouth burned all evening despite bananas, tea, and mangoes!)
The meals of the wealthy were rather different from the meals in these homes, and I will tell about them under Social Occasions.
They seemed to like to have "Teacher" call although the conversation was a bit difficult. I usually held the babies and got wet in the process as the little ones wear split pants and no nappies. Their clothing always interested me—split long pants, a jacket, and a skull cap—often decorated with little mirrors (originally to scare off evil spirits). The mother never praised her children or boasted about them—rather understated them. This is now only custom, but was once felt to keep evil spirits from taking any very special child. Also the boys are more likely to be petted and made something of than the girls although the Christian families tried to treat boys and girls equally well.
On other afternoons I would go to town shopping. In Kuala Lumpur there are streets of shops which sell only one things—materials, jewellery, china, clothing, etc. I had to buy the dress material for sewing classes at the school and for the dresses our boarders made for themselves (no uniforms). I would stop at a shop and have a chat, select material—ask the price and always protest that was much too expensive. A bit of bargaining would follow, but if you felt the price wasn't yet right, you would walk out of the shop and stop at the next one. However not to lose a sale, the first shopkeeper following you carrying the bolts and promising you a better price.
If we had time, we might go along to 5 or 6 shops, even more, to be sure you had the lowest price. And when you decided and ordered the other shopkeepers were very upset with you (many children to feed, etc.) but you didn't let that worry you. They wouldn't sell if they weren't making the proper profit. When things were pretty even and as you got to know the men better you tried to distribute your custom to keep everyone happy.
Tourists also bargained but the price to start with is so high that even after bargaining they pay too much unless helped by a local. It was a joy to go shopping for Christmas—things were so cheap—Ginger jars, bowls and dishes and plates, handkerchiefs, scarfs, jewellery, etc. Once I sent father a soap stone of a Chinese tomb, with a small name plate which when you pulled up a small coffin came out. I once sent Christmas cards of a piece of red cardboard on which were sewn a tongue scraper and ear cleaner, and a nose cleaner which Chinese men hand on their belts to use when needed.
Other afternoons we visited with mission friend of our own church and other churches. Tea, tennis or badminton, and a good exchange of news and plans made a break from work and problems and children. We sometimes went on picnics, or to the movies or to the theatre also. More of this under our social life.
On Sundays we went to church, sometimes to the English speaking congregation, sometimes to the other services held in other languages. I often used to sing in the Wesley choir and sang solo for special occasions, or for funerals or weddings.
Not much free time, but interesting and rewarding to us anyway, and we hope for the missions.
XII. Our Social Life
After we settled in either in Kuala Lumpur or in Singapore we had quite a lot of social life—as much as we had time and energy to enjoy.
I have spoken of tea parties with tennis or badminton—sometimes with European mission friends, often with teachers and girls in school or church. The Chinese are very good at badminton which takes up less space than tennis and doesn't need as much marking out of the court. There were however many tennis courts and it was very popular even in the heat of Malaya—usually played from 4 to 6pm. when the twilight would suddenly fall and the game was over.
The Americans liked picnics. I have many happy memories of picnics at the reservoir with the Hinches and others. It would be a real American picnic—baked beans, potato salad, beets dying hard boiled eggs, coleslaw, sandwiches, and cake. Usually we had to bring the tea or coffee in thermos flasks. If however as in Singapore we could get to a beach we could make a fire and boil water.
In Kuala Lumpur we were often invited to go to the movies by some of our pupils whose father owned the theatre. The locals of all nationalities sat on the ground floor on benches eating food. The "elite" sat in the balcony in rattan chairs. There were 2 troublesome aspects: 1. the mosquitos were rabid and we sat with our legs wrapped in a blanket and burned coils to keep them at a distance; and 2. But even worse were the rattan bugs in the furniture which usually bit you all up and down your bare arms and made great lumps. But we still enjoyed a few shows now and again.
I suppose our greatest social events were the weeding we were often invited to attend—usually Chinese Weddings, but sometimes Indian or Malay. Many of our schoolgirls came from well-to-do homes. But even if they weren't rich they usually borrowed from the Indian money lenders, Chetties, for big weddings. If you could afford it you bought beautiful bridal array. If you couldn't you rented clothing. The wedding usually took 2 or 3 days, and at one particular time, the Europeans were entertained—teachers, government people, business men, etc. When we first were in Kuala Lumpur these occasions were lavish with great feasts (20 courses), fire works, and gifts such as fans, scarfs, powder boxes, etc. As we didn't like all the Chinese foods we got the girls to stay near by and help us. If we were given something we couldn't eat, the girls would take away the plate and bring us a clean one because you were supposed to eat all you were given and have the next course on the same plate. They brought us china spoons to eat with and explained what many of the foods were. Then we would go into the garden or compound for the fireworks—some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
I don't remember much about Indian weddings except those which were in the church with a reception in the church hall. I did attend some minor functions connected with a Malay wedding, but never saw a complete wedding.
We sometimes went to Amusement parlours to see theatre shows, puppet shows, etc., but I saw more of such things in Singapore.
There were always some single men about and one would have a dinner date and go to the pictures. But in general we went in groups and seldom did any of our missionaries marry mission men.
Two religious ceremonies we used to go to see from time to time and although not social occasions were interesting and in our free time. These occasions we went in groups, because a crowd of Asian people speaking languages we couldn't understand and often getting very excited about what was going on, could really frighten you. Only once did I find myself in a mob which moved back and forth pushing me around and separating me from my friends. After that we never got into the thick of things, but stayed on the sidelines if at all possible.
(a) A Chinese funeral and the ceremonies they have a year later are interesting, but also very sad. When someone dies, the family goes literally into "sack cloth and ashes". They wear clothing of some rough natural-coloured material and make themselves very dirty with earth. All decorations are taken down from a home, all mirrors or pictures either turned to the wall or covered with strips of white paper. The family altar—for ancestor worship—becomes the centre of the daily life. Incense is burned and food in small plates placed before the ancestral tablets. There is a lot of noise of music and wailing. When the body in its coffin is placed in an elaborate hearse, and starts off for the temple and the cemetery, the family crawls behind it part of the way and walks the rest of the way. I never attended the actual funeral, but you see parts of it all, day after day, going along the streets and roads.
A year after the funeral there is another ceremony, if possible more elaborate and expensive than the funeral. This is rather a memorial service and the time when they send gifts to the dead person. At a great deal of trouble and expense, they make from paper and light wood all the things they would be appreciated in the spirit world. Dummies of servants to wait on the loved one, chests of paper clothes, much paper money, and imitation foods. This ceremony is held even by the very poor, who may have to borrow the money at very high interest and take years to pay it back as they do for weddings. Of course as the people became Christian, or even Westernised, these change. The saddest part (even sadder than their feeling that their dead wander in the spirit world in need of things) is their fear of the spirits hovering over them during the funeral pyre. Everyone wants to watch this gay bonfire—I have even seen motor cars and aeroplanes of paper and wood, and sedan chairs and rickshaws—all going up in a glorious blaze. But they fear that if any sound is heard from the crowd, the spirits will call that person to the spirit world. So you see parents and other relatives holding small children and babies, putting their hands over their mouths, so no sound could be heard, and everyone is still and silent. There are many views of an afterworld, but this seems one of the saddest.
(b) The other religious ceremony is a Hindu one, called "Taipusam". This sort of ceremony is carried out in India and other Hindu cities but I have only seen it in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. I'm sure I don't understand all about it, but the general idea seems to be that if you want something very badly you "keep" or take part in Taipusam. They go to the Hindu temple first, and go through ceremonies much like hypnotism—get their bodies smeared with coloured powder which may be pain killing and then decorate themselves in weird ways with various kinds of metal ornaments, hook themselves to carts, etc.
For example, the simplest form seems to be to make an elaborate pattern on your chest of small arrow like pins 2-3 inches long, stuck under the skin and out again. Also round metal balls filled with holy mild are fastened to the flesh by hooks. There is an interesting frame which is held above the shoulders and head, by sticking long thin spears through the holes in the frame and then into the shoulders and neck. These things would be painful enough if they stayed quiet, but they must parade and even climb steps which must be very painful. No blood shows at all. They put long meat skewers through a protruding tongue or through the cheeks. Usually at some point they walk through a bed of red hot coals, showing no sign of burning. In Singapore they go on a long parade through town for most of a long hot day. In Kuala Lumpur they have to climb up a lot of steps and end their walk in caves high in the side of the hill. If they succeed they are assured (?) of getting whatever they want to get. I believe this ceremony is dying out as the government didn't approve. These celebrations last for 3 days. On one day a god is taken through the streets in an elaborate float. On the third night they have very lovely fireworks on the harbour float. Reflected in the waters of the harbour, it is a beautiful sight and you can almost forget what awful things you saw during the day. I wouldn't know the physical results of this ceremony, but many people have said that their servants seem to show little sign of any damage. Mind over matter?
Often people ask why we send missionaries overseas from U.S.A. My reasons were not others' reasons always because I wasn't interested in teaching creed of getting church members. My hope was to help them not to fear superstitions—strange gods, sad customs relating to the afterworld—family customs, etc., but to think and plan what was best for them.
XIII. My First Furlough and Study Leave
(I might as well say my only one! When I left Malaya again it was to be married and I never got another degree after the M.Ed. in this furlough)
In June, 1930, I sailed for England and U.S.A. I can't remember the details, except that is was a cargo vessel with about 10 (or so) passengers and we went first to Egypt and the Holy Land through the Suez Canal. This trip had none of the luxuries or excitement of my first sea trip. The accommodation was very limited, the food very ordinary, and there was little to do. However my mission friend with whom I was travelling and I were friendly with the officers and they gave us a few jobs to do like copying sheets of manifests, colouring in different cargoes, etc. They also took us out in port. I especially remember being taken to a holu in Colomba for dinner and later for a drive. We really did enjoy our trip through the Suez Canal because we were on the Captain's Bridge, wrapped warmly in officers' great coats.
We left the ship at Port Said, and had a wonderful few days in Egypt. The trip to the Valley of the Rings was a highlight, where we saw King Tut's tomb and other tombs with many pictures and Egyptian paintings. There was one tomb so planned that on a certain day the sun shone down a long shaft to light up the wall paintings in the tomb. Our guides helped us to understand the picture and hieroglyphics and I thought I was very clever because I knew so many symbols. Went to the Sphinx and the pyramids and rode a camel. The pyramids looked to have smooth sides, but when you tried to walk up them you found great rectangular stones very difficult to climb over. The camel is anything but a comfortable beast—especially when you get on and off! The Museum in Cairo has most wonderful treasures that have come from tombs—especially King Tut's.
We then went for a week to Palestine—by car, and going sightseeing, by car usually, as the distances weren't far. I found it interesting, but not that moving or spiritual due no doubt to the tourist atmosphere all about. The Holy Sepulchre, staffed by Moslems to keep peace with all groups, was dark and "unholy". There were lots of lamps hung from the ceiling, each representing some church branch and lots of fighting there has been as to where they were to go! The Garden where Christians feel Jesus was buried was quiet and restful. Bethlehem hills—with white and black sheep and rocks and rocks and rocks at least were what I expected. And the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and the Good Samaritan hotel seemed real. The Dead Sea was interesting and the Sea of Galilee very lovely. You could imagine the cities around the sea and Jesus walking all about. In Nazareth on Palm Sunday I heard a wonderful Orthodox choir sing most heavenly music and walked the fields covered with small spring flowers. In Jaffa I had the loveliest mangoes I have ever eaten.
We sailed from Jaffa on a cargo boat carrying cattle. Our stops around the Mediterranean were all bible names and we spent a day in several ports and changed our money.
We left the ship at Brindise, and spent some time in France, Austria, and Italy. Seeing the 1930 Oberamageau and then on to England. In England I spent some time visiting schools, both private and day schools, seeing galleries, and shows and pageants. Met Mildred Sheard—a friend till she died in 1972.
In U.S. I stayed with my family in Beaver and took and M.Ed degree from the University of Pittsburgh. I wasn't too please to go there but I felt I should stay at home and there wasn't much choice.
I enjoyed the study. It was a very general Education course, mainly for administrators. It included History of Education, Educational Measurements, New Researches in Education, State Laws, etc. I didn't have to do any original research but took a written exam, of the multiple choice type, and an oral exam before a board. I didn't have any University life as such, partly because there weren't facilities on campus, and I was too busy any way. I spent a lot of time travelling by train from Beaver to Pittsburgh, and by streetcar to the Uni.
To help keep myself I had many speaking engagements, from regular Sunday Schools to all sorts of teas, luncheons, dinners, evenings, etc. For some I dressed in Malay costume—sarong and kahaya, scarf over my head, sandals, jewellery (pins, bracelets, gold necklaces and anklets). On the whole I enjoyed the speaking and visiting here and there. I was usually paid my expenses and given money, say $10, which I turned in to the mission society and they gave me a regular salary.
In June 1931 I got my degree and left for England again. This time I spent some holiday time in the Lake District and on to Norway with Mildred Sheard. Then I sailed for Malay arriving in Singapore, where my new appointment as Principal of a Primary School began in January 1932.
XIV. Married - September 7, 1933
I didn't do much teaching, mostly administration under Meis Kenym. I met Wallace then and we spent a lot of time together until he was sacked due to depression. I was by then engaged, but stayed until August 1933 when I sailed to England and was married, September 7, 1933. We lived in Cambridge after a very nice honeymoon in Cornwall. But later we decided to go back to New Zealand as Wallace's mother had died and he had an offer to teach in Uni in Dunedin.
We went by ship to U.S.A. and spent Christmas 1933 with my family and then went by train across U.S.A. and by ship to Auckland and on to Dunedin. Wallace's sister Marjorie was bridesmaid, but stayed in England. Wallace had lots of relations, but no close family to greet us.
I suppose I should tell more about our marriage and our few months in England. Wallace was working at Cambridge Uni and we rented a few rooms in town. It wasn't much of a place, but it was home. We had a typical landlady who was friendly. I enjoyed walking about the University but had no real contact with it—a few of Wallace's friends used to drop in to visit. The church we attended had a very nice minister and family who were kind to us.
Our honeymoon was in a farmhouse on the border of Devon and Cornwall. We slept in an attic bedroom with the smell of apples about. We were fed so well—especially on Devonshire Cream that I gained 8 pounds on the honeymoon! We walked and drove about this nice part of England.
Our wedding was in John Wesley's old church. I was staying with Mildred and Wallace drove Marjorie and me to the wedding. We stood in an inner altar and the guests sat in the choir seats. We didn't have a wedding breakfast but went to Cambridge to see about our flat. Our guests included my singing teacher and her daughter, and I forgot to tell the minister so she didn't get a chance to sing. There were a few of Wallace's people there and Mildred. I guess it was legal although I only arrived three days before and Wallace established his residence by sending a suitcase to the parsonage for 2 weeks.
I realise these pages about the honeymoon and our days in Cambridge are completely out of order. Actually in my remembrance it is all wrapped up together—as the few months I spent in England when I got married. Not more important events leading up to it, or more important than many events that followed. I guess I was a little too old to feel that my wedding day was the most important day of my life. I'm sure the arrival in Singapore the fire time, my visits to India, the day I got my M.Ed degree, the birth of our sons all are equally important in a life full of interest, adventure, and accomplishment.
XV. Trips in Malaya
I see I neglected to say much about my trips while I was in Malaya. I can't date any of these trips but will put down what I can remember before I go on to our New Zealand life.
I went by ship one holiday to Burma and Calcutta. From Calcutta we travelled about in stages to Benares, Luckman, Dehli, back to Calcutta and on to Darjeeling for a week. I didn't keep a diary of trips in those days, but this was the finest of my trips during my second term.
We had only a few days in Burma with missionaries. My chief memories were of the beautiful temples, and of the nuisance of birds and animals so holy as not to be allowed to be destroyed. The big birds came right into the house and helped themselves to any food they wanted!
The small ship we travelled on had 3 classes—First, Second, and Deck. As there were few first class, we were allowed (the 2nd class women) to use first class cabins.
Everywhere we went in India, we travelled by train, as cheapest and most satisfactory. We carried our bed roll and drinking water in earthen pots which kept the water cool by evaporation. We usually tried to eat with mission people because of the danger of all kinds of illness. If we did buy any fruit we always washed it in pumanganati of potash—purple crystals. We used our bedrolls in the trains spread out in "women only" compartments with hard beds covered with horsehair material which meant you slid off on to the floor many times. No privacy just these benches along the windows and down the middle of the coach. I didn't find it too difficult, but I was really young then!
In mission homes we used our own bedding because we didn't want to be a nuisance and also lots of times the missionaries didn't have extra bedding.
At Benares we saw the Hindu people in the sacred river the Ganges—saw the fires of the burning funeral ghats where we were told that often the widows were burned alive. We say many other widows usually young girls dressed in white saris, who had been gathered together under the protection of the mission and taught skills and helped to new lives.
In Lucknow we visited the college which I had heard of since a child, and thought the buildings and way of life of the mission more sensibly than the way things were done in Malaya.
In Dehli of course we spent most of our time seeing the forts, Taj Mahal, and learning all about the history of India. In a photo album I have photos of the Taj Mahal—the beautiful walls, screens, etc. I saw the Taj in moonlight and at sunrise and feel it the loveliest building I have seen.
We returned to Calcutta and then went by train to Darjeeling high in the mountains to a mission rest home and resort.
Another trip was to Java and Sumatra to visit mission friends. I remember so little I would surely like to go again and to Bali, too, sometime soon. Of course we took trips by car to different parts of Malay to see tin mining, rubber plantations, and mission schools and churches. I never went up the East coast where you go by boat. Each year we spent part of January in Singapore—a city I loved much. After Wallace and I became engaged we used to go to various restaurants and beach places for meals and drive almost into villages along the shores. A lovely place for a holiday—again I hope to see it all sometime. When I went on trips I borrowed money from the Mission, bought things like brass in India and sold to friends at a profit when I got home. However someone always wanted the pieces most, and I often had to sell what I wanted to keep!
Thinking back in Malaya, my friends seem to have dropped out of sight and my memory. I can remember some of my staff and girls, some mission folk, a few people of other missions. There was one young chap I liked very much, but he loved a Eurasian (Malay-English) but didn't have the courage to take her home as his wife to U.S.A. so left the mission. Also 2 Swedish lads whom I visited in Sumatra—who later married missionaries (I remember thinking "I couldn't take a man like that home to mother—he was so foreign!).
In recent years I have seen Mrs Lee (who didn't realise who I was) and Miss March in Claremont (Calif). I saw the Hinches once in California and have seen Kathleen and her family. I write to Florence Kleinhenn and several others exchange Christmas cards. If I went to Malay now there would be no one of the mission there that I knew. Kwitik Ahmed is my last contact.
I suppose things have changed there but I have many happy memories of the years spent there. Actually those years in Malaya were the most colourful of all my years. However not to be compared with having a family of three sons. I wouldn't have liked to live in Malaya as a family, sending children home for schooling; nor would I like to live there now—without being needed for a special job.
XVI. New Zealand
Our arrival in Auckland in January 1934 really began a very different phase of our marriage. We stayed a few days with Fred Cox and his wife and then went on to Dunedin to set up housekeeping and for Wallace to begin his job in the Physics Department of Otago University.
We found Dunedin pleasant, with lots of sorts in the church we attended. We rented a house in Opoho near Knox College (the theological college). My two clear memories are of 1. me sitting in the dining room with my feet nearly in the rim fire basket which burned brickettes as I was so cold, and 2. shovelling snow from the front verandah. I also remember visiting Knox College in the evening and while Wallace was tutoring I sat and knitted and chatted with Mrs Merrington and then we all had a cup of tea before leaving. I was very fond of Mrs Merrington.
The church ladies taught me to knit lovely clothes for David, to make pikelets, and to understand their Scottish accent (fond as I was of them for some reason I have never liked the accent and have to remind myself I can like a person without liking their speech!).
Sometime before David was born we made a trip to the West Coast and I remember very vividly walking in the glaciers—with great hole in the ice, where if you slipped and fell in you would come out far below and many years later! It was exciting but not being a climber by nature and not being roped to anyone I was really afraid, and said never again. Actually I haven't had a chance since. Had we known we would be leaving New Zealand we would have tried to fit in more travel.
As Wallace's job was only temporary we packed up at the end of the Uni year and went to Auckland. We had camping equipment—tent, pots and pans, the lot. so that we could be independent. One nights camping was ruined by sand flies and another by heavy rain. In Auckland we stayed for some time with Tom and Josephine Macky, and so know that family—Mary, Ruth, Helen, and John—better than I do most Mackys. They were wonderful to us and didn't make us feel we were in the way while we made up our minds what to do.
Wallace was asked to return to his job in Dunedin which he agreed to do if we could be released when the job he wanted with the Met Service was ready for him. He was to get back into the work in Wellington and then go to Auckland to set up the Met office for the TransPacific air service.
We returned to Dunedin and hardly had we got there, rented another house and settled in, when Wallace was asked to return to Wellington! However he had to finish a term and then we did go to Wellington.
Wellington the windy city is an interesting place, but houses were difficult to find. Finally we got part of a home way up on the hill - Raviti Terrace, overlooking the Harbour—a very pleasant place. You went to town by the cable car nearby or you could walk. We were there when David was born, December 25th, 1935.
He was early and it was rather an inconvenient time. The doctor was 50 miles away on holiday. Mrs Langford who was going to wash my clothes and by "mother" was away on holiday. The hospital was a small one (Hapwood Hospital) and they had hoped for a holiday rest with no babies. However by midnight, they had agreed to take Me I went in only in time as Dave was born at 3:30am. Believe it or not I had a full five course Christmas dinner while Wallace went of to a family picnic to tell them the news. The only unhappy part was that the only other mother in the hospital had just lost her baby by prolapsed and wasn't feeling like Christmas. Knowing her made me very nervous about such a thing happening to me in the future. That was why when Peter was coming we had a "nurse-nanny" before he came so I wouldn't have to hang out clothes or do anything that might harm him.
I remember so well attending the church the Sunday before Dave's birth, when the minister prayed for all mothers who, like Mary, had a child born on Christmas Day. As he wasn't due for at least 2 weeks, I sighed and thought "wouldn't it have been nice if he could have come on Christmas". I got my unexpected present, but I don't think Dave ever showed much enthusiasm about his birthday being December 25th!
When we took the baby home after a good rest of 14 days in hospital, he didn't seem to be doing at all well. He was thin and although I was nursing him and giving him supplement, he cried before and after every meal. This upset me—and also our landlady. Finally I decided to go to a Karitani home to see what could be done for him. This turned out to be a wonderful step. The Home was restful for me and I could do as much or as little for Dave as I wanted to do. I could go out or have visitors as I wished. But the most important thing was the way they were able to increase my milk supply and how Dave began to be contented and plump. When Wallace saw him after only 2 weeks, he was really surprised at the change.
XVII. From Raviti Terrace to Upland Road
Some time later we moved across the harbour to Eastbourne. The house we rented seemed so ugly to me when I first saw it that I said I couldn't live in it. It was small and the lounge furniture was covered in black cotton covers! However we had nowhere else to go and as we were near the beach we managed to settle down quite happily. We had the Langfords and the minister's family, the Wilcoxes, for friends, and the landlady was quite pleasant.
Other than going to the beach each day when it was fine, I don't remember just what we did with ourselves. I took David to Guild meetings and he always was very good.
During our stay there Dave had his first Christmas and Birthday party (1936). I remember Olive Macky family were there.
In May 1937 we left Eastbourne by car, taking a week to get to Auckland as Wallace had some work to do on the way. Dave was so good—occupying about 1/3 of the back seat while the car was going but into the front as soon as it stopped. We had a fortnight in Stonehurst (a hotel) and then moved into our home in Hobsonville Airport where Wallace's job was. We really camped for a month until our furniture arrived. It was a nice two storeyed home with the harbour at the foot of our garden. As Peter was on the way we got Nurse Jefferson to come June 10th. She was really needed because Dave was a handful—grizzling and crying when put to bed in the afternoon. Nurse was very patient but firm and wouldn't let him get dirty or into any trouble—she not only looked after Dave, but his food and clothes, and did a considerable amount of housework or cooking when needed. I got rather weary of having her with us all the time, but I don't know how I could have managed otherwise.
XVIII. Peter Is Born
A Few Notes Omitted
XIX. New Zealand Summary
Perhaps I should say more to sum up our years in New Zealand. I enjoyed it all, but never felt I really belonged, partly because of moving about so much and also because I was tied down with 2 babies.
As Dunedin was our first home in New Zealand I have quite happy memories of our life, but I didn't make many friends, didn't join anything or work or anything. Also I found it cold and a little conservative.
Wellington's weather wasn't anything to write home about but we had a few friends there, especially in Eastbourne. But I still felt I was putting in time till something happened.
In Hobsonville we settled in more, but being out in country meant I didn't have much to do except house and children. We were looking forward to living in Wallace's home with its lovely fruit garden and the house all redecorated and then we left for U.S.A. and Bermuda!
XX. Bermuda - October 1939
I've been reading through the boys record books, and lots of things in there I don't remember at all. It's good to have them however if I ever want to know details.
We flew to Bermuda October 23rd, as ships had all left because of war. People were told if they didn't get home they'd be in Bermuda for the duration.
Our home at Merry Hill was very pleasant. We had enough ground for play space and a small vegetable garden. We were next to the Golf Course and just beneath Fort George which was used as a Signal Station and Weather Office. It had a deep moat all around it and several floors to the Fort. Bartrum's lived on the other side of the fort and they boys went along the wall of the Fort to get to each others homes. David and Jonathan were closer than Jonathan and Peter, but they spent hours together.
They learned to swim at McCallan's place at the foot of our hill on the way to St. Georges. They were all swimming a bit at 3 and 4 years.
The boys enjoyed playing "golf" and going in our boat, taking care 2 love birds, gardening, going to Hamilton by trains, Sunday School.
Because of Wallace's work we had to leave St Georges for Warwick. All the Met families moved and took whatever houses we could find. We stayed a few months at Kemp's from where David started school at Warwick Academy, September 1941. Swimming was still a big thing for them.
The War Years (1939-1945)
Ian was born in the hospital in Paget, February 1st, 1941. Marjorie looked after Dave and Peter and Ian got a real welcome when he got home. Marjorie was crazy about Ian and took lots of care of him. Dave was really more help than Peter, but being older that was to be expected.
By the time Dave started school he loved taking Ian about, playing with him, and taking a keen delight in anything new or different Ian did. They swam either at the South shore at Southlands or other beaches or the North shore at Bartrums which they preferred. They started to go to Sunday School at the Presbyterian Sunday School, but I don't think they liked it too well.
Ian was christened by old Rev. Purvis at the Scottish Church in Warwick. He gathered all the children about him around the Christmas tree, held Ian in his arms and with a little coloured girl holding the water baptised him. I'm sure Ian was far more interested in the Christmas tree than he was in being named Ian Wallace Macky. I had wanted father to baptise David and Peter our way to Bermuda, but he was so horrified that they hadn't been baptised long ago, that he wouldn't do it—saying that he would be ashamed in front of his congregation! So Rev. Purvis christened Dave and Peter privately in the church after everyone had gone.
In February '42 we moved from Rocklands (the Kemp's place) to Kirkdale, a short move a bit nearer school and across from the Scottish Presbyterian church hall and graveyard.
This home was owned by the Trotts and was used (the garden part) to raise vegetables for the hotel Belmont Manor. We could have all the vegetables we wanted just by asking the Portuguese gardener "Joe". They also fattened pigs, from hotel garbage, which wasn't so good as it was smelly and brought flies.
We had rabbits of our own and goats and there were always dogs around. It was a lovely place for children to grow up. Once dogs attacked the rabbits in the shed where they were housed in cages fastened up on the walls. They tore down the cages and scattered the bodies of the rabbits all over the Golf course. Everyone was very upset.
The old fashioned house Kirkdale had plenty of room for the boys and their books and toys. Once I remember they had measles—more or less altogether—Peter cut the end of his little finger off in the lawn mower. However they had really very few accidents. Peter had 2 or 3 near misses on his bicycle but always escaped.
David seemed to feel that Peter was always on his back, so we tried to let him do things first and alone—go on the Ferry, go to the library, go with his father to Rotary dinners, join the Scouts, and take Piano lessons. Peter could do things so easily that he could beat Dave if he wanted to. Even in swimming in which they both are good, Peter learnt something new so easily and Dave had to try harder.
During these years there was much competition, arguments, each blaming things on each other and not being close friends as I would have liked them to be. However both of them were good to Ian and never minded looking after him and taking him along with them. Because I had minded so much having to take my 5-year-younger brother everywhere, I never expected the boys to "babysit" Ian. Not only did they not mind taking him about and showing him things, but they even let him play with their games. I might add the Ian took better care of their games than they did!
During the years Dave went to Warwick Academy he did well— both in school work and in games and in music. He grew well—big, strong, suntanned. He was very ambitious and always wanted to be first which he often was. He was pushed along in classes, so that he was with older boys. He didn't make many "special" friends, but was cheery and outgoing. He liked his teachers and was known to be useful and cooperative. Peter started kindergarten in September 1941. We thought it would be more of a play school, but found he was reading and writing soon. As he was young we really should have let him stay home because for years after we noticed that he got bored with school work if it was too easy for him and he'd had it before.
At home he was a great tease, always up to some tricks with David and Ian and getting into trouble around the place. At school he was shy, well-behaved and hardworking, unless bored when he wiggled! He was good in sport during his years at Warwick, and in class and with his music. He enjoyed going on the boat and fishing more than Dave did. He was artistic and loved the preparations for Christmas when they made gifts and prepared music and plays.
The boys stayed for lunch as I didn't like them in the roads any more than necessary.
Both boys used to ell bottles and golf balls; Dave would spend all of it if I didn't keep it for him; Peter did his own saving. They had allowances, based partly on work, cooperation, marks for jobs done, etc.
The both loved animals, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, and goats, and did fairly well at collecting food for them. I think its the hatching and being born that interested them most.
They seemed to enjoy their summers—with music lessons, lots of reading, swimming, and Peter took drawing lessons too. They usually could find things to occupy their time—Jonathan and David and Peter continued to be close.
During the years at Kirkdale, I was kept pretty busy at home with children and house and animals. Wallace was away quite a bit flying to England on R.A.F. business and I felt the responsibility of the children very much. So much so that one period I lost all my hair and was completely bald. At first I thought it was from skin trouble and wouldn't have my head shaved, but wore hats when out. Finally it was determined it was probably thyroid trouble and for a whole summer I had to stay at Kirkdale, sitting in the sun, rubbing my head with oil and resting and taking thyroid pills. Wallace got quite used to seeing my bald head. When hair grew again it was ash blond! After 6 months I had a new head of curly hair. I never lost all my hair again but when I found bald sports, the doctor would order me to go home for a trip.
I haven't said anything about the war because it touched us personally so very little. The only thing I can remember not having was brown sugar! With Wallace flying in bombers back and forth, I wasn't always easy about things, but we really never lacked or suffered anything. We couldn't get out of Bermuda for a few years. One time while we were at Kirkdale, I was allowed on medical grounds to go the U.S.A., but Wallace had to go with me. George and Winnie Perkins lived in and kept they boys.
I attended church and Guild at Warwick Presbyterian Church. I must not have been very active as I don't remember much about it—or about friends other than those in the Met office, and the Friths, McCallans, Purvises, and Kemps.
In July 1946 we moved to Hamilton to Hill House—the Middletons place. In October 1946 we moved to Belmere in Warwick right on the Harbour. The boys had been going to Salters—David in January 1946, and Peter in March 1946. They had quite a walk to the Ferry and then a long walk to Salters when they lived in Kirkdale, and it was a bit shorter in their new place.
There was always great activity on the harbour as the flying boats came in and out. Also we were by the Golf Course still and enjoyed the sense of space. The boys had more friends here and enjoyed playing about. I always remember our Christmas there when they boys helped pup all the Cassava for the pie and plucked and helped clean the roosters and wrapped and delivered Christmas presents.
Maybe here is as good a place as any to tell all about Cassava Pie, the national Bermuda dish—more important than turkey for Christmas Dinner. There are as many recipes for Cassava Pie as there are cooks to make it. The first few years we had samples of this delicacy given to us or tried it when out for dinner at Stella Friths or elsewhere. I wasn't too impressed. One year Mrs Gibbons, our coloured maid, suggested we make our own and from then on to this day we loved it.
The base of the pie is grated cassava roots. They look not unlike long sweet potatoes outside. You soak these roots over night, then scrape off the brown skin and grate the white cassava. It looks very like coconut at this stage. You then soak this grated material in water over night to draw out what Bermudians consider to be poison, and then run off this under water. You add eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and this makes a mixture rather like soft cornmeal mush. You line a large pan, bottom and sides, with this mushy mixture. In the meantime you have cooked chicken and pork usually (you can use any meats)—take out all bones and then add a layer of chicken and pork to the cassava lined pan. Then more cassava and this meat and chicken—several layers make the pie nicer as you don't have the meat all in one place and when you cut it, it doesn't fall apart so easily. You put this pan of pie—I usually used bread pans, but you can use large roasting pans—in a slow to medium oven for some hours—2 if a small pie, 5 if a great pie. You keep basting the pie with the juice of the meat. When done it can be eaten hot, but at Christmas it is kept in the refrigerator and pieces cut off all day. We usually had a big cassava pie meal on Christmas Eve and then for as many days after as it lasted. Big pies had a dozen eggs and many pounds of meat and pork.
I got our two short moves out of order. July 1st we moved from Kirkdale to Hill House in Hamilton, renting a large house belonging to the Middleton family. We were only there until October 1946, when we moved to Belmere in Warwick.
I don't remember too much about this summer except that it seemed very long and Dave and Peter thought it wasn't long enough for swimming. All three boys went with their father to the beach often, and Dave usually went to the Langton Pool every day, Peter went often. Every Friday night was carnival night and we all enjoyed watching although the boys didn't feature too much in those early days. Dave read a lot when not swimming, but Peter was bored and hadn't friends near Hill House or much space to do anything. They each had a room to themselves. Ian enjoyed the chickens and used to help Mr Middleton and visit Mrs Middleton and ask many questions
Woodbourne Avenue: 1947
We moved again—this time from Belmere to a house belonging to Mrs Bartrum's family. This house was very convenient for me as it was very close to the centre of Hamilton for shopping and church, movies, and the library. The boys could get to school either by walking, or (usually) by bicycle. Ian started school after the Christmas holidays at the kindergarten of Bermuda Girls High School, where there were quite a few boys in the beginning classes. His first teacher was Mary Follett who became a lifelong family friend.
We were friendly with Tiny Cann and Ian spent lots of time with her. The other boys were doing well in music, taking exams and winning prizes. About this time they began their sports careers and were to become well known for all sorts of sports events—especially High Jump and Broad Jump. David didn't do too well for a while in school, but gradually improved until he was often first in his class. And Peter did well in school sports and music too.
In May 1948 Ian and I went to the States to see my father who was getting old and feeble. Actually he didn't really know us at all. In July, Wallace, David, and Peter were able to come up also, although unexpectedly. We bought a car (second hand) in Beaver and had quite an interesting trip through Canada and the New England States.
Our problems were many and varied, mostly because we hadn't been allowed to bring out enough money from Bermuda. When we paid for the car we were low and so couldn't have a hot meal every day as we should have had.
When travelling we picnicked buying food in the A. and P., often second day bread and baked foods which were half-priced. By evening when we got to stopping place and I had to get a meal, with runny butter and warm drinks because we had no ice box, I used to be close to tears. Some of the places were fine. We stayed at a Cottage on Follett's Lake, Muskoka Lake, where I did all the cooking on a wood stove, the first time in my life. I got so good that when the children found blueberries I was able to make Blueberry Muffins! I found washing difficult and ironing impossible, so I washed when I got to a place where there was electricity. We had a god time at a hotel in the Laurentians where the people spoke a lot of French. The boys were too young to appreciate the fact that that was a good opportunity to learn the language, and were pleased to move on. I enjoyed it because I didn't have to feed the family.
The boys had different interests. All Dave was interested in was listening to baseball on the radio, swimming, and eating. Peter took a big interest in animals everywhere we went. Ian enjoyed trains and cars and machines on the farm. Dave was 12½, Peter 11, and Ian 7, and I don't suppose many children that age would remember the details of sight-seeing. They did like Niagara Falls, especially at night. We also had a nice holiday in a New Hampshire small town, a lovely spot. We saw Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington.
My memories being so very mixed I would sometime like to travel by car across parts of Canada without children or else with money to stop once a day for a good hot meal!
We got back to Bermuda in September 1948. These were exciting years for the boys. In 1949 Dave was a sea scout, passed his Grade IV music and had a job with the Marketing Board. He got his first championship certificate in swimming and was in the Junior Water Polo team. Peter was doing well i school, although not at the top. He was good in music and sports, especially in individual medley and relays. He had his first job with a florist, and then with Z.B.M.. Ian was in Transition at Girls High in 1948 and 1949, and went to Salter Grammar in September 1949. He enjoyed the play he was in and sang a solo too. Helene Prodham was with us for some times and we all enjoyed Christmas 1948 when she was there.
In February 1949 we moved to Berry Hill Road in Paget, which was to be our home until we left for Australia in 1960.
In November 1949 Marjorie Macky spent three months with us. She and Ian had fun collecting crabs etc.
Ian made friends with the Sankey's. He and Robert were great pals and Ian enjoyed Jonathan. It was through them that he got interested in dogs, the great love of his teenage years.
I was working in the Met Office by this time (1950). Wallace had great difficulty in getting staff because the wages weren't too good and the government wouldn't pay for families to be brought out. Because I had a degree in Maths I was hired to be trained and I enjoyed the years working there until the office was closed at the end of 1958.
Ian was very good about taking care of himself. He and Robert went to school by bus and did things together.
Peter went to Scout camp in the summer of 1950. He had done very well in School sports and in swimming—passed Grade IV music and won a scholarship for Piano.
Ian took music lessons too and won a prize for best pupil in primary work. During the summer he went for swimming lessons with Robert and spent a lot of time on his own. He had his first pet, a cat who had four kittens.
Dave and Peter both got everywhere by bicycle.
Dave had been uninterested in his school work but when he knew he was going to Hill School, he was a changed boy. He worked hard and passed his Cambridge Exams (2nd Grade). He enjoyed getting his clothes for school and became a very reasonable and happy person. During the summer of '50 Dave worked with the Health Department in Mosquito Control. Of course he found time for swimming and tennis. Passed his Grade V, too.
Dave went by himself to Hill School in Potts Town (Pennsylvania) when he was 16. He enjoyed his work and went to see his grandparents one holiday. At home for the summer he worked for the Health Department again but spent lots of time on tennis. This was his big year—being winner in doubles and singled in tennis sections, also winner in Junior matches at Coral Beach Tennis Stadium.
Peter worked with a surveyor this summer and won all the freestyle races, and was captain of water polo. He also passed his Grade V music and played table tennis.
The boys did well in Music exams, but they never seemed to love it or be able to play for their own amusement. Ian didn't stay with it as he got too irritated and would bang the keys with frustration.
In December, Peter sat the School Certificate, receiving Distinctions in Maths, 5 Credits, and 4 passes.
In January Peter went with David to Hill School. Dave was on the Varsity Swim Squad, and the tennis squad. He won a scholarship to Yale. Peter liked being younger than his class mates, and not having been in school with the other boys for some years, found it hard to mix in. He was to be found often alone in his room reading comics! However he soon settled in. He and Dave had a nice Easter holiday with the Johnstons and the Wentzs.
In the summer the boys worked on Mosquito Control again and spent time between tennis and swimming. Peter, due to his training at Hill and his daily work out at the pool, won the all round Junior Cup.
Dave and Peter weren't much for girlfriends as they had so many friends at the pool, the tennis events and clubs.
In September the boys parted company, Peter to go back to Hill until June 1953, and Dave to enter Yale University. During this year Ian was going along nicely. He even was 1st in class in 3rd term.
At Hill Peter did well winning a scholarship to Harvard, the Maths prize for 6th form and his letter for swimming.
The boys were home for Christmas 1952. In those days a Christmas holiday in Bermuda was something to remember. We were able after the war to get real Christmas trees from Canada in place of the cedar branches we used to have. They made the whole house fragrant. We usually had our Cassava dinner on Christmas Eve and turkey for Christmas dinner midday.
Although it is warm in Bermuda, and now snow, somehow we were able to create a Christmas feeling. Just before the day, boys and girls would return from schools abroad—usually in Sunday afternoon. Our church had a lovely pageant, a combination of story, music, and acting in the evening of that Sunday, and it was a very happy homecoming.
Dave, for some reason not even known to himself, wasted his time at Yale until it was clear he should do something else for a while. He went to a boys camp as helper in the summer and then came home to decide his future. He decided to join the U.S. Navy, and in November was called to New York after many delays when he lived with the Gordons. He finally got in before his 18th birthday. More of the Navy later.
Peter finished at the Hill School in June 1953. After Hill graduation Peter worked at Mosquito Control again. These jobs were usually given to students home for the summer. They went about from house to house and on beaches and graveyards to see that mosquitos were kept under control - no boats left open and upright, no water in vases in cemeteries, fish in any barrels catching water. It was a good "out-in-air" job. Of course he found lots of time for swimming and was All Round Senior Champion in the summer of '53.
In September he entered Harvard. I don't know that this was his first choice, but because of Dave, Yale wouldn't take Peter. I think on the whole Harvard was best for him in the end.
His friend and former coach in Bermuda, Bill Brooks, was in charge of Freshman swimming and Peter felt right at home. He was away quite a bit on the swim trips, and his father felt he shouldn't be. However Bill Brooks said that swimming was the spark that kept Peter going—without it he would lose his real interest in Harvard. Fortunately he was a good enough scholar to be able to keep up his work and win a scholarship—his maths especially was good. He was home for Christmas as usual but we all missed Dave.
Ian: 1950-1953 and 1956
I haven't said much about Ian as he was doing different things from Dave and Peter. His friends were different as were his interests and whole way of life.
He wasn't so much of a "book scholar" as the boys and his headmaster suggested that he not be pushed too fast. So his father didn't tutor him or keep after him with homework. The result was that Ian felt he was too poor a student for anyone to bother with!
He wasn't much interested in sport—due almost entirely to the fact that Dave and Peter were always winning prizes and as he wasn't that good he didn't want comparisons made. When the boys left (1952) he began to join in races, and swimming, and was elected a prefect.
Although he wasn't at the top of his class, usually he was in the top ¼. We finally found that he needed glasses, and when he got them a whole new world opened to him. He'd never seen half of the stuff on the blackboard and in games he couldn't see the ball. However his glasses didn't help in games as he had to play, and so had to play without the glasses—no contact lenses then.
He had nice friends, Bruce, Gavin Walcott, and, of course, Robert, who was his constant companion.
When Dave came home from the Navy in 1956, and found out that Ian hadn't gone to Hill, he asked why. We found that although Ian said nothing about it, he had wanted to go to Hill but thought we thought he was too "dumb" to spend money on boarding school—real generation gap and lack of communication! It was then too late really for him to go as two years was short enough term. In 1957 and 1958 he did the High School Certificate work and did quite well. However he decided rather than sit H.S.C. in late 1958, he would sit College Entrance Exams in early 1958. He passed them and went with Dave to Allegheny in September 1958.
Ian's greatest pleasure was his Labrador "Jet of Moana". She was given to him by the Saukey's and in 1956 his long hours of patient training were rewarded when she won her C.D. with the highest scores in her class (November). In April 1956 she was Best of Breed and Best of Sporting Group at the Agricultural Exhibition. From then on dogs were very special in the Macky household, and Ian really felt he was part of the "Winning Mackys". When Ian was in College Wallace trained Jet.
Tanya, a darling Labrador, was not good enough to be registered, but we trained her too.
One time when I was alone for six months the dogs were my protection. There had been women murdered, so I kept Tanya upstairs with me, and Jet down, and would have let Jet out if we had had a prowler. The coloured people were afraid of the dogs, but I can't think why as they wagged their tails at any visitor in a friendly manner.
In the summer of 1956, Ian and Peter went for two months to Hyde Bay Camp—Cooperstown, N.Y. Ian helped Peter, and was a Junior Councillor, with a ten of five small boys. He loved it all and he was a good councillor.
At Christmas 1956, at Salters Prize-giving Ian won the First Prize for VI Form—the first time for him.
He passed School Certificate in 1955 but with only a 3rd class, so took it again in 1956 to help with future college entrance exams.
Ian was wonderful about the house and garden. He always was helpful about the house, especially cleaning up afterwards. When he was 12 he was full time gardener for us and helped Mrs Trimmingham too. His Christmas present in 1956 was a motor mower! When Peter and Dave painted and colour washed our house, Ian was a tremendous help putting the house in order afterwards.
He was earning money during these years and was always careful of it, so when the boys and Sylvia gave us the Silver on our 25th Anniversary Ian had to finance the deal.
I forgot to say that Ian won 2 firsts in school swimming September 1954—he was happy.
The Queen - 1953
One other event of importance to Ian (and to us too) was the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Bermuda on November 24 and 25, 1953. He watched her fly in, saw her in a carriage with the Duke, passed Salters again in a car on Front Street. He thought she looked too young to be a Queen! Wallace and I saw her five times, the highlight being the Garden Party at Government where we casually followed her about for 20 minutes. She's lovely!
In December 1956 Dave taught at Salter for six months. At Easter he went to Allegheny to be interviewed and then in September he entered Allegheny. The six months he was at home were good for us all, especially for Ian. What Dave didn't know about the school Ian did and they enjoyed their being together. Dave was put off his motorcycle for speeding three times on his way home from seeing a girlfriend and so had to ride a bicycle to school much to the amusement of the small boys at Salter!
All during these years Dave enjoyed his swimming, but tennis was of course his first love. He played at Coral Beach which is a private club type of hotel, and there he met lots of nice visitors. He would work in holidays, play tennis, and go to dinner with these friends every day in the week if he wanted to. Wallace thought he was with the wrong crowd, but I felt, except he might get ideas about money growing on trees, that they were very nice people
December 1953-December 1956
I think Dave found the Navy pretty hard to take. He chose to do that rather than work—because he would have funds for education afterwards. Also I don't think he wanted to live at home or be under any family restrictions.
As he had been at Yale a year he felt (and rightly) that he had little in common with his mates. Wine, women, and song didn't appeal to him, so he kept himself apart, did a lot of reading, wandering on his own in ports, and spending his money on books, magazines, and records. He did some credits for college by correspondence. He was sometimes in strife with officers because he wasn't willing to be pushed around—he has a great sense of what is right and fair.
Also much of his work must have been boring. They towed targets for the other Navy ships to fire at. He did have several long trips (Greenland, etc.) but he was happy to leave.
As the Navy time was designed to let Dave grow up, mature in control of himself, make up his mind about the future, it was successful. From then on he knew what he wanted to do—which was get his degrees to be a Uni teacher. He had G.I. money and with the help of Kathleen, he got his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.
I see in his book (1957) I said "he certainly has developed a great deal and is a charming, intelligent person who reads and discusses seriously things of importance, still loves his tennis and enjoys his friends". He still doesn't suffer fools gladly, makes quick decisions, argues a lot, is hard on other people who don't see his way. He bases his life on justice and fair play—not anxious to go the second mile or turn the other cheek". More of this with his children.
Dave went to Allegheny in September 1957. He found it very different from Yale but seemed to know what he wanted and to work hard. He had a struggle for money especially after he married Patricia Bell. Unfortunately Pat wouldn't pull her weight and eventually they were divorced. He later married Kathy Smith as soon as his divorce was granted. Because they were having a child before his divorce was final, the authorities wouldn't let Dave graduate in June, but he did finish in the summer term (1960). Also although he was nominated for Phi Beta Kappa he was later turned down. One of my unhappy memories (and I have only a few) was when I had left Bermuda on the way to Australia and was staying with Mother to find out about the child, Phi Beta Kappa, and that there would be no graduation. I was going to be so proud of my eldest son, after all the fears I had had for him. But I realised Dave was a good man, although not always agreeing with my standards, that he was a clever man who would get his degree in time, and that my sad feeling and disappointment would pass, which it, of course, did.
Ian went to Allegheny with Dave in 1958 but he never really settled in even though Pat and Dave made him welcome in their home. Both he and Dave were Phi Delta Theta as their Grandfather Whitfield was years before. Dave did a fair amount of sport—tennis and soccer especially, but Ian enjoyed "theatre" more. However when we thought of Australia Ian was keen, and he left Allegheny in February 1960.
I had visited Pat and Dave earlier, but couldn't see how they could make a go of their marriage, although I felt that Dave had made a valiant effort. I liked Pat—she was pretty and clever. She had been spoiled and restricted both by her family, and she had needs and wishes Dave couldn't at that time supply. She later married again after she had got her degree and worked for some time. I always thought if Dave had had a job and a home and Pat could have had this security and a child, they might have made a go of it.
I saw Kathleen once when Dave brought her to see me in Beaver. But I never visited them during their early married years, when they had Brian and Ian and Dave did his degrees and Kathleen worked in Michigan to support them all.
Peter did well at Harvard although if he had worked a shade harder he would have been on the "Dean's List". Swimming was his great pleasure and in August 1954, he went with a Bermuda team to Vancouver for the Empire Games. Although he had broken records at Bermuda and Hill and had worked very hard in swimming, he really didn't have the proper training for the best of the Empire.
In the summer of 1954, he trained in Bermuda swimming between rocks in the sea! Also he had no trainer in competition—He hadn't ever trained in an Olympic pool and was used to turning with a good kick in the shorter pools. As it was he was joint first at the halfway mark in 27.1 seconds, but only fourth at the finish—64.1 seconds over 110 yards freestyle. In his backstroke he didn't do badly—4th again in 77.7 seconds for 110 yards.
His outfit for the Games was very nice—blue blazers with the Bermuda Coat of Arms on the heat pocket, grey flannel trousers. They also had a white outfit , white flannels with a white panama hat. The jacket was trimmed with green, and a green tie and hat-band and white shoes. They may not have won medals but they put Bermuda on the map. People were wonderful to them and they had a great time. They will never forget the fellowship which seems of a higher quality than that at Olympics where there is so much tension.
Peter has two passports—so to speak... When he wanted to go to the Games, he got a British passport, but to go between Bermuda and Harvard he carried an old family cancelled passport. He later had a social security number in the U.S.A. so goes either as British or American seemingly at will. I have had an American passport up to 1968 (or so) but I entered New Zealand on Wallace's nationality. Then I became a New Zealander domiciled in Australia in about 1968.
Peter graduated from Harvard in 1957 and Wallace went up for the occasion. He won 3 swimming letters and was a member of the All-American team for two years. I don't know his academic record, but it was high.
From Harvard he went to be an engineer on the staff of Lockheed Aircraft Company near Los Angeles in California. He studied in the graduate school of the University of California, and swam with the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
His work was to oversee a group of people who were working on data from the testing of planes. Whether he would have stayed if he had had a more interesting job I don't know. He joined the First Presbyterian Church at Hollywood and was active in the College Department. There was a group under "Teacher", a wealthy woman who used her home, her money, and her life, to help young people. Through the contacts there Peter decided he wanted to be a minister and so with backing from the Hollywood church he entered Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall of 1959.
Peter had applied for the Rhodes Scholarship but had been passed over. It was felt that Peter was the better all-rounder but that the one who won it was a Bermudian, D.J. Williams—a good Bermuda friend of Peter's was on the selection committee and when he went to England he complained about Peter being turned down. He contended that if a person had the qualifications to apply (one British parent and his education for so many years in Bermuda), no weight should be given because he was or was not Bermuda born. The English authorities agreed and D.J. asked Peter to apply again. Peter was in California and didn't think his second chance was good enough to warrant his paying his expenses to come to Bermuda for the interview. However D.J. said he had "stuck his neck out" for a principle and Peter should try—so he did, and won the Rhodes Scholarship in Autumn 1960. This please a lot of people including, of course, us!
He was at Oxford twice, 1960-1962, he went to California and married Nancy Space, September 9, 1961, and returned to Oxford in 1965 until 1966. Being at Princeton 1959-1960 and 1963-1965.
XXII. My Bermuda: 1939-1960
I suppose I should say something about my life in Bermuda as so far I have just tried to tell about the boys.
I loved Bermuda from the first day I arrived. We had flown down from New York since there were no ships. Tourists had been told that if they didn't go at a certain time they might not get out. We consider splitting up the family for safety, but decided if anything happened we'd rather be together.
Our first home, Merry Hill in St Georges, was pleasant up on a hill overlooking the harbour and islands. The golf course was at the back of us and we were a short walk to town. I had a good Bermudian maid—fairly fair, clean, nicely spoken—with whom I could leave the children if I wanted to take the little train for a days shopping in Hamilton. We went often to McCallens at the foot of our hill for the children to learn to swim. The Bartrums were our nearest neighbours and closet friends. The Met staff all lived near by. We used to enjoy the open air movie once a week, and picnics and visits to each others home. My great friend Ethel Knipe, an American lady, lived just below us in a lovely home and she used to have me stay once in a while for a change and we were all in and out of her home.
As I have said earlier we lived in many homes but we enjoyed something about them all. We were Presbyterians when at Kirkdale, but when we went to Hamilton we joined the United Church of a Canadian affiliation—although really Methodist. The boys didn't enjoy Secondary School much, the only thing I remember Ian enjoying was monitoring the Sunday broadcast on the radio!
My favourite minister and family were the Buridges, although I was fond of Mrs Woolfrey. The Buridges later went to Canada, returned to Bermuda, and Joe died in Canada on holiday in 1972. I enjoyed the Guild and Mission groups and the choir.
I never held any office or did anything of note during these Bermuda years. I was busy with family and later busy working for Wallace. I really enjoyed my Met job. Wallace and I got on very well in the office except sometimes he got me to do things I didn't understand and I would be upset. I learned to take the weather information, put data on weather maps, draw up the maps when Wallace was away (just to keep the records going), and I actually did the shipping forecasts on my own. When Wallace was away I ran the office, correspondence, and paid bills, etc.
During the war we had a very large staff—mostly seconded from England. Of course they all went home after the war. They had been needed because planes for the war were flown via Bermuda and the Azores when winter weather made the northern flying route impossible. For months as they boys grew up they wanted something or other we'd say "We might not be here much longer". Every six months it was brought up in the government—should they have a Met office or could they get the Americans to do the local forecasting. The Americans had been doing forecasting for aviation and eventually somebody in the U.S. agreed to take over local work, and by December 1958 the Met Department was moved. We had given a much more detailed (and accurate?) forecast—especially for hurricanes. We were surely popular then! The Hamilton Hotel where the Met Office was situated was burned down and we just had some temporary quarters until we left the work.
Wallace was pensioned and I was sacked. He went on long leave and got the offer for a job in Australia, but as I didn't want to go he agreed to stay and we did stay for 1959. Wallace helped out in the Outerbridge supermarket as a book keeper, and I worked as librarian.
My most vivid memories are of blue sky, sunny days, beautiful flowers, especially lilies, and flowering shrubs and trees, times on the beach, our dogs, the agricultural show, the kennel club, the musical and dramatic club, cassava pie, Christmases, Friday night at Langton Pool, tennis, boys home for holidays, etc., etc., etc.!
XXIII. Goodbye Bermuda
In many ways I feel Bermuda was my real home, because of my family of three boys and because we were there so long.
I'm sure the most important part of my life was spent in Bermuda. Your school days, University years, even your first positions before you are married seem only the preparation time for really coming into your adult life.
Perhaps because I haven't been there for 40 years, I feel I could visit Malaysia as a visitor if not a tourist. Even New Zealand because we were there only six years, moved about so much, and were tied down somewhat with 2 little boys, doesn't seem like home to me. But Bermuda after 12 years away, seemed my second home, perhaps even more my home than Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania where I have visited quite a few times. Perhaps I am just reliving my years there—the boys growing up, our various homes, the beauty of the place and my only job since marriage. Anyway I remember it all with great pleasure and deep satisfaction—perhaps through rose-tinted glasses.
I well remember Wallace's return from his trip to New Zealand on long service leave when he asked "how would you like to go to Australia? I can get a job in the Physics Department in Queensland University, in Brisbane in Queensland".
My first reactions were against the whole idea. Also something of resentment that, after I had gone with Wallace so many different places, now that he was retired I should be asked to pull up my very deep roots in Bermuda to go halfway around the world.
I had worked in the Met Office as long as there was a job there. Then I had accepted a part-time job in the library. I enjoyed the word and the pay, though small, and seeing people and feeling in the centre of things.
We had rented a very nice home on Berry Hill Road, a quiet spot, across from the lovely Agricultural Grounds and Garden. I could walk to town if I liked and I enjoyed the garden such as it was (we didn't go in for spring flowers, but had nice lawns and bushes and trees). We had Jet and Tanya who had room to play and wander and a big balcony where they stayed when we were out. And we enjoyed to Kennel club although I never actually trained the dogs. They were the first real pets I had ever had. To give them up (as we knew we couldn't take them with us) was going to be hard, especially for Ian.
Also my mother was still living in Beaver and every few years I expected to go to New York for a few days and then visit in Beaver and see as many old friends as possible.
All three boys were in University in the States. I would be happy if Ian went to Australia too, but it would mean I wouldn't see the other boys or wives or families except on rare visits. I just couldn't see any reason, personally, to go to Australia.
Wallace was agreeable to passing up the job in Australia if I felt so strongly about it. So it was agreed we would stay in Bermuda where we had so very much going for me.
However it gradually became clear to me that Wallace wasn't going to be very happy to stay. He could no doubt have taken a government job, but he would then lose his small pension from the government, which seemed foolish. He couldn't just take any job, because Bermuda was very strict about hiring non-Bermudians for jobs Bermudians could do. A friend, Eugene Outerbridge had a small supermarket and as he wasn't well, he got Wallace to do books for him. Finally when the boys came home for Christmas 1959, and found their father counting money in a little office in a supermarket, they protested. They felt it wasn't fair to Wallace if he could get a University job and be near his own country and family for me to hold against going.
So finally I was prevailed upon by the four most important people in my life to agree to try Australia for five years.
Wallace sent word to the University accepting, but they didn't reply quickly and Ian went back to Allegheny, but in the new year, 1960, they asked Wallace to be there early in February to start the new term. Ian couldn't get home as he got his passport from Washington in his fathers nationality, New Zealand.
They took a couple of days and nights to get from New York to Sydney to live in Emmanuel College until I arrived in July 1960.
Ian had difficulty being admitted as the authorities didn't know how to access his former work. However after being interviewed by a professor who had taught in U.S.A. he was allowed to begin his University work with no credit given for the time he had spent in Allegheny.
After Wallace left I had to pack, sell electrical goods (which I was told I couldn't use in Australia), get homes for Tanya and Jet, and make all arrangements for my trip. I wasn't having any two days by air from New York! I planned to go by sea from Vancouver and found as an extra bonus I would be going via Japan, Hong Kong, and Manila.
I, of course, had to stop in Beaver with my mother who died not too long after that. I also saw Dave and Kathleen. I flew to Vancouver and there joined the Oransay which called in San Francisco where I saw Red and Dorothy and Mrs Hercus, and in Los Angeles where I saw Peter and the current girlfriend Nancy. I won't say too much about the trip as I have a book of beautiful postcards and pictures.
As a sea voyage it wasn't too successful—perhaps because I'm not devoted to sea voyages. The ship was wonderful and as I was First Class, Intermediate, I enjoyed all first class space, food, and activities, but had a less grand cabin. We didn't have a bath or toilet, and had two bunks up and two down. There wasn't much room of course, but as I was very seldom in the cabin it didn't matter. I had a cabin mate to Honolulu, and after that I was alone.
Unfortunately many (I might say most) of the passengers were Australians who were doing a round trip to Vancouver and back. So they had their friends, table mates, people to go on trips with, people to play deck sports with, and any single newcomer was rather at loose ends.
Also to really get your money's worth on shipboard, you have to dance, play deck games, bet on toy horses and the mileage each day, and drink, drink, drink.
So I spent my time reading, going to movies, sewing aprons from lovely hand blocked materials from Honolulu, playing deck games when I could fit in a group, watching swimming, and waiting for the next port of call. We were five weeks from Vancouver to Sydney and spent not even 14 days in ports. We would have talks before each port so we knew what we wanted to do. Fortunately I was able to go about with Mrs Jackson and her two sons (Canadians) on quite a few occasions (only once was I disappointed when I couldn't get anyone to go up the Peak in Hong Kong to see the beautiful sight at night).
I enjoyed Japan most, as I think it is my favourite Asian country.
XXIV. Arrival in Australia
July 17, 1960
So although the trip wasn't perfect perhaps, it was a fine trip with a lot to remember and think about.
I stayed with the John Hercus family in Sydney for three days and then took the bus to Brisbane. It was a good way to see the country side, the "conveniences" were "outback", you washed your hands in a common bowl and dried (if you wished) on a common towel. However the food at our various stops was always good. I had my introduction to steak and eggs, plus a lot of other things for breakfast. The good dairy land fed only one cow, the sheep were invisible in sheep stations, lots of fruit, sugar cane, wide streets, flowering trees, and lovely gardens. We had several trips across rivers when the bus drove onto a ferry and we saw lots of pelicans and gulls.
Wallace and Ian met me in Brisbane with the good new that we had the Vice-Principal's house for the present.
July 17, 1960-1966
Our First Home at Emmanuel College
Ian was living in Emmanuel College permanently and Wallace only until I arrived. Because he was tutoring students, we were allowed the house, telephone, gardener, and Wallace's food all free. It was a wonderful beginning to our life in Australia and saved us a lot of money too.
Although it is in the grounds of Emmanuel, I never felt the house and garden were too public. We had a big lawn, gum trees, and shrubs, and we faced an oval all green and open. Ian often had his lunch with us. Wallace could walk to the University for his work, and the bus and shopping centre were very near.
We had to buy lounge furniture and a dining room set, also electric refrigerator, beds and chests of drawers for the two bedrooms. The actual dining room we used for Ian's bedroom when he was home and as a study. Wallace made bookcases and we repainted and upholstered the old dining room chairs and table.
Australian colours worried me at first—especially the coloured walls, bath towels, and other furnishing in the shops. However I liked the bedroom colours and the kitchen was lovely and convenient—bright, large cupboards, etc. We had an electric stove and in the laundry a "copper". This is a big kettle with electric heating to "boil up" the clothes. Also concrete tubs. The laundry door was the one people used most and it was hard to keep it tidy as it was the general store room.
I enjoyed watering the lawns and garden after Bermuda where you couldn't spare the water. The fact that you had to hold the hose, and couldn't use a sprinkler bothered me not at all. We had a clothes hoist (something new to me) within a small fenced area at the back door and we planted things along the fence to hide the washing.
Ian helped me a lot with the gardening, but as I had little to do, I enjoyed it all no matter how long I worked.
I helped Emmanuel a little by trying to get their library in order. I'm not trained but I did do cards and a file and started them off a bit. Emmanuel College is one of the residential colleges on the University complex. It was built by Presbyterians and is a lovely group of wings almost like the spokes of a wheel. The chapel and dining room are very lovely. Each room is self-contained with built-in cupboards and desk and bookshelves. It cost more for Ian to live there than to live at home, but we felt he had a right to live his own life as Dave and Peter had done. At one time Wallace felt he wasn't working his best and said he'd better come home, but the Principal, Rev. Douglas, said Ian was too useful to him he couldn't part with him. So Ian stayed. I can't imagine how Wallace would have like Ian's showers at about 2am.
The way the University work was arranged seemed to me to be very poor in some ways. No matter how hard a student worked during the year and how good his work was, he went into the final exams without any grades at all. So that he passed or failed on a three hour exam at the end of the year. Consequently the students did little the first term, a bit more the second, and studied half the night the third term. They seemed to feel it was all memory work and if they learned it too soon they'd forget it at exam time.
Ian had his problems with exams. He did good work all year but he was never able to finish an exam in the time. He failed some subjects in exams, but with his father's coaching he passed in "posts" (a second exam they could take at the end of their Christmas holiday). This went on in his second year and he very nearly wasn't allowed to enter 3rd year. However the powers-that-be must have felt that he would make a good engineer even if he wasn't so good at exams, so they passed him in "posts" again. His next 3 years were much better as he had moved into the more practical side of engineering and he was not bad at all.
Every holiday (Dec-Jan) he had to have a job somewhere, so he got around quite a bit and knew what he wanted to do when he finally got his Mining Engineering Degree.
Wallace seemed to enjoy his work at the University. His head, Professor Webster was an old friend from Cambridge days. Wallace did first year work, as much of the new stuff he hadn't had.
One year after Ian settled into Mt Isa mines, we spent Christmas with him. He had good pay and bonuses, quarters and lots of sport. He owned a boat with a couple of mates and they used it when they wanted to and rented it out weekends for people to use to water ski in the man-made lake. It seems strange that Ian having lived in Bermuda and not gone water-skiing should take it up in the centre of a big dry continent.
I had thought I would enjoy University life but although I joined Staff Wives Club and was entertained by the Physics Department families I haven't made any close friends. They are mostly younger than we are and when one is entertaining supposed to provide lots of drinks we have entertained in small groups for dinner instead of larger evening groups.
We joined the Presbyterian Church in St Lucia early on and one of the things I enjoyed most was helping make sandwiches at the church to sell at our stall at the Exhibition each year in August. This church is on the envelope plan which means they don't have money making functions usually. So you didn't have the opportunity to get to know people except through the choir and some social occasions.
Through the years I enjoyed the Exhibition very much. First I worked for the church stall and later the Y took it over and I worked for them. I would work half of two days and do the sights the other half of the two days. We would buy our tea wand sit through the evening program of races, fireworks, stunts, etc. There was always a fine wool show, with lovely clothes modelled for us—also displays of animals, fruits and vegetables, handicrafts, etc. I always tried to see the sheepdog trials at noon each day, and whatever new stunt—like being shot out of a cannon or riding a bicycle on a wire in the air, etc. I never minded the crowds, although I didn't go on the public holiday—always Wednesday. One thing I did miss out however were the side shows, things to ride on and other things the people seemed to love.
Everyone bought "sample bags" for the children to take home. Long ago they were really samples, but now you pay good money for candy and other oddments. If you let children ride the amusements and buy "sample bags" it costs a lot of money. Lots of children save their money for months for the "Ekka". The show lasts about ten days during the school holidays and if times are good up country, everyone comes down for a round of festivities. You can tell the country folk as they are dressed for town and the men have pork pie hats!
A couple of years when Dave and family were here, we took the children, and that's when it is really fun. They were good about spending money. They had so much and no more. Neither Dave or Kathleen was as great a lover of the "Ekka" as I was. But I never miss it if I am here.
The Y.W.C.A. proved to be my most worthwhile interest in Australia. I hadn't much to do with house and garden when I arrived and went to the Y to see what was happening. I found Miss Winifred Carruthers temporarily in charge, and she knew friends of mine—Nora Macky, Vera Catt, Gertrude Owen—Y people whom I knew in Singapore. She introduced me to the "Y" and I have spent years there helping where I could, taking office from time to time and enjoying it very much. I wouldn't have liked that to be my only interest because most of the time you seem to be giving out, not receiving, and many members are very simple people with little education or talents. For some reason Brisbane Y.W.C.A. has never attracted the leading women or the best educated or the experts. That may sound snobbish but I think it is the truth.
In a sort of diary I kept of my Australian life from July 1960 to December 1973 I have put far more detail than I will put in this account. Now I want to write my remembrances of life in general, not with dates, and not always in chronological order, but under various headings, like my YWCA experiences, David and family in Australia, our trips abroad, the Macky reunion, Ian's wedding. Just informally, as I feel like it, I will remember.
I had little experience in YWCA as I had never belonged until I worked in Kuala Lumpur. There I helped Nora a bit with school girls clubs. Later in Singapore during the Sino-Japanese war, I taught English to a group of Japanese and Chinese wives. So really I had to start from scratch when I joined Brisbane Y.
I can't remember just what I did in the first years, went to meetings and committees no doubt. I was later elected National Board Member for three years representing the Y in Board Meetings and Conventions. Then I was elected President, but that is later on. I helped with various Thrift Shops. These I enjoy, not selling, but unpacking, pricing, rearranging stock, etc. More about the Y later.
During these years I had other interests not taking so much time as the Y. I joined the St Lucia Garden Club and enjoyed their meetings as I had those in Bermuda. I never had anything to put in as prize blooms, or exhibits, so after a few years I dropped out. I enjoyed several trips to gardens, but didn't seem to make friends among the group. Then I got busy and when I knew there was a waiting list for membership I resigned.
I was a member of the Queensland Graduates and enjoyed their meetings, but never got really involved. Also the Staff Wives Club. I was on the executive for a year and sometimes attended, especially after Kathleen joined.
For some years I was a very regular member of the Presbyterian Women's Choir which met in the Valley church for rehearsals, gave concerts, free, to church groups and old peoples homes, and song for all conference and P.W.M.U functions. I dropped out of that because with travel and other jobs I couldn't fit it in. I enjoyed singing but it wasn't a very good group and I learned little new music and got little voice training. For years I faithfully sang in the St Lucia Church Choir, but seldom went to rehearsals, except for special times like Christmas and Easter.
For various reasons I feel that 1966 begins another phase of my life in Brisbane. For one thing Dave and family were with us until August 1969. For another Wallace had his heart attack in April in California. And in 1970 and 1972 we had our long overseas trips. Our normal life continued, but new experiences made life more exciting.
On reading what I have written to date I realise there are some important things omitted—so we won't move on to 1966 for a while yet.
Our Second Home - 82 Dell Road
We had known for some time we would have to leave Emmanuel one day, and so had been looking around the St Lucia area to find a house. We didn't look further afield because we were happy here and used to shops, bus, church, and University and Emmanuel. We looked at many homes, most of them too expensive. In the end we bought this one as it was a good price, convenient both in location and the house itself, near enough to sell easily if we wanted to go back to Bermuda when our 5 years were up. We never regretted our choice although it has no great outlook, but the street is tree lined and rather quiet, the garden well planned with circular retaining wall. I have spent many happy hours in the garden and in my plotting shelf in the garage. Wallace keeps the lawns cut, but doesn't really enjoy gardening. We made quite a few changes about which I will write later.
I have very vivid memories of the trips I have made from my arrival in July 1960 to my trip to Papua New Guinea, December 1966. I won't go into great detail as my diary gives dates and places.
These trips were divided roughly between trips with family, or sight seeing or Y.W.C.A. trips to National Board Meetings.
Christmas - Mt Isa
I spent some time over Christmas in Mt Isa as Ian was working there and didn't get holidays. We went by train which was very comfortable, stayed in a rather ordinary hotel, and saw Mt Isa. Wallace was able to go down into the mines but I wasn't. However I could go through the mills, went to an outdoor movie, and walked about the town. Ian was happy
Peter and Nancy Visit Sydney
In September 1964 Wallace and I met Peter and Nancy in Sydney where they were escorting a party of young Americans. We enjoyed doing things with the group and saw something of Peter and Nancy taking them to see the Hercuses and the Franklins, our nearest relatives in Australia. Wallace went to New Zealand with them to help them with arrangements there.
Papua New Guinea
My trip to Papua New Guinea was partly sightseeing and partly Y.W.C.A. work. Six Y.W.C.A. members went up to work on the curtains and bedspreads for the new Youth Club in the hills out of Port Moresby, but as the material hadn't arrived from America we had a holiday. We couldn't go anywhere except to Taipini, a few miles out of Port Moresby, as the pilots took their Christmas break. Even this short flight in a small plane was a thrill as you felt you could touch the mountains, and we could see the small villages all along the roads up in the hills. Our stay in a lodge and our getting into and out of the place by plane were memorable! (December 1965-1966)
We saw lots of real living in Port Moresby, the markets, schools, churches, ate the food, visited the Leper Colony, sang carols on Christmas Eve, and had such a happy time at the Hostel that I knew I would like to go back for a much longer stay.
When I was in Papua New Guinea, Wallace was at home working on bookcases and cupboards in our newly constructed sun room. This proved to be a frustrating job and may have contributed to his heart attack. He had planned to go to New Zealand for Christmas and a rest before leaving for his Sabbatical, but he didn't get away until January 15, 1966.
Y.W.C.A. National Board
I went on the Board of the Y in 1961, and for three years was National Board Member. This was a happy chore as it meant a trip somewhere each year. In October 1962 I had a splendid trip by bus to Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, and Melbourne. I found the conducted tour easy and enjoyable as you see a lot and stop during the day and stay at a hotel at night.
The Board Meeting was the first of quite a few, and I liked the people and the work of the board. Mrs Wardlow and Miss Christian as President and Executive Secretary were a team never to be forgotten!
I had a bit of excitement getting to the 1963 (May) Convention in Canberra, as my train was delayed and I had to fly from Sydney to Canberra. I enjoyed seeing "old" friends but the highlight of the Convention was a talk by a Church of England Padre on "Christian Living in a Scientific Age". For the first time someone felt exactly as I did: "working with God anything that is natural, warm, and reasonable is of God".
In June 1964 I attended a regional conference in Rockhampton. Saw Mt Morgan mines as a bonus. In September 1964 our National Board was a "living-in" one at St Hilda's Women's College in Melbourne. After the Board I met the family in Sydney. This set the pattern for "living-in" boards and conventions, although more expensive they are much more satisfactory as we get to know each other and have time to discuss all sorts of things outside of meeting times. Again in August 1965 I attended a living-in board in Melbourne.
I vaguely remembered a car trip Wallace and I had to the North and South Coasts and looking in my diary found it was in May 1965. We were looking about for a property we could buy for holidays, but in the end decided against it. We like Binna Burra and were to visit there again later. We liked the North Coast better than South of course, and particularly liked around Noosa.
Another trip was one Wallace, Ian and I took in December-January, 1964-1965. Wallace and Ian had a three weeks car trip, I flew over and joined them and had a month there mainly in Auckland with short trips.
During these years Ian was in and out of our home, working hard in terms and also hard in holidays. He had to take five years to finish his course, as it was more difficult then than it would be now. Now they decide at the end of their first year what course they will take and so avoid a very heavy 2nd year. Also now you get grades for work during the year, but in Ian's time everything depended on those final exams. Ian never learned the art of taking exams, and so failed courses and took posts. However the University must have known he would make a god engineer and finally passed him in December 1964. During the holidays he had various jobs—Ipswich workshops (1961), Broken Hill (1962), and Tasmania (1963). A great deal of credit goes to him, very hard working as he was. He never dreamed of giving up the fight. His last two years in University were very much better for him as he had got to the work that he was interested in and felt was necessary to his mining career.
During these years (1960-1964) he didn't have much time for social life. He joined the parachute club at the Uni, but after he had an accident he gave it away. He enjoyed bushwalking and mountain climbing and he and John McDougal and Peter McKean were great pals. Three or four couples used to go to some dances together, but Ian didn't really have a special girl he was serious about.
It was good to have him near during those years. He always understood how I felt and even what I said if I said it badly. He was a great help in the garden, and on odd jobs never left me to clear up behind him. He is rather quiet, but not too shy to be friendly with people, and to be helpful and concerned about them. A very nice guy! And a good engineer too, as it turned out.
The only job I did during this time for pay was supervising University exams, beginning in 1961 or 1962. I did both chief supervising and assistant supervising. Chief supervising is much more interesting and pays better. Instead of just passing out papers and watching that noone cheats, you are in charge of giving out the exams, listing absentees, answering questions (or finding out the answers), arranging the seating according to what different exams you have and the numbers in each exam, collecting all the exam papers and putting them in envelopes, and other odd jobs. The first hear I worked 12 session at £1.00 a session—the next year I made £25. In 1963 I was a chief supervisor again, as I was in 1964 and 1965, always in by own room in the basement of the Engineering building (I continued each year 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969 but by 1970 I had well passed the retiring 65 years, and wasn't needed).
Some of my special interests during the 1960-1965 period were Thrift shops, stamps, YWCA Wacol (Migrant Centre), our new house and garden, new (second hand) sewing machine, and I.F.U.W. Conference (August 1965).
After my return from Papua New Guinea, January 7, 1966, I stayed at home alone, as Wallace had set off on his sabbatical leave on January 15th. I waited until Kathleen and Brian arrived and settled in our home and then on April 16th left for the USA, not knowing at that time how bad Wallace really was. I spent five days with Louise and Alex Smith (Kathleen's mother and father in Maui) and then flew to California to Red's and Wallace's birthday, April 21st. I found that he'd been in bed and was only walking about the house and garden, so we had to cancel our trip for which we had already made reservations and just waited at Red's until Wallace was able to leave. They were very good to us. In fact Dorothy went to more trouble for Wallace's diet than I would have!
Return to New Zealand
We left Saratoga when we felt if we stayed any longer we would be a nuisance as Dorothy wasn't at all well. On May 13th, we flew overnight to Auckland via Honolulu and Fiji to stay with Marjorie at Bowling Avenue. I would rather have come home, but Wallace didn't want to just go back home. The flat is small and we had to make up my bed in the living room every night. It was poor weather—often raining and we had a problem trying to get in Wallace's daily walks. I think he enjoyed it more than I did because he saw a lot of old friends.
When Wallace felt he was able to travel he left Auckland and went on his working trip. He enjoyed a visit to Bermuda, saw Peter and Nancy in Oxford, and visited among other places Israel and Singapore. He arrived home December 21st, 1966.
In the meantime I had a trip to Perth for the Y Convention, a bus trip to see the wildflowers of Western Australia, a few days at Nicholsons' sheep station in Whyalla, and short visits to Adelaide to see Mildred, Melbourne, and Sydney—getting home September 12th, 1966. I saw the Adelaide show three times.
Dave and Family
Kathleen and Brian had been rather unhappy in the house from April 16th (1966) worrying about when (and if) Dave was coming. However he did arrive with Ian in early September 1966 they rented a house at Corinda. The boys were five and three and very nice children. They were good in school and loved swimming.
Those years from September 1966 to September 1969 were really our most satisfactory years when Dave and family were in Brisbane. They bought a house in St Lucia in 1967 near the school and not far from us or the University. We didn't see much of them but sometimes I would meet Ian at school and go home with him, or they would come here or we would babysit in the evening if Kathleen and Dave wanted to go out. It is a very small part of the boys life but it was something to remember after they had gone.
I think they enjoyed the years here. The job at the University as lecturer in Theoretical Statistics seemed to satisfy Dave's requirements and the boys got on well in school. Dave and Kathleen both played tennis and bridge and seemed to have some nice friends. Of course we were sad when they decided to leave, but it had to be their decision. I'm still not sure why they decided to go—possibly they didn't like the school system for the boys, or felt there were greater chances of advancement for Dave, or maybe they just didn't want to be Australians. Dave always said he couldn't get a good discussion going with Australians - they listened but wouldn't argue or defend their views. Most of his friends were not Australians. I think Kathleen felt a bit sad to go, but I think it was to their best advantage to go.
Months after they left we sold their home. Dave was here once again for a few days from one of his many teaching trips. I still miss them when I go to the beach and other places.
On reading back through what I have written, I seem to have said nothing about Dave and family from the time I saw them in Beaver, spring 1960, until they came to Brisbane. That is because all I remember about them is what they wrote to me. Kathleen worked very hard when Dave was at Michigan State as a secretary to 2 Physics Professors. They lived in Uni quarters and seemed to have lots of young friends with young children.
Kathleen had a hard time when the boys were born. She did have help from her mother—Louise Smith, who used to go to Michigan or have the family in New York at her home.
Kathleen came out the long way round—Hawaii, Japan, etc., with Brian. Dave kept Ian with the help of a babysitter neighbour and arrived months after Kathleen did (September 1966).
Peter and Family: 1960-1970
Now I am trying to fill in blanks about Peter, Nancy and then the children. I left them (or rather, Peter) winning his Rhodes Scholarship and going to Oxford in late 1960. Of course I don't know too much about him, as I seldom saw him and had to depend on letters (which were interesting, but not too frequent).
After Peter graduated from Harvard, June 1957, he went to Los Angeles to a job with Lockheed (aeroplanes). He wasn't satisfied with the job although he also did some University studies. He then became interested in Hollywood Presbyterian Church. With church help he went to Princeton, 1959-1960. Then on the Rhodes Scholarship he went to Oxford in 1960. However by this time he was engaged and so he went all the way back to Los Angeles to marry Nancy and take her with him to Oxford. To do so he had to give up his grant from his Rhodes Scholarship, although it made no difference in his position otherwise. He felt that many times ministers wives were denied the advantages they should have to make a successful ministers wife.
After the Oxford term, they went back to Princeton, 1962-1965. Nancy studied here as she had done in Oxford and got her B.A. with high honours. In 1965 they returned to Oxford on a Rockefeller fellowship for a year. As Peter wanted to stay a little longer, he applied to Rhodes for a grant as now Rhodes Scholars could marry during their second year. Believe it or not he got it! To him that asks . . . !
In the spring of 1967 they were in Princeton again until they took a position as minister in Pacific Palisades (1967-1970).
Wallace and I finally caught up with them for a lovely visit in their home in Pacific Palisades in early 1970.
Cameron was born here, December 12, 1968, and so was at a lovely age (18 months) when we first knew him. He seemed shy of me, but not of his grandfather, and called us both "grandpa".
Their home was large, on the side of a hill with a view. As well they had a small guest house where we stayed. It looked as if it might slide down the ravine at any moment. We enjoyed meeting their friends, attending church, etc. Peter was the middle of three ministers, and he felt he wasn't earning his salary and that if he moved on the might give his salary to missions. However they didn't want him to leave and he only got away when the first minister left. He decided he wanted to teach so accepted the position of theological teacher at Westminster College, New Wilmington, Penna., in 1970.
I am forgetting that we saw Peter and Nancy in Sydney in August 1964 when they brought a group of young people on an Asian tour.
As Ian wasn't living with us much of the time before he married I will not make this too detailed as the diary will have lots of details. This will be more of a general remembering of him as a person, but I will try to put in dates when I know them. As I have written on Dave and family and on Peter and his, I thought I'd just write about Ian now, ending with his wedding as that begins a new life for him and a break in my remembering too before the trips to U.S.A.
I have already said how difficult Ian found his Uni course, partly because it was a difficult course, especially the first 2 years when he had to cover so many types of subjects, but even more because he was one who could never give his best in an exam. He worked slowly and never finished the questions completely. In contrast his written papers and drawing presented to seminars, etc., were always good. So he worried through two or three years before he began to hit his stride. To complicate matters further he had to work every summer holiday and study for posts however he could.
He had a lot of "posts" in December 1960, and was working at Ipswich Railway Workshops by day (a long train journey to get there) and being tutored by his father in every spare minute. He rather objected to his fathers course of memory study for him based on past exams as he felt it was rather cheating. However he passed his posts.
In December 1961 he went to work in Mt Isa. He had to study for posts again, but under better conditions. He liked Mt Isa—good pay and bonuses and single men's quarters. We visited him there for Christmas. Each year he passes enough courses to keep going—doing four years work in five years.
He went to Broken Hill November 1962—February 1963 in his working holidays living "in" with a Mrs Hall and enjoying life. In 1963 he joined a Parachute Club at the Uni but after an accident, stopped training.
Ian passed his third year and part of his fourth year and went to Tasmania November 1963-February 1964. He wasn't very happy there as the conditions weren't good for working and the weather was too poor for holidaying.
In September 1964 when we met Peter and his party in Sydney, Ian was on a wonderful trip (all expenses paid, I believe) to a Mining and Metallurgy Convention and he saw Kalgoorlie and Perth. He rang Sydney and caught us at Hercuses and talked with Peter and Nancy. He hadn't seen Peter for many years and had never seen Nancy.
In December 1964 Ian passed his exams for his final year and became a qualified mining engineer. As his father was taking him to New Zealand on a trip as a graduation present, I had to finally put together his paper and deliver it. When I got word of his final results I cabled him in New Zealand. A long hard struggle but his father was willing to back him as long as he worked hard and the University was prepared to keep him. If the conditions which later developed (like having marks from your work during the year instead of having to depend only on the 3 hour exam mark) had been in Ian's case, he would have shown up better and he would have saved many months of work and worry.
I think in the end the Engineering staff passed his final posts and his last years work—not on marks alone but on the fact that they felt he would make a good Mining Engineer.
I joined Ian and Wallace in New Zealand December 1964 and we had a lovely holiday. Wallace and I came home January 1965, but Ian stayed a few weeks with Mary Macky Sherlocks and her sons on a farm—he loved it!
In March he and John McDougall went to Tasmania, but didn't stay long—poor pay and poor weather. They returned on the Empress of Australia and had a wild trip home in John's car. As John didn't then have a car Ian was home until the 28th of January, 1965, and then flew up to Mt Isa for his first real job.
I don't remember too much of the next few years. Ian bought a car May 1967, and went to McArthur River after leave in May 1967.
In May 1968 Ian came for a visit on his way to a new job. We loved having him and he was a tremendous help. He used the sun room as bedroom and workshop and for his recording equipment etc. He left for Kalgoorlie August 1968. He wasn't too sure he was doing the best thing by leaving Mt Isa, but he wanted a planning job and he was too young to get one in a big show like Mt Isa.
The next time we saw Ian was in New Zealand when he flew over to be with us all for the reunion. He got there first and Wallace and I and Dave, Kathleen and the boys arrived August 24, 1969. We were so happy to have him and to know he would spend all that money and his holiday time to be with us. He was very interested in the family tree and history in general of the Macky family. He spoke of Clare Norbury and bought her a present but didn't admit to being engaged. However it wasn't long before we got the news of the engagement and wedding plans.
Ian and Clare's Wedding
We enjoyed the wedding trip very much. We liked Clare at once. She is so alive and slim and pretty and very friendly. She and her family did everything to make us comfortable—the hotel accommodation was good, the wedding luncheon was very good, and it was nice to meet Clare's family and some of their friends.
As it was Saturday (April 11, 1970) so all his friends could come, he had to book a plane from and to Perth to get away that same afternoon. They were farewelled at the airport and they stayed in Perth one night and went to Sydney to see Clare's sister and then flew to Fiji were they had a lovely honeymoon—one week in the best hotels and one at an isolated island camp. We had Ian's car and Wallace and Marjorie and I toured West Australia April 12-26. We had gone out by the Indian Pacific and also returned home by train.
We saw Clare and Ian for a few days in late April but it was a long time before I saw them again in Kalgoorlie. They did spend a short holiday with us in June 1971 in Brisbane.
May 31st 1970 saw us off on our trip to USA. I have lovely memories of this trip. I didn't mind the bus trip, even sleeping in the bus. It was good to see the family and to meet Spaces, see Wentz's, Mary Follett, and Beaver friends. Highlights were the Grand Canyon, San Antonio, Expo '70 in Japan. We arrived home on September 2, 1970. Relatives of Wallace's had been in the house part of the time and everything was fine.
By July 1970, we had lived for ten years in Australia. I will try to sort out my remembrances of trips, Christmases, work, homes and gardens, friends, and anything else that comes to mind as being important to really remember for these ten years with perhaps some thoughts on earlier years.
XXVI. My Earliest Trips
I think I have said somewhere else in this that my most important part of my life was being married and having children. After that, travel was always the most important thing to enjoy—going places, seeing things, and meeting people.
As a child I went nowhere. Once we went to Atlantic City, and we went several times to Chataugua, a summer camp. My first big trip was when I went to Singapore as a mission teacher and returned for a second term after my furlough. I also remember very specially my trip to Burma and India by ship, to Java and Sumatra to visit mission friends and see the mission work (due to lack of funds I didn't go to Bali and have always regretted it).
After Wallace and I were engaged Wallace was sacked due to the depression and he went back to England. In August 1933 I left the mission and sailed for England to be married. After a short time in England we decided to go to New Zealand and sailed for USA to spend Christmas 1933 with my family, continuing on then to New Zealand. I don't remember too much of the trip—by train to the west (I enjoyed New Orleans) and then by ship to Auckland.
In New Zealand we travelled a bit during our years from 1934 to May 1939. Of course with two small children, we couldn't always do what we wanted to do. If I had known that I would be leaving New Zealand when we did I would have tried to see more.
In May 1939, David, Peter, Marjorie (Wallace's sister) and I sailed for San Francisco so that I could take the children to see their grandparents. We didn't know when we set off that I wouldn't be returning to New Zealand to live but would go to Bermuda. Our next trip was by train to Pittsburgh and then when Wallace finally arrived in USA (October 1939) we flew to Bermuda to begin twenty-one years, interesting, busy, happy years.
Because of the war we did very little travelling but when I lost my hair, I was allowed to go home on medical grounds to Beaver. In 1948 Ian and I went to see my mother and father, and later on Wallace was able to bring the 2 boys and we had a summer all together in Canada and USA. I had several trips later on (one when my father died). I would usually fly to New York, spend three days there going to Radio City and walking along Broadway till midnight doing some bargain shopping and then going by bus to wherever my family was.
And that about brings me up to my trip from Bermuda to Australia.
XXVII. Australian Trips
Mt Isa and Townsville
Our first trip was to Mt Isa, Christmas 1961—to see Ian who was working there for the summer—to see the town and mine and to see Townsville. We went by train and found it comfortable and interesting. Mt Isa was very hot—no air conditioning then, no screening either so we had nets. We enjoyed seeing where Ian lived and worked. I saw the Mill and not the mine which Wallace did see. We drank ice water continuously. Enjoyed Townsville and Magnetic Island too.
Most of my trips were either representing the Y.W.C.A. taking trips before and after Board Meetings and Conventions, or visiting the Y in Alice Springs and Papua New Guinea. I doubt very much if I would have seen anything like as much of Australia if I had waited for Wallace to be able to go with me as he was working and the holiday periods are always crowed and we seldom went then.
The first Y trip was very special, as I went of a bus trip before the Meeting in Melbourne (October 1962). This was a very different kind of trip than the one in 1961. I like the bus better than the train because we stop so often in towns for meals and tea break and you can talk to people. In 1963 I went to Canberra for Board (August).
Peter and Nancy conducted a group of young Americans about South-East Asia and had a short stay in Sydney, August 1964. I attended a live-in Board first in Melbourne and then joined the group in Sydney for a few days. It was so good to have even those few days together as we see so little of them.
Our 1965 Board was also a live-in one in Melbourne. In each of these trips I saw friends, Shelleys, Franklins, Simonsens, and saw something of Melbourne or Canberra or Sydney between trains and meetings. Our fare was paid ion the train and I always enjoyed the roomette with toilet and bed you could put up and down yourself without waiting for the porter. I didn't bother much about food on the train or off it, and did everything as cheaply as possible. Sometimes I had companions, sometimes not.
After my trip to USA (which I will write about presently) and my stay in New Zealand for Wallace to grow strong enough to continue his Sabbatic trip I decided that I couldn't afford to go with him and went to the Y.W.C.A. Convention rather than just come home and have no trip. This trip was in many ways my favourite—the Convention, the trip to see the wildflowers, my visit to the Sheep station of the Nicholsons' in Whyalla, a visit in Adelaide to see friends, and the Royal Show—altogether a wonderful trip.
The Y Board in 1967 was in May as the World Council was to be in August. Unfortunately there were few Australian delegates to World Council and I was too old to be our representative. The board in May was a trial run for Council and held at Monash University—very special it was too, although I guess not as grand as Council.
My last National Board as an official representative was in August 1968 in Melbourne. I had been National Board member for 3 years and President for 4 years (in Brisbane) so my terms were over, much to my regret as I loved the travel, the meetings, and seeing all the Y friends. However one mustn't be greedy and I am so grateful to the Y as I'm sure I got more out of those 7 years than the Y did!
I did attend the Y Convention in Sydney August 1969 as a voting delegate. This was a live-in convention and was excellent. I especially enjoyed my study group on Aborigines and our visit in Sydney.
Papua New Guinea
My two Y-oriented trips were to Alice Springs in May-June 1969 and to Papua New Guinea, December 1965-January 1966. We 5 Y members from Melbourne and round about went to Port Moresby to spend Christmas 1965 visiting in the New Y Centre and helping to make curtains and bedspreads for the opening in a few months. The denim didn't arrive from U.S.A., so we had a very happy holiday and no work. I would loved to have stayed much longer because I saw very little outside of Port Moresby—but I did enjoy the centre and Christmas dinner and carol singing at night at the hospital and church services. We had one plane trip to Taipini—very exciting—small plane, difficult landing and taking-off.
I stayed for a month in Alice Springs at the Y Hostel—saw the Rock and Darwin and the Y work and churches, etc. When Y girls went anywhere I went also. Learned a lot and aroused my interest in aborigines, others problems.
During this same ten years 1960-1970. I had some other interesting trips too. Wallace and Ian went to New Zealand December 3, 1964 for a car tour of three weeks. I then joined them, December 23rd for a month.
In May 1965, Wallace and I drove both South and North along the coast to see if we could find a holiday house to buy as Dave and family were going to live here. But we decided to rent when we needed a place. Several times the family did rent houses in Caloundra and we had lovely holidays together, also visited Binna Burra.
Now about the trip to U.S.A. I mentioned, Wallace set off on his sabbatical leave on January 15, 1966 and I followed him April 16. This proved to be a very disappointing trip as Wallace had a heart attack before I got there and after staying with my brother for a while. We flew to New Zealand to stay for four months with his sister. He left for his trip August 12th and returned to Brisbane December 21st, 1966. It was then that I had my good trip to the West.
New Zealand Macky Reunion
The highlight of 1969 was the Macky Reunion in New Zealand. We all had a grand time—and as Dave and family were leaving Australia for California, U.S.A., immediately after the reunion it was a lovely farewell holiday. Ian spent his money and his holiday to be with us all. We were only sad that Peter and Nancy couldn't have been there, too. And also very sad that Dave and family were leaving on September 7, 1969, from New Zealand.
Wallace was very happy about the reunion. He is head of the clan and having his eldest son and his eldest grandson present gave him great pleasure as well as meeting many relatives (some he didn't even know he had). Kathleen, too, enjoyed herself with the young people, and Brian and Ian helped give out the literature and pictures, and were known by all as the seventh generation (there are other seventh generations but none present except our two).
Brian was especially interested to see the family tree on the wall and in the book, and figured out the family members for his future children.
As I can't trace my family, it is good to have such an interesting background for our children. We hope someday to have another reunion, but I doubt if Dave or Peter and families will be there.
Our Trip to Ian's Wedding
To finish this ten year period, begun in July 1960 when I arrived in Australia, I want to recall Ian's wedding. The wedding was very important to us, but at the moment I like to recall the trip itself—Sydney, train (Indian Pacific) to Kalgoorlie, car trip around Western Australia, visit in Perth, a few days with Clare and Ian, home by train, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney (April 5th-May 11th, 1970). We saw a lot of Western Australia—sheep station, cattle station owned by American Whaling, apple exporting, and many interesting small towns. It wasn't an easy trip as I'm not keen about car travel and three people can disagree in so many things, but I won't forget any of it—so clear is it in my memory.
I made my own travel book as I went along, a book bursting with cuttings, pictures, and notes. My first attempt at this kind of a record book. It cost little except in time, as I bought postcards, instead of taking slides or coloured pictures. This will be the forerunner for this kind of record for any later trips I take. I didn't date the pictures which I could next time.
I make a break in trips at this point and will later tell of our trips in 1970, 1972, and 1974 on my own. When you get a bit further away from the actual details you remember the more important things. The details will be found in travel books of cuttings, pictures, notes, similar but of course larger than the one in Western Australia.
As I have no records of my early years and only the boys' baby books for years in New Zealand and Bermuda, I draw entirely on memory for these notes on Christmases.
My Earliest Memories
As a child, Christmas was very important, although I always regretted that we didn't belong to any large family. Most times there were only my parents, my brother (after I was five), my mother's sister and her husband (Anna and Jack Kennedy), and Grace Johnston (a friend who was a seamstress in a large French department of a Pittsburgh store).
We never opened any presents until after breakfast on Christmas morning. My father and mother had trimmed the tree and after breakfast my father let lit the tree (which in my early days had lighted wax candles and very beautiful German ornaments) and we filed in to stand in wonder at the tree and then fall upon our present. "Aunt Grace" always provided the usual gifts, usually clothing—bonnets, coast, dresses—very beautiful (we were able to deter them from year to year by adding lace and letting out hems).
Our dinners were usually turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (with marshmallow topping) and either mince pie or plum pudding.
Later in Greensburgh I remember the town Christmas when we gathered about a big Christmas tree, sang carols, and received sweets and fruit.
I well remember that I felt that Christmas was the day for peace—making and if there were any family tensions, all would be forgiven and forgotten on Christmas.
I don't remember Christmas in New Zealand too well except that being summer, rather than winter, the food tended to be lighter and was often eaten at a beach or holiday resort. As Dave was born on Christmas morning (1935). I missed a family gathering but Wallace went. One little girl asked him where Auntie Mary was, and he said "in hospital with a son". She relayed the news to others saying "Auntie Mary is in hospital with a touch of the sun".
David had his first Christmas and birthday party at Eastbourne in 1936, when the younger members of the family came for a party. Unfortunately he never was able to have many birthday parties, and he changed the date to May like the Queen.
Our Christmases in Bermuda (1939-1959) were very special to us all. Small children make Christmas and later on when the boys were away in school in U.S.A. their return the Sunday before Christmas began Christmas as far as I was concerned.
The cedar (juniper) trees had always been used for Christmas as during the war years no trees were imported from Canada. As the trees had blight, we weren't allowed to cut them down only top them. When the war was over and pine trees came down by the shipboard, everyone was ecstatic. We went along the street where the trees were being sold and broke off small bits to smell. We broke our custom of not trimming a tree until a few days before Christmas, because we wanted, as early as possible, to fill the house with pine scent.
These Christmases were of course in winter, but it was usually mild although few people went swimming.
From about 1959, we had a service in the Methodist Church on the Sunday before Christmas in the evening. Many young people flew in that day from Canada or U.S.A. and joined us taking part as wise men or shepherds. The church was lit with red candles—all along the organ and choir section, and in the windows all down the church. the decorations were of course gorgeous red poinsettias. A stage was set before the pulpit at the front of the church for the Nativity scene. The minister read a story, say "The Other Wise Man", and the choir sang many lovely carols, and the young people enacted the scenes of the shepherds and wise men visiting Mary and Joseph and the Baby. At the close of the service many representatives of the church organisations—Sunday School, Ladies Aid, Missionary Society, etc. came down the aisles bringing gifts to lay before the child.
We always had a big tree in Hamilton near the hotel and when the hotel burned down about all that was left was the burned tree!
One would have expected the Christmas fare to be lighter than in colder countries, but there was little difference except the turkey, ham, and cassava pie might be served cold. At first we didn't like cassava pie when we had it at several homes, but presently we worked out our own version and from then on it was the most favoured dish. Made from grated cassava (a root of a plant and looking like sweet potato) with eggs, butter, nutmeg, making a mush which then was layered with cooked chicken and pork (boned) and baked for hours. We made ours in several smaller pans but for big families they used a pan 2 feet long, 12-14 inches wide, and 4 to 6 inches deep, which baked for four or five hours. It was delicious any way you ate it—hot on Christmas Eve, warmed on Christmas day with the turkey, or cold as you but off a piece every time you passed the refrigerator.
On Ian's first Christmas, 1941, he was baptised in the Scottish Church in Warwick where we lived after leaving St Georges. The Christmas tree was set up in front of the church and all the Sunday School children gathered about Rev Purvis—who held Ian in his arms. The water was held by a little coloured girl and all the children were interested as they seldom saw a baptism. I should add that Ian was far more interested in touching the ornament on the tree than he was in receiving a name (Ian Wallace Macky).
For anyone who has loved Christmas in winter in cold countries with the hope of snow, "a white Christmas", or even in Bermuda where Christmas is a two weeks holiday festival, Christmases in Australia are a big disappointment. Of course without family and close friends, one must expect less pleasure. Then Australians start Christmas in November with "break-ups" and parties and by Christmas it's old hat. At actual Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, vast numbers have already left for the beaches or elsewhere for the entire community gets its holidays at one time.
When Ian was at Uni, it was good as he always had the Christmas spirit. But he often couldn't be home as he had to work in his holidays. The three years that Dave and family were naturally our happiest Christmases. In 1966 we were home. We had the family over for dinner and had a tree on the front porch with "blinking" lights. The next year we were home for Christmas (1967), but became really "dinkum" Aussies by taking a house at Caloundra in January. At home we fixed up the sun room with a silver tree and silver decorations, a wreath on the door, etc. We had such a good time in 1967 that we rented the same house in 1968. But this was to be our last Christmas with any of the family for many years.
We still try to make a happy Christmas for ourselves. We send money to the children and I send some small gifts here and there. We enjoy sending cards (some 70-75 of them) and enjoy the ones we get in return. We still have turkey and the trimmings and gifts for each other, but I certainly can remember more exciting Christmases!
XXIX. Work: 1921-1968
My First Job
The first money I ever remember earning (other then allowance from parents) was $27.50, putting notices in envelopes at Allegheny (1921). I was joining Alpha Chi Omega, a sorority, and earned the money to by my pin (shaped like a lyre with tiny seed pearls).
When I started work in earnest in September 1923, I taught school in Seventh Grade of a Junior High for 2 years. I have mixed memories—hard work, unpleasant principal, long trip each day to work, difficult children—poor, both white and coloureds, with inadequate homes, food and family background. I'll never forget the smell of bodies and clothing which never had a bath for weeks on end in the winter, and lived in slums or on stationary riverboats in dreadful conditions.
The good part was I was working for my 3 years State Certificate, and had three lovely friends in the teachers of 7th Grade, and enjoyed each year working on the school operetta. I wasn't re-hired and taught my third year at another primary school—not too bad.
Then of course for the next years I was a missionary in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. On my furlough I had to earn part of my expenses speaking all over the place. Then in 1933 I was married and I worked of course but didn't get wages, only food, lodging, and "perks" (New Zealand and Bermuda).
After the boys went away and Ian was old enough to look after himself, I started work in the Meteorological Office (1950). I was well paid, and could carry on for Wallace when we went away from Bermuda on business.
When the office finally closed I was sorry as I loved my work and my cheques.
From the time the library closed in 1958 I worked in the Public Library, some 30 hours a week. I enjoyed that, too, being in town every day, meeting people, learning all types of library work, and of course my pay-packet. I left when Wallace and Ian went out to New Zealand in February 1960.
I have never had a proper job again, but I did exam supervising for years (1961-1968) at University of Queensland each November. This I loved doing-it made me feel a real part of the University, although it only earned me some pocket money. I was good at this job of chief supervisor, and I liked to feel I could still work if I had to.
Most of my spare time in Australia has been given to volunteer work—no money involved. I would like to have taught school, or done library work, but the opportunity never presented itself.
XXX. Homes I have lived in: 1903-1960
I don't remember the place where I was born—Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, as we left when I was very young. It was the parsonage, of course, next to the church in this small town not far from Pittsburgh.
My first faint memories are of our home in Pittsburgh, a typical, crowded town street with a brick house which opened onto the sidewalk with no garden or trees at all along the street. However at the back of the house there was room for my fathers very good garden. At the side of the house there was a porch with a swing and I clearly remember my mother sitting on the swing pushing the pram (baby-buggy) to get my baby brother to sleep as he was sick for several years.
I also remember the very special kindergarten I attended for a year. It was way beyond its time, with moveable seats and chairs, all sorts of interesting activities like sitting on the floor in a circle watching our teach make something with the eggs, flour, butter, sugar, etc. which we each bought from home. It was then baked and we had it for lunch or recess. This was a free, state kindergarten. I don't quite understand why it was so advanced and so good.
In 1910 my father was transferred to Greensburgh—a town about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. I have many memories of my nine years there. A house near enough to the centre of town to be able to sit on the porch and watch the country people and others go by—especially on Saturday night when the country people all came to town and hitched their horses and buggies along our street; a gorgeous garden with fruit and vegetables and flowers—also chickens and rabbits; school which I enjoyed (except for one year of Junior High) and the fun of the operetta in High and being the leading lady; and friends, church, and camps, etc. It's all earlier in this. This house was an old brick house, 2 storeyed, with a parlour (for guests and interviews with my father in the front) but a nice family room at the back. We had a housekeeper who wasn't much help really, but my mother wasn't well for some years and we needed the help Miss Allohouse (Samantha) could give.
My father's next appointment was at Crafton. I liked the house and neighbourhood, and could get to Pittsburgh by streetcar (and to my job later). I had the same leading part in the same operetta in Crafton High and although I hadn't wanted to leave Greensburgh I got on all right (1919).
September 1920-June 1923 I was at Allegheny although my base was Crafton with my parents. Then from September 1923 to June 1926 I was teaching school the first two years from Crafton.
In September 1925 my parents moved again—to Homewood—part of Pittsburgh and I got a new job not too far away for a year. This was another typical Pittsburgh house—crowded streets, and not very attractive houses.
In December 1926 I sailed for Singapore to be a mission teacher (not a missionary) for a three year contract. Later my father and mother moved to various other churches, but Beaver is the only place where I lived with them for any length of time. We had a nice home there—another good garden in a lovely old town with lots of parks and trees and gardens. I think my parents like Beaver best of all the places they lived in as they went there to live when they retired.
I lived with them in Beaver from September 1930 to June 1931 when I attended the University of Pittsburgh to get my Masters degree. I didn't particularly want to go to this University, but I felt I had to live with my parents these months as I was away from them so much. I went to town by streetcar (a bus?). I had a lot of travelling to do speaking "for my supper", so I really didn't see too much of them even then.
I had only two houses during my whole stay in Malaysia, Holt Hall in Kuala Lumpur, and Nind Home in Singapore. I had 3½ good years living in Holt Hall with various missionaries—teaching school, looking after boarders, visiting families of the girls or church members. The house was a large airy wooden house and we lived on the second floor. We had people to work for us in the house and garden and the girls in the hostel often did our washing and ironing. Our meals were good, although we had to be as economical as we could be as we hadn't much money and the food the Europeans bought at the Cold Storage was beyond us—we had beautiful fruits.
I had often visited at Nind Home in Singapore, as we went each January for the Annual Conference and the women stayed there. But when I returned from furlough January 1932 I went there to live until I was married. I was a principal of a primary school and helped again with a large group of boarders who lived on the Nind Home property. This home was on the top of a hill near Government House, with good views, lovely gardens, and plenty of space and air—so different from the city homes I lived in with my parents. We had a happy life here too. I loved Singapore itself and never tired of shopping for school or for myself—walking along the waterfront or Orchard Road with fascinating shops. These two mission homes and the cities they were in were my favourite up to the time I married (September 1933).
I left Singapore in August 1933 and Wallace and I were married September 7th in London in John Wesley's church. After a honeymoon in Devon and Cornwall we took a top floor flat of a small house in Cambridge. I guess it was a typical student flat—nothing very special about it at all. We weren't there long enough to make many friends, but I loved walking about the University and shops. We did enjoy the Presbyterian minister and his wife and family. We also entertained Wallace's New Zealand friends who were in the University.
But Wallace decided when he was offered a job in the Physics Department at Otago University in December (New Zealand), that it might be best to go home. His mother had died while he was away and he felt he had affairs to see to there.
We went by ship to New York, train to Beaver to spend Christmas with my family, train via New Orleans to San Francisco, and by Mariposa to New Zealand.
We enjoyed Dunedin although I found it cold and of course we didn't really feel very settled. We had 2 different rented houses there, but I'm afraid I don't remember much about them. I do remember the district on the side of a hill with Knox College where we spent time with the Merringtons—Wallace tutoring in the College, and I just visiting with Mrs Merrington—a very dear friend. I also went to the Y where I met Delight Lynn.
When Wallace was finally offered the Meteorological job we left Dunedin for Wellington. We had two rented homes there—a flat in the Fraser's home—Raviti Terrace, and in Upland Road. We had lovely views of the Harbour and a park nearby. My chief memory of the Fraser's home was trying to keep Dave from crying all the time! Later we moved to a house in Eastbourne and although I didn't like the house we were near the beach and David and I spent a lot of time there. It was here that we met the ministers family, the Wilcoxes and the Langfords.
Our next home was in Hobsonville Airport, out from Auckland (after a 2 week stay in Stonehurst in Auckland). We loved our home there—a nice wooden two story house in a row with other houses, with the harbour at our back and the airfield in front. We always had people in and out of the house—neighbours (staff of the airfield) or boys from Headquarters listening to reports on radio and drinking tea. The mothers would take the children for a walk in the afternoon or down to the harbour for a paddle. Our special outing were when we went to Auckland, usually by launch for a days shopping. This was where Peter was born (1937).
Auckland - Wallace's family home
Wallace wanted to get his own home (which was rented) as he was now working in Auckland and had a long car drive each day. He finally was able to persuade the authorities that he needed it more than the tenant did and so March 1939 we moved into his home. We of course though we would be living there permanently. We had some redecorating done, and it would have been very pleasant. However it was the garden that was very special—all sorts of fruits: figs, apples, plums, pears, tomatoes, grapes, and also vegetables.
However we were only there a few months when Marjorie, David, Peter and I took off for U.S.A. to see my family. When I was on the high seas I got word that we were going to Bermuda. We spent the summer with my family in Freeport and then in October 1939 flew to Bermuda. Because we had such a short time in New Zealand and moved about and had small children to cope with, I can't clearly remember my life there as I can our years in Bermuda. It seemed a very beautiful country and I liked Wallace's relations and friends, but haven't kept in touch much through the years.
I guess I can say that Bermuda was my favourite home. We had nice homes, nice friends, nice job, and the children were with us much of the time, and although we went through a war we had no troubles. We actually had seven homes during our 21 years.
The first, Merry Hill, we enjoyed very much. We had a view of the new bases the Americans were building, we had a golf links at the back of us to roam over and we had the McCallan's beachfront for swimming. The house was nicely planned—one end for three bedrooms, the other for living room, dining room, and kitchen.
To make things even better we had a very nice coloured housekeeper who was there all day. She did anything and everything, did Mrs Gebbons. When I would go to Hamilton by train for the day to shop or see friends I could leave the boys with her knowing she would keep a firm hand on them. She gardened too, and of course cleaned and washed and ironed.
We had some very nice friends—mostly Met people, but some others too. We went to the Methodist Church but I sometimes sang in the old historic Church of England.
Unfortunately because of Wallace's war work we had to leave St Georges and Merry Hill to be near the seaplane base. We were in Rocklands for a few months and then moved to Kirkdale (1942). This was a good place for the children as it was quite like the country. The hotel grew vegetables in the place, and we could have what we wanted. They also kept pigs, and we had 2 goats and rabbits. The golf course bordered our home, school was only a few blocks away, and we used Bartrums beachfront (rather, Harbourfront) for swimming. We became Presbyterians as the Church of Scotland was just across the road and we made good friends there.
The house itself was a very old 2 storey with a fireplace here and there and a brick floor down where the kitchen and dining room were, and, of course, surrounded by fields of vegetables and banana trees. We went to town usually by walking through the hotel grounds and taking a ferry across to town.
Hill House and Belmere
We stayed for only short periods in our next two homes. In July 1946 we went to Hill House in town and in October 1946 we shifted to Belmere in Warwick, right across from the seaplane base.
Then in January 1947 we moved to Woodbourne Avenue, almost in the centre of Hamilton. This was a nice two storey home, and so close to town that I could walk to everything and not depend of ferries or trains. It was close for the older boys to go to Salters, and the Girls High, where Ian started to kindergarten, was very close. We knew lots of the teachers in Girls High School, notably Mary Follett and Sylvia Bryant. Tiny Cann next door was a great favourite with Ian, also Helen Prodham who was security at the High.
Berry Hill Road, Paget
In February 1949 we moved to Berry Hill Road, Paget, which was to be our home until we left Bermuda in 1960. This also was a 2 storey home, with 2 bathrooms and a maids room. Ian got interested in dogs and he and Wallace enjoyed the Kennel Club and all the exhibitions which were held in the Agricultural Station across the road from us. Ian was friendly with the Sankey's and we all enjoyed the Tunningham home and garden where Ian used to work for his pocket money. We could walk from this home to town along the end of the harbour or catch a bus at the foot of the lane.
We were members of the Methodist Church in Hamilton which was a United Church of Canada affiliation, and we had many friends there. We always looked back at our former homes with pleasant memories, but I suppose we felt most at home in Berry Hill.
As far as homes are concerned Bermuda is quite different from other countries, because the houses are build of coral blocks dug up out of the ground. They have water tanks under the house—a heavy house on top and a roof made of tiles cut from the coral blocks. Which make the perfect home for a country where hurricanes are common. The water is caught from the roof, stored in the underground tank, pumped up to a tank on top of the house to get pressure, and then released in the house. Strangely enough there is no filter or disinfective arrangements and although fish live in the tank to eat the mosquito larvae, and frogs sometimes die in the tank and there are niches of weed on the floor of the tank when occasionally it is cleaned and repaired, people never seem to be adversely affected by the water. Being rain water it is soft to use, and you don't get any sickness from anyone else's drainage or water supply. We never lacked for water as we always had big tanks and there is an average of 56 inches of rain a year. But many people would run out of water and have to buy it. Sometimes water was even brought from U.S.A. by tanker. We weren't allowed to use any fresh or clean water for flowers, but could use backwater. Spring was the lovely time for gardens and at Easter when all the visitors came the gardens were a job to see—also the decorated churches.
I don't suppose many people lived in as many different homes as I have. It's a good thing that I learned early to be at home wherever I hung my hat. I could live with suitcases and cartons stored here and there—as it wasn't always worth it to unpack completely. Maybe someday I will have my own home and stay in it for the rest of my days.
Our first home in Australia was the Vice Principle's house at Emmanuel. We knew this would not be a permanent home, so during 1960-1962 we looked at many houses but only in the St Lucia area, as we liked the suburb, shops, church, University, people, bus, etc. Then we really had to get out, and bought our first home together, 82 Dell Road.
82 Dell Road
We moved on January 3, 1963. The house was a bargain at about £5,500 ($11,000) and was worth much more in the following years. We now have the permanent home I always wanted and I don't think we'll ever leave unless circumstances force us to go to a unit or an "Old People's Home"!
XXXI. Feelings and Impressions
As I have kept a fairly good monthly diary since 1960 when I came to Australia, I have no need to detail many things "I remember" as I can always get the two diaries to refer to. So I will try to write of my feelings and impressions rather than just facts about family and trips, etc. As our own life has changed little in these seven years, there is not the scope for writing a long story.
We have lived in 82 Dell Road since January 3, 1963. During the years since we enlarged the cellar and built a sun room/bedroom, but since 1970, we have just lived here. We did have windows and eves painted in 1976. The house is pleasant to look at, comfortable to live in, and easy to run. The garden gets a bit much at times and we have to get outside help on trees, etc.
My life has changed little during these seven years. My main interests have been Y.W.C.A. and the Presbyterian Church.
The Y has meant a lot to me as through my connection with them I have made friends, carried out various jobs like National Board member, President of Brisbane Y, on the board for years, on various committees and worked a great deal in our Thrift Shops. I have now come to the end of certain aspects of my Y help—I will no longer hold any office or be on thy Board or represent the Y on any occasion. But I have gradually been easing out of the jobs, but still working in the Thrift Shop in Toowong.
I have spent many happy days helping to run the new wing Y.W.C.A. Recovery, or Thrift, Shop. The location is poor, but we were forced to leave a formed shop in Rosalie as it was sold. Rene Stracker and 3 or 4 others, Mrs Moulds, Mrs Hart, etc., have done the organising work, but some 35 volunteers have done the work in our shop and the one in West End. Very unfortunately the West End shop was closed as the owner said he was building, but the place was vacant for months. This shop was in a very special area, and did twice the business we do in Toowong. The proceeds of the West End shop were divided between the Y and Secondary Schools who provided most of the stock. It was a blow to Y finances as they brought in as much money as we did.
These years have been fairly active ones for me in church work. I don't do much in St Lucia but sing in the Choir and help in the Guild. I represent our Guild on AIM Committee and on PAA, and am a Vice President of P.W.M.U. My one job there now is as International Secretary and I prepare and present a 10-15 minute story of Good News round the world which I think the older women will enjoy. I try to attend all committee meetings and monthly meetings and all money-raising functions for our larger church efforts, AIM, Children's Homes, Hopeton, etc. I do sometimes help with a handicraft class for the handicapped people at Hopeton.
I'm not too happy about going to practise every Thursday night for choir, but I like to sing and sit in the choir seats, so on all special occasions when we are joining with the Ryans Road (Methodist) choir I do go to practices. As my eyes bother me more in dim religious lights I may not always join.
We have now come to the point of setting up the Uniting Church (Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregational). It's a long and rather unhappy story as far as the Presbyterians are concerned.
The Methodist Church joined the Uniting program very easily. They held votes in all congregations at all levels and as 75% everywhere voted for union, all Methodists became Uniting Church. If you weren't happy about union you left the Methodist Church and joined some offshoot or new type of church.
The "Congregations" being few in number and wanting for many reasons - financially and to solve staff problems—to join with 2 stronger churches, also voted easily for union.
But long ago some of our founding fathers felt this uniting effort would come up and they made laws to (if possible) prevent a watering down of real Presbyterianism. The law of the church says that if 33% want to be continuing Presbyterians, they keep all the money and property. The 66% of the congregation are said to be seceding from the church and take nothing with them. Where the majority, as in St Lucia—80% or more—wanted union you have no problems. Likewise if 80% want continuing membership. But many churches have been badly disorganised and it will take many years for the bitterness to be forgotten. Especially at Assembly meeting, the things that were said were unbelievably unchristian.
The N.S.N. group had several court cases to try to stop union, but in the end the courts upheld the vote and in 1977 we hope union will be officially concluded.
I have never been able to understand why each side wants what it wants exactly. The Uniting Church says:
The continuing church says we are giving away our beliefs, standards, customs, etc. and there would be no Presbyterian Church or tradition to carry on the real faith if we unite and become watered down. Many people say the continuing church just wants to keep all its power and property and wants to do everything their way regardless of changing needs, ideas, wishes of present members, etc. I guess each person has his own reasons, and maybe we aren't too clear ourselves why we want what we want.
I have been on a Presbyterian committee, part of a uniting women's committee, to try to work out the structure of what we want our future role to be.
The new plans say that there should at least be official personnel, women. This will be difficult as men don't yet want the women in official positions always, and many many women are reluctant to push in where they may not be wanted.
However the greatest problem is that the new plans want women and men to work together. Although the women agree that that is our future, they feel they need some sort of organisational framework for the women to work under while we grow more and more together. The women's work is usually in the daytime—the men's at night. It will take time to work out many changes.
The Congregational women want united work with men now. The Methodists want their own structure from local level to world level to continue for their women. The Presbyterians want some women's planning with future planning to work with the men when practicable. I guess in time through joint rallies and committees and working with the general church plans we'll come up with something.
Clubs and Associations
I've enjoyed the clubs I have belonged to—in order of preference, YWCA, Church, Staff Wives, Red Cross, University Women, Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women's Association, C.W.W., P.W.M.U, A.I.M., Choirs, Meals on Wheels, Kalparrin, Hopeton, Grace College.
I have written at length on some of these groups, so will just jot down a few remembrances of others. I did (and do) enjoy Staff Wives meetings once a month—lately at the home of the Cowan's. It isn't a large group, but we have coffee first and then usually a talk. "Anna", as she was affectionately known, will be missed as she is now the wife of the Governor General of Australia—a happier, friendlier person than "Anna" would be hard to find and although now we will still be meeting in her former home, Anna is only a memory.
I have only belonged to Red Cross for a short time, I don't seem to get to meetings too often, and I haven't helped with Government Fetes or Chelsea Flower Shows. We meet in a church hall in Toowong and although I don't know many people I want to go because of the President, Mrs Sanders, who for many, many year has given most wonderful personal service especially to the blind society. I know noone whom I admire more. I really plan to work with her from 1978 on.
I think I have said my special interest in University Women is the Cap and Gown Hiring. I haven't really made many friends in the club, but enjoy their meetings when I can attend. Some are in town, some in St Lucia. I miss all their dinners as they cost too much! But because it has to do with the University, both Australian and world-wide, I like to belong.
Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women's Association
Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women's Association is not one to fire ones enthusiasm because of successful work or large numbers or interesting programs. I somehow got involved in the group when it met at the "Y" years ago, and later became Treasurer. As we have only a handful of members, I feel I must help so the group doesn't die out in Brisbane. Our only financial contributions go to national and world work of P.P.E.A.W.A. and to give small scholarships to girls in Papua New Guinea who would not be able to stay in High School and so miss any opportunity for tertiary education.
C.W.A. is a movement I am interested in but haven't been able to attend until now. I have stayed in their Headquarters in Perth, spoken to various CWA groups, but I mean in 1978 to take up my membership less casually.
I did enjoy P.W.M.U. but since the Uniting Church we no longer attend the meetings as they are now the continuing church. I have attended each month regularly for years, have helped with the stamp collections and sales, been a Vice-President, given talks and in the last 2 years gave a 10 minute talk as International Secretary, which seemed to interest the ladies and I felt gave some of them a wider view than they normally had. I spent hours in the library and reading magazines to find "good news"—of happy events and successful work in church, school, government, United Nations, etc.
A.I.M. has always been my favourite association of the church since I visited Alice Springs and saw Flynn's church and learned about his curtain of safety. To me its greatest importance is that it is non-denominational—even non-church, as the padres visit all the scattered families in the outback work, in hospitals, hostels, and old folks homes. I have the greatest admiration for the padres and doctors (flying and otherwise) and nurses who for long hours, under difficult and lonely circumstances care for their people—way beyond the call of duty, with love and concern. I want one day to go to Birdsville and other stations to just see for myself the wonderful things they have done through the years. I represent the Guild and hope to work for many more years for the A.I.M.
Choirs—well I've only belonged to two: the Presbyterian Ladies Choir, which I gave up some years ago because I seemed always to have something more important to do on practice days and when they entertained; and the St Lucia Presbyterian Church Choir often combined in later years with the Methodist Church, Ryans Road.
At one time we had a wonderful choir direction for a short time, but he soon found a job teaching music at a college. After that we had the same man for many years, and as I knew most of the music we sang, I never went to choir practice unless it was a special service—Easter, Christmas, Church Anniversary, etc. As he has now left I may do better in 1978, but I rather doubt it! I still sing in the choir when I am at church and feel happier there than in the congregation.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a more recent job and I don't really pull my weight there. When I go, I work in the kitchen, putting the bulk food from Wacol into foil dishes and putting up the prices and desserts with individual containers. I have delivered meals but not often. Wallace takes money and banks it some Fridays.
— Finis —