|Living in Commerce Street Frankton in the 1930s : an urban experience|
Had quite a bit of spare time; sewing, knitting, baby-sitting, tennis, swimming, biking,
picnics at Narrows. When World War Two began Hilda Ross formed a group of women to run a service canteen in Bledisloe Hall. Played the piano for six years but gave it up because she didn't like it. Was not allowed to go to dances until she entered the army, once in the army she went to many dances. Went to a lot of movies, on wet days at primary school they had half days and she and her friends would go to the movies, (recalls scary Boris Karloff movie and the effect it had on her). Church had a picnic once a year, not many concerts came to Hamilton. Family went to the Ngaruawhahia Regatta nearly every year, "You hadn't been anywhere if you hadn't been to the Regatta." Went by car. Shoes had platform soles, one piece bathing suits, had bikinis but they fully covered the body (describes how they looked). Went to town on a Friday night with a friend to look at the shops, met friends, had a milkshake and came home, was safe to walk home. Wrote to movie stars to get their pictures, had a picture of Hoot Gibson, a cowboy star. Father loved the movies and often took her.
Talked at school about the film stars. Radio was not quite so important to her, had more fun with a gramophone and records, had a portable gramophone. Does not think film was very important, no violence or sex in them, serials were more important.
Got fashion ideas from Vogue magazine, overseas magazines. Mother had a dressmaker friend who made all her clothes. Mother bought her a lot of books; Charles Dickens, Mill on the Floss (George Elliot), reading compulsory at high school. Got a magazine every week that was for teens. Had comics, father insisted she read the newspaper every day. Did not do much dating as a teenager, went to the pictures with them, went into the army at around the time teenagers start dating. Parents left dating up to her, trusted her, had to be home at a certain time, father waited up for her.
During the war had a lot more freedom, freed up dating, parents attitudes changed.
Many Americans stationed at Pukekohe, came to Hamilton on leave. Liked the Americans; treated women well, generous, dated an American one time. Involved in the patriotic hut. Stationed at Bastion Point in the heavy anti-aircraft, closed down when allies began to win the war. Transferred to Ngaruawhahia to ordinance department, then worked at army headquarters in Knox Street, then began working at the patriotic hut which was run by Mr. House. Hamilton Men's Rotary Club came every morning and made the soldiers breakfast, Lyceum Club made morning tea and lunch and the Rotary made dinner. Servicemen could play billiards, no alcohol, made a lot of friends.