|Early years in Claudelands : 1920s - 1930s|
HAMILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAMME
YOUTH ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEWEE : Jeannette Ward
DATE : 26 July 1995
INTERVIEWER : Christene Mauchline
ABSTRACT BY : Christene Mauchline
|Entertainment and Socialising||Employment|
|Awareness of Issues|
Click on a speaker icon to hear the interview.
|Tape 1 Side 1 ||Tape 1 Side 2 ||Tape 2 Side 1 ||Tape 2 Side 2 |
Born February 9, 1919, in Feilding. Had two brothers and two sisters. Father manager of large stock firm; New Zealand Loan and Mercantile. Mother was a wife and mother. Family lived in Claudelands, an urban experience.
Claudelands was a busy suburb; green grocer, butcher, chemist, groceries and meat were delivered, appreciated with the running of a large house. Ran errands on her bicycle. Hamilton was the centre; House and Daking, Hooker and Kingston's, shoe shops. Went to town over railway bridge,
"hope that a train wouldn't come ...with steam all over you ... wasn't paved, look down slats and see the water ... a great meeting place ...you could get held up ...with little chats on the bridge"
Remembers Lowry's bakery, Jones' Shoe store, Dolly Varden, Caro's Bargain Store, Taylor's toyshop, Mackenzie's which had dolls and teddies (discusses getting her toy bear Bruno and her baby doll).
Went with her sister to meet her father in town, he had an office in Victoria St. near Hood Street, enjoyed being weighed on the big scales, father walked them home, had a treat on the way; a chocolate bar or an orange drink.
Went to the swimming baths in a group, had a swim and then came home. Swam in the river when she got older.
Did a lot of bicycling, "Generally bicycles were the `in' thing." A lot of her friends lived near. Father had a car so transport was never difficult.
Father visited farms in the car, in the holidays the children joined him (discusses these
trips and what her father did).
Seeing other bits of the country was an `adventure'. Describes the old cars.
Discusses holidays they went on, traffic man with a white glove.
Went to Auckland Zoo and had a ride on Jamuna, the elephant, polar bears. Bombay hills.
Had a happy home life, often had visitors. Her mother was busy and involved with family and visitors.
During the Depression did more things at home, discusses less expensive entertainments when on holiday in Auckland.
Helped with the household pets; dogs, cats, canaries, fish. Helped her mother who did a lot of cooking. Prepared church flowers at St. Aidan's, discusses fundraising for the development of the church.
"I was the youngest so that I was probably let off fairly lightly"
Elder sister did more. Always had books, she and Joan Cumming (nee Sergel) swapped Mary Grant Bruce and Isabel Maude Peacock books in the library, Billabong books. Good food, sister made steam puddings when visitors came, called it the `weekly horror'. Father had vegetable garden, recalls `bean tent', remembers her father sowing cress in their initials, the children labelled the passionfruit, father grew peanuts, tomatoes. Chinese man sold fresh vegetables door to door. Maori sold kits of blackberries and fruit, exchanged for clothes. Mother got fruit from Alports and Scott, rang if a certain fruit was in season. Neighbours had plums (describes collecting them and making jam). Always had a lot of fruit (describes the different places they bought fruit). Father taught her brother to garden. Strawberries and cream at Christmas was a treat, gingerbeer and lemonade (describes how they bought the gingerbeer and lemonade). Another treat was plum pudding with the 3pence in. Icecream was another treat.
Dr. Douglas was her father's doctor, Dr. Waddell was her mother's, mother did not have good health, was a diabetic but not as much was known about it. Father lived till 90; did a lot of walking and gardening, heavy smoker, enjoyed whiskey at half past five.
She and her siblings had the usual illnesses; measles, chicken pox, she missed a term of school because of a rheumatic illness. She didn't like going to the doctor; "Dr. Waddell had great big bushy eyebrows and they absolutely terrified me." Later had Dr. Mary Douglas.
Religion was important, went to a church school, parents went to St. Aidan's, went to Sunday school and bible class, confirmed in the cathedral. Religion was important to other young people, often a focal point for socialising, comments on cathedral being less so. Discusses the difference today.
Grandparents had died before she was born, envied other peoples grandparents, given a golliwog by a grandmother that she was very happy about, there were a couple of elderly women who lived near by who acted as grandmothers. Mother's sister was very close but she lived in Palmerston so she didn't see her often.
Was not as affected as some by the Depression; "I don't feel that I missed out on as much as all that but we were aware of other people's problems and I'm quite sure that my parents missed out on a lot of things." Her parents were supposed to be going to England for the business but that was stopped, her father took a drop in wages. Mother was always making things and doing things for other people who were in need.
Left Diocesan and went to High school but does not know if this was due to the Depression or because she needed a broader education at a bigger school. A lot of the Diocesan friends went to boarding school; was a small school. Brother studied law; working full time in Auckland and going to University, found it difficult to find work to support himself while doing his degree. Other brother had to decide whether to leave school at fifteen; he was the last intake for the bank.
Many of the young men who she was friends with went to war and some did not return. Rationing, knitting socks, working at Patriotic Hut, Red Cross classes, became a VA, went to the hospital every weekend; "Every time you could you were doing something, you weren't thinking about it because we all did it." Describes activity with Red Cross,
"down to the Frankton station at five in the morning to help with the wounded coming home from overseas ... take them food"
American Red Cross. Worked as a team for the one purpose. Both her brothers were in the war, sister in the airforce. Had parties and dances, met people from Hopuhopu, romances blossomed.
Her brothers being away was not good for her mother's health, father helped at Red Cross, talked to groups about gardening, told them to dig their troubles into the ground, he was a Warden.
Blackouts, sending cakes overseas. When they came back they needed help, father listened to radio broadcasts constantly during the war, she got sick of listening to it.
`Dig your troubles into the ground' is a philosophy she has used throughout her life also.
Attended Hamilton High School, was co-ed. Took an academic course; English, French, Latin, geometry, trigonometry, arithmetic. No geography. Liked secondary school, went from a class of nine or ten to one of forty, (Discusses several of her teachers; Miss Barrowclough, Miss Campbell, Miss Hogg). Was taught life-saving. More scope, competition, and facilities. Got into the under 15 basketball team, made her way up to the A team. Played a lot of tennis, swimming. Friends met up in the holidays, simple entertainment. Not much socialising at Diocesan because they had to go home on the bus. Liked to play sport. Put a play on every year, took part in `Patience' and `HMS Pinafore'. Had drills and displays they had to take part in.
In the holidays socialised with friends from High School but also friends from Diocesan who were back for the holidays, (discusses the present whereabouts of her school friends). At school she either wanted to do something with flowers or be a kindergarten teacher; both involved going to Auckland. Did not go; partly the Depression, partly homesickness.
Didn't feel she had much spare time; played tennis with people, did errands for her
mother, exchanged books with friends, visited an elderly woman, reading. Always had a lot of homework; essays, went to the Library. Didn't get home from school till late, played sports afterwards. She was a prefect and had to go on duty "...and watch that naughty girls weren't walking through the town." Went on lots of picnics, "That was my favourite occupation so I had lots of picnics all over the place", Sanatorium Hill was one of her favourite places, biked out to the country which was then where Swarbrick's Landing is. Biked out to Whatawhata, Cambridge, Te Aroha from Morrinsville. Menuhin came to her school, also Heifetz. Sports people also came; Fred Perry (tennis player), Jean Batten.
At about age ten went up in an aeroplane with Kingsford Smith; a birthday present.
Followed any world events; radio. Did not often go to town on a Friday night, not encouraged by her parents; thinks it was quite an important way for other young people to meet each other. Got fashion ideas from seeing dress patterns; McCalls, Butterick. Also got ideas from fashion magazines; Vogue. Films were also an influence.
Difficult for young girls during the war because of the lack of fabric, she made a coat out of an old grey blanket, others made clothing out of curtains, brides had dresses of parachute silk. Still managed to have pretty clothes, ginghams, linens, thinks that girls when she was young were far more feminine. The `in' thing was to get a Horrocks frock, always made a point of getting one every year. Smith and Caugheys had linen samples to order material and make up frocks, Milnes did also taffeta the most popular for evening frocks (discusses getting an evening frock she had wanted for a long time).
Had a gramophone; remembers `Singing in the Rain', does not think she got carried away by movies stars.
Went to a lot of films; liked Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Clark
Gable, Lesley Howard, Clara Bow, Norma Shearer. Remembers one of her sisters was crazy about Rudolph Valentino, the other liked Mary Pickford. Brother liked Tom Mix. Film; "It was pretty important because that was one of our chief entertainments."
Remembers her first `talkie'; `Tiptoe Amongst the Tulips', at the Civic Theatre in
Auckland (describes going to the Civic Theatre), saw first talkie in Cambridge.
Describes going to the Strand which became the Regent. Went to a lot of plays, (discusses her sister's play group). Radio was important to teenagers, she was outdoors more, (describes her gramophone and her records).
As a child read Pipsqueak and Wilfred, brother had Chatterbox, sister got School Girl
Annual, got Rainbow. Remembers longing for an Arthur Mees Encyclopedia, got a less expensive version.
Had a lot of parties in school holidays, more like a dance, went with friends. War changed dating because the people you met were those on leave at the time, she was a bit too young during the war to make the most of dating.
First job was working for her brother as he set up his law firm. Then worked for an elderly solicitor for six years; typing, clerical [describes how the office was laid out and shared with Dr. Brewis]. Worked for Mr. Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson retired, decided she would like to do something with books, went to Paul's Book Arcade to inquire about a behind the scenes job, offered an office job. Could not just take the job, had to go through the Manpower man "It was very hard to get out of his clutches", he wanted her to go to the hospital to be secretary to Miss Menzies who was the matron; had nursing and clerical experience. Told to `play dumb'. Ended up going to Paul's.
Paul's was an academic book store, Blackwood Paul took over from father, he was a
lawyer and a literary man [describes at length Blackwood Paul, his bookshop, publishing, and her role in the store].
Elections were always an important time in Hamilton, went to Waikato Times opposite Collingwood Street, election board was put up outside and the result was watched.
Remembers Garden Place Hill being removed. Remembers going through the revolving doors into the Library.
Mooloo parades, Popular Girl fund raising during the war, Queen Carnivals, drama
Winter Show was a big event; remembers the big cheeses, Michelin Man, Taniwha Soap had a lighthouse with foaming soap display, cakes, wool, side shows (discusses never being allowed a piece of red glass or a kewpie doll).
Riding events, cricket, tennis, swimmers, Grenadier Guards came.
Public figures; Hilda Ross and Mr. Paul (beautifying), Dr. Douglas, Dr. Rogers, Mr.
McDiarmid, Mr. Gudex (Horticulture), Mr. House, Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Sergel, her own father, Mr. and Mrs Tudhope, Mr. Gillies, Mr. Delamere, Mr. Swarbrick, Mr. Strang (lawyer).
Politics were quite important even when young; knew where Alexander Young lived who was an MP. Recalls Hilda Ross becoming an MP. Dr. Gower and Dr. Hockin (hospital), Mr. Green (Ruakura), Dr. Graham Talks about the people who helped make Hamilton. Talks about the interaction with Maori at the time. Doesn't remember Maori at Diocesan. Mentions grandfather who was a judge in the Maori Land Court and who spoke Maori.