New Brighton, used to be the only town in New Zealand where the shops opened on a Saturday, and it was a real hive of activity. People flocked out from the city to enjoy shopping at the little beach town.
Up town, doing messages for Nana, the main street packed with people, I noticed a crowd standing around blocking the footpath and joined in to see what it was that had everyone stopped in their tracks. A teenage boy in the dairy’s big glass window was the mesmerizing center of attention, magically twisting onto sticks bright pink threads of candy-floss, from inside a large, silver, metal bowl.
Mum surprised us all, turning up just after Christmas day, to visit. Getting out of bed on her first morning, she was walking across Nana’s kitchen and collapsed onto the floor, with blood pouring out of her. Nana sent me walking all the way up to the drapery at New Brighton shops, carrying a note, to buy super thick sanitary pads for her. However the bleeding never stopped and Nana had to call the Ambulance to take her to the hospital.
I couldn’t understand why, but she was mad and swearing at Nana when she arrived back home again. She reckoned Nana should of visited her at the hospital with things like a comb and flannel. When she returned to the flats, she left my sister and I behind to stay with Nana for a while.
School, term time arrived, and Nana got us our school clothes, enrolling me at the New Brighton District High School, and my sister at the primary school. On my first day, I was chuffed to see the candy floss boy from the dairy, named Bobby. I had admired him from afar and could now gaze at him across the classroom.
When the teacher asked in a class quiz, what was the name of a mountain in Japan? I felt pleased to be the only one who knew the answer. One of dad’s souvenirs from the war, were a pair of carved pictures of Mount Fuji that hung on our wall.
A very nice girl, Kathy, befriended me, inviting me to her house for an after school visit. She told me she was a Brethren girl, but I had no clue what that was. Because her whole house was covered with blue carpet, that her mother didn’t want the sun to fade, they kept the Venetian blinds half closed all the time, making it a bit dark inside.
At the end of one term, mum was ready for us to return home. Using the toilets at the airport before boarding the plane, the Air Hostess came in, and caught us in the act of stuffing a very much bigger ‘Whisky’ back into his box. She made us hand him over, to fly later, with the freight. I knew mum was not going to like that because she would have to pay money.