My boyfriend introduced me to his mother, Elsie, who also worked at Bata, using big sewing machines on the slipper line, across the other side of the factory from the gummies. She was such a fast slipper sewer that she made the top bonus each week.
She invited me to their house for tea the next Saturday night and turned out to be a great cook. Serving up salad, with lettuce sliced up very fine, topped with her own homemade salad dressing, I couldn’t help but think it was the most delicious, as mum would call it, rabbit food, ever.
After our tea, some of my boyfriend’s mates arrived and we all sat around in the sitting room, thrashing our latest records on her record player. Elsie enjoyed having a drink and beer was never short, but I didn’t really like the taste of it. For our supper she baked us, melt in your mouth, shortbread biscuits, and a fat fluffy cream sponge.
As Elsie was extra short, just over four feet tall, she told me she had a problem getting clothes that fit, and usually had to shop in the children’s department or alter everything down.
On our way back to the flats, my boyfriend did a detour to the top of Mount Victoria, where in a big open paddock, lots of cars were screaming around in circles, showing off, racing. When he joined in, going so fast, I was really terrified and shouted at him to take me home.
We began hanging out together at weekends, sometimes he sent a taxi to pick me up and bring me to his mother’s house when he and his friends were working on each others cars. It seemed like there was always a car they were crawling under to get all greasy, while the girlfriends just had to wait and watch.
One Saturday, we heard a rumour, that some local lads, singers, called ‘Bill and Boyd’ would be entertaining at the Taita community center and went cruising to check it out. When we arrived there were cars for miles and what we had heard turned out to be true. Inside, two singers dressed in spiffy suits were singing as the crowd was trying to ‘rock and roll’, a new dance craze, to their loud rocky music. Afterwards we decided that their songs were ‘fab’, our new word.
A singer, called ‘Johnny Devlin’, with his band came to the Wellington town hall to put on a concert and we got tickets. They were featuring, a record I had just bought, Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around The Clock’ hit.
Inside it was a full house, the dance floor was crammed making it difficult to find space. Everyone was trying out their ‘Rock n Rolling’ to music, blasting out from monster sized speakers, pounding out a beat at deafening volume. Some ‘Rock n Rolling’ experts were showing off their skills, spinning or throwing, partners in the air, and between legs in a frenzied display.
I was spending more and more of my spare time with my boyfriend at Elsie’s house, up Sidlaw. If she went away, visiting her Dutch friends in Masterton for the whole weekend, he and his old school mates would take the chance to get a keg in and party with their girlfriends of the moment.
My boyfriend also liked to take me into the bedroom to lie on top of Elsie’s bed kissing. I had never seen a boys thing, and it was a huge shock the first time he tried to poke his, into my nickers. I had no idea why he wanted to do it and didn’t like it. I remember laying on my back, looking out the window as a huge golden moon raced across the sky and party music seeping in through the wall played ‘I see a dark moon rising’ wanting to escape.
When my boyfriend told me he had been to see a Doctor because his thing wasn’t working proper, and the Doctor told him not to worry, it would come right when he got used to having a girlfriend, I had no clue what he was on about. I also remember one of the boys telling a joke I never got. What is the definition of faith? answer, a pregnant girl rubbing pond’s vanishing cream on her tummy and singing, faith can move mountains.