Meanwhile at home, the ante had been upped, as my Nana’s card cronies liked to say, when they thought they had a good hand. Arguments had now escalated to pushing and shoving. To get my head together after these fights, I escaped on the bus, over the hill to the Woburn train station, and took a train ride to my Nana at her Wellington flat.
Like in our olden days, as a kid in her South Brighton dairy, Nana made us cuppa’s and of course she was still on the wine biscuits, so we dipped and sipped while having big talks. One comment Nana made that stuck in my head was to be, ‘very careful about keeping my boys and girls separated’, I had no clue what she was getting at, so just agreed and shrugged it off.
Back at the Woburn station, sitting around in the dark waiting for the next bus to arrive, I remembered Dave the taxi driver. Using the nearby phone box to call the Taxi office I asked for him to pick me up. On the drive over the Wainui Hill road we parked up out of sight in a layby, to spend time together talking.
Saturday night visits to Nana, turned into regular date nights also. I enjoyed his company and the attention, and eventually we got around to doing ‘it’ in the back seat of his taxi.
On an afternoon visit with the children, to Elsie’s house, we all went to her friend Jean’s house for afternoon tea. Jean worked on the Bata slipper line with Elsie and her husband owned and drove a taxi for a company in Wellington.
My husband thought this might be a good opportunity to get ahead and become his own boss. After passing the test for his taxi licence he was hired to drive night shifts in Wellington town.
I agreed, to us moving back over the hill, into Wellington to be closer to his new job and allow him to come home in his breaks. In my head, I was deciding to give our marriage one last try, and told Dave I wouldn’t see him any more.
Little Diana from next door, Mr and Mrs R’s little Spina Bifida girl, became very sick and was rushed to Wellington Hospital. Sadly, in the middle of the night Mrs R rang to say she had passed away. It seemed so unfair for such a happy wee thing to be gone.
On the anniversary of my ‘breakdown’ trip to Napier, I was surprised and pleased, to receive another cheque in the mail from the ‘Smith Family Trust’, to spend on myself.
Renting out our house to a young family, we said goodbye to ‘Nappy Valley’ and moved to Wellington town, into a brick bungalow with lots more space, in Lavaud Street, Berhampore. It was behind the flats where we lived as kids and the children were enrolled at my sister’s old school. It was a long hike for them to get there and back each day, so whenever their father could, he gave them rides in his taxi.
Our new, next-door neighbours, were a family that all had limps. Both parents and their bunch of little kids all had some sort of hip problems, which seemed a bit odd. Their children and ours got together to play, going to and fro between both of our houses.
For a time, life picked up after our move and we enjoyed the benefits of city living, visits to the zoo and lots of summer days spent on the sand at the Island Bay beach. My husband admiring my new tawny beach tan, was a first for compliments, for years. Whenever he had a good night, getting lots of tips, he would surprise me with supper from a new shop at Courtney Place, that sold yummy waffles covered in jam and whipped cream.
However, our time in the city was cut short, when the family renting our Wainuiomata house stopped paying their rent and ignored all communication. We were unable to keep paying for two houses and went to a lawyer, Mr Gazely, for advice. His solution, not technically legal he said, but the quickest answer, was to repossess our house by breaking in and putting out the tenants stuff, but don’t say he told us.
We drove to our house one evening and finding the tenants were away, my husband kicked the back-door open. After shifting all their stuff out into the yard we waited for them to return.
They got very mad when they got home, shouting and swearing, but then arranged for someone to come and move their belongings. I did feel sorry for them, but we had no other option. Because they were six weeks behind with their rent money, and never repaid it, we decided not to risk tenants again and moved back in.