My new boyfriend and I beginning life afresh, decided to move away and set up house together. I rented my house out, and we stayed a few days with my now recovered sister and the children, at her little flat above the shops in Wadestown, until finding a house in Upper Hutt.
I was shocked, when I heard that the very much older, Jean, had left her husband and my ex husband was now shacked up with her. I clicked then that she must have been in the background of our life for a long time and it helped explain some of his strange behaviours.
Coming from a farming family in the very isolated back blocks of Pongaroa, my boyfriend decided to leave the factory and use his sheep shearing skills to join a shearing gang in the Wairarapa. When my son in the hospital had been discharged after learnng to walk again, we all moved together over the Rimutaka hill to a house in Brandon Street Featherston. The children restarted their schooling at the Featherston school.
Needing extra money, I began working on weekend nights with my sister, at the night time, Pie cart, parked right in front of the Wellington Railway Station, capturing the train riders pouring in and out of the city. It was owned by her married boyfriend.
On the menu we had burgers, chips, toasted sandwiches, and pea pie and pudd, (mashed potato for those who don’t know). My sister fancied herself as a bit of a stand up comedienne and thought it a big laugh to ask the customers wanting pies, did they want one with the fur on or without, and if anyone had a moan about how long their food was taking, she would ask, did they want it cooked or raw. One time she got the scissors and cut a customers tie right off, for complaining about waiting.
The often inebriated, late night patrons, sometimes complained about the food by hurling their burgers at our caravan or stuffing them into the grill of the truck hitched up front for towing. After closing and cleanup, our boss arrived and took us out in the early morning hours for a meal, at Wellington’s, ‘Green Parrot’ cafe. We felt posh driving around in his huge fancy American, left hand drive car.
One treacherous icy winter night, returning over the Rimutakas, I was negotiating a tricky corner and the car went into a skid, with the wheels locking up, and I lost all control. Sliding sideways headed towards the edge of the mountainous drop, I shouted out to God to save me. I have no idea how, except for him intervening, that the car could have then straightened up and started responding again.
After moving across town to a bigger house in Harrison street, with more bedrooms for the kids to spread out, we were living next door to a family with boys a bit older than ours. I recognized their mother as one of the workers from my Featherston maternity home stays, years earlier.
When she left her boys home alone they went wild. Crashing through the house making heaps of noise doing crazy things, like jumping in and out of the windows. Just after we moved in, one of the boys hung himself from a tree in the paddock behind our houses. Knowing how they behaved, always jumping off things or out of the windows, I guessed it must have been one of their games gone wrong.
Something, I couldn’t understand was going on with my eldest children who were developing into hardened liars. The eldest boy had taken to acting out more and more, throwing bigger and bigger temper fits, just like his father used to do. On one occasion, when sent to his room for time out, he had taken to his clothes and the venetian blinds with the pinking shears. I later discovered the results of his cutting spree, were, the destroyed remains of new clothes and window blinds, spread around his bedroom floor. Each item was covered in the tell tale zig zaggy marks.
Up to now, I had been using the donated strap, to keep the older children in line, once even lining them up to take turns for whacks, until someone confessed up where their missing school, bank-book, money was. I had been shocked to hear from the school the children had been falsifying the details in their bankbooks.
After finding out they had been spending it for months, I later cooled down and thinking it over, realized strapping was no help, and might even be the problem, so I threw it in the fire and burnt it.