The “Top Secret” show at Lennons was a roaring success. Kolotex Hosiery certainly was no longer top secret. We’d made a grand entrance into the
Business increased. Our little office became busier by the day. Along with that growth the contents of our small storeroom grew and grew as well. Excess stocks of the various styles of stockings and panti-hose were bursting out of the shelves. Soon, our office of two expanded to three. A young fellow, Barry Lamont, was hired to assist in the storeroom with the packing of orders, also for stock counts and stock-control in the city retail stores, freeing up John Trimmer to handle the more pressing managerial, marketing and sales matters. After about twelve months, Barry left our employ and two young men were hired in his stead. Then we were four.
Sales in the country and regional areas, handled by our wholesale agents, Gresham, Down and Johnson, were exploding daily, too. I didn’t like dealing with our agents. I found the head of the company to be a pompous snob and his son, headed in a similar direction, to be a carbon copy of his father. He was a spoilt “private school” left-over! Often I would see the son, a few years older than me, at various night-spots or social gatherings I attended. I always dodged him, not particularly desirous of his loud-mouthed company and over-inflated ego. My dream was that we, in our own office, could handle all our sales ourselves, without the wholesale agents.
“R” and I continued to exchange letters. I wrote more often than he, of course, being “naturally gabby” in that department as friends of mine will testify to! He’d gained employment at a resort hotel in the North Island of New Zealand at Waitomo in the Waikato Region. He was having a wonderful time from all accounts. I didn’t stay at home packed in “moth-balls” either. I was a young, attractive woman who enjoyed life and all that it had to offer. I was damned sure I wasn’t going to sit around knitting. I was a hopeless knitter, anyway! I went out, met new people and had fun. I missed “R”. I loved him, but I wasn't prepared to let life pass me by, not for him, not for anyone.
Dawn and I rarely saw each, perhaps only once a week or so, and then only briefly. We both were busy going our own ways, living our own lives. She was still seeing her boss, socially and Jack made his odd appearances. One night when she was out with her boss, Jack arrived looking very forlorn on my doorstep. Feeling very sorry for himself, he blurted out to a surprised me (as during the very few times I’d met him, he hardly opened his mouth), that he was aware of Dawn’s “double life”. Obviously distressed, he didn’t know how to handle the situation. I sat him down and shared some words of wisdom with him, wisdom I never heeded myself, but was expert at sharing with others! Telling him he had to start putting Dawn ahead of his football and his football mates, I explained to him she was not to blame in seeking comfort and the company of another as he was never around. If he loved her as he said he did, he had to fight for her, be there for her and put her first in his life over and above his rugby league and "the boys". A relationship couldn’t survive on absence and a telephone call once in a while, or a visit once in a blue moon. He needed to “woo” her back. Send her flowers, take her to dinner, go on picnics, spend his time with her doing the "little things" together. I knew she cared for him but he was never “there”. I spoke at length to him that night and he listened quietly. Within weeks, they set a date to be married, and he became a regular feature at our flat. Whether he told Dawn of our chat or not I never learned, and I never mentioned it to her.
At a much-frequented nightspot, one night I ran into an old friend. I’ve mentioned him previously. During the Gympie Ball Season, he would return from
Still engaged to “R”, I was in a bit of a quandary, torn between where my heart was, made tender and vulnerable by distance and absence. I found myself caught in a whirl at what was at hand. We’d not been seeing each other for very long when Mervyn asked me to marry him. Caught up in the moment, I said, “Yes”. The news shocked not only me, but everyone else around me. A few detractors tried to give me advice, my mother included, but stubbornly I didn’t listen to them, nor did I listen to my heart. I wanted to be placed on a pedestal and Mervyn had done that. I wanted to be “first” in someone’s life. Mervyn had placed me as Number One in his. My personal life had been thrown into turmoil when “R” left. I’d felt lost and alone, then Mervyn walked into my small world with love and caring. I wrote to “R” finally to give him an ultimatum. An ultimatum I’d never considered giving him when he first announced his plans to travel overseas, as I believed in his right to do for himself what he felt best to do, but now caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, I needed definition. I wrote saying, “if you don’t come home, I’m going to get married.” He didn’t come home. I got married.
Easter Thursday, 6th April, at , four months or so, after “R” left
I’ve never been one to have pined for the whole “wedding catastrophe” of tulle, satin, silk or chiffon, penguin suits and lavish receptions, always believing it was all a total waste of money. Following my beliefs, I had a sheath mini-length dress of white linen made for the event. You can see a picture of me in it alighting from a car, which I’ve posted in an earlier chapter in this saga. Our guest list, which included immediate family members and very close friends, was very small. We offended some family members on Mervyn’s side as he came from a large family, but I didn’t care. The date was set for our wedding. We were wasting no time. I could see no point in being engaged again. I'd already done that and look what happened there! We didn’t have the money to waste on a big affair. I didn't want that anyway. We promised "the family" we’d throw a party in Gympie at a later date to celebrate our union.
My brother, mother and grandmother arrived in the morning of the "day". As I’d taken only that day off work, I was busy organizing the food for our “reception” that was just going to be a small party held in my flat after the ceremony. Again, I was the caterer. I’ve always been a demon for punishment, it would seem! Mervyn had found us a small one-bedroom apartment in
The time rapidly arrived. The clock ticked down. Soon it was time for me to shower and dress for my “event”. I could see the look in the eyes of my mother and grandmother but they said nothing. I knew they still were sure that I was doing the right thing, but they held their counsel.
We arrived at the little Presbyterian Church in
Without further delay or hitch, the marriage ceremony went ahead, then the small group descended upon Dawn and my flat for a party. And it was a great party wherein everyone had a wonderful, happy time. My tears were forgotten. I was married….to Mervyn. We spent our wedding night in our new apartment before heading up to Noosa for a week’s honeymoon.
The day I got married, “R” stepped aboard a flight to
To be continued....