With the company’s acquisition of Rogtex women’s wear, my personal wardrobe grew, helped by being “Johnny On The Spot” when the new season’s ranges arrived in the showrooms. Opening the cartons of new designs was like Christmas morning. My office would be deserted as I’d rush to the Rogtex showroom to assist Mr. and Mrs. Head unpack, unfold and hang each garment carefully on the clothes’ racks. It was difficult to resist, so I didn’t resist. Having one’s own fashion store a few feet away from one’s office was a dream come true and being able to purchase at cost price, sometimes less, was a girl’s idea of paradise. Wearing the company’s products, including the panti-hose was great advertising for the company’s wares. Buyers from the city and far afield regularly visited our showrooms, so it was important to at all times be well-presented. I certainly wasn’t going to put up an argument!
Dr. Robert Wright, the dentist/Chilean Consul had entered my life, platonically. Shortly after our “Machu Picchu/Easter Island” launches I needed to see a dentist so I made an appointment with Dr. Wright. During that appointment he invited me to dinner, an invitation I accepted. For the next couple of years, Robert and I had a weekly, sometimes fortnightly dinner engagement. He always picked me up from my office. It was simpler this way rather than my going home first. We had all the facilities in our premises. I would change out of my daytime attire into suitable dress for our “date” around 6-6.30pm. From there we’d go into the city to the Gateway Hotel to dine at the “Matthew Flinders’ Restaurant”. Robert was a creature of habit, I think, but I didn’t mind as I grew to love the restaurant. We were always greeted warmly by “Lucky” (“don’t call me “Lucky Luciano”), the stocky, beaming Italian maitre d. “Lucky” was adept at what he did and I enjoyed watching him at his job. It became a habit of mine, (I must have caught Robert’s ways!) to always order the same meal, “Steak Diane” as “Lucky” table-cooked. I’ve never tasted Steak Diane like that prepared by “Lucky”. Carefully watching him prepare my meal, I “stole” his method and it’s locked away in my brain. When I was cooking in restaurants, I regularly let it out of its “pigeon-hole” and I always used “Lucky’s” recipe for the preparation of Steak Diane. Sometimes I’d order dessert and I’d always order Crepe Suzette, again just to watch him cook at the table. He had flair. “Lucky’s” dream was to eventually open his own restaurant. It was a dream he fulfilled a few years later by opening “Lucky’s”, a successful, much-praised trattoria in
Robert was good company, a gentleman. He was someone who had led an interesting life. We had much to discuss and were never without a subject to debate over dinner. I’ll briefly recap on the evening of the death threat against him. I have written about this incident previously.
During the time Robert (remember, he was the Chilean Consul) and I were “seeing” each other, Allende was kicked out of power in
Robert drove me home along a different route, this time, along
Around this same time, protesters were waving placards through the streets of
I knew Robert liked me, but I was soon to discover the depth of his liking.
My job with Kolotex was keeping me very busy, but missing the “footlights and the smell of the cooking oil”, I began working a couple of nights a week at a small Italian “hole-in-the-wall” on Milton Road, Auchenflower, not far from where I lived. “Spagalini’s” was owned and operated by an ex-Canadian,
A couple of months after my mother’s passing, “R” aka “Randall” (this seems like a ceremonial unveiling, doesn’t it?) telephoned from