Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Get back Loretta, your mother's waiting for you (The Beatles)

Get Back (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 1, part 4)

Dulcie Mary Adsett, my mother, was partial to jazz music - she'd seen Louis Armstrong in concert in Auckland and she had been a fervent Sinatra fan (the copy of Swing Easy I have in my vinyl collection, belonged to her rather than my father).

Adolescent Dulcie grooves to the
latest 78s at Bond and Bond
Her love of music meant that she enjoyed her job at Lewis Eady's record shop, rising eventually to a position of responsibility. 

Since leaving Cornwall Park School she'd tried other jobs before joining Lewis Eady's in the early 1950's; usher at the Victory cinema in Greenlane and shop assistant at Bond and Bond, an appliance store in the 1940's.

Luckily for me and my brother, they hadn't amounted to much, so she now took the daily journey from One Tree Hill into Queen Street's Lewis Eady's, where one of her pesky customers, let's call him Graham, bought his records. He worked just down the street at Eccles' Pharmacy.

Dulcie was a pretty, seemingly simple, country girl from the King Country. Born in Taumaranui on April 21, 1930, to Lucy Constance Adsett (nee Morris) and Henry Adsett (always referred to as 'the old man' by Lucy and her children).

Dulcie with Mel, 12 years her senior
When Dulcie arrived, the couple already had three strapping boys to contend with: Albert Henry (Jack), aged 16; Melville (shortened to Mel but called Ike by Jack after Ike Carnegie) was 12; and Roy who was 9.

Now they had a kid sister but it didn't change the fact that life for the Adsetts was one of hard physical labour which revolved around their saw milling business, with no mechanisation to help them. Henry Adsett, my grandfather, was a tough disciplinarian on others, but he failed to practise what he preached and abandoned Lucy and the four children shortly after Dulcie was born.

Shamefully, when Dulcie was a baby, Henry's girlfriend also had his child a month or so later - a half-sister to Dulcie.

It probably goes without saying that I never met my grandfather and heard very little about him. Although it didn't take a rocket scientist to sense the deep feeling of betrayal that surrounded any conversations about him.

Lucy was a rock, the small in stature citadel of the family. Around her strength circulated the King Country Adsetts. Not only did she have to cope with a bastard of a husband and had to provide for her four children, she also had to cope, alone I suspect, with the death of her first daughter, Enid. 

News reports of the day, carefully clipped out, tell me that Enid died from burns sustained from a household accident - a shockingly common occurrence in those days.

Cornwall Park School, Class of '37. Dulcie Adsett bottom row, far left.
Class photos haven't changed much over the years, have they?
Similarities between the homes of my parents were vastly different. Graham was an only child, Dulcie felt the hubbub of a large family. Graham had both parents, albeit absentee ones at times as Harry and Christina had an active social and sporting life. Dulcie only had Lucy and was way down the pecking order, but Lucy was an ever present loving parent. The two developed the tightest of unbreakable mother/daughter bonds.

Graham was raised in a refined environment with piano lessons, quality clothes and a top education at Kowhai Primary and then Mount Albert Grammar. Dulcie finished her schooling when she left primary school.

Compared to Graham, Dulcie's life was one of material poverty but a richness of family love that Graham could never experience.

So, two vastly different people. No way they'd ever get together, right? Impossible!

Ha! Destiny pays no mind to such trifles.

Love and peace - WNP  

No comments: