The Avondale Historical Journal
Volume 10 Issue 57
8.00 am and in the 4 hours that she stayed did anenormous amount of work. This consisted of filling andlighting the copper and boiling, rinsing, blueing andwringing the clothes (sheets etc, towels, as well as per-sonal clothes), pegging them on the line, emptying thecopper then sweeping the house (this included brushingthe 2 carpet squares with a corn broom), dusting, andscrubbing the kitchen, bathroom, and verandahs withthe soapy copper water. I think she also made the bedsand did some ironing if there was any time left. All thisfor 2/6 [around $22 today— Ed.]. I remember she leftwhen she was called up to work in the ColonialAmmunition Factory in Mt Eden Quarry, next to theprison. By 1940-41 so many men were fighting over-seas so women were required by law to fill the gaps. Inever knew this lady’s name, nor was I ever allowed tospeak to her.
Madge Hoyle sang in St Jude’s Choir in the 1940s.When I went to Teacher’s College in 1951 she was myfirst “crit” teacher. I was quite friendly with Madge andoccasionally I visited the Hoyles. Mr Hoyle was a dearold man with a beard who looked like Santa Claus. MrsHoyle was a small bird-like woman, sharp-tongued anddetermined. Millicent had left home and was the partnerof Phoebe Meikle. Both taught at Takapuna Grammar.Madge at this time was Infant Mistress at Glen EdenPrimary. She also sang in the Auckland Choral Society(conductor then was Georg Tintner). Georg had a chook farm up Forest Hill Road in Glen Eden (Oratia?) anddelivered eggs to both the Hoyles and the van Leyden’sin Batkin Road.
When Christobel Ash’s father died she had a friend, IrisSparrow, to live with her. They later went to live inNelson, to join an Arts Group there. I think my firstFrench teacher at Auckland Diocesan, Brenda de Butts,also joined this group. Brenda worked in the Censor’sOffice during the war.
Mildred Spargo lived in Batkin Ave opposite the vanLeydens. Batkin Ave, in those days, was a long cul-de-sac. On the same side as the van Leydens lived theWrights, City Councillor Mary Wright, daughterCharmaine, and their extensive row of glasshouses.They grew tomatoes for the markets.
The van Leydens had emigrated from Batavia, Java(now Jakarta, Indonesia) about 1937. Piet van Leydenhad been in banking and his wife Jeanne, daughtersIneke, Jessie and Saskia. I met this family when Istayed with the Crums at Piha (August 1943). Mr vanLeyden died c.1943 and Jeanne let their glass house tothe Wrights. As Jeanne had studied piano with Dirk Schaeffer in Amsterdam she began to teach piano. Iwent to her in 1952 and “did” Gr 8 R. Schools andstarted to prepare my L.R.S.M. with her. They returnedto Holland in 1956 and first lived in Bussem then inLaren – Raboes 9. I stayed with them in Laren 1984 butlost contact with them about 1988 when Jeanne died atthe age of 94.
In 1953 I attended the Ad. Ed course in German atAuckland University. Jock Asher, who lived in NewWindsor Road, was Professor of German at this time.His classes were very lively and he entertained us withhorrendous stories of smuggling coffee into Berlin.(Remember the Berlin Blockade after 1945?) I visitedJock and his wife one morning with Dr Olga Semon. Theconversation was all in German so I didn’t understandmuch. Prof. Asher was Jewish, and Dr Semon, a refugeefrom Nazi Germany, was a “mischling”. Olga was NewLynn’s GP until May 1954. Innes Asher would be one of this couple’s children. I think her brother is JusticeAsher. There is a strong likeness to his father.
Sylvia mentioned the itinerant vendors. In Taylor Street,before the war, we had:
– the milkman who came night and morn-ing. He had an A1 tested Jersey herd and I think his farmwas along Donovan Street.
– the butcher in Blockhouse Bay Road.His boy would deliver orders on a butcher’s bike, amodified bike with a big iron square over the frontwheel. A big wicker basket was put in this which heldthe orders. (Dr Semon, as she was an enemy alien duringthe war, used one to visit her patients. Her maternity bagfitted nicely into the basket.)
– greengrocer, Great North Road, Avondale.His van was requisitioned by the Army at the outbreak of war.
— we used to get
½ brown and ½
white loaf daily.
The Rawleigh’s Man.The Rag & Bone Man
— for some reason I found thisIndian man terrifying and I used to hide under my bed.
Sylvia mentions earth floor. The houses were built thatway. Most houses had bare floors—usually dark stained.When we moved into 68 Taylor Street, in 1934, myfather sold his baby Austin and bought a piano, 2 carpetsquares, 2 lino squares and a small lino remnant for thebathroom. The slump bit hard into people’s lives — a lotof people were almost destitute. I know that some of myclassmates at Blockhouse Bay Primary lived in unlinedgarages without toilet or washing facilities. We did nothave mains sewerage in Taylor Street until I was about 7.We had an outhouse and my father had to bury thecontents of the can. We did have electricity, an electricstove (a Moffat), a toaster and an iron. But my fatherearned £3 a week [$264 today — Ed.], in the ASB, avery good wage then. I think the dole was 10/- [$44 intoday’s money — Ed.] and the old age pension about thesame. (No, we didn’t have a radio.)