My father had an absolute horror of ‘getting your name in the paper’ so we were generally well behaved. I don’t know why he had this fear but it was the time of the Truth newspaper and any infraction including court cases and even divorce details were listed. This was also the time of conscription into the Army. Boy’s names were drawn from a ballot for three months military service. My brother was doing an apprenticeship so his boss applied for his conscription to be delayed. Even that was recorded in the ‘Court News’ in the Bay of Plenty Times. Dad was furious. You would have thought my brother had committed a crime.
At Christmas our beach town of Mount Maunganui was inundated with summer visitors and the two dance halls opened for entertainment. Wearing the latest clothes purchased with holiday job earnings, I joined my friends and enjoyed the music, dancing and the visiting boys.
One evening I had been told I was not to go out but as my father was not home yet I told my mother it was okay and left. I looked fabulous wearing burnt orange long shorts with a little black top with a scoop neck and cap sleeves. An hour passed very happily dancing with friends. This was the rock’n roll era and the beginning of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and singers like Sandi Shaw and we were lucky to have visiting bands like the Howard Morrison Quartet and Peter Posa and Bunny Walters performing for us.
I was mortified, then when a friend approached and told me my father was in the dance hall looking for me. I dived into the ladies room and hid. I contemplated sneaking out unseen, but common sense prevailed and I decided better to face the music than be the centre of a scene.
I departed the hall with my father. We walked home side by side in deafening silence. Interestingly, despite my anticipation of the dressing down I would get when I got home, I remember the walk quite fondly. Dad didn’t spend much time with us individually and so I was not unhappy to be walking through town with him.