Flatting by Dianne Speed
Dianne enjoys researching her family’s history and is writing stories for the younger members of her family to enjoy.
After four years of boarding school and two years in a training college hostel my PA (Probationary Assistant) teacher training year was to be spent in three different schools at the whim of the South Auckland Education Board. The final summer term two friends, who were teaching at the same school, asked me to go flatting with them. I then had the unenviable task of persuading my parents that no suitable board was available and this was the only option. My mother always considered flats ‘as dens of iniquity’ and whenever she could she would persuade my father to drive her over to ‘call in’ to check up on things.
The flat was above a shop, two bedrooms and a lounge/dining area looking over the back yard. Below, three lively lads who delighted in hitting a cricket ball around after work while they downed bottles of beer. Saturdays were even more interesting as their cricketing mates arrived for the after match function and to ‘tease the girls’ upstairs. What a distraction and one of them was divorced which alarmed my mother even more.
Every morning around seven the Senior Mistress, a delightful lady who had lost her fiancé during the war and who took a motherly interest in us, rode past on her bicycle in her faded black gown and rang the bell loudly to make sure we were ‘on deck’. At school we’d find her at the gate monitoring the students as they arrived and commenting on the state of their uniform, their conduct and their punctuality.
Things seemed very dull when, after the usual end of year flurry of activities, I returned home to the isolation of the farm and to prepare for my first teaching position.
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