When I was nine years old, two of Dads unmarried sisters came out from Wales in England to visit us on the farm. Aunt Angie was John’s Godmother and Aunt Emily was mine.
After seeing the kind of life we had, they wanted to take us back with them but could not take us both. One wanted me, and the other wanted John, and as they lived together there were a few heated arguments as to who got their way. In the end John settled it by, in their eyes, making a very unmanly remark. Angie said to him “Remember young man you have Blue Blood in your veins”. John’s reply made things worse by saying “I scratched my arm yesterday and it looked red to me”. That decided it – he was too ill-mannered for them to cope with, so I was chosen to go with them and be brought up as a well bred young lady.
The two aunts were very snooty upper class and felt that Dad had disgraced the family name by being a common farmer. They thought he had reared us as pigs. So by taking one of us and bringing us up in first class society it would redeem their good name.
I was taken first to Auckland for a short holiday to buy some new clothes, and to see whether they would be able to cope with me. Neither of them had ever had anything to do with children before. Then we went back to the farm to make final arrangements and I was whisked away never to return.
While we were in Auckland we stayed at a hotel in Devonport and I made friends with a girl staying there. She was about my age and we were allowed to go to the pictures one afternoon by ourselves. The theatre was just up the road from the hotel so we would not get lost coming back. I had never been to the pictures before so it was a great thrill for me. We went and watched through the first half and as everyone else seemed to be going out we thought it must be finished so we went out as well and ran back to the hotel only to be told it was only half time. By then it was too late to go back in.
After a short stay in Auckland we boarded the good ship Akaroa and set sail for England. I had a severe dose of whooping cough and every time I went below decks to the children’s dining room I was sick. Some of the other kids’ parents complained and for the rest of the trip I had my meals in our cabin.