Sunday, December 11, 2005

Some of my Dad's memoirs

The picture is of Mal and Joyce (nee RICHARDS) MURPHY in 1982 with their first grandchild Malcolm STEWART.

(by Mal Murphy) I guess it must have been about six months after the war with Germany commenced that the Tibby's - our great family friends - shifted. They had lived at Inkerman St, Onehunga while Stan was a new car salesman for J.W. Andrew - the Ford Motor Co. agents. This business was on hold of course, because no new cars of any sort came into the country during all of the war years. Consequently, Stan contracted to manage a farm at Kawakawa, north of Auckland where he and Rita, along with Mavis and Don, moved and he and Mavis became real farmers milking cows and managing the
grazing etc.
Shirley became a nurse at Greenlane Hospital. (Mal Murphy)I was about 12 years old at this stage, and quite often walked to Greenlane from our house at Halesowen Avenue, Balmoral and walked back with Shirley whenever she was on leave from work.
Dawn had joined the Air Force and was stationed at Whenuapai Air Base where she met and worked clerically with Nance Wright whose home was at Ngaruawahia so they were all employed in essential industry.
Of course, with weekend leave none of them had time to travel to their homes, the Murphys became the home for them in those times.
Brothers Nev and Fred were in the army waiting for overseas postings, and brother Ron, being too young to enlist in the armed forces decided to join the Merchant Navy. I guess he must have been about 16 years old.
While there was nothing official it was taken for granted that Dawne was Fred's girlfriend. I believe that Fred refused to make it official in any way because nobody knew what might happen in the following years, death, wounding , or just wanting their freedom. Nev was more sure and had married Doll before leaving for overseas.
It certainly seemed to us younger members just the natural thing to expect these girls to be at our place whenever they could and it was good fun days. Nance was a lovely fun person, who joined in preparing meals, cleaning house, etc. She became one of the family.
Brother Doug, 13 years going on 14 had been working at a butcher shop in Valley Rd shopping centre both before, and after school. He left those jobs to become a full time butcher boy. I took his before and after school job which entailed sweeping the footpath, raking sawdust in shop floor and sweeping it up once a week and replacing with clean. Also washing front display window, and after school delivering parcels on Butcher's bike with large basket in front over small front wheel ( I wish I had a photo of the old bike.)
In the third year of the war, Stan and family shifted to Thames where he was employed by D.Mcl. Wallace Ltd., as a Farm Machinery Engineer - another essential industry. Dawne was demobilised and employed as a seamstress in a Thames factory (Claxtons) which made all armed forces uniforms. There was no doubt she was a wonderfully clever dressmaker. I always marvelled at how she could design, cut and sew a dress without patterns. I did a lot of laying on the floor marking hems of dresses with a mouthful of pins.
Nance was also demobilised and worked as a receptionist at 1ZB radio station where she met Phil Shone who at that stage was the most popular Radio Announcer. (Probably comparable to Holmes, but no doubt not paid the same.)
At this stage I (Mal Murphy) was also in Thames making my home with the Tibby family, working with Stan as his apprentice. Stan was a very clever self-made engineer and a good man to be learning from, not only as a worker, but an excellent Father figure. I lived with them from the age of 14 years until I was married at the ripe old age of 21 - suffice to say that I always felt like a loved brother and adopted son to the Tibby Family.