Volume 2 – chapter 9 – part 1 – post 70 – staying with my parents while we prepare to depart – taken from chapter 4 – into the unknown – part two – a brief sojourn at stoke – consisting of 7 pages from 90 to 96 (446 to 452) edited on Monday, 10 October 2011
Our ties with Wales were now severed but the ship we were to travel on to New Zealand did not sail from Southampton until early in July 1962 which was still some three months away, or a little more. Despite their comfortable position Len and Ethel Grant had made it very obvious that they would do nothing to help. All that was left to us was to fall back on the family tradition of support when in need; we went to live with my parents until the time came to travel. With only a two bedroom house it was difficult, with only the front room, the lounge, available as a bed sitter. We had sold nearly everything we possessed, and paid our debts, but we were virtually penniless and needed to earn some money to pay our way until the ship sailed. We had bought new clothes in which to travel and to make us presentable in a new country and community, but we had nothing to spend on the voyage, or with which to pay our way when we arrived at our destination.
This picture is the passport photograph of Jacqueline taken not long before our departure from Rhyl.
My mother discussed our situation with Jackie, who responded to her like a daughter, feeling more love and affection than she ever did for her own mother. Slowly Jackie had been breaking away from the bonds that had held her all her life, and now she must have felt that she was entitled to make a few decisions for herself. With some encouragement from my mother she came to me and said that she wanted to go back to work; Mark would be well looked after with his grandma so there was no reason why she shouldn’t. I thought it sounded somewhat radical to have a wife who worked, but this was a new world and a new life so why not. Within a few days she found a job as a tracer in the drawing office of a big company, and off she went each day adjusting to her new life with apparent ease.
For us the radical changes that were taking place were a great upheaval and very unsettling, but Mark was a happy boy with everyone making a fuss of him. In particular he liked to play with my younger brother Douglas who was still young enough to roll on the floor with him and generally clown about.
In this picture I am telling Mark a story and he appeared to be happy though we soon found out how easily children can become upset by changing circumstances.
Mark was content in the midst of his family but when we began our journey he suffered some stress and arrived in New Zealand sick and unhappy. It was not just the changing events that upset him it was the voyage that took six weeks and the fact that we were expected to leave him in the care of strangers who did not care for him as we did.
The ship was an enclosed environment which resulted in the spread of illness which we escaped mostly but Mark became ill with a stomach infection and it took some weeks for him to recover after our arrival in Auckland.