The following week was my 20th birthday, my friends decided that a party was needed and since I lived in this huge almost empty building it seemed to be the perfect place. Problem is, I didn’t ask for permission. It wasn’t a large gathering certainly nothing like the out of control parties we see today, the police weren’t called and everyone went to sleep before 3 am.
However the party didn’t go unnoticed, I was called to a meeting with hospital big wigs the week after the following weekend.. I didn’t lose my job but I lost the privileged of living in which presented me with huge problems. I worked early and split shifts and I didn’t drive back then. I stayed with friends but I just couldn’t get to work. I needed a new job with accommodation and I need it fast.
Before then though I met up with Ben again, We had another wonderful night together but as I got in the taxi to go to work in the morning , I had a feeling that I would never see him again. I was wrong but I would have to wait over 20 years.
I found a job in Wellington at the St George Hotel. It was at that time one of the flashiest hotels in Wellington. Royalty stayed there and so did the Beatles. It didn’t seem very flash to me. The kitchen was filthy and almost closed down by the health department.
I was a breakfast waitress. My job was to get the room service trays ready and deliver them to the rooms. It meant going into the large chiller past a huge bowl of tartare sauce, I was nauseous every morning going past it, There was also some idiot there who thought it was a big joke to lock me in the chiller. I am claustrophobic so I didn’t find it particularly funny.
I ended up at a party on the August 31st. For some reason someone turned the TV on. The prime minister, Norm Kirk had died. The party felt flat and everyone just went home. Norm Kirk was labour prime minister in his first term, the first for a number of decades, People were really hopeful, that after years of a national government positive change was on the way.
Later in the week, I brought a red rose and placed on his coffin. as he lay in state at Parliament Buildings.The whole country mourned. The hope of changed died with him because National won the next election and Labour would not return to power for many years.
I didn’t know it then but my life was going to change too, much more drastically than I could have imagined.
© Barbara Hart 2014