Marty before me
Marty was English, He was born in Hayes just out side London during the war. He was born on New Years Eve 1942 in a lull during the bombing, He was the second son of his parents. He was born at home and apparently his father’s first words were, stop that baby crying, i am trying to play cards.
He remembers the bombings raid and some times even now particular noises bring back memories of it. He also remembers sitting under the table and his mother singing songs to him and his older brother Bobby. Bobby was four years older than him. When Bobby was 8, he went across the road to play, the family were busy and sent him home. He ran across the street and was hit and killed by a truck. His parents were devastated, Marty didn’t understand where his brother was and no one really explained what was going on.
Nine months after Bobby died, they had another son called Terry. He was the image of Bobby and was always compared favourably to him. Even in old age his mother would say, Bobby and Terry did this, but Martin. He always felt that his parents wished he was the one who had died.
He was bored at school, he did maths and got the answers right but couldn’t explain how so the teacher marked him wrong. No one wanted to learn, if you did you got beaten up. He left school and did an apprenticeship as a diamond mounter, a specialist jeweller. He wanted to be a mechanic but his father said he would make more money as a jeweller.Marty joined the Young Communist Party, he didn’t tell his family but they found out when his cousin applied for a job with the foreign office. Apparently back then, all communist were watched. He eventually left the party when he discovered artists had to follow party lines and paint was they were told. He loved rock and roll and dressed like a teddy boy.
He met his first wife through a boss, she had a daughter Josie and was really keen to return to New Zealand. She had been born in England but had moved to New Zealand as a child and had come back to England with her sister for her OE. She was vegetarian so Marty became one as well.
They fell in love and got married the day before they set sail on a Russian boat to New Zealand. It was a great trip, When they left port the crew discovered there were children on board, They built cots for the children and set up a creche. Parents couldn’t figure out why the children weren’t eating dinner, On investigation they discovered the children were being fed chocolate all day.
One couple were supposed to get married before they left but something happened. They were married by the captain in full uniform, It wasn’t legal but it meant they could share a cabin.
He never got on with his parents in law. He felt they hated him on sight. He adopted Josie and daughter Jenni arrived in 1973. They moved to Katikati. They were married almost 10 years but it wasn’t very happy. They had different life goals. One day he left and spent the night in his car, but he went back . His children were too important for him to leave.
HIs father was wrong about one thing, jewellers in New Zealand don’t make any money, mechanics do so Marty would take on any job as long as it fed the family.
One day he came home from work to find his family gone. It took 3 days to find out where they were. He said it is the only time he ever saw his father in law smile.
He moved back to Tauranga and we met 3 months later.
© Barbara Hart 2014