We had moved to Benalla a year before when I had finished Year 12, known in those days as Matric, in Melbourne. The move was fine for me, but not necessarily so for my brothers and much younger sister. I spent a year, known nowadays as a gap year, but not known of in those days, working in my parents' newsagents in Nunn Street. There was no job in Benalla after the newsagency was sold or on the farm, so I applied to do what was my real love and that was teaching.
But back to advice as set out by Mother. One of her roles in life was to vet my boyfriends, which was fair enough, but not as I saw it as a young woman. As I have mentioned in past stories, Godfrey was my school boyfriend, but there were others around the edges, who on looking back, must have been a constant worry to my parents.
First there was Max, my brother's cricket coach and captain coach of the Melbourne baseball team. Max was much older than me. He had access to events and places that impress a gullible teenager. In desperation, the final advice from mum was 'You can't marry him, you will have ugly babies". Well, that put a dampener on that little adventure. Still, Godfrey stayed around and mum made a fuss of him. We say now that she arranged the marriage.
The second friend who caused mum some worry was Harry, whose uncle owned the Greek cafe 'Garden of Roses' in Bridge Street near Millers. Harry and his brother Steven had come out from Greece when they were fourteen and had worked in the shop ever since that day. They lived above the shop and rumour had it that their uncle was the wealthiest shop owner in town, but not in the social sense. Greek boys were not acceptable boyfriends in those days for an Australian girl. Mother's advice? "You cannot marry someone who owns a fish and chip shop. You will smell of oil and end up fat on chips". So ended that romance. Mind you, mum was sorely put out when Harry's family wrote from Greece saying he wasn't to marry an Australian girl!
So Godfrey prevailed and Mother was happy her advice had been taken.