I can tell it honestly now about how mum and dad felt about this marriage. Aub didn't ask dad for my hand, I had to tell dad that Aub and I were planning to get engaged. Dad's response was similar to when I asked him if he minded me smoking (I was 17 then): 'Well, it's your life!" Mum told me years later that neither she nor dad were happy about the marriage. If you remember back to that night when Judy had come to visit and Aub wouldn't give us that one night on our own, that was when mum and Judy tried to persuade me to break off the engagement and I, stupidly wouldn't listen. Sometimes I guess we think we know it all and this is quite often to our detriment. There was also that sense of commitment I had made as well.
After I had left Aub a lawyer friend of mum recommended a very good lawyer so I paid him a visit to see just where I stood. Of course as I had done the deserting I was not entitled to any maintenance but was entitled to maintenance for the two children. I told the lawyer that I was still worried that Aub would make a move to get custody of Steven if not both the children but he said from what I had told him it was doubtful if this would happen. He suggested I telephone Aub and suggest that perhaps he would like to have the children live with him. The thought of doing this terrified me but I plucked up courage and did as instructed. Aub said he couldn't as he had to work and, as recommended by the lawyer, I suggested Aub could employ a housekeeper who could look after him and the children. His reponse quite amazed me: "I'm not having someone living in the house spying on what I'm doing and where I'm going!" That lawyer certainly hit the nail on the head when he said I was in no danger of losing either of my children. Big sigh of relief then. Turned out I had a very experienced and wise lawyer (he later became a Supreme Court judge).
Anyway, we are now living with mum again. I mentioned Phil and I had bumped into each other when he was at the laundromat and he had telephoned me and we'd been to the pictures. We knew mum wasn't all that happy about us seeing each other so we began to write to each other and our feelings for each other became apparent. I knew I had enjoyed his company and how we used to sit and chat about all sorts of topics. I knew he was well read and he had the type of memory that stored it all and I'd found him so interesting to listen to. We also had seemed to be interested in many similar things as well.
I eventually admitted I wished I could move away from mum's house although this sounded so very ungrateful on my part. She had been wonderful on the two occasions we needed her but I just felt I had to be my own person and get on with my life. Fate once again took a hand as one day Phil rang me to say a house in Claremont, near where he was now working at James Clay Motors, was available for rent. He suggested I may like to move in with the children and keep house for him. I thought long and hard about this and told mum who, surprisingly, said it sounded a good idea. She'd not met Phil that many times but I knew she really liked him as a person. Perhaps she also felt she would then have her life to be back to normal as she had become used to living on her own.
The decision was made and towards the end of 1966 the three of us moved into a large 4-bedroom house at 358 Stirling Highway, Claremont. Fortunately Phil had some furniture and mum gave us her lounge suite (the one they bought when they moved from Auckland Street in about 1943) and she also bought the children very nice dressing tables each. Aub had allowed them to have the beds he had made for them and along with other bits and pieces we made ourselves very comfortable.
Phil and I realised we had truly fallen in love and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We talked about what we should do as a divorce on the grounds of separation or desertion would take from 3-5 years back then which didn't seem all that desirable. We decided to discuss it with Aub who by that time was living with a lady who I believe he had met while he and I were still together. My daughter said she had met this lady at a BBQ her dad had taken her too while we were still living in Walcott Street. I have no way to confirm this but perhaps it was one of the reasons Aub seemed to be throwing Phil and me together. He of course denies he knew her before we separated. Who knows? The truth will never come out and of course Aub still tells the story that Phil took me away from him. Nothing could be further from the truth but as my first husband can never be wrong he sticks to his story regardless of whether it is the truth or not.
I knew my mum (and certainly my half-brother and his wife) wouldn't approve but Phil and I offered to allow Aub to divorce me on the grounds of adultery. He jumped at the idea as he wanted to marry Joan as soon as he could as well. 6th June is a well known as it was D-Day during WW2 and we also have a granddaughter born on that day. To me it is also d-day with a small 'd' as it was the day Aub and I had to attend the Supreme Court for our divorce proceedings. We were more or less accused of collusion by the judge and I have to admit he was to some extent correct. At our request, Aub hired a private detective and we put some of Phil's clothing in my bedroom so that when he called on us it appeared we were sharing the same bedroom. My relationship with Phil had blossomed since we had moved into the house at Claremont but we still did keep to our own bedrooms when the children were with us. We weren't actually colluding but obviously to the learned judge it appeared to be that way. He did, however, chastise Aub, telling him he didn't think much of him as a man allowing his two children to be living in the same house with Phil and me. Oh my, how things have changed since 1967. After the divorce case Aub and I went and had a coffee together and I think he really hit the nail on the head when he said "You know, I don't think we ever were really compatible." It was unfortunately true as we had little in common. He liked fishing and hunting and I wasn't keen on the idea of killing things although I would always cook whatever it was he brought home: fish, ducks, quail, and even kangaroo. We read different types of books and even our musical tastes were not very similar. I think it ended up that after 13 years we were not the same two people that had first met in 1952. Had we changed each other? Who knows, but it had happened.
I had of course to enrol the children in a new school in Claremont and in February, 1967 they began attending the Claremont Demonstration School. This was a school that employed many new teaching methods which made it difficult for my two as they had been taught under the old curriculum. Karen managed quite well but I think Steven had problems with his maths because of the change in teaching methods. Karen was only at that school for one year whereas Steven of course would have 3 years there.
After a few months it became apparent that money was becoming rather short. Phil was only earning $50 a week and we were paying $20 a week rent. He had a small amount of money in the bank from the sale of the house that he and his wife had sold after their divorce but we were just not going to manage for much longer. I decided it was time for me to look for employment and I answered an ad for a telephonost/typist at W. Thomas and Co in Curtin Avenue, Cottesloe. I went for an interview and the job was mine. Thomas and Co., a flour mill, was owned by George Weston Foods in N.S.W. I began work there in February, 1967 (shortly after the children began school) and looked after a very busy switchboard, did quite a lot of typing and also ordered the stationery and looked after the postage book. I doubt if they have such a thing these days as a postage book, but they did back then and it had to balance every day as well and even the auditors checked it when they came in. We actually used stamps but I think they later bought a franking machine or took the letters to the Post Office to have them franked. I thoroughly enjoyed my job and the people I worked with were really great and we all go on very well. I am still friends with two of them to this day.
It was while I was working at Thomas and Co that the divorce happened and there it was large as life in the newspaper on the law courts page. I had already told the people in the office that it was about to happen and everyone of them seemed to understand and were glad for us. It was at this time that Phil, one day when we were in Perth, asked if he could buy me a diamond engagement ring. I said no as we had little money to spare but he insisted and we popped into a jewellers in Barrack Street (just near the Town Hall) and I picked out a solitaire diamond ring that only cost $20. Unbelievable, but true. Phil had previously bought me a very nice ring to wear in place of a wedding ring as he felt it only right that I should appear to be married because of my children. Strangely enough, I don't wear a wedding ring these days but just whichever ring I feel like wearing as the mood takes me. Once again, how things have changed in the intervening years.
My divorce was made final early September and on 16th September we were married. He had approached the Church of England minister in Claremont who refused to marry us as we had both been divorced. He even asked Phil if there was any chance of reconcilation with his wife which was rather ridiculous as Susan had already re-married. We then went into Perth to the Congregational Church in St George's Terrace and the minister said anyone who would like to be married by him in his church was more than welcome. What a different answer we received from a non-conformist minister. It is known as Trinity Church and we've often laughed at the old song "T'was at Trinity Church I met my doom". My half-brother Len gave me away and friends Betty and Eddie Simcock were our witnesses with Karen and Steven also part of the bridal party. We actually gave Steve the responsibility of looking after the wedding ring and he did a fine job of it as well. It was a lovely service and afterwards we had a lunch in a small hall in West Perth with a nice wedding cake and the trimmings. Only about 20 people attended as Phil and I thought it best to only ask those that we both knew so there would be no embarrassment for those that had either known Aub or Susan.
This is a photo of Phil with Betty and Eddie Simcock when we were picnicking up at Toodyay on a lovely spring day. Eddie passed away in 1997 (he was only 68) and Betty is one of the people with whom I worked at Thomas and Co that I am still in contact with. (I really can't believe how thin Phil was but then he was quite a heavy smoker (more about that later perhaps).
The four children (Karen, Janet, Stephen and Steven) were off playing somewhere together but I did manage to capture this one of my Steve sitting on our Ford Anglia. At that time he was 10 years old. I rather like this snap:
After the wedding Mum moved into the Claremont house for a week so Phil and I could go on a short honeymoon and we toured the southwest of W.A. and had a most enjoyable and relaxed time but were quite happy to return home to the children and really set up house together as man and wife.
Phil hadn't enjoyed his job at Clays and decided to change jobs and found a clerical position at Westate in Leederville. They eventually had to cut down on staff (last to start, first to leave of course) and his next job was at Metters (remember Metters' stoves) in Wembley.
Karen finished up at primary school at the end of 1967 and mum and I discussed perhaps having Karen attend a private school. Iona Convent in Mosman Park was recommended as a very good college so, with mum's help, Karen began her secondary schooling in 1968. She looked lovely in her uniform (the state schools didn't have uniforms back then so this was something new for her) and I think she quite enjoyed her years at Iona. She was learning the piano but unfortunately the piano we had at Walcott Street stayed there so we didn't have one at our home which always makes it difficult to practise as much as needed. Steven was still at primary school in Claremont and doing reasonably well although he was still a very shy boy and I often wonder if this held him back somewhat as was reluctant to ever perform in front of the class, such as perhaps reading out an essay or similar. He always got on well with his teachers but I was never sure they understood that perhaps he needed a little assistance in bolstering his confidence as much as possible. I guess when you have a classroom full of students it is difficult to understand an individual or give one children more assistance than the others. This is Steven (aged 11) in the back garden of the Claremont house in 1968:
I am going to stop there as the photos I would like to include are nicely packed away behind heaps of boxes containing the books etc., we had to remove from the bookshelves last week for the carpet to be laid. We've gradually put the smaller furniture and other items back but want to thoroughly go through the books to weed out any we no longer want to keep. Next week I may make it a 'photo shoot' with much less story and then the following week I will get back to telling the rest of this rather unspectacular story of my life.