Topsy and Kitty

“My husband John knew Topsy and her husband Stan before I did. Topsy and I have been in the museum together for about 46 years.”

– Kitty

“Ken Maynard was having a yack one night about the mischief they got up to down at Scarborough when we were kids. And I said ‘but Ken, we had to go straight home. We weren’t allowed to dilly dally, like that. Your parents had to know where you were.’ Well, I was only five.
And I said to him, ‘there was two worlds in Sumner, the naughty boys at your end and the good girls at my end.’ And he said ‘oh; we used to give the soldiers hell in the sandhills.’ And I said ‘Ken this won’t do. You were living in another world to me.’
So we got them all and it was interesting. Jim Sullivan, who ran Radio New Zealand archives said I’ll come and show you how to do it right. So he came to my house and you weren’t allowed to have a clock ticking and told me how to interview them all properly and then he put it on a tape.
It was 1942, straight after the Battle of Pearl Harbour when they arrived. Once those troops arrived they took the school over and we had to go to Woolston School.
There was an awful lot going on because there was a big tank trap along the beach and you weren’t allowed in it. So I had to go and fall in there. And because I got soaked I didn’t dare go home. It never entered my head my mother and father would have a search party looking for me. And I was lying in the wet sand trying to get my clothes dry, because I’d get into trouble with a wet dress. Not the trouble I got and then they finally found me. I can remember the walloping I got.
“You weren’t really supposed to be on the beach. But I can remember dad saying did anybody see the sunrise this morning? God it was beautiful. If I was very good for a week, and that was hard, I was allowed to go and see the on Sumner beach. Oh they were brilliant. It was always May to July that you had the lovely sunrise, but I had to be very good. It was really difficult for me to be good.

I must’ve been a shit of a kid. I broke that many bones. I was really a horror.”

–  Topsy

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