Saturday, June 09, 2007

Dame M tale #72

The Brighton Antique Dealer's toyboy has being helping with the renovations to the Exchange Hotel in preparation for the beginning of the no smoking laws starting. They are building a staircase to the roof and are calling Stairway to the Stars. They don't want their patrons out on the street and tempted to troop off to another venue.

The toy boy found newspapers from 1939 under some Exchange linoleum. I chipped in with, was it the declaration of the second world war day? No, he said, it was the bad bush fires. Dame M has already told us about her Black Friday experience, so I quickly chipped in again. Dame M, what were you doing on the day the war finished?

The boss loaded us all into his car, a big American car......started with B. Buick I again chipped in. Yes, we were piled three high and he drove us along Bourke Street. Like you see on tv, people were jubilant, but many were very very drunk. You see them throwing paper out the office windows on tv, but the were throwing typewriters out too. I was terrified. People were crazy.

The toyboy cut in here. I was a (insert name of prestigious private school very near Highriser, he did not say the name) school boarder. We could see all the trams stopped in St Kilda Road. The drivers had just left their trams and walked away. That night we tried to sneak out but the Masters had surrounded the dorm preventing us.

Dame M said, I forget how we got home to Prospect Hill Road, Camberwell, but every shop had closed, including all the corner milk bars. We had a packet of porridge and four potatoes in the cupboard and that was it. The shops stayed closed the next day and we were so hungry. Eventually my sister recalled that she knew a milk bar owner and got us some cans of food. Dame M said it was days before everything settled down.

So the next time you see the bloke in the street dancing in jubilation at the end of the war in old film footage that they bring out for any second world war anniversary, remember it was not all good.


  1. Yes, my nan was happy my pop was coming home, but when he got here, it was never ending trips to the Repat Hospital..war neurosis, affected everyone, not just the poor soldiers who were in the war..but also people like my mum..makes them nutty, sadly.

  2. The Dame sounds very cool. I love hearing stories like that.

  3. Sigh - no smoking laws break my heart. But best of luck with the preparations :) Must be hell to go through something like that

  4. War is never good Cazzie, but hopefully problems are better managed now.

    Cool at times Steph. She is a bit of a hard case too.

    People are wondering how it will all work out Princess, but other states and countries have done it, and the world did not cave in.