Our lives had changed in so many ways. Sue decided that enough was enough and walked out of school just before her matric year. She got a job at Barclays Bank in town. She was FREE. Dave also left school and got a job at the Daily News as an apprentice printer.
Wilf and Val were doing the best they could with their teenage kids. I’m sure they wished we would just go back and play in the drains. There were boyfriends and girlfriends and a lot of comings and goings. Dad didn’t like any of our boyfriends and he made that pretty obvious.
Sue started to come to church with me and things changed big time for her. We decided we wanted to be baptised. What a performance there was. All the christening photos were brought out and we were informed that we had already been baptised. Thank you very much. They finally came round and reluctantly agreed that we had no idea what we were doing, all dressed up in our christening gowns. We could barely see let alone believe.
Well, they came for our baptism. Wilf cried through the whole thing and it wasn’t long after that they were both born again. Peter joined them and Dave was always somewhere nearby, not wanting to be left out. We were a happy family once again.
Sue’s old flame, Rigby, was doing his compulsory 2 year army training. They hadn’t seen each other since they were 16. A common friend told Rigby that Sue had gone “all religious.” He wrote to her to find out. Lindy and I heard he was going to meet Sue, outside her bank, for lunch on Saturday. He had a weekend pass. We saw him there way ahead of time and we ran up to tell Sue that he was downstairs. She told us to stop spying. Well we didn’t stop. We watched them from across the road. They walked into the Golden Egg Restaurant at 320 West Street. It was so romantic. He went back to finish his training and we didn’t see him for a while.
One day when we were having fun in the pool, Rigby walked up our drive-way in his army uniform. He looked so handsome. Dad was still cautious but mum welcomed him with open arms and a toasted avocado sandwich. There was lots of talk. I liked him. He talked a lot about his baby sister Tiffany who he loved to bits and his big sister Vanessa who he didn’t see much. Their mum died of cancer when Tiffany was three. He told us about his stepmother and his step sisters. It sounded like a Grimm’s fairytale to me.
He wanted to know all about our family. There was lots of talk about our new found faith. He wanted to know everything. We happily gave him everything. I mean everything. I thought we wouldn’t see him again. One rainy night on his way back to camp, he cried to God about his wasted life and got a new one.
Whoever would have thought that a chocolate crunchy could have caused all that?
(See- Dad was a D.J)
“They swing from the chandeliers and turn off the lights and chase chickens,” Dave told us. Of course we believed him. The Woodlands Full Gospel Church was just down the road. We would take a short cut past the cute Hendicott boy’s house, over a small wall, across the church parking and onto Brenda’s house. We ran like someone was chasing us across that parking lot. On a few occasions when things got really noisy, we threw stones on their roof to see what they would do.
I was surprised Lindy went to THAT church. A bit disappointed too. She was such a nice girl. We were given a school project to do together and she invited me to sleep over at her house. It was love at first sight. Her family loved me and I loved them. From then on I slept over as often as I could. She had the most amazing parents, Bill and Miranda.
They were a singing family like us. Bill was really funny. He once told me that I was the bubbles in his soda water. Coke more like it. He drank a lot of Coke. Miranda played the piano and there was always music in their house. Bev was nice and Lindy was so much fun. She loved swimming, diving and dancing (just not the party type) and she had lots of energy.
The Stuthridges started to fill the emptiness in my life. They talked a lot about what they believed, which my family never did. It wasn’t long before they asked me to go to church with them.
It was so noisy. I sat and listened and watched for any signs of swinging or chasing. There was a lot of clapping and loud singing and the women all had to cover their heads. Old “Brother Clancy” would speak in a strange language. He always started with, “Corianda ba shandai!” I noticed that as soon as he started, everyone sat down. He went on for 15 minutes calling down hell fire and brimstone on all who were listening. There weren’t many.
There were some unusual people there. David Overall talked to himself and touched his hair all the time and the loud, throaty singer Dicky Thomas seemed to think he was the main attraction. Gavin worked in a chewing gum factory and he sneakily snuck boxes of gum to all the girls. The pastor’s son Billy took a liking to me. He would keep me a seat and get really upset if I didn’t sit in it. He was special. He walked around slapping his inner thigh really loudly, shouting “Billy Nanaaaaaas!” There were also some lovely people who were very friendly and made me feel comfortable.
With all that went on, I’m not sure why I kept going back. I loved the Stuthridges but I wasn’t sure about their church. I knew they weren’t perfect. That was obvious. But, they had something my family didn’t have and I was starting to think I wanted it.
I had lots of questions but I never thought to ask them how they got up to the chandeliers or what they did with the chickens when they caught them.