“I couldn’t complain about anything”
Evelyn was born on 28 August 1930 in Upper Hutt, moving to Napier shortly afterwards. Her father came from the Shetland Islands. Having been in the Merchant Navy after WW1, he joined a coastal fleet when they settled in NZ. Evelyn’s mother had come out from the UK in 1922, and the rest of her family followed within the next few years. After her parents married her father got a job at the Harbour Board where he worked as a Signal Officer.
Growing up, Evelyn remembers having to make their own fun. A lot of time was spent at the beach, especially Cattanachs’ Pool at the foreshore, which was about 6 feet deep and 25 yards wide, and made by clearing rocks then building them up to make the pool walls. She was active in the pipe band and Caledonian Society, and attended the Port School Balls.
During the war years she remembers listening to the news on the radio of events like the Battle of Britain etc, and having air raid drills at school. Americans were stationed behind her house, and the local teenage girls thought it was great. The troops used to buy sweets for the kids and made themselves popular with their generosity. Her mother sewed Evelyn’s and her own clothes during those years when rationing made buying new clothes difficult. As well she knitted for the troops.
Evelyn attended Napier Intermediate then Napier Girl’s High School, and started at a job at Ellison & Duncans when she finished – first as typist then working the book-keeping machine. After she was married, Evelyn went to live in Wairoa, but returned to the Port in later life to live in the house she grew up in, when her mother passed-away.