And I Believed

When I reached home that evening mum told me I had a message from Lynne. I had lost touch with her after I left Potts Point. So I phoned her and arranged to catch up with her soon. She invited me to her place in Drummoyne and I went down the next week. We met up at The Hilton Hotel. It was so good to see her again. We then caught the bus back to her place and she introduced me to her housemate.

That night she was going on a date and asked if I could double date so I called the really nice taxi driver who had dropped me at the station when I left Point Piper. He had just broken up with his girlfriend and had given me his number. We arranged to meet at a pub in Drummoyne, both guys got on really well. We talked politics and books and I drank a fair bit but was aware of what I was doing when I went back to his place and fucked him all night. When I went back to Lynn’s she complained her guy had the smallest penis she had ever come across. I did not have the same issue. I felt totally satiated and felt like I had it written on my face when I returned home the next day. My dad gave me a few very direct looks, though it could have been my imagination, perhaps he thought I looked happier. He did not like to see me hurt.

I knitted my sister a wool tweed sweater in the next few weeks. Shopped with mum and visited neighbours and relatives. Finally it was time to go back down to Sydney as I was booked to have sole charge of M’s friend for the Anzac Day long weekend. This child was very rude in his interactions with his usual nanny, a young University student. I had once told him off for treating her so appallingly, at the traffic lights in Double Bay of all places. I also had a word with her about not letting him disrespect her like that. He told his grandparents who told his parents and they praised me for it. Hence the sole charge undertaking that weekend. A and I got up early on the Sunday and went to the march in the city. I had not been to one since I was a child and was very moved by the older servicemen. We then returned to Double Bay where A’s grandmother let me go early which was fine with me. I phoned Lynne and we met in the city at Centrepoint Tavern. There were a lot of very young servicemen there after the march so we chatted with them and looked at the photos of their wives and girlfriends. Once we had been there several hours Lynne asked if I would like to go to her church in Kings Cross with her. She had asked me many times when I worked with her but I was not free and also I had been an Atheist since I was fifteen.

We made our way to the Anglican Church and I found it very friendly, unusual and at one stage felt as if the Vicar was talking directly to me. I was emotional already from the March, from missing Mark and still pining for G the doctor I had a short affair with. The Vicar was talking about healing, and how God wanted us to be well, to be healed. I did not go up for Holy Communion but I observed everything that went on, it was a very tender moment, with hymns being sung during the Eucharist.

Afterwards we had a very sociable coffee in the church hall and then we went back to Lynne’s for the night. The next day I went back to the farm and prepared to start short term work again with Dial An Angel. I was offered a post with a single father with three boys who attended Cranbrook School. The agency thought it a bit odd though so suggested I take the other option, nanny to a six month old baby boy. His parents were journalists and I would have sole charge with weekends off. This was in Balmain, a totally different, much more bohemian area from where I usually worked.

I arrived and met the gorgeous little boy, and his mum and settled into the gorgeous little stone cabin nestled in a big garden. I had a kind of unofficial grannie flat at the back of the garden. The father was away in Beirut, covering the war for his current affairs programme on television. Once the mum went back to work I settled the baby very quickly into a routine. We had a great time at playgroups and going to the parks. The only real issue I had with the mum was that she was a lot like my old flatmate Judy. She expected the home to be self cleaning. She left paper clips and safety pins all over the floor. I was trying to train her In safety for when the baby started crawling.

I started attending the church Lynne took me to on Sunday evenings, I needed to understand what I had experienced there, see if it was a one off. The parishioners were very friendly and welcoming and easy going. I got to know the aged English Vicar and his lovely wife who I became firm friends with.

Each day the baby and I passed a lot of friendly neighbours who got to know us, invited us in for morning tea. It was a very friendly community. One chap always used to lean over his fence to say hi and ask how the baby was. After a few months I agreed to meet him in the local pub for a drink. No plans for anything but one drink at the pub. My memories of that night are fragmented, and what I remembered was so totally out of character for me that I never told anyone about it.

I remember him ramming his penis down my throat. And I did not do oral sex. I remember it being in his house, or I assumed it was his house. Later I remember him on top of me on the rug, in front of the open front door, fucking me senseless. He asked me if I knew the door was open and what if any of his friends saw us? I said tell them to come in, the more the merrier. He laughed and continued to pound away inside me. I had zero inhibitions, which was not me at all.

I have no idea how I got home, it was only a five minute walk but I have no memory of it. The next day I was unable to get out of bed, luckily it was a Saturday. I could not move my head. I had never ever had a headache like it, I thought I was going to die. I managed to get into the kitchen to get some milk to take some painkillers and I crawled back to bed. Later on I had a shower as I felt filthy and my private areas hurt a lot. I took more painkillers and went back to bed until the next morning. I still could not move my head but was having awful flashes of being used mercilessly. It was not what usually happened, I chose the men I wanted to sleep with, it was mutual satisfaction not degradation. I felt degraded because I would never act in a wanton way like that.

By Monday I was able to look after the baby if I kept to the house. I was very uneasy about walking up the back streets where this man lived. I went to the playgroups instead and took the baby on long walks. I felt so uncomfortable about the security of my cabin as it did not have a lock on the door that I asked if I could move in with Lynne and her housemate. The parents were not happy about it. So I contacted Dial An Angel and explained how unsafe my accomodations were and they immediately suggested I leave and take another position. The single dad in Rose Bay one was still open so I caught a taxi over there.

The job was a very easy one and very civilised. We all had breakfast together and then the dad drove them to school. I tidied up the boys rooms and sewed or read or knitted during the day. I cooked a meal each night for the boys and then the father asked me to join him for dinner later. We had a glass of sherry before dinner, talked about news of the day. I had weekends off so continued to attend the church and even babysat so the mother’s group could have a break from their toddlers.

I was unsure what I believed in. I had definitely had some kind of enlightening moment, to me it was if my unbelief in God was expunged, and I believed again. But in what form of God I truly did not know. However as time went on I became more attracted to the teachings of Jesus and eventually I started helping with Sunday School. Lynne continued to continue her wild ways and was always the rebel, especially at church whereas it was so civilised that I fit into the whole scene very easily.

The work position became complicated when neighbours etc were overheard saying that good on my boss for having his mistress look after his kids. I told him and he thought it was funny. I took the boys up to the farm several times and he was very grateful. He also went away on business a lot, he was incredibly wealthy. There was one incident that really shocked me and that was when the oldest boy mocked the Eucharist. He threw some bread down the kitchen disposal unit and said that is what he thought of the Eucharist and laughed. His father was very annoyed and made him apologise, as a Jew to a Christian.

Towards the end of the year I was offered a room in a church owned house and I decided to finish live in nannying and look for live out nannying or for carer type work. I was picked up and moved into the house by a young chap who had a big crush on me. His whole family were religious and he had done some training overseas with YWAM.

I started doing dressmaking and nannying work and then a medical specialist at church asked if I could look after her elderly dad three days a week. It was wonderful working with an Alzheimer’s patient. I knew absolutely nothing about what to do but instinctively kept him busy cooking and gardening in the morning. Watching talk shows on television and discussing the questions raised with him. After a rest in the early afternoon we would go down to Double Bay for a coffee and a walk. It was rewarding and also fun.

Christmas came and my sister who was supposed to pick me up did not turn up so I was invited to the Curate’s home for Christmas Dinner. I was already a regular there as I babysat the two gorgeous boys so their mum could get out. She was a Social Worker and also counselled parishioners and I loved and respected her so much.

Then on Boxing Day the Vicar asked me around for lunch. There were a lot of people my age including a very quiet English chap who had joined the church a month or so before. The Vicar took the men off to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart race and us ladies stayed and chatted. I was very fond of the Vicar’s wife, we got on very well and we had some deep talks over washing up!

Over the next weeks this chap and my path crossed a lot. He was very quiet but a prolific prayer person. Very fervent in his attitude to prayer in the church whereas I was embarrassed by any displays of emotion or by any overt Bible bashing. We became friends through church and other get togethers and then one day my friend K who had started coming to stay with me at weekends rang me to tell me he had been in a bad car accident.

He had been jogging with a friend and hit by a car on a crossing and thrown across several lanes of traffic. His back was fractured as was his upper arm. I often visited aged care facilities and sick people in hospital so I popped in to see him. I would take whatever knitting project I was working on at the time and keep him company for a while. Once he was out and starting to recover I was surprised to find Black Magik Chocolates and a dozen red roses were left for me at my flat.

We started to go everywhere together though I was a bit baffled by his timidity at taking the relationship any further, especially as we spent a few hours together each day. Then he had to return to the UK as his work visa expired. We had been to The Blue Mountains for the day and then on to a meeting that night when we went for a meal and he asked me if there was any way I would consider going to the UK to work and live. And a lot of other stuff about hoping I felt the same way about him as he did me. He returned to the UK and about a month later I flew over, after a huge row with my father who insisted he migrate over here instead of me going over there.

Sydney 1976

I found a room in a luxe place in Rose Bay, it had blue velvet flocked wallpaper and lots of chandeliers. Not really my style but clean and in a secure building. A friend from training school had nowhere else to go and shared my mattress there. Everyone thought we were gay, which was funny as she was extremely religious and left a few months later as the lifestyle did not suit her. Eventually though we all moved out and I shared a flat in Waverley with Judy, an older hostie from the flat who used to be a hairdresser.

I had been going to the Edward Beale chain of hair salons in Melbourne and then in Brisbane and finally in the city in Sydney. They regularly did model’s hair for advertisements. There I met Rodney Skepper the incredibly talented manager. He asked me to do a hair show for him at the Hilton where he cut my Purdie hairstyle and added an owl type peak at the front. Incredible precision cutting. After the show he brought me home and kissed me passionately and belched in my mouth. Then he went off to gargle and looking sheepish, went home. I had to crew the next day so Edward Beale himself cut the owl peak off. Crooked, Rodney’s work of art. I rang him and he was so upset. He tidied the fringe for me and we started going out. As with a lot of male hairdressers he was well ahead of his time, a metrosexual. We made love on our second date, had a great time going to movies and meeting each other’s friends. He was seriously funny. I always stayed at his place as was uncomfortable at mine with Judy there. No boyfriend, with a big sister hangup. First time I stayed over she met me at the door and hugged me and called me a dirty stop out. She liked him a lot and went in to get her hair cut by him regularly.

Rodney picked me up from Noraville in his Porsche. Mum was very shy but Dad came back early from work to meet him and loved the car. My nickname was “springy pom-pom” and Rodney was a lot of fun. I loved him. After several months he got funding from backers in Melbourne and while he waited for his salon to be opened he cut hair in his home. Judy came to get her pageboy length hair done and in front of us both called me a boy because of my shorter hairstyle. Rodney, who I had never heard a nasty word from, told her tartly that I had a perfect oval face and could wear my hair in any style. Hostesses used to introduce me to people as the one with the hairdresser boyfriend, however I blow dried my own hair, not an easy job with my geometric cut and thick hair.

Eventually Rodney was going to Melbourne regularly to meet his backers and working erratic hours to get things going at his new salon. He expected me to fit in with him but my own schedule also needed fitting around. I did not like going for a quick shag. I felt it demeaned me. So I broke up with him.

During the year I saw a top Professor at The Women’s Hospital in Paddington for breakthrough bleeding. When he came into the waiting room he beamed at me in my Pru Acton shirtdress with splits up to the thigh on each side, the one Rodney loved diving headfirst under and had me laughing hysterically. The Professor said to the room first in best dressed and pointed at me. Apart from Prue Acton I loved Trent Nathan clothing, and sometimes Vogue designer patterns to make my own clothing. The Professor put me on straight oestrogen due to the severe period pain needing treatment. He knew Dr David Bennett I met during my previous job regularly gave me buscopan shots . However a consequence of the Oestrogen was that the migraines worsened, horrifically.

One day I was going from the Hostess lounge down some steps and literally flew through the air, landed on my feet minus one shoe. I had guys saying nobody had ever fallen for them quite like that before. While I was laughing one of them went to get my shoe and others picked me up and brushed me off. I then thanked them and on the way back I took the escalator and I suddenly looked up and recognised Stuart Cameron from school. With Trent Nathan who he assisted. After lots of hugs and kisses and oh my gods from Stuart I found out they were to be on my next flight. I told them I would see them soon and when on board offered them a complimentary drink. My crew leader was married and in her thirties and far more sophisticated than I and gave me the idea.

I met up with my old trainer Gail a lot, we were so close Shirley said people were saying we were gay. Seriously. One day a Qantas board member praised me on a flight. Said I looked perfect and even better had handled a really difficult situation with the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar very well. And he gave me his card asked me to seriously consider Qantas as a career pathway.

Some highlights of that year were ABBA coming to Sydney. We also heard in the Hostess Lounge about this amazingly beautiful woman on a flight with Lee Major. The girls said she dazzled she was so beautiful, though she seemed shy. Daryl Summers was a favourite passenger as was Sky Hooks Shirley Straughn. Red was also on board but I did not like him at all. He got right in my body space and ogled me up and down as if he was going to eat me or something. It was horrid. However I got so many praise letters to my superiors from these people and others that I got told off for working above the team.

One memorable flight was when One Flew Over The Cookoo’s Nest was released here. I was in the front gallery securing everything ready for takeoff and knew someone was taking their time in the First Class Toilet. Eventually the door opened and I smelled marijuana and Jack Nicholson came out, smiled cheekily and moved into the cabin. A little earlier I was waiting for passengers to board and observing the top of my shoes when I realised there was a pair of men’s shoes in front of me. I looked up and Michael Douglas loomed into view. He was smiling, tired looking but friendly.

During the flight Jack monopolised my attention. He was aware of everything that was around him, especially me! He asked me if I was aware that after I asked passengers if they would like a drink I lowered my eyes. Each time. I said I was not aware of that. He said he adored my hair cut. Said it made me look cheeky. Was I cheeky? I said my boyfriend would know. He smiled and asked me about my life. My flight partner said she would take care of the passengers to give me time to concentrate on talking to him. I also tried to talk to Michael Douglas who was charming and said he had been listening and had not been able to get a word in. I told him my 11 year old brother loved Streets of San Francisco, as did I and he signed a coaster for my brother. So did Jack, along with a lot of cheeky looks. Eventually Jack asked me if I was frightened of him, as he quite liked that. I said not at all, unconsciously lowering my eyes as I said it damnit. He was charming, cheeky and fascinating, I was so glad I had a boyfriend at the time as am not sure what would have happened otherwise.

During the middle of the year I went overseas to UK to see my grandparents. I arranged to meet Rodney over there, I had missed him and we had reconciled as friends. While over there I babysat my young cousins Anna and Emma. Went around a lot with their mother who was a hairdresser and had married later in life. I also stayed with one of mum’s sisters and regularly went from there to Chalfont St Peter to see mum’s other sister and family. The sister who was there when I was born.

I celebrated my 21st birthday that year. On one leg of the day’s flights the Captain announced it was my 21st and the whole cabin exploded in applause and then sang Happy Birthday To You and various other ditties. We had a get together of friends that evening at my flat in Clovelly. Dad gave me some money for drinks and several school friends came including Stuart and some boys from my Tech Drawing class. Rodney brought several single hot guys and asked me when he left when I was going to bed with him again. I smiled and kissed him and went back inside, alone.

Several of the trainer hostesses I flew with who asked the cabin crew to their rooms for drinks on stop overs stripped naked once everyone had gone and tried to come onto me. I met one of them later when I visited a friend. She loved my thick hair and liked caressing it.

Towards the end of 1976 I met the owner on a Perth flight of several huge fashion shops on the North Shore. He offered me a job as his showroom collection model. I was living in Edgecliff then in a huge art deco apartment with a roommate who was an account executive. The owner of the boutiques came round and brought a whole lot of clothing around for me to try on for him. Then he arranged to meet me at the showroom shop. He brought out a lot of cream cheesecloth maxis with lace inserts. Totally incredible and I tried them all on with only my bikini panties under them. Strange feeling of being covered yet with a suggestion of being naked. I became a bit uneasy as he kept saying how sexy I looked. How the innocent dresses on me cried out for someone to fuck me. I do not know if it was a selling tool or what. I just felt very uncomfortable as when he came over to my place next he would not leave the room when I changed. All I had on were skimpy lace knickers. He helped me into everything and zipped me up very slowly while watching me in front of the mirror.

I knew he was married with children. He again offered me the job and I was tempted but I did not know what else came with it. I was not going to have sex with my boss for a job as I had a great job anyway. A few hostesses warned me I would not like it because they said I would became a piece of meat. But none of them had the experience of an incredibly wealthy employer treating them like their personal possession.

For the last three months of 1976 my migraines set in with a vengeance until I did not have a day without pain. The takeoff and landings were agony and after a lot of thought I resigned as I could not do the job properly while in such pain. I was heartbroken as I loved my life and indeed my lifestyle.