By Jϋrgen D Schildmann
Yeh, I remember some of it. You might say it was doomed from the start. We were both the same age, 19 years old; she was 2 months younger than me. We first met in a milk bar in Wood St Mackay, North Queensland. Her name was Merle, she hated that name and so did I. One night a whole gang of us went down to one of the many Beaches. We built a fire on the beach and sat around it. Somebody had bought a portable record player and so we had music. Listening to the music and passing some booze around, the party started to warm-up. After a while, a Copper came around making sure that we had fun and didn’t break any Laws. He talked to us for a while and then took off again, continuing his Patrol. After a while, couples started disappearing into the sand dunes So Merle and I went into the and dunes too. We both knew what was going to happen and it did. My friend Herbie and I took Merle home in the early hours of the morning.
Her father greeted us at the gate. By the look on his face, I knew he was not amused. He gave us all one hell of a lecture, which we dismissed with laughter. Anyway, I didn’t see Merle for a few days, but she showed up again as if nothing had happened. After a while, she told us that her parents were giving her a hard time and she wished she could find somewhere else to live. So I piped-up saying “ you can stay with me”. Which wasn’t much heard of in them days. After all, it was 1959 and I had been in Australia for 2 whole years. So after talking for a while, she and what seem to be 1000 Fashion Magazines moved in with me. This of course was very much against her parent’s wishes.
I know, couldn’t blame them. Their Daughter moving in with a German, against whom we fought in the War. Let’s remember that it wasn’t that long ago. Some Families still bore the scars. But not only that, but it was just not the done thing. There be lots of Talk. As soon as she moved in my Land-Lady started to complain, saying, hers was a respectable place and we couldn’t do that and she wouldn’t allow it. So I took her aside and told her that we were madly in Love and we were going to get married. Of course, the thought had never entered my mind. Time went on, we had fun, but the Land-Lady kept nagging at us. So we finally gave in and saw a Minister of the Church. He explained to us that we had to get permission from her Parents for Merle and from a Judge for me.
When Merle confronted her Parents about signing the Paper her Mother through her arms in the air and said; do what you like, you are no Daughter of mine. Now we only had to see a Judge. I don’t know why but that went too easy. He signed the paper and told us to have fun. I couldn’t believe it any Questions about who I was or anything. You couldn’t have done it that easy in Germany. On the Day of our so-called marriage we both got, what you call; Cold Feet. Mark who was supposed to be my Friend played me with Whisky while Gino told us a story about himself and his ex-girlfriend. He said one night they, he and his Girlfriend were making love at her place. The story goes on with him lying on top of her busily screwing her, he looks up, and while he is busy screwing her she is eating from a bunch of Grapes. To cut a long story short, we got married. Me Drunk and all. I didn’t find out until the next morning. To get some money as I still couldn’t find a job, we sold my Car to Herbie.
That money dwindled down very fast as Merle loved the good life. We finally found someone who would give us a lift in his Car to Brisbane where there was Work to be found. On the way to Brisbane, we had to stop-over in Bundaberg, but after a couple of uneventful days, we were on our way again. We talked it over and decided to go to Surfers-Paradise first as I had lived there for about a year. When we got there we went first to the “Bikini Bar” which was owned by my Mate Laurie. He was surprised and glad to see us. After a while, the old Gang turned up including my best friend Jimmy. We had a lot to talk about, but we still needed accommodation which Jimmy found for us and paid for. Jimmy and his Brother Don worked for their Father Big Jim as Plasterers. What was a real surprise was that Jimmy got married too. To a Girl named Betty who at my time was the Receptionist at the “Sea-Breeze” Hotel in Cavill Ave.
That Evening both Jimmy and Betty came around and bought us a big Box of Groceries. The week after our Social Security Money still hadn’t arrived. Every time I called them. They said that it was on the way. So we had to move again and we moved in with Dot. An old Friend of mine. I had stayed with her before. Now she and her Son were living alone and had a spare room for us. We stayed with them until our Social Security Money arrived and we went on to Brisbane where I got a Job as a Grave Digger. Next Merle got accused of stealing a Necklace. So we spent all day at the Police Station. Later that day they found the culprit. Next, we shifted to Albion. Then to Hamilton Hill where I worked in a Fertilizer Factory, while I was working Merle screwed with one of my Mates in our Home. I chucked him out of the Window. Later the Police came and I thought that he had told the Police what I had done to him. It turned out that the Blokes Wife had committed Suicide while he was screwing mine and the Police were checking his Alibi.
Back to Mackay Merle left me and went back to her parent’s home. I worked as a Laborer with the same Fertilizer Company as in Brisbane. I had great fun working there. Good Mates. Merle came back to me and everything seemed all right until one of my mates told me she was screwing around with some German Fellow. It was true. Damn it! I went to his place, found her, and dragged her home. Back in Brisbane, I worked at the “Golden Circle” Pineapple Factory. Merle screwed around again. This time she chose Italians. I got a Naturalized. Back to Mackay. Went Cane Cutting again, had parties and she screwed around again this time Truckers. We had one party there that got a bit out of hand, so I took my Winchester Rifle and fired a shot into the floor. Just showing off. By the time I got to her, she was worn-out. She went back to her parents and I went up North.
As far as Normanton just a bit inland from the Arafura Sea where I worked unloading the Supply Ship. Had an Accident unloading and finished up in Normanton Hospital. Very nice Nurses. I got treated for the first time by a Flying Doctor from the RFDS. I thought Normanton was a nice place to live in. It even had a Swimming Pool. During the day the water was so hot, you couldn’t go in. At the Pub, I noticed that some of the fellows in the dining room had Black Coffee with a shot of Whiskey in it, never seen it before. Went to Iffley Station and worked there for a while. Next to Croydon, where I spend a Night in Jail as there was no Accommodation, The Pub had burned down the previous week and it was pissing down with rain. The Constable was alright for letting me have one of his Cells for the night. So it was back to Cairns where I met up with my old Mate Bill Hornsby whom I knew from Mackay. Bill, nicest Bloke in the world but at the age of 22 years, he was the biggest Alcoholic I ever met. Back in Mackay, on a Friday Night Billy used to give me money so that I could Bail him out from the Lock-Up on Saturday mornings. Bill, I, and his brother moved into a Flat in Cairns.
The time before I had stayed at the “Bellenden Residential” where I found that the Place was full of Bed-Bugs and I finished-up sleeping on the veranda. The three of us used to hang out at a place called “Yorkies Knob” which at the time was a nice place in a secluded spot. After Cairns, I went back to Mackay, rented a house in King Street and Merle moved in with me again. I am a glutton for punishment. This was when I joined the Army Reserves (CMF) I got a Job at Sarina Sugar Mill where I met an Austrian Fellow by the name of Joe. We became Mates and Joe finished up moving in with us. One morning about 3 months later I got Home from Work to find Joe and Merle missing. There was a Note that said; sorry! Please give the Cat to Mum. That was the End of my first Marriage. They even had the audacity to take my toolbox with them leaving me with none.