It was sometime in mid-1954 when our parents announced to the assembled Dickettes – brother Colin, sister Janice and myself, ‘we’re shifting to Brighton, we’ve bought that shop out there’. At that time there were five shops at Brighton, but I knew exactly what shop they were talking about.
Since moving to Dunedin from Auckland four years earlier, we had discovered Sunday drives and Brighton became one of our regular destinations, with afternoon tea in the shop by the boatsheds – afternoon tea for the big people and room-temperature fizzy drinks for the three smaller folk. Chiller cabinets had yet to be invented.
We’d sit in one of the milk bar-styled booths, and even though it was late afternoon there was still a constant stream of customers wanting ice creams and stuff like that. Mum and Dad would say, ‘This place is always busy – it must be a goldmine.’
And now here we were, without any warning, we were going to live there. I had notions of being able to gorge myself on ice cream and chocolate biscuits.
The downside was that the flash American Studebaker car, of which I was so very proud, was going to be sold and re-placed by a truly embarrassing device called a Bradford – a van powered by a puny, two-cylinder engine dating back to 1912.
Still, those ice creams and chocolate biscuits weren’t a bad consolation, along with my other favourites – Rolos, Lifesavers, Fruitos (round boiled sweets that came in rolls), and Whittaker’s tuppenny toffee bars.
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