Donald Lang memories sparked by a letter from Aunt Myra in 1958

Hilda Hawkeswood had a still born baby in 1924, the year when on 24 th January Doreen Mackenzie and William Lang were married in Whangarei.. She subsequently left her husband. Later she left NZ to go to the USA as company for Myra and to help nurse Elsie, who had broken her leg in a taxi accident in Chicago. All three were back in NZ to be present at the famous 1933 New Year clan picture. By elimination it was decided that the photo had been taken by Dick McKenzie.

Kathie (nee Lang and mother of Hugh Griffin) went to housekeep for him in Howick. Hugh was the secretary of the Howick Town Council. Her husband George Griffin did not accompany them. He was employed at the dam and in the generation of electricity at Arapuni. Kathie took ill while there (possibly breast cancer and had a hysterectomy? Mastectomy). She died in Auckland. Hilda may have gone to Howick to take over, and certainly later was housekeeper for Hugh when he moved back North to work at John Courts Whangarei.

Rob Dyer’s family lived in Whangarei, his father was a master at Whangarei Boys High School, and had commanded the Maori Battalion in WWII. He had also fallen out with Freyberg about something to do with military discipline. Rob went by way of an Oxbridge scholarship to the ANU in Canberra. His mother’s life apparently revolved around him, and he always had to be better than Donald Lang (who was ~ 2 years older).

Dick and Lottie Mackenzie were reported in the 1930s to have been in a bad patch of their marriage. This was not evident in the Christmas season.. Until the beginning of WWII lots of family met at Lochalsh for Xmas, the Mackenzies and Griffins were all apparently on speaking terms with all the rest. When Lottie died in 1952 Dick was still persona grata – then came the famous concubine story.

There was a Cream stand on the seaward side of the Cove Road just where Wairahi Road branched off on the other side. Lochalsh was on the inland side around the corner of the road on the way to Waipu past the nearby road bridge. The creamstand had changed function and was the delivery spot for groceries and bread from the Waipu bakery. There were two mailboxes alongside.. Doreen went to get something from the mailbox there and met Dick coming from the other direction over the bridge. He said he wasn’t allowed to look in the mail box. What he wanted was to tell her that Lottie was not in good health. Lottie died not long after – Without extended discussion the cause was assumed to be a stroke(?)

Dick told Bill Lang the he would be marrying again and invited him and Doreen to the wedding. They duly went. On the actual date Donald went on an errand to Lochalsh and was asked quite casually what his parent were doing. He said innocently that they had gone to a wedding in Auckland. He was startled at the result. Later he passed on the story at home that “this had been going on for a long time and that all of us should resist the introduction of his concubine to the family circle”. Bill was not impressed and subsequently referred to her without undue emphasis, and privately, as the porcupine

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