We soon fell into a routine of sorts in which my mother would fly my sister and I back and forth between Singapore and Indonesia. Sure she loved doing so as Singapore had much better shopping and apparently some rather nice bars. But that would soon change. No, not the shopping and bars but the flying back and forth for my mother.
I don’t recall the reason AJ and I left the living arrangement at the hostel but we were soon living with another family. They had a rather large, modern home and had a son and a daughter. I believe the son might have been older while the daughter was my sister’s age. I hated it from the day we moved there. I honestly don’t remember all the reasons I disliked it so much but I remember being terribly angry and sad. Of course what I was not aware of was that my sister also did not like living there. What I learned many years later was that she felt she had to watch out for me and therefore never said anything to me about not liking it.
We stayed with this family for a period of time until my parents realized that neither of us was happy. I don’t know if my sister said anything to my parents but I do believe I might have. And of course they may well have known we were unhappy but had not been able to find another place for us.
I know my parents felt it was very important for the two of us to remain together. After all we were already separated from my parents as well as my oldest sister. They did not want to split us up any further.
How my mother made any arrangements from Indonesia I will never know. Remember this is 1960 through 1962. There were no cell phones, no internet and what information they did get was received very slowly.
Soon however it was determined that we should be split up as they felt it was more important for our living arrangements to be satisfactory than to keep us together. My sister then moved into the home of one of her very good friends while I moved into the home of my 3rd grade teacher.
I loved my new home! For once in my life I was the oldest of three girls instead of being the baby. My host family was an interesting mix as she was originally from Illinois while he was with the Royal Air Force (RAF). They were truly a wonderful family and made me feel so very welcome.
Oh I still saw my sister at school and when we went home on vacation and she still felt she needed to watch over me.
And soon my mother became tired of flying back and forth all the time. That was when AJ and I began to do so on our own! Yes, in 1960 through 1962 my sister who was around 12 and I who was 10 were flying from Singapore to Surabaya, Indonesia and back all by ourselves. What an adventure!
Now you do have to remember that both of these countries were Third World countries at the time and there was really only one airline to use. That airline by the way never left on time, never arrived on time and sometimes didn’t even take off. My parents would wait at the airport sometimes many hours for us to arrive. Somehow, some way we did seem to make it. We did receive some help from the American Consulate in Singapore but really that was just to make sure we had reservations and got to the airport.
Eventually we pretty much learned what stops the plane was supposed to make and about how long it should take. But like my parents we knew that was subject to change at any time. In fact, there was one time it did take a dramatic turn. The plane flew off course and landed at a location we had never stopped at before. Throughout the flight the stewardess (yes, that is what they were) were paying special attention to one particular passenger. When we made this stop out of the way that particular male passenger apologized to us and bought us a candy bar and orange crush. That of course made the world right again. We then took off again and landed at home several hours late. Our parents were there waiting for us of course. However, they were not so much looking at us when we got off the plane but were thrilled to see Charlie Chaplin debark! (ok, you younger folks may have to look him up!!) Yes indeed it was Charlie Chaplin that had apologized and bought us candy and a drink.
An old saying that has been changed somewhat over the years did become my parent mantra which I still use at times. The saying they used went like this:
“Pretty damn seldom where my bag go. She no fly. You no more fit run station than god sake. That all I know.”