When mom and dad came to Hong Kong from Shanghai, mom got a job with the Linen Chest, which was disrupted during the three years and eight months of Japanese occupation.
The shop was owned by Ronald Ramsey and his company, Carr Ramsey.
During that time, being Third Nationals, mom taught piano lessons to fellow White Russians who were left to their own devices during the war.
Obviously they had to close the business when the Japanese invaded but as soon as HK was liberated, Ronald got hold of mom and they opened the Linen Chest again.
I was surprised to find an article about Thomas Carr Ramsey, talking about an Englishman who arrived in China in 1874 and spent 54 years in China without going back to the old country for a break!
This is the whole sadness of the matter … I met Ronald and his wife, Joanna, as a kid. My folks were good friends of Joanna and her sister, Izzy Gawler, who was at Cambridge University.
We used to see Joanna and Izzy when we were in the UK during our leaves in 1957 and 1961 and I guess I could have asked my folks all about their friends as we got older but the interest was never there! I really don’t know what happened to Ronald … did he die or did he and Joanna get a divorce?
They were my parents’ friends, I was a kid or a teenager and finding out backgrounds about these people never crossed my mind until now, when it’s too late to ask and I have to try and find out this information on my own. Such a waste!
Mom resumed her position as manageress of the Linen Chest after the war and she decided that it would be more beneficial to the company to branch out into ladies’ fashions and accessories rather than sell Swatow lace and other Chinese linen products.
She instigated a number of charity fashion shows and the charity shows continued when Rob Moor bought the Linen Chest and changed its name to Paquerette.
David Hill was the President of the Rotary Club and he met my parents through the fashion shows. Mom and dad got very friendly with David and his wife, Naomi.
Their daughter Deirdre was also a good friend of Lindy’s and used to hang out at our house quite often.
Sadly, back in April 1950, a good friend of my parents died when a heater leaked gas while he was taking a bath. Misha Mihaleff was a musician and his wife, Olga, was my ‘surrogate’ godmother when I was christened.
I know my parents were both devastated by his death but mom helped Olga out by including her as wardrobe mistress for her fashion shows so that she would have some kind of financial help. It would have been a hard life for someone in HK when the main breadwinner dies as there was no social security or anything like that 🙁
The photos below show mom, Lindy, me, Balia, Jenny, Michael and Babushka Yatskin at the Russian Orthodox Cemetery in Happy Valley …
Mom joined the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC) after the war and you can read about it HERE.
We had our first leave in 1953 and mom had to interview a replacement for her job since we were away from March 29 until November 28 😮
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