1939 – 1963 (when she got married and left the nest)
Alexandra Pio-Ulski was born at the Matilda Hospital in 1939 and, as I mentioned on the page about my parents, there was a typhoon or storm or really bad weather which prevented my father heading home to Kowloon after her birth. There were no spare beds or rooms at the time so the matron invited dad to spend the night in the morgue, which was the only place with a spare “bed” … or should that be a spare “gurney“? LOL! 😮
Alexandra was christened at the Russian Orthodox Church in Kowloon Tong by Father Uspenski; however my parents heard the nickname of Charles Lindbergh, the 20th Century aviator, which was, among others, “Lucky Lindy” and fell in love with the name. They decided Lindy would be a great name for their little girl 🙂
So … Alexandra was known as Lindy, or Lindooha which we called her, and the name stuck with her for the rest of her life.
When she was still a baby, mom took Lindy to Shanghai to show her off to her parents and sister. It must have been a bittersweet moment for Lindy’s grandfather as he died in 1945 🙁
At the time mom and dad had a flat at 218 Prince Edward Road and this is where I think this photo of Lindy and daddy was taken.
When Lindy was just 2 years old, the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. My parents, as Third Nationals, were left to fend for Lindy and themselves. 🙁
I’m not sure when my folks moved to Cameron Road but it certainly was during the war as I remember mom telling me that she had to push their upright piano all the way from Prince Edward Road to their new premises. One thing I don’know is how my parents managed to get the piano down from the flat in Prince Edward Road and up into the flat
Thank God they all survived the war unscathed but I remember something my mother told me … when the Americans arrived in Hong Kong after the liberation, one of the officers saw Lindy and offered her a bar of chocolate.
Lindy looked at the candy and then turned to her mother to say, “Mama, what is this?”
Apparently the officer couldn’t believe that a 4 year old kid wouldn’t know what a chocolate bar was and his eyes all teared up 🙁
We used to do a lot of things together as a family – splashing at the beach, eating ice cream afterwards, and generally just doing what sisters do.
The last birthday Lindy had in Cameron Road would have been her 10th – October 29. 1949 …
The only person I recognise in the party photos, apart from Lindy, is Lyalya Smirnoff 🙂
One year later, Lindy celebrated her 11th birthday party at the PRC …
Some of the names I remember from the right hand photo …
Top Row : L-R — Libby Stokes, Deirdre Smith, ??, Lyalya Smirnoff holding me, Lindy, ??, ??
Bottom Row : L-R — Dorothy Kilbee, Tanya Crew, Jo Stanton, Sheila Dyer
In 1952 Lindy celebrated her 13th birthday – the photos dad took of the occasion were coloured slides and unfortunately got quite mouldy. I cleaned them up as best I could but they’re not great 🙁
I would imagine my folks took her out to dinner, as there were a number of pictures of her in a lovely dress which they gave her, together with new suitcases to take on leave the following year 😉
Lindy went to King George V School the year she turned 11, which was 1950, and she did well, both in her scholastic work and in the sports side of things for Upsdell, her house.
You can read about the whole trip by clicking on the above link but here are some snippets of the trip which concern Lindy …
I remember Lindy had to pack her school books in our trunks so that she could study on the ship going to Europe and coming back to Hong Kong! I wonder how much actual studying went on … and how we coped going back into the classroom after such long leaves!
When we got to England, I think mom got rather tired of plaiting our hair every morning so we were taken to the hairdresser’s and all our tresses were cut off 😮
I guess mom and Lindy weren’t very impressed with the hair style they got from the run-of-the-mill beauty parlour the previous month because on July 8, they went to “Raymond’s” to get their hair done.
The salon was named after Raymond Bessone who was “THE” hairdresser in London during the 1950s!
«Raymond Bessone was the first TV hairdresser and kick-started the concept of celebrity stylists. He was born in Brixton and worked in his father’s barber shop until he opened his salon in Mayfair, which boasted gilt mirrors, chandeliers and Champagne fountains. His own flamboyant style was no less over-the-top. He adopted a faux-French accent and was usually spotted sporting custom-made, brightly-coloured suits, completing the look with a matching pocket-square, pencil moustache and exaggerated long cigarette.
«He was credited with popularising bouffant hairstyles in the 1950s and was famous for his immaculate precision-cutting technique, elaborate updos and celebrity clientele.
«During a 1954 television appearance, Raymond demonstrated his cutting technique by snipping off a “teasy-weasy bit here and a teasy-weasy bit there” – a catchphrase was born and from then on he became Mr Teasy-Weasy.»
[Source: Hairdressers Journal International]
So, while they went to get all glammed up, dad and I went to different music publishers and mooched around but when we returned to Raymond’s at 1:30pm to collect the ladies, we were told they wouldn’t be ready for another hour or so!
Dad took me to the Hong Kong Restaurant and I dived into sweet & sour pork. You can take the girl out of HK but you can’t take HK out of the girl 😀
Dad must have told the staff where to send the ladies when they were finished as they walked in at 3:15 looking very glam 😉
A week later a friend of Lindy’s from HK, Deirdre Smith, came over to spend a couple of days with us.
The two teenagers went and played golf (mini golf I assume) and then, after dinner, dad took us all for a drive but got lost so he said that he will not be going out in the car without maps again 😀
The next day dad took us all to the Oaks, a park in Carshalton. This park was laid out for the Earl of Derby in the 1770s, with some changes made to it 20 years later.
They planted trees to make a perimeter screen, as well as putting them in groups to make it look like a natural landscape.
The Carshalton Urban District Council gained control of the park in 1933 and 80 acres were given over to the public.
Unfortunately it started to rain so we didn’t get to run around or do anything much so went back to the house. After lunch we all went to the Royal Opera House to see the National American Ballet Theatre.
The first number was “Constantia”, set to Chopin, then they performed “Rodeo”, which dad didn’t enjoy at all. The final number was the Pas de Deux from the “Nutcracker Suite” which we all enjoyed thoroughly!
Daddy wrote that he liked Alicia Alfonso better than Fonteyne in “Sylvia” and Igor Youskevitch was just as good. The final number was “Interplay” and although the choreography was clever, it didn’t impress dad much.
We took Deirdre home – I think she was staying at her aunt’s house during the summer vacation – had tea and then went back to the house.
I read some interesting facts about the Cumberland Hotel …
The historic Cumberland Hotel, located at the end of Oxford Street near Marble Arch in central London, takes its name from the Duke of Cumberland (son of George II 1721-1765) and has been the site of a public house from as early as 1747.
The Hotel received a royal visit by King George V and Queen Mary two days before the public opening on December 12,1933 – just in time for the Christmas holiday.
When it opened, the Cumberland Hotel featured all the latest developments for comfort. It was sound-proofed, double glazed, air conditioned and all 900 rooms had their own en-suite baths. All air entering the hotel was filtered to clear out any London smog. Two thousand staff were employed at the hotel and a specially built annex provided accommodation for 300 girls who worked at the hotel. There was one bath to every four girls and they ate in their own restaurant on the ground floor of the annex.
The next day daddy to us girls to Windsor Castle again. Maybe Helen hadn’t been there so we all mooched around there, had lunch on the lawn then played there and then took Helen back to her hotel at 5pm.
Lindy spent her 14th birthday in Genoa, the day before we embarked on the Victoria!
October 29th was a Thursday and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Lindy in the morning. We got her a beautiful ladybug brooch, a slip and mail from Hong Kong, which dad picked up at the Lloyd Triestino office.
Once back in Hong Kong it would have been back to school until our leave in 1957 😀
When we came back from leave in 1957, Lindy had finished with school so she did a secretarial course and bagged a job at the HK & Shanghai Bank as the Chief Accountant’s secretary.
Lindy was always happy to model clothes for Paquerette so my mother included her in a couple of fashion shows she organised in the 1950s. You can see photos of Lindy in those shows HERE.
1961 – when we went to the States on leave, before crossing the “Pond” on the Queen Mary and continuing our leave in both the UK and the Continent.
1962 – Willem and Lindy met and they got married the following year.
June 29, 1963
The car bringing Lindy and our father along Kennedy Road en route to Union Church …
The wedding party after the ceremony …
*NB – when you click on the album, the screen will show the top of this page. Please just scroll down to see the pictures.
Pio-Ulski.com claims no credit for any images posted on the site, unless explicitly stated.
All copyright goes to their respective owners.