Diane Hume-Green will be well-known around Tauranga as a long-time TedX organiser, daughter of the Hayman jazz family and talented fabric and stitch creative. She may not be so well-known as a short story writer, arts journalist and member of Tauranga Writers Inc.
The 2016 Tauranga Writers Inc. anthology, Byline, contains a short story by Diane about her late grandmother – through the examination of the contents of a small,battered, old case.
Diane’s a member of the venerable old Tauranga institution, The Lyceum Club. It’s a “ladies” club on First Avenue. Diane’s going to talk to her fellow members about her Byline contribution as the after-lunch speech.
The Lyceum Club owns and functions in one of the older houses which lined the early Avenues in the days of a smaller and slower Tauranga. If you look carefully at Grindz Cafe and Alimento – you’ll see less obvious examples of domestic transformation.
There’s a very large old tree in what would have once been the front garden but is now the tarsealed carpark in front of the Club – a particularly prized asset for parking challenged Downtown Tauranga.
The quite large former house is decorated in a conventional, homely, middle-class style – it’s not the modernity of the Tauranga Club housed in the Devonport Towers. It’s reminiscent of every older grandmother’s house you’ve been to – you half expect your own grandma to suddenly appear with her baking and cups of tea.
The front door is supposed to be locked but when I show up, supposedly when coffee is being taken at the conclusion of lunch, it’s either not properly closed or one of the members who’s leaving lets me in. I’m greeted by the lady with the appropriately assigned task of door person and raffle ticket seller.
I don’t want a coffee so I sit and wait, like the Doctors, for the ladies to conclude their lunch. While I’m waiting for them to reassemble in the meeting room I have time to think how much the meetings must be like those of my former Rotary Club – though we didn’t have the delicious delight of knowing we owned the premises.
The audience gathers and Diane is introduced to her fellow members as the speaker. Unlike some of the after dinner Rotary speakers I’ve endured Diane is witty and engaging and she gives us all an insight into her late grandmother through the superbly crafted and now vintage items in the little suitcase.
There are pieces that have been entered in A & P Shows of years past – the crochet edged apron still with its category ticket pinned on it. Diane also recalls wonderful adult clothing, dresses and gowns epitomised by the closely crocheted gloves.
We all laugh as we remember these days when little girls were all dressed alike in pretty “homemade” dresses or pleated tartan skirts on those little white cotton bodices. The war years and “unpc jokes” and beautiful photo albums recording every year. The grandmother’s hats and tiny round glasses….
It’s a delightful insight into a the paternal grandmother “who was elderly when I was little…and whom I didn’t really know…” There’s continuity and appreciation and it’s clear from where the stitch, fabric and design talents may have found their way into Diane’s DNA – and perhaps the vivid imagination Diane confesses to.
It’s not a long talk – and it’s sincerely appreciated by the Club members – and me. The meeting concludes with two members being congratulated on “significant birthdays” – we’re talking in the nineties!
Afterwards I meet some very pleasant Club members and Anton Moonen of The Bay Waka comes in with the owner of that Downtown Tauranga institution, Versailles, the french cafe on Grey Street. They’re looking for a venue for a dinner and theatre/performance enterprise and the Lyceum Club has been suggested as it is able to be hired as a venue. They walk about and talk – they talk to me and then we leave. I didn’t win the raffle.
Outside there is an unexpected highlight, Diane introduces me to her mother, Beverly (Bev) Hayman. I’ve heard so much about this hardworking business woman and member of the Tauranga jazz community. She’s exactly what I would expect – she radiates vitality and charm. I go away laughing – she made my day.
And you can expect more from Diane – she’s writing a novel.
You can read Diane’s contributions to ARTbop in Scene about Town.
Byline 2016 costs $20. and can be purchased from Tauranga Writers Inc. check out their website www.taurangawriters.org.nz
Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.