vaccinated as a child, but they vaccinated me and that was all right. We all worked right through the inoculations. We were told that somebody might just fall down and they wouldn't be fit to play at night, but none of the girls did; we never missed a show throughout the time we were having those inoculations.
At one place we went to, there were three of us in the digs - myself, Norma and Julie, the pianist - and we were due to have an inoculation in the afternoon. The landlady said 'I know you girls are going overseas and that you're having an inoculation this afternoon. Go and get it done and when you come back, have a couple of hours' sleep and I'll bring you a cup of tea at 4 o'clock, in time for you to get down to the theatre.' We said 'Oh we don't go to bed in the afternoon', but she insisted; she was looking after us really.
We felt we had to do as we were told and we went to bed and lay there thinking, 'This is stupid, wasting time. We're all right.' A few minutes later, Norma said to me 'Cor it's hot in here', and when I looked at her, her face was red, her hands were red, and she was
The Ivy Benson band at the New Brighton Theatre.
burning hot. 'Ooh', she said, 'aren't you hot?' I said
I wasn't, but she said 'Well, I don't know what's the matter with
me, but I am.' Within a few minutes, my face went red and I was really
hot, and the next thing the door opened and a big red face came round
the corner; it was Julie. She said 'Phew, are you girls all right?
I'm so hot', and I said 'No, I don't think we are. I think the landlady
must have known a thing or two.'
Julie came in and the three of us were in one bed and the next moment
our teeth were chattering and we were cold. We saw the funny side
of it and started giggling and laughing about it. We kept going from
freezing cold to burning hot and then freezing cold again, and then
our legs became very sore.
We had to catch a tram to go down to the theatre, and we couldn't
walk up the steps to get onto it. The conductor said to us 'Oh yes,
you've been having jabs haven't you? You're going overseas aren't
you?' and people got hold of us and pulled us up the steps onto the
tram, and then they had to help us get off.
There was a little lane down to the stage door at the theatre and
the girls were going down it two or three at a time, saying 'Mind
my leg! Mind my leg! Don't touch me!' We were all the same, but we
saw the funny side of it and everybody was holding their legs and
laughing, saying 'You know, this is not only blooming uncomfortable,
but it's very funny.'
The drummer and I were up on a rostrum on the stage for
the show and we couldn't climb up onto it. I had to lift my bass up
there and I couldn't do it, so one stagehand took it up there for
me and stood with it while another one lifted me up there. The drummer
was the same: she couldn't climb up either. But we did the show and
then we had to wait for the stagehands to come and lift us down again.
Our legs were really awful.