Alexandra PIO-ULSKI (aka Lindy PARKS) [1939-2023]

Submitted by David on Mon, 08/12/2019 - 23:15
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Birthplace (country)
Hong Kong
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Passenger List 9 May1953 arriving in London from Hong Kong

George Parks Traffic Manager Address in UK 2 Woodstock Road Carshalton Surrey Permanent Residence Hong Kong

Melitza Parks Manageress

Alexandra Parks

Nona Parks

No ages or dates of birth recorded

Thank you for that, annpake! 

That list was from our first leave, when we travelled on the Blue Funnel freighter "Antilochus" from HK to the KGV docks in London.  We spent about 3 months in the UK before going across to the Continent and driving around.

We returned to HK on Nov 28, 1953, on board the Lloyd Triestino ship m/v Victoria :D

My sister, Alexandra Pio-Ulski, was born at the Matilda Hospital in 1939 and as the weather was pretty stormy at the time, the matron suggested that rather than facing the elements to return to the flat in Prince Edward Road in Kowloon, my father should stay the night at Matilda. However as there were no spare beds or rooms available, poor dad spent the night in the morgue.

Alexandra was christened at the Russian Orthodox Church in Kowloon by Father Uspenski, however rather than calling her by her Russian diminutive name, like Sashenka, my parents called her Lindy. They had heard the nickname of Charles Lindbergh, the 20th Century aviator, which was, among others, "Lucky Lindy" and fell in love with the name.  

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, my mother took her to Shanghai to meet her grandparents and aunt and it was the first and last time my grandfather saw her as he died of tropical sprue in 1945.

mom lindy shanghai.jpg
mom lindy shanghai.jpg, by Nona

When Lindy was just 2 years old, the Japanese invaded Hong Kong and 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 218 Prince Edward Road to their new premises.  One thing I don't know is how my parents managed to get the piano down from the flat in Prince Edward Road and up all those stairs into their flat on the first floor of 23 Cameron Road!

Lindy.jpg, by Nona

I remember Lindy telling me a couple of stories of incidents which she remembered …

  • Going to Stanley Camp with my mother when she delivered parcels and being told she wasn't allowed to accept any candy from the Japanese soldiers.
  • About the time when she saw my father come home with his shirt ripped to shreds and bloody welts on his back which he got when he didn't know a Japanese tune which the officers wanted him to play at their club so they used to beat him on his back with 
  • And when she and my mother at the table in their flat on Cameron Road, trying to winkle whelks out of their shells, which they picked up on the beach, to add to the rice as there was no meat available, and Nellie Tkachenko burst into their flat to say that the war had ended!

So slowly but surely life normalised after August 1945, Lindy went to Kowloon Junior School and in 1947 I came along, just to brighten up her life! LOL! 

In December 1947 my father changed his surname from Pio-Ulski to Parks by deed poll and my poor sister really was upset. I can imagine how difficult it must have been for her being a Pio-Ulski for the first eight years of her life, then having to get used to Parks. It bothered her for most of her life and she and my father used to have arguments about it. When my father died in 1994, Lindy changed her maiden name back from Parks to Pio-Ulski!

In 1950 Lindy went to King George V School and she did well, both in her scholastic work and in the track team for Upsdell, her house. However because of the meagre food she had during the Japanese Occupation, having to cart her heavy bag full of books, etc, daily from Morrison Hill Road, across the ferry, on the No 9 bus then up Tin Kwong Road, then back at the end of the day, caused her to develop severe scoliosis.

She was under the care of Prof Hodgson and I remember my parents had to get a thick bar put into the corner of their bedroom up high by the ceiling and Lindy had to put on a leather strap around her chin and head, then hang there for however long in an attempt to straighten her spine! Poor kid, and it didn't work!

When we came back from our 2nd leave in 1957, Lindy did a secretarial course and got a job at the HK & Shanghai Bank as the Chief Accountant's secretary.

Lindy was always happy to model clothes for Paquerette (the boutique in Gloucester Building where my mother was manageress) so mom included her in a couple of fashion shows she organised in the 1950s. These photos were taken at a fashion show at the Sky Room in 1953, when Lindy was 13.  The Master of Ceremonies was John Wallace, a well known radio announcer who had a part in the 1959 film "Ferry to Hong Kong" as a police inspector.

1953 Aid for the Sea Training School mom on mike.jpg
1953 Aid for the Sea Training School mom on mike.jpg, by Nona

The above picture shows my mother on the mike with John Wallace standing next to her.

1953 Aid for the Sea Training School fashion show.jpg
1953 Aid for the Sea Training School fashion show.jpg, by Nona

The above photo shows Lindy and her school friends wearing summer dresses from Paquerette for the fashion show. Front row from left to right : Helen Feldman, Lindy, ?, Sheila Dyer.

The fashion show was in the aid of the Sea Training School and was a huge hit with all the society ladies!  Lindy and her friends from KGV were showing off new styles of dresses from the States.  

Mom also organised a fashion show on board the Lloyd Triestino ship "Victoria" featuring summer dresses from Paquerette's and one of the models was Lindy.

Lindy modelling on Victoria.jpg
Lindy modelling on Victoria.jpg, by Nona

Lindy modelling on Victoria.1.jpg
Lindy modelling on Victoria.1.jpg, by Nona

In 1958 mom designed a black and turquoise dress and hat for Lindy to wear in the Concours d'Elegance - to go with the Studebaker Champion which had the same colours - black and turquoise -  driven by Ian Donaldson, who, like Lindy, worked for the Bank.

Lindy Concours dElegance outfit.jpg
Lindy Concours dElegance outfit.jpg, by Nona

Above photo shows Lindy modelling the dress which our mother designed and had made for her entry into the 1958 Concours d'Elegance outside our apartment block on Morrison Hill Road.

Lindy Ian Donaldson.jpg
Lindy Ian Donaldson.jpg, by Nona

Above photo shows Lindy holding the Wah Kiu Po Trophy which she and Ian won. Ian is the guy in the middle, in a blazer.

In early 1962 Lindy met Willem Mulock Houwer, a Dutchman who worked for Royal Interocean Lines (RIL), and they got married on June 23, 1963, at the Union Church on Kennedy Road. Their reception was at the HK Club and the next day the newly married couple left for Kobe, Japan, as that was Willem's new posting.

Lindy Willem wedding invite.jpg
Lindy Willem wedding invite.jpg, by Nona
Wedding5.jpg, by Nona

The wedding party from left to right : George & Lila Parks (Pio-Ulski), my grandmother Anna Nozadze, me (Nona Parks/Pio-Ulski), Willem & Lindy, Margaret Gautier, Joyce Liddell (my mother's PA and the wife of Eric Liddell of HK Telephone Co), Eelco Postuma (RIL) and the two flower girls in front were (L-R) Poekel van Kretschmar (her father was with RIL) and Suzie Gunstone (her father was John Gunstone who was with Radio HK? Not sure! And her mother was Hilda Gunstone who worked for mom in Paquerette)

They returned to Hong Kong in 1968 with their son, Willem, who was born in a hospital in Osaka and was 3 at the time, and in 1969 Lindy and Willem celebrated the birth of their daughter, Alexine.

They stayed in HK, first in a flat in Lincoln Court, which was on Tai Hang Road just above Broadwood Road then moved to Interocean Court on Peak Road. They stayed there until the family was relocated back to Holland in January 1975.