Marie Rose Pickering wrote in a Brisbane, Australia newspaper in the late 1930s that her black housekeeper, who came once a week to polish floors, was way ahead of her “in the development of character and personality.”
Marie admired how hard her housekeeper, Daisy, worked after walking five miles from the “blacks’ camp.” Marie Pickering went to Australia after her husband, Julius Kruttschnitt, Jr., took a post as general manger of the Mount Isa Mines.
“You see, Daisy has a conscience, as rare a possession as is the aforesaid performance, but, the faster and harder she works the more her white sisters ply her with labour,” wrote Mrs. Kruttschnitt. “Sometimes the hands of the clock point to ten in the evening before Daisy utters her pricelss ‘Ta’ for a few shillings. Shared of the award!”
Though Daisy belonged to the church of England, Mrs. Kruttschnitt, “delved into the corners of her soul” and found she still harbored some old beliefs. “She still nurses those legends whispered by the gum, oozing out of the deep water holes, welling from the breast of Nature and flying amid her starlit roof in the bush.”
Mrs. Kruttschnitt, whose poetry was published as a teenager, goes on to say that Daisy shared so much folklore that at first she thought her mad. “I who was taught to believe implicitly in the ark, full steam ahead–the submarine experience of Jonah–the clipper flight of Elijah.” Daisy, she writes, has put her fingers on the pulse of life.
Mrs. Kruttschnitt, raised a Catholic, writes that Daisy filled her with faith every time she entered the house. “Your smile would be worth a million dollars to a depression period, and poor dear you have so little of what we whites smile about,” she wrote.
“You are so grateful for the leftovers in the kitchen and you thank me so inordinately for an old dress, that, even with safety pins, won’t encompass you.
“And charity–Daisy not only knows the flavour, but has tapped the roots. Never an unkind word from her mouth and a super-saintly disposition to share her little all with everyone.
“She has promised to cook for me a nice fat iguana. How can I refuse to take a taste, remembering the times that I have licked my chops over the Jumbo frog legs of Kansas and even gone so far as to relish snails in Paris.
“Does it make such a difference, that Daisy hasn’t a chafing dish and can’t create a sauce with a tang and name like escargon?
“Trite it is, but true, that we live and learn.
“I thank you, Daisy, for the curriculum you have given me out of the pages of the tome of existence.”