This story begins during my childhood in the Feltham Children’s Home at Otaki Beach. On Boxing Day morning Aunty Maud, who was Miss Feltham’s main helper, asked me to collect chicken scraps from the Devantier’s beach bach. “They’re expecting you,” she said. “And be polite!”

I was eight and a half years old at the time; big enough to carry the cut- down half kerosene tin bucket but not old enough to mind doing so. I knocked at the back door of the bach and a cheerful young woman took the bucket. She asked me to wait at the door while she got the kitchen scraps. It was then that I heard the incredible chocolates conversation. Even now, eighty years later, I still remember almost every word of it.

“Who is it?” asked a man’s voice.
“A little boy from the Home, for the chook scraps.”
“Give him a chocolate.” said the man’s voice.

And then came the wonderful suggestion from another woman – “Give him the rest of the box!” They all agreed, and that’s what they did.

So holding the chicken scraps bucket by its wire handle with my right hand, and the big flat chocolate box with its brightly coloured lid with the other I gleefully returned to the Home’s kitchen.

Aunty Maud’s eyes lit up when I showed her my treasure.

“How wonderfully kind!” she exclaimed. “Have one, Donny, and then I will take them around. Chocolates are for sharing, you know!” And that was the last I saw of them.

The years flew by and in 1990 my late wife Ruth and I were living at Papamoa Beach. On Christmas Day we had lots of our family, (probably about eight children and four or five adults) visiting us for an afternoon at the beach and for a big special tea with lots of Christmas extras. Towards the close of the afternoon Ruth asked, “Before you go, would any of you like a chocolate?”

I inwardly gasped, “That,” I said to myself, “means goodbye to most of my chocolates.”

I looked at Ruth. She was watching me, and undoubtedly knew my thoughts, and she also knew my chicken scraps story, for with a chuckle in her voice she said, “Chocolates are for sharing. Aren’t they Don?”

I looked around at the eager faces of this family we both loved so much. And I knew she was right.

“Of course!” I said. “Chocolates are for sharing. Everyone knows that!”