My mother was the most wonderful women that ever lived, before that fatal year when her world fell apart. I cannot remember her ever raising her voice to us children, or to anyone else for that matter. After a long day at work, she would come home, spend time with us children, and prepare the evening meal, which was always a dish that she hoped would please my father, she was seldom right, and then we would wait for His Royal Highness’s arrival before we were allowed to eat. If he had not deigned to grace us with his presence by seven, we children were allowed to eat in the kitchen, and then it was off to bed for us.
A bedtime story, prayers and to sleep. If she waited for his lordship to appear before she finally ate, I cannot tell you. In truth there was only one thing that my mother disliked, and that was Tina sleeping in bed with me, and she always made sure that Tina was in the scullery when she switched of my light after kissing me and wishing me sweet dreams. What she did not seem to know is that when Hubby opened the scullery door to go to her room after washing up the dinner plates, Tina escaped the scullery, and went directly to my bedroom window. There she would whine, and I would remove the bottom two plates of glass from the Louvre window and she would hop inside and jump into bed with me. She always snuggled right down to my feet. When I awoke in the morning her head was always next to mine on the pillow.
Fortunately for me, Hubby never took her back door key with her when she retired for the evening, and always knocked on my window at about five am, with the words “Wennie” please open for me darling”, to this day I still wake up at that hour, I would then put on my dressing gown, call Tina and open for Hubs. That is why my mother never found out about Tina sleeping with me, or maybe she allowed me to think so.
Then the morning ritual would begin, Hubs would make tea first for me, always with a biscuit or a piece of toast. While I was enjoying my tea she would prepare lunch for my mother, take Karen her tea in bed, and then start cleaning the kitchen. At six, tea was taken through to our parents room, and we would then be allowed to spend half an hour lying on their bed talking with our father and generally being made to answer math’s questions that my father threw at us.
Simple addition and multiplication, he maintained that the most important thing in life was to be able to do math’s. At six-thirty he would get out of bed, always naked and go to the bathroom, to do the three s’s. Nudity in our house was a given, and therefore nudity has never been a problem in my life. The thing that I remember with absolute love is when my father used to sing while shaving. He had the most beautiful tenor voice, and used to sing extracts of Caruso’s operas. He had such a beautiful and strong voice that on many a morning our next door neighbors used to congregate at our front gate just to listen to his beautiful voice.
Those are the times that I loved my father the most. Then the show of love was all over, we had to wash, brush our teeth and get dressed for school, Hubs would then walk us to school.
Thinking back, as we got older, the morning routine changed as he was not always there in the mornings, we were told that he had to work late, or that he was in Durban or some such place making money for us. My childhood was not unhappy, it was filled with love by my mother, granny, Karen and Hubs, but it seems that looking back it was devoid of the male love that dominates so many peoples recollections of their childhood or the nursery stories where the father is the most influential character.
Lots of Hugs and more