As far as I can remember it was a very pleasant stay, as I was treated like royalty by all the nurses, most of them commenting on my exceptionally blond hair and blue eyes. The best thing that came out of that little incident, was that I was not able to eat solid foods for about a month and that I had lost my voice so that I spent about two weeks in bed. I was naturally fussed over by Hubs in the morning and Granny in the afternoon. Also I was waited on hand and foot, my every wish immediately attended to. Ice-cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner with Jelly and chocolate milk drinks in-between, children’s nirvana. It was also the event that started me questioning whether my father really loved me, as he was the only member of the family that never visited me in the hospital, the excuse given by my mother was that he was tied up at work.
In later years I was to realise that the real reason that he had no time to visit me was the fact that he had made an engagement with his current mistress and had used work as an excuse to stay away that evening. This was not be the last time, not by many miles of heartache. As inevitably happens I was eventually able to resume my young life and was sent back to the salt mines of education, naps, playtime, milk in tiny little bottles and sandwiches as well as at first the sympathy of the teachers and then the normal routine of hearing how I should be more like my sister. So ended the episode of my first major brush with death, rather funny in retrospect but it was something my Mother never forgot.
As everyone will have realized Granny moved in while I was indisposed, and what an effect her presence had on our little protected environment. The first thing that changed was the morning ritual, after Hubs had given Karen and myself our tea, she would then take Granny her tea and the two of them would sit and gossip until just before my parents tea was due. I can still see the two of them, Hubby sitting on the dressing table stool, Granny’s high back chairs being far to good for a native, Granny sitting up against her pillows with her bed jacket on and the hair-net over her purple rinsed hair. Sitting with their heads almost touching as Granny passed on what time Horst had arrived home, what arguments, if any, had taken place, and what Granny thought of the whole situation?
Granny was the only person that was definitely racist in our household, but in her defense she was born in 1900 and it was not that she hated the blacks, or treated them badly, they just needed to know their place as she put it. Hubby was the exception to her rule, it was not that Hubby was not a black, but that she was “Her” black and therefore was accepted, not as a friend per se, but as a scandal partner. Hubby was to Granny an honorable member of the family, and I really believe that Hubby loved the old dragon with all her heart.
Whenever Granny got excited or agitated she would push her hair up with the fingers, of both her hands, through the hair-net and Hubby would open her eyes so wide that she almost resembled the man in the fairy tales that had saucers for eyes. They would sit there sipping their tea out of Granny’s bone china cups, furtively whispering back and forth, though the high back chairs were to good for a native, Granny felt that as a member of the family and I think also the fact that Hubs washed all the dishes, it was fitting that Hubs should have tea with Her Royal Highness out of bone china. If it was all right for the queen of England to entertain natives out of bone china it was all right with my Granny. Otherwise the morning ritual stayed the same except that father was there less and less often.
Hugs and more,