1965 was a big year for me it was the year that I started “Big school”, the start of my formal education. I was enrolled in a school by the name of Limberlost Kindergarten, a school situated next to Wanderers cricket stadium. It was a fairly long drive from where I lived in Parkview but my mother dropped me off at school every morning before she rushed to work in the middle of Johannesburg, Park station to be exact.
As she had to be at work at eight, we left rather earlier than the rest of the family. Mother always made me the most amazing sandwiches, Pastrami with lettuce, ham cheese and tomato, cold roast beef and mustard I think you get the idea, but the best thing of all was the bottle of cool-drink and donut that she always bought for me at the little store just above the school, which we had to pass before we could reach the school’s main gate.
One thing that I have not mentioned up until now is that we did not have many visitors to our house, and that Karen and I only had our friends at the nursery school that we attended together. Another thing about our household was the gramophone that took up a corner of our lounge. This piece of equipment was the sole responsibility of Father and the only records that we possessed were of Mario Lanza singing the Great Caruso, there were no records of popular music of the time, so I had never heard of the Beatles nor any other group. The radio was permanently tuned to Springbok radio and was only turned on for us between five and six in the afternoon to listen to programs like “Jet Jungle” or some other children’s program.
What always fascinated me, was the time that the old valve set took to warm up before any sound was heard, and we would lie on our stomachs in front of the cloth covered speaker and listen with rapt attention to the fascinating tales that emanated from that magical cabinet. No stereo, no quadraphonic sound but magic all the same, I wonder if the television generation will be able to understand what the theatre of the mind was like, no two people imagining the characters in the same way, but totally enthralled by the story nonetheless.
Anyway, Limberlost was a much larger school, it must have had over a hundred pupils, whereas Parkview had at most about thirty, all residents of the suburb, and with parents that were very similar in views. The pupils of Limberlost came from very divergent families and therefore it was an amazing culture shock to me in some ways and fascinatingly compelling in others. Here I was to hear about the Beatles and their radical music, or so Father said, his favourite saying for these modern musicians was that real music had to stand the test of time, and that these groups would not be heard of again after about five years.
Well we can all be wrong occasionally I suppose. There was one of the older boys that knew all the words to the latest songs, he was lucky to have an elder brother who was in his mid-teens and therefore bought all the latest music. We all envied him, I think me more than anyone else. The first Beatle song that I ever heard was “A hard days night” not sung by the Beatles but by a boy about a year older than me, I was hooked on music from that moment on. It would take at least a year before I actually heard the music of the Beatles or Elvis or any other band for that matter but I was content just knowing the words.
Lots of Hugs and more,