It was also the year that little Dawn Sibanda was brought home by Hubby, unlike Onus, Dawnie, as she was to be called by us, was a healthy fat little bundle of joy for her parents. Dawnie was almost an extension of Hubby, strapped to her back; Dawnie was attached to her mother as though she had never left the womb. Dawnie was to live with us and play with us children for the next six years, in a way that is how I found out what Apartheid really meant.
Children do not see colour, and they are incapable of the prejudices that adults are prone to, so children just play and form their own opinions. Rankings in the little group evolving naturally. I digress, so now we had Kirsten about a year and a bit and Dawnie a new born. Over the years we all became as siblings, colour was never an issue, something that the Apartheid regime had never figured into their calculations when they allowed domestic servants to bring their children up until school going age at the homes of their employers, employers willing. Dawnie and Kirsten were still too young to join in the play that Karen and I enjoyed but they were there none the less and were eventually to join us in our escapades.
During one of the school holidays that year Karen and I were booked into a hospital to have our tonsils out. My second visit to a hospital, Karen’s first. So as any big brother does, I promised that it was wonderful and that nobody would hurt her. I also explained all knowingly that hospital food was wonderful, ice-cream and jelly breakfast, lunch and supper. She really perked up after my promise and started to look forward to the operation as she really adored ice-cream and jelly as we were about to find out.
I was at least truthful on one of my promises no one had told me how painful a tonsillectomy is and that swallowing even ice-cream feels as if you are swallowing razor blades. We were not taken to the Johannesburg Children’s Hospital, but some hospital in Hillbrow that was more of a general hospital so the nursing staff were not as pleasant as my last sojourn to those sterile halls.
Fortunately we were in the same two bedroom ward, when we woke up that evening, to find our parents looking a little worried at the foot of our beds. The doctor that had done the operation had also scrapped out our ears something I have been told was common practice in those years. The procedure never had any ill effect on Karen, but it was the cause of me having to attend those halls on numerous occasions in the next couple of years.
We spent that night and the next in the place of healing, though on the second night it was only mother that visited us and we were collected the following morning by both parents. We were ensconced in our beds and treated like royalty for the next two days, Hubby running after us as though we were slave masters, it reached the point that it seemed I only had to think of something to eat or drink and Hubby would be there with it, truly Utopia.
Granny soon put a stop to that idyllic life style and she insisted I eat a piece of buttered toast, funny that, it hurt like nothing I had ever experienced but after eating the toast my throat did not hurt again. Karen was another story she refused to eat the toast and for the next three weeks lived on ice-cream and jelly.
Lots of Hugs and more,