A Ducktails Signature Erased.

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After my parents dropped me off at the school for the second term, it was made known to me that it was to be the last time that I was driven to school, and that I was to be catching the train back home and would from then on use the train for all journeys to and from the school. Reason being that my parents had obtained a divorce during that first term while I was enjoying the wonderful hospitality of the Barberton hostel.

My parents’ divorce turned out to be rather news worthy, it appeared in the main body of the Sunday Times, and every person in Barberton was scandalized. It turns out that my mother named something like seventy two other women in her divorce summons, including most of my mother’s so called friends and the mothers of a fair amount of my friends. One thing that Barberton most definitely was, and that was a very conservative God fearing town and the thought of a white man having so many concubines was more than a scandal, it was definitely the work of the devil.

I had become an instant celebrity in the town, wherever I went people pointed and whispered under their breaths, it would have been funny if it had not made the bulling at the hostel worse. It seems that people had passed the sins of the father onto the son. A lot of my friends at school started to avoid me, fortunately my friends at the hostel at least had no option but to stand at my side for the safety in numbers theory. Also their parents were not there to force them to stay away from the devil’s child.

In the last weeks of the school term I was told by the house master, who had at that stage not warmed to me due to rugby, that my hair was too long and that on the next Saturday visit to town I must have my hair cut. There was only one problem, I had already spent all my pocket money and if it was not cut by sundown I would be punished, when I informed him of this small problem I was told he did not care where I got the money from, for all he cared I could beg, borrow or steal it. As my friends had also run out of money and that I had learned about stealing the previous year, begging was the only way that I had the chance of getting the money. It turned out I was not at all a good beggar, so as I was unable to afford a haircut, it wasn’t cut.

I must take this opportunity to point out that my hair was not that long, just over my ears and collar and I was going home in a matter of days where my mother would arrange for my hair to be cut. That Saturday, I went to town as was usual to escape the hostel and spent time with ‘Ticky’ the Clown’ a dwarf who claimed to have been the original ‘Ticky’ The Clown at Boswell Wilkie circus, whether that was true or not did not matter to us, he made us laugh and that was what I needed that Saturday to take my mind of the caning that was sure to follow having not had my hair cut.

When I returned to the hostel that evening, sure enough the house master was waiting for me, he had decided to make an example out of this ‘rooinek’s’ devil child. He grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to the bathroom calling for some of the older boys to fetch a chair, a pair of scissors and a safety razor. He then proceeded to cut all my hair off and shaved my head until I was absolutely bald. Not a very wise thing to do to a very fair skinned child especially in Barberton where the sun beats ruthlessly down and cloudy days are far and few between.

By the end of Sunday I was in the hostel sanatorium with sunstroke. 

Till next time, lots of hugs and more,

Peggy-Sven

The Last of The “Great White” Hunters.

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It is now that with trepidation I introduce you to Grandfather McGee, my grandfather on my mother’s side, her adoptive father. Avery McGee is what his name was, as an accomplished liar as you would ever have the pleasure to meet. The difference between an amateur liar and the truly accomplished is not in the lies per se, but in the ability to remember them so well that if questioned years later, they are repeated word for word.

Avery was not only an accomplished liar, but had been a major womaniser all his life and at the age of sixty odd had not changed his ways, the woman had remained the same age as in his youth or had become younger, only he had aged. Avery, I refuse to call him Grandfather, lived in a town by the name of Komatipoort and was the barman for the Komatipoort motel.

In his day he had been quite the adventurer, running away to sea at age twelve, fighting in as many wars as he was able, making vast fortunes and giving them away to indulge in wine women and song. When he applied his mind he was a successful businessman.

The reason that my Granny divorced him was not because of his womanising, but because he just disappeared one bright morning. This was in the middle of World War two, at the time he had a very successful car dealership in Durban and one morning had left for work as normal and never returned. Granny was beside herself, and the police were brought in to find his body, it turned out that on his way to work he had decided he was bored with selling automobiles and enlisted into the army to go and fight in the war. It never crossed his mind that he should notify anyone. Once it was established he was not dead, a manager was found to run the business until the end of the war, but when Avery did not return Granny sold the business for a large profit and moved my mother to Johannesburg for health reasons, mainly my mother’s asthma.

Granny being the pioneering spirit that she was had all her and mother’s belongings sent by train to Johannesburg and proceeded to drive from Durban to her new home. In the early nineteen fifties the road was not very pleasant and there were many men who would not have even attempted the journey.

Granny did not divorce Avery even then, and waited for his home coming, assuming that he was still busy in Europe helping with the reconstruction and that she would hear from him sooner if not later. Avery having left the European theatre of war had proceeded to join in the Colonialist uprisings in Africa, fighting on both sides if truth be told and being rather well paid for it no doubt.

After a few years he decided that Granny must have divorced him by now, proceeded to remarry in Kenya and proceeded to have the son he had always wanted, Teddy. Fortunately, for him that is, his new wife died a few years later, either from Malaria or some other disease, before it was discovered that he was in a polygamous relationship. Granny only divorced him when he returned to South Africa with Teddy in tow.

I do not think the reason was because of his marriage, but rather that Teddy was a constant reminder of what she could not give him, an heir of his own blood. Avery went away with Teddy and they lived a life as ‘Great White Hunters’ all over Africa, only returning to the Republic when their services were not wanted by the strife torn region. Teddy was never given a formal education, and it was when he finally married Magda, that he, due to her influence, managed to obtain a matric.

Now you know a little of Avery’s history. I will now tell of his special talent in creating “Children of The Grave”

Lots of Hugs and more,

Peggy-Sven