Returning To Hell, But Meeting An Angel.

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On the trip back we arrived in Nelspruit just before sunrise and with a wait of approximately three hours before we could connect with the Local to Barberton. At that time of the morning Nelspruit was still in dreamland and as there was no adult supervision a lot of the older kids disappeared and returned just before the train’s departure smelling of alcohol, where they obtained it I was never to find out.

The rest of the kids waited for the station’s kiosk to open at around seven where I was introduced by a small blond girl to the delights of sardines and sweetened condensed milk on Marie biscuits. From that moment on we were always together when we were allowed into town every Saturday, suffering the usual taunts of being boyfriend and girlfriend chanted by our peers in the student body, we were just friends she also being English speaking and the only one of her class in the hostel.

As the previous year my memory is very scratchy when it comes to names. She is the person that showed me the statue of ‘Jock’, famed in literature as Jock of the Bushveld; she showed it to me because I had told her that the thing I missed most from home was my dog Tina. So the first thing that we did every Saturday was to visit Jock and I would ask him to pass on my love to Tina and to tell her that I was OK. A dog that had its own statue had to be very special, not so? So I was sure he would pass on the messages.

During those Saturday visits we would attend the matinee together, as there was only one cinema in Barberton and it always showed its latest offerings for a fortnight, we visited the cinema every second week. One of the more memorable films was ‘Gone with The Wind’ the first film that I ever cried in, not because at that age I appreciated the classic nature of the movie, nor because it was the longest movie I had ever seen, but due to the attention of a wasp.

We were sitting in the back row of the cinema, where all the kids sat, when I felt what I thought was a fly making its way along my neck, so I naturally swatted it with my hand. The pain was excruciating and been a boy even if only ten I tried to be a man and not cry, I failed in the attempt and tears were still streaming down my cheeks when the movie ended, she thought it was sweet and offered me her lace hankie to mop up the tears. For once in my life I was a real rooinek as the swelling took days to subside and the boys that noticed the tears never let me forget that I had cried like a girl at the movies.

She was one of the better things that happened that term, besides rugby the other was the Gym teacher volunteering to teach me how to defend myself as he had noticed that I was beaten more regularly than the other children. He tried to convince me to learn to hold my tongue and when that seemed impossible he told me he would tell me when I was ready to defend myself and should show the same ineptitude until that time. His reason being if they saw me getting progressively better at defending myself they would just use more of them to get the job done, instead of just one on one.

Lots of HUGS and more,

PEGGY-Sven

Love in the Morning?

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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

Peggy-Sven