A Ducktails Signature Erased.

Image

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

Advertisements

Non Racial Tea Party?

Image

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,

 

Peggy-Sven