Memories from a life as a child in Johannesburg

Shelly and I as we are now 5 Feb 2022

We moved from a town then known as Bulawayo in one country to a city, Johannesburg in South Africa.

Windows let light in and make a home come alive. My late mother – in – law, Dorothy, used to say choose a place for its light and she helped us choose our first home in England.

One remembered week, as a child of about nine years old, our windows let us see more than light. There was a life outside those windows that was challenging and scary. I still remember feeling fearfully curious as to why things happened and what would happen next. During one week while dad had to be away from home three things happened to make us scared.

We three spent the early evenings in the kitchen with the big metal oven door of the gas stove open letting the warmth fill the space. Sometimes we made sugared popcorn balls or we toasted marshmallows on the flames. The very basic kitchen was a safe place. Then very late one evening this particular week when we were fast asleep there was a loud knocking at our front door. We all woke up. It was a policeman. He asked if we were alright. Well we were but the neighbours had phoned the police to say someone had been climbing in through our kitchen window. Mum directed the uniformed men to the side gate to check and I think they reported that someone had tried to get in but was disturbed. (I guess this may seem strange but we always locked interleading doors and wouldn’t necessarily have heard the intruder.)

Then from our children’s bedroom , in that same week late in the afternoon, we girls were shocked to see police put handcuffs on two people and take them away. I guess we were curtain twitchers as we didn’t want them to see us. We heard later that the two people were escaped convicts boarding in the house across from our bedroom window. This made us feel really scared.

After our first experience we were sleeping with mum when the third thing happened in this week.

It was some time in the early hours of the morning and we heard gun shot really close by. This time there was no running to the bedroom window. We stayed quiet next to mum. A person had been shot entering a window in a house opposite our parents’ bedroom window. That was the worst!!

It had been a horrid, horrid, horrid week!

There had never been a week like this particular week .

It was unfortunate that my father was away but it added to my mum’s desire to move back to a town and not live in a city.

Remembering the layout of our house.

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