Remembering my return to my sister’s wedding…

Above all, clothe yourself with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:14

We were still living at Wraysbury in Remenham house. It was March and I had been away from Africa for three months. This was when I travelled alone back to Johannesberg to be my sister’s Matron of honour. Shelly’s future husband was from an area near Johannesberg and Rhodesia was experiencing the bush wars.

Mum once again made a wedding dress for Shelly, the way she wanted it to look and made my dress without any time to fit it. We were both happy. It must have been a financial drain on my parents to have us both get married within 6 months of each other.

The wedding was peaceful and well organised. Shelly was marrying into an Afrikaans family, very much like my Grandpa had done when he married Ouma and it was quite difficult for her to feel accepted. Both her inlaws, first her father- in – law and then mother-in- law died when they were relatively young. (Shelly was so well loved in the end that when her mother-in-law was experiencing her last few weeks of life Shelly was able to treat her with gentle physical care. She died in her mid sixties of breast cancer. )

We all stayed with a cousin of mine and his first wife with their three sons the youngest still not at school. They were kind and hospitable. (…but it was at this exact time that my cousin’s wife found evidence in a jacket pocket that our cousin’s late nights working weren’t exactly what he said they were. Mum was told all about it and was a good listener. A wedding and a suspecting wife in the same house … they unfortunately got divorced with the boys very supportive of their mother who didn’t marry again. Our cousin married the lady he was working with and their marriage continued until he died a couple of years ago. )

I remember how well we all coped until the final touches of Shelly’s make up had been done. I saw tears in her eyes and it didn’t take much for Mum and I to cry too. We were going to be parted so soon, infact the very next day. It was all a bit hard to take in…

My return to England after my sister’s wedding was very special. I had gone through a grey winter with some beautiful snow but I was returning to an unimaginably beautiful country. I couldn’t believe how picturesque the hedgerows were, dividing patch work fields of green, yellow and newly sprouted wheat. Roy and I after leaving Heathrow parked in Windsor and walked along the Thames towpath to the Boatman’s Chapel the sun so warm that our arms and faces burnt red…

Our stay at Remenham was soon to end as with Dorothy’s (my mother-in-law) wise help we were to explore and find a new home.

A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.


Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.

Andre Malraux ( 1901-1976 French novelist, art theorist, minister of culture under de Gaulle’s presidency.)

11 thoughts on “Remembering my return to my sister’s wedding…

  1. Those were the days Sandy when family made time and space for each other. Your Mum was a talented gem to make you and Shelly wedding dresses!


  2. Oh my word, those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end (remember that song?). The future stretched ahead and now it is behind us. Thinking back is a confused mix of happiness and sorrow. I get tired just thinking about it all. But I do know I’m SO blessed you’re my sister.


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