Treat others like you would like them to treat you. Do everything in love.Luke 6:31 1Corinthians 16 : 14
The three “happenings ” I am sharing with you each have a beginning , a lapse of time and an end. You could say they rightfully each have their own journey.
They all feature my Mum born on 31st December 1932. Today she would have been 90 and if ovarian cancer hadn’t played havoc with her healthy body she would still have been beside my 93 year old Dad.
Mum’s parents Melville and Milly worked. They had four children to feed and it was during the time of the Great Depression. They lived with Melville’s mother, granny Maria, in her large house. Granny Maria, looked after the children.
When we asked for this story our Mummy always showed us her hands. They were quite large strong hands, a nurse’s hard working hands. Then there on the knuckle was a definite scar and we never seemed to grow tired of knowing why it was there.
Mum had been naughty. Each meal time she would peer over the table as the plates were put out and patiently wait for the rice to be served. Then any grain of rice that escaped from the pile she would quickly pick it off the plate and pop it in her mouth. Gran had told her “No” often with : “stop it! ” and “don’t pick off the plates” till one day she brought the metal server down on the little girls knuckle where the skin was thin and it really hurt. The skin took a while to grow together and mum had a scar with a story.
Mum didn’t mind telling us she was her granny’s favourite, and when Mum was a teenager granny Maria was placed in the parlour for relatives to say their final farewells. I remember looking at my mother with wide eyed wonder as she explained how she picked pink rosebuds from their garden and put them between her granny’s stiff, cold, criss – crossed fingers clasped to her chest. Pink roses covering cold knuckles!
Then this happening took years to have its ending. We were standing in my aunt’s mission kitchen. My mum and her sister were remembering a time when their parents were having a nap and all four children decided to leave the house quietly, meet with their cousins and walk to the beach. The parents were beside themselves with worry when they woke up! Drove to find the children and on their return sent them to their bedrooms.
” Well, ” said my Mum. ” Dad didn’t use the cane on me! He hit the cupboard”. Her sister looked at her and said : ” But you cried really loudly”. My Mum smiled and said “Well you cried , so I thought I had better too! ” There was silence.
He hadn’t caned either of them and yet for a long time they both felt special and spared! It took until they had teenages of their own to know the true ending.
How do I tell this bitter sweet story. Mum fell in love with ‘Darel van Keren’. They only met a couple of times and then corresponded a little. I think her dreams made up for the rest. It wasn’t too long after that, that she met and married Dad.
Then it was during those awful Johannesburg years she found a picture carefully tucked away in a favourite book belonging to my Dad. On the back it said ” My only true love. ” Her name was ‘Francelo Brewo’.
It was then that Mum started talking about “Darel van Kereen” . This jealousy thing was happening again .
Not too long after this we heard the news that an enormous marquee pole had directly hit and killed a person while being put in position. The person was none other than Mum’s “Darel van Kereen”. How awful was that. Mum’ s person was gone! But what about Dad’s. I spoke to my sister last night in Africa and asked if “Francelo Brewo” was really Dad’s girlfriend. She must have put us on speaker phone and clearly with nothing wrong with his hearing he said. “Yes, that was her name ! Her father chased me off the property with his hunting gun!” Not a bad memory for 93! I wonder if Mum knew that?!
” My spelling is wobbly. It’s good spelling but it wobbles , and the letters get in the wrong places.”A A Milne (Sandy’s spelling of Darel van Keren and Francelo Brewo.)