Friday, 17 August 2012

I remember - 29 St James Street

I remember - 29 St James Street
Written 20 October 2006

I remember the Kemlo's always busy chopping wood.
I remember Daddy always being in a major clean-up and spring cleaning mood on a Sunday morning.
I remember Music Parties.
I remember putting beautiful red flowers in the swimming pool to float around and create some ambience whenever we had some memorable occasion.
I remember Christmas concerts in the Back Room.
I remember the Christmas of the shorts - Maggie and Bettie making lots of patchwork shorts, also in the Back Room.
I remember Daddy's Sanlam office in the Back Room.
I remember getting up for Piano practice at 5h30 in the morning & going out to the pitch black Back Room, having to unlock it, put the lights on & the damper on the piano & being so scared all out on my own in the dark, until I started playing.
I remember doing a bit of neighbour education with very loud music, and the Kemlo's phoning with special requests.
I remember my beautiful, beautiful boiling hot room.
I remember always seeing my mom sanding or stripping wood.
I remember Mommy doing homework and extra lessons at the Kitchen table with Katrine and Jayne.
I remember Tanya always walking right up on your heels, and if you dared stop she'd bump into you.
I remember Albert's room - floor to ceiling Music posters, and one upside down poster, in honour of Ray Charles.
I remember doing a phenomenal spring clean each time before Ouma Cathy came to visit.
I remember listening to Phil Collins and Eric Clapton.
I remember Albert’s beloved Bakkie Eiers.
I remember heating stones in the little oven before bed time and then putting them into socks and putting them into our beds to keep us warm at night – they stay hot for hours.
I remember Jac making Katrine cry at Christmas.
I remember hearing the front door bell ringing and when I went to open it there was a little baby on the doorstep and no adults - Gareth aged 2 and a half months – Bert and Bettie were busy unpacking their car after their long journey from Joburg.
I remember Myta whistleing away.
I remember constant renovations.
I remember Mommy & Daddy saying with glee "Right kids - today we're stripping the ceiling in the kitchen.  Everyone gryp 'n skraper", and us three kids sharing long suffering looks.
I remember putting the staircase into my upstairs bedroom.
I remember Luke playing with a hosepipe on the kitchen steps and getting soaked when he was a baby.
I remember Maria playing with her little dumps.
I remember Albert putting on his school uniform for the first time in three months after having had Rheumatic Fever and when he bent down to tie his shoe laces, his pants split right down the back because he’d put on so much weight from the Cortisone tablets he had to take.
I remember Katrine's mushroom hairstyle and Connie saying "It's okay lovey - it will grow back again".
I remember Katrine swooning over Robin at my 21st.
I remember Katrine swooning over Robin at her 21st.
I remember making flap jacks on the stove.
I remember having an old kettle with a whistle being left on and the whistle going absolutely mad and Daddy saying "For #%*$@  sakes put the bloody kettle off, can't you hear the whistle?"  And then Mommy's calm reply "It's a whistle - it's doing its job".
I remember getting back from my Matric Farewell and getting ready to change into my clothes for the after-party and Maggie and Bettie were up waiting for me, eager to hear how it had gone.
I remember studying for my Matric Exams and breaking every 50 minutes to listen to Bonnie Raitt or Deacon Blue for 10 minutes.
I remember Soup Parties.
I remember Albert always playing guitar.
I remember sitting in Albert's room & singing along to Rolling Stones songs while Albert played the guitar.
I remember Grant calling on me at St. James.
I remember how my heart would flutter when I heard the front door bell knowing it was Grant.
I remember coming home from the Bell.
I remember Daddy's egg painting at the bottom of the passage.
I remember covering school books in plastic on the kitchen table.
I remember Sunday lunches.
I remember Myta sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper.
I remember talking on the telephone at the kitchen and walking around into the pantry with the long extension cord, for a bit of privacy.
I remember the little ceramic pencil holder at the kitchen telephone that inevitably had a stompie and some ash in it.
I remember coffee mugs everywhere.
I remember Franklin hooting for Mommy in the mornings.
I remember painting Easter Eggs.
I remember sleeping lepeltjie with Katrine.
I remember getting ready for my wedding.
I remember getting wasted at my 21st.
I remember Trish visiting.
I remember Brian's farewell when Trish had Roxy – and we were all hanging to hear if baby Roxy had been born yet.
I remember Blues Broers rehearsals in the Back Room.
I remember Sanlam knives and forks, umbrellas, stationary, etc., etc., etc.
I remember Katrine phoning from Somerset West Primary School and asking me to bring her P.T. clothes to her over the fence.
I remember Lise setting light to the Teddy Bear on the lamp in Katrine's bedroom.
I remember the sound of the creak on the floor in my bedroom.
I remember the cool breeze when I opened the top of the stable door in my bedroom.
I remember the smell of the purple flowers (can't remember their name) as you entered St. James.
I remember Christmas Dinner in the TV Room.
I remember Oupa Willem walking in and saying "Jis, bok!"
I remember Ouma Helene coming to show of her new shoes on her way to go and see her "friends".
I remember Mommy and Daddy having a cuddle and Daddy always squeezing her bum.  We all thought it was revolting at the time, but now realise that it was actually very, very sweet.
I remember long baths in a beautiful bathroom.
I remember having family meetings.
I remember realising my school hem is out and Mommy saying "Just keep moving".
I remember not closing the bathroom door, ever.
I remember going to the loo no matter who was in the bath.
I remember the outside shower.
I remember rooi koeldrank.
I remember Mommy marking books.
I remember Albert drinking coffee.
I remember lots of swimming in summer.
I remember cheese snack widges.
I remember the whitewash on the walls coming off on your fingers when you opened the front gate.
I remember Katrine wiping down "Die Suiwer Arfrikaanse Oppervlaktes".
I remember having to unload the dishwasher.
I remember the kids having to do the dishes on a Sunday after lunch.
I remember klapping Albert just before my wedding.
I remember coming close to klapping him a few other times as well.
I remember the high ceilings.
I remember the loose fitting blue carpet in Mommy's study.
I remember Buddy being so excited when anybody came there.
I remember Michelle loping about in her long legged stride.
I remember doing exercises on the floor in the TV Room.
I remember doing our "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen" Christmas concert.
I remember the rehearsals for the Concert.
I remember sneaking out of my room down the outside staircase, and each creak on the stairs sounding so loud.
I remember putting my big white teddy bear in my bed with the covers pulled up high as camouflage should anyone come checking on me when I've sneaked out.
I remember trying to sneak in again up the outside staircase & lift my sash window as quietly as possible.
I remember Daddy coming to the bottom of my staircase every night and reminding me to put my lights off before I go to bed.
I remember the very, very hot store rooms on either side of my bedroom.
I remember having to carry up crap to put into the store rooms.
I remember periodically going to find crap in the store rooms to take down again.
I remember being allowed to have a small liqueur glass of sherry with our meals on special occasions.
I remember the Kist in the sitting room with the Christmas decorations.
I remember the patchwork bedspread that Mommy made for her and Daddy's bed.
I remember beautiful paintings everywhere.
I remember Albert having Rheumatic Fever and doing a tapestry, and playing games on the TV that Mandy had organised for him.
I remember sitting around the table after a meal & talking about our favourite bits in movies & laughing.
I remember Katrine standing in front of the mirror making sure her school socks are even.
I remember getting my bicycle from the garage and cycling to school.
I remember the brown bathroom.
I remember Renzo playing on the guitar and singing.
I remember running and jumping into the pool.
I remember the drain outside Mommy and Daddy's bedroom that always got blocked.
I remember renting a video machine and watching old home videos.
I remember walking up and down the stairs to my bedroom, a million times a day, and never getting tired.
I remember wanting a lazy Sunday and having no such luck.
I remember youngberry sandwiches for lunch.
I remember the white Uno.
I remember the green Uno.
I remember Albert on his skateboard out in the road.
I remember Pepsie.
I remember sweeping the stoep before we got visitors.
I remember carrying wood for the little stove.
I remember baking sweet potato in the little stove.
I remember Gys dancing at my 21st.
I remember the hole in the wooden floorboards just as you come down the stairs from my bedroom.  I once lost a card from a pack of playing cards and realising the futility of ever getting it out again, throwing the rest of the pack in the hole as well.
I remember Geoff and Gert Nevermind coming to visit at 3 in the morning.
I remember Thandi as a baby sitting on the top step of the pool and eating an Ice-Cream.
I remember doing bomb drops into the swimming pool.
I remember always forgetting to take a towel outside before swimming and then getting into trouble with Daddy for walking dripping wet through the house.
I remember Mommy watering the garden.
I remember practicing modelling down the passage.
I remember the little fish pond in the garden at the black and white stoep.
I remember playing double pack Patience on the Oregon counter between the kitchen and the TV room.
I remember the Persian carpets in the house.
I remember Mommy's little desk with the pull-out shelf at the bottom of the passage.
I remember all the old medicine bottles in the window of the bathroom.
I remember knocking down dis wall, dis wall and dis fargin wall.
I remember being completely surprised by my Kitchen Tea.
I remember my Stork Party and Daddy doing the dishes while all the ladies oohed and aahed over the presents and how tiny the little clothes are.
I remember making the first fire inside after summer each year.
I remember standing in front of the little stove and getting so hot that my jeans burn my legs.
I remember the colour of the paint on the walls in the TV room.
I remember the smell of Daddy's paints in the Back Room.
I remember eating Bunny Licks at the swimming pool.
I remember the sound of rain on the zinc roof in my bedroom.
I remember the Kemlo's singing in the early morning hours, having a party around their braai outside.
I remember Ouma Maggie coming to visit.
I remember being so excited to tell Mommy and Daddy that I was pregnant with Luke and sitting on Grant's lap in the TV room, just waiting for the right moment.
I remember Willem and Charmaine coming for braai's with their kids and Charmaine bringing a whole cooler box filled with cold drinks and snacks for the kids.
I remember Willem arriving on the morning of my wedding and asking me what colour ribbon I would like on the wedding car.
I remember the photo session out in the garden for my wedding and Daddy telling us to pull in our noses.
I remember the Christmas when Jaco and Roxy were small babies.
I remember Jacques and Christiaan wanting Daddy's computer with a passion.
I remember all 5 of us fighting over who's turn it is to play Astro Fire on the computer.
I remember Daddy playing Solitaire on the computer.
I remember finding the oddest things in the fridge - some alive and some sadly not.
I remember the soda stream bottles in the fridge.
I remember the Banana tree in the garden.
I remember being 14months pregnant at Albert's 21st.
I remember dancing with Luke at Katrine's 21st.
I remember the butterfly window behind the little stove.
I remember Krappies.
I remember being able to open up and climb through Albert's sash window in his bedroom if you had locked yourself out of the house.
I remember spending our wedding night in Albert's bedroom and being woken up by a drunken Albert flying in through his window at about 3 in the morning and landing on “our” bed.
I remember stripping the red staircase of paint.
I remember the smell of polish when Myta had polished the floors.
I remember Michelle & Annabelle hanging the sopping wet mugs that had just been washed onto the pegs above the zinc.
I remember lying in bed and reading a book.
I remember lying in the bath and reading a book.
I remember Katrine always calling Mommy once she'd gotten into the bath.
I remember running out of loo paper and using fancy printed serviettes.
I remember the most beautiful home in the world.
I remember my dad.


  1. Awesome! Wonderful memories! Well written! I lived at 20 St James Street for years from 1973-1984! Christine(Lipp)Tatt

  2. Deliciously heart-warming!

  3. Ah I do remember too - your mums sighs when Albert was playing guitar + not doing school work (he must have been 12 or 13 then) - your dads kind smiles

  4. Still one of my favourite posts that brings back incredible fond and loving memories.

  5. we also lived in St James Street in the 60's and then moved onto other streets in SWest. The house is now a doctors rooms