Monday, 29 April 2013

My Dad's funeral was THE BEST!!!

My Dad's funeral was THE BEST!!!
29 April 2013

I know it might sound slightly off, but my Dad simply had the very best funeral ever!

It was a celebration of his life and a huge big fat jol.  A party of note, carrying on until the wee hours.  In fact the only thing that could have made the day more perfect, would have been his presence.  But then again, we wouldn’t have had the excuse of having a party in the first place, if he hadn’t just passed away.  Bit of a catch twenty-two actually.

Now you see, my Dad was a rather larger-than-life kinda person.  He had a huge presence.  He was charismatic.  Flamboyant.  Grandiose.  Unique.  Talented.  Prolific.  Imaginative.  Loud.  Different.  Artistic.  Musical.  Knowledgeable.  Brave.  Courageous.  Child-like in his enthusiasm.  Energetic.  Influential.  Inspiring.  Creative.  Visionary.  In fact, the list of adjectives would simply never run dry.  He was quite simply, “WOW!!!”.

And those who knew him, will most definitely agree.  I firmly believe, that once you met him, you never forgot him.  He commanded instant attention, simply by entering a room.

His long illness and subsequent death at the age of 46 was a huge blow to all who knew him.  Personally, I felt cut off at the knees.  Simply numbed.  He was Frank Frost after all, and my dad.  He could do anything and was invincible to me.  And I felt convinced right up until a few days before his death, that he would miraculously recover, and bounce back to his former bubbly self.  The alternative was just too awful to contemplate.

But in a way, despite hoping for a miracle, we had started planning his funeral way in advance.  We were always going to have it at Cloetenberg and we were always going to combine it with an exhibition of some of his works of art.  There was always going to be music.  And it was always going to be a celebration and a joyous occasion.  Honouring his memory and his spirit with a really great send-off.  And so within hours of his death, in the middle of the night, the family all gathered at my parents’ home and the planning was stepped into high gear.  It actually gave us a marvellous constructive and distracting focus.  Something to do.  Something to demand our attention and our time.  We wanted to be able to give people a time and a date for his funeral, once daylight broke and we started notifying all of his death.  There were chairs to hire.  Snacks to organise.  Works of art to collect and hang up.  A PA system would be needed for the speeches and the music.  Musicians gathered.  Musical instruments too.  Plates, cutlery, serviettes, glasses, cups, coffee, tea, booze as well.  In fact, lots of the liquor was sponsored.  I told you it was a party!  And amidst it all, there was a constant and never ending stream of phone calls and visitors.

I never quite got a final tally of the amount of people there.  And there seemed to be quite a lot of flow.  People arrived from early in the afternoon, and continued arriving until late into the night.  I would guestimate anything between about three hundred to four hundred.  Possibly even more.  The funny thing being afterwards, that some people told us that they had thought it was a family and private affair, and that they had respectfully not come as they did not wish to intrude.  I can only imagine the greater number of peeps if everyone had pitched!

The family all gathered upstairs, close to the allotted time, while the guests arrived downstairs.  And somehow the atmosphere was incredibly festive and fun.  There was lots of laughing and bantering and giggling too.  Possibly it is a coping mechanism.  A way to help one get through it all.  We all told lots of stories of shared memories of good times we had had with him in the past.  And shortly before the funeral started, I quickly nipped downstairs to get something.  And on my way up again, I bumped into an old friend from Ye Olde Bell.  A regular and a punter - blind man Reg.  He immediately came over to me, and gave me a big hug, and somehow that very simple and kind act, managed to break through my defences and led to the first of my tears on that day.  Before that moment, I had been fine.  Swept up in all of the hype and the hoopla.  Nearly being able to forget the very reason for us all being there.  The very harsh reality that my Dad had indeed died.  Because if Reg from the Bell was somehow at my grandparents’ house, a place he would most definitely normally not be, it must be true.  Frank Frost was no more.

The weather was glorious.  The speeches were beautiful.  The paintings, sketches, etchings, drawings – magnificent.  The music – phenomenal.  The assembled crowd of friends and family – incredible.

It was a truly memorable occasion.  Many musicians entertained us late into the night.  There was even some dancing.  Hey, never mind that, I made an awesome home video of it all.  Cloetenberg shone, as only she can.  The remembered stories and reminisces were great.  And though there was deep sadness felt, there was also deep happiness too.  What a remarkable person he had been.  How much he had left us with to remember him by.

And though we only had the pleasure of his company and presence for 46 years, he left an indelible footprint in the hearts of those he left behind.  He had a full and busy life and managed to accomplish a lot.  My Ouma Helene always says that he managed to pack a lot into his time on this earth.  His legacy lives.  And continues to live on, in all of those that loved him.

At the time, we referred to his funeral, as “The Gathering”.  And it is called that to this day.

Because a gathering it was.  Of those that knew him and loved him.  Celebrating the life of an incredible man. 

A man who was loved.  And who left his mark on this earth.

I include three youtube links to video’s that were taken at the gathering.  I humbly apologise for the poor quality.  The original video quality wasn’t great to start off with and then, my hard drive recorder was being particularly uncooperative this morning, and so I had to resort to taking a video of the video with my cell phone.  It’s sad – I know!

The first is a clip of a Blues Broers tribute to Frank, called “I hate to see you go”.

The second is a clip of the general vibe at the gathering.  Giving you a rough idea of how many people there were.

The third is a clip of my dad’s very first band, Black Frost, playing a tribute to him.  A song called, “Johnny be good”.  And what makes this one so special, is that for this song, the former drummer’s son, happens to play the drums.  Yes indeed, it is a very rare clip of a 22 year old Albert Frost on drums.  Eat your heart out.  He’s bloody good too!

My poor sad Ouma Cathy - my Dad's mom.  Sitting in the garden at Cloetenberg, with baby Luke.  What a wonderful distraction he was to all of us.

Some bits of the art exhibition - photo's, paintings, and a few sculptures too.

Waiting in Oupa and Ouma's bedroom upstairs, with the whole family - shortly before the gathering started.

My beautiful Aunt - Bettie, my Mom's sister.  Also playing with Luke in the garden.  In the foreground, the "pulpit" on a Persian carpet and a huge big pot, filled to overflowing with my Dad's favourite - Sunflowers.

Oupa Willem and baby Luke

Grant, Katrine and a very good friend, Jeannine
Katrine, My Mom, Luke, Moi and my aunt, Bettie 
Lukie and I
Some of our friends at the jol

The morning after - reminiscing on the stoep.  Lise Swart, Katrine, Luke, Grant, Gordon and my uncle, Bert.

The stoep chatters - Gordon, Katrine, Luke, Lise and Maria
The following are pics, as supplied by my Mom
My lovely brother, the great Albert Frost - playing the drums alongside Black Frost - magical!

The Black Frost gig - awesome!

Band family, regular family and friends

The Blues Broers, with Daya a.k.a. Rob Nagel on drums

Chairs all set out before the time - though we sadly misjudged the number of guests - most people simply stood around, crowded at the back

Some of his beautiful art works - seascapes to the left and some landscapes to the right

Some of my Dad's beloved "Swartland" landscapes

More glorious orange landscapes

Beautiful seascapes - most of them Kleinbaai related

A fabulous collection of self portraits

Theo Crous from the Springbok Nude Girls on drums - my Dad's kit being used

View from the balcony looking down at the crowd

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Spelling - its not four everywon

Spelling - its not four everywon
28 April 2013

Its troo.  Spelling is not four everywon.  It can be difikult.  Espesialy if stuf is confusing.

Sum words, sound won way, but yu rite them another weigh.  It wood be so much eesier if yu cood just rite stuf the way yu sed them.  But noooo.  That wood be to eesy.  And then we woodnt need diktionaries.  So praps that's the reeson.  Its like job kreashon.

Sumtimes yu have to konsentrate reely hard.  Like when u want to rite which.  Like which witch rode a broom?  She did  see a flea when she flew past the sea.  Which made the witch flea.  But waai is it so confuzing?

And wat can make it even more difikult, is if yu are aktualy Afrikaans.  Then yu have to think hard if an oranje is called  an orange or a lemon.  Or even a melon for that kase.  And wat does half past too mean aktualy?  Becose yu seigh it diferently in Afrikaans.

Sew yu alweighs need to hav your thincking kap on.

But wat makes speling even more chalenjing is wen peepel use abreviashions, like when they rite mesages on their sel phones.  Then things get realy wakkie.  It is interesting figuring out wat they meen.  Sumtimes yu can even meik misteiks.  And misunderstand their meening altogether.  Yu kan get a compleetly rong idee.

Shoe! It is trikie I tel yu.

However, I am very lucky.  I was born with an internal spell checker.  It is a blessing and an ability and most likely the luck of the draw.  Something I've had no hand in at all.  Possibly, I got my spelling gift to make up for my lack of sporting ability.  Sort of a consolation prize of sorts.

Though my gift is not infallible.  Occasionally I falter.  And in cases like these, I feel super blessed that my computer also has an internal spell checker.  Just like me.  Still a real paper dictionary is unbeatable.  It simply smells of knowledge, the second you open it up.

Some words, I consciously select to spell wrong.  And so I choose to write "thanx" instead of "thanks".  I just prefer the way it looks.  In the same way, I prefer Xmas to Christmas.  However this could all stem from my feelings of sympathy towards one of the least liked and least used letters in the alphabet.  The very humble, "x".  A horror-inspiring letter to receive if you're playing Scrabble for sure.

Still, I do enjoy witnessing the odd spelling faux pas.  It always brings a smile to my lips and most often a little lift to my heart.

And so this past Saturday, the universe left me a little gift.  She's kinda clever that way, and likes to spoil every so now and then.  And so as I parked my car outside the Cash Crusaders at the Mall, and I pulled my hand break up, I glanced across my bonnet, straight ahead at the shop in front of me.

And there it was.  My most perfect gift.  Standing right outside the shop, was a used couch.  A used couch, that had most likely just been sold to someone who was unable to remove said couch right away, as they were most probably still doing a spot of shopping at the Fruit and Veg shop, right next door.  And so, in warning and to lay claim to their ownership, they left a little note.  A note warning all and sundry to not sit on their couch as it had been sold.  But what a delightful slang Afrikaans they used to describe it.

And for those of you, not proficient in Afrikaans, I must apologise as it is very difficult to accurately translate.  The very language they used, evoked a certain feeling.  As well as deep seated appreciation for the accent and intonation of the spoken words, should they be uttered.  Naturally I felt compelled to walk over and take a pic.  On my camera and on my phone.

I immediately sent it on to the Lombards at large on both bbm group and on whatsapp.  Predictably it didn't take long for them to respond.

And so, for those of you, not proficient in Afrikaans, but rather proficient in English, I include this little gem, as forwarded by my aunt Trish.

She saw this on a hand drawn poster, advertising the Oscar nominated movie, Gorillas in the Mist.

Though sadly it was spelt, "Querillas in the Midst".

And all I can say in response is, "Bewootiful! Simply gorjis! Exxelent!".
The sign on the couch

"Don't sit - it is sold"

Outside Cash Crusaders at the Mall

Saturday, 27 April 2013

If I were a rich man

If I were a rich man
26 April 2013

If I were a rich man. 

Which sadly I’m not.  Actually, it’s a double whammy for me, cause I’m neither rich nor a man for that matter.

So what am I exactly?  I’m a woman.  In the prime of her life (hey forty is the new twenty!).  And sadly for me and my family, I am just not rich at all.

In fact, never mind rich, I’d settle for comfortably well-off.  But if that’s a bit of a big ask, I’ll just go with well-off.  It’s not as if I’m greedy or anything.  And I am more than willing to compromise.  Heck, even comfortable alone will perfectly suffice.

Okay, so who am I trying to kid?  I’d quite happily settle with being able to pay the bills.  All of them.  Not having a backlog.  Feeling as if I’m actually ahead. 

I think that more and more people feel this way too.  Sadly life is expensive.  Very much so. 

And I am in the position, where I earn my own income.  I don’t work for a boss and therefore don’t have a monthly salary to fall back on.  There is no basic remuneration package, no sick leave, no compassionate leave, no sickies, no company stationary, no pension, no medical aid, no cell phone allowance, not even free coffee!  And what this means effectively, is that I start the first day of every month on exactly zero.  No money.  Zilch.  Zippo.  Which truthfully scares the bejeebers out of me.  Which is why I prefer to not think about it at all.  I simply get on with it, and do my very best.

So how do I generate some moola?  Well, I am particularly blessed in that my Jumping Castle business does really quite well.  I place a weekly ad in our local paper, and have done so for nearly nine years.  And apart from that, word of mouth is an incredibly powerful tool.  But, I do rely on that telephone to ring, to bring business to me.  And so, this weekend in particular, is rather quite busy.  This always brings me great joy.  And oodles of relief too.  But then again, it is an end-of-the-month-weekend.  And they are normally good.  But after that?  Well, I’ve got exactly four Castles booked after that, up to and including the 18th of May.  For the whole year.

Scary, hey!  Still the phone will ring once more.  It always does.  And business will come in.  It always does. 

Our Helderberg lies in an abundantly fertile little valley, and so we are blessed with the fruit of many loins.  Those very same fruit, requiring Jumping Castles for their parties.  How lucky am I?

Still, the pressure stays on.  This weekend’s rentals must pay my domestic worker’s salary (I know – I am spoilt to have her, still I can’t live without her).  Next weekend’s rentals the telephone account.  Then there’s daily groceries, doctors, dentists, school fees, Amber’s dancing, Luke’s extra maths, and other extra murals too, my ad in the paper, my cleaning crew, new hockey shoes, a dancing Eisteddfod entry fees, new leotard, presents for birthday parties, etc. etc. etc.  The problem comes in though, when it rains terribly on a weekend, and my bookings get cancelled.  Which means that I effectively fall a whole week behind in generating income.  Not good!

Still, I can’t complain.  Life is good.  And so is business too.  And the very nature of my business, allows me the flexibility to be there for my kids.  To lift and to cart.  To stand alongside the sports field, screaming support.  To do orthodontist and doctor’s visits.  Supervised homework in the afternoons.  Driving here and there.

But, if I was a rich man, or woman…..

  • I’d live in Somerset West – closer to the kids’ schools
  • I’d have a double story house (a lifelong dream – added bonus of toned thighs from climbing stairs lots)
  • I’d have a swimming pool – my children’s dream to have a proper pool, not merely an inflatable one
  • I’d have a big garden (with a gardener, as I kill plants if left to my own devices)
  • I’d entertain lots
  • I’d eat out quite a lot (I don’t really enjoy cooking all that much)
  • I’d get take-aways too (so when I say I don’t really enjoy cooking all that much, I mean I really don’t like it at all)
  • I’d enjoy shopping more – now it is a chore as it is simply always budget related
  • I’d buy my kids more clothes
  • I’d still not spoil my kids, as I think it is bad
  • I’d spoil myself though – hey, I deserve it!
  • I’d do family holidays and lots of them too
  • I’d do more outings with my kids, take them out and about more
  • I’d get a big seven seater car or a kombi so that I can lift kids and their friends
  • I’d have an electric gate – my manual version (with the added benefit of an automatic function when the kids are in the car – I simply boot them out), is a bit tedious
  • I’d have the luxury of not panicking when my kids come home with yet another letter asking for money
  • I’d get them better sporting equipment
  • I’d ensure they had more than enough school uniforms and sports uniforms too – no need for midnight washing
  • I’d have the luxury of actually using my tumble drier, as I could afford the increased electricity bill
  • I’d indulge myself in a hot air balloon ride and an amble on a gondola in Venice
  • I’d spoil my Grantie with a trip to watch a Grand Prix
  • I’d spoil my Luke with a trip to watch some of his favourite soccer teams playing all over Europe
  • I’d spoil my Amber with shows to all of her favourite music stars and a trip to Disney and Universal Studios too
  • I’d spoil my Cole with lots of sporting equipment, trips to watch live Soccer and Rugby as well
  • I’d spoil my Mom with a trip to visit my sister
  • I’d spoil my brother with a few more guitars as well as some “meet-and-greets” with some of his favourite muso’s of all time – though getting hold of Jimi Hendrix might prove problematic
  • I’d spoil my sister and her family with a trip home to SA – a long one at that
  • I’d spoil my grandparents with being surrounded by all of their children and grandchildren
  • I’d spoil my entire big family with financial security, enabling them to follow their dreams
  • I’d spoil my friends with a joint trip to an exotic destination (still debating on whether we’d take our husbands and kids along too)
But actually all things considered, I am rather rich already.  I have a family whom I love deeply and who love me deeply in return.  I have amazing, incredible friends.  I am surrounded by natural beauty and bounty every single day.

My cup really runneth over.  Earthly riches mean nothing, if you don’t have the family, the friends, appreciation and gratitude for that which you already have.

I am rich!!!




Thursday, 25 April 2013

Amber and the ball box

Amber and the ball box
25 April 2013

Kids!  Their innocence is amazing and so completely and utterly refreshing.

Their brains are wired differently to ours.  And so often where us adults see stumbling blocks and problems, they see adventure and opportunity.

Their expectations of life are huge.  Anything is possible.  Anything is do-able.

And perhaps one of their biggest aspirations is to be all grown up.  To be taken seriously.  To appear to be knowledgeable and wise.

But somehow in their strive to do all of this, they occasionally only get snippets of knowledge and titbits of truth.  In fact, sometimes they miss the entire plot.

And no one is more adept at this than my Berry.  She sports a pair of elephant sized ears.  And quite often, in listening to overheard conversation, she usually only manages to get the very tail end of a story.  Leading her to leap to conclusions, and make inaccurate assumptions.  She latches on to a word perhaps, and then in her mind weaves a whole long story about it.  Funny enough always picking up on something which she thinks directly affects her.  And is to her personal gain of course.

And so to illustrate, Grant and I might have a conversation about work colleagues coming down for a trip and Grant’s need to book them into accommodation for the duration of their stay.  And so we might be talking about it.  A whole long discussion in fact, and somewhere in that discussion the phrase “maybe just book them into a hotel” might come up.  Which in turn would lead to Amber coming screaming down the passage, “We’re going to stay in a Hotel!!!  That is awesome!  Which Hotel?  How long are we going for?  Do we have to fly there?  Do they have room service?  Is it like the Tipton Hotel from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody?  Who will look after the dogs?  Can we order what we want?  Have they got a swimming pool?  Do they have one of those funny trolleys that they use to bring your bags up to your room?  Do we get those tiny little shampoo and body wash bottles? “

Sigh!!!  She does this with boring regularity.  This very same sense of excitement is also spurred on by uncensored use of the following words:  Chocolate, Disney World, Blackberry, Take-Aways, Sweets, Clothes, Shoes, Make-up, Bigger bedroom, Swimming Pool, Puppy, Sunglasses, Overseas, Holiday, I-pad, Laptop, Facial, TV, Movies, etc.  Pretty much most words in her opinion, can lead straight back to her and her needs.  Poor deprived child.

And perhaps there is no more accurate way of illustrating this, her need for knowledge and her sincere belief that she knows all, than the time we went to fetch Luke from a cricket match at school one afternoon.  Lying there on the sports filed, discarded, was a cricket ball box.  You know a ball box.  That contraption used by the male of the species to protect their precious testes when they are playing ball sports. 

Amber was delighted with her find, screeching delight.  At first, I was unsure about what all the hoopla was about, as I had not seen the ball box at all.  And then, sort of in slow motion, I saw Luke running towards her, bellowing, “No-o-o-o-o”.  You know how they do those effects in movies, when they show stuff in slow motion.  Everything is muffled and hollow and moving at snail paced slow speed.

Unbeknownst to me, Amber had picked the random ball box up, and clapped it over her nose and mouth, to show Luke the “cool” mask she had found.

Yip, she does often only get the back end of a story.  Though, in this case, she sadly got the front end …..
Okay, so I'm willing to concede that there is a wee bit of a similarity
Well, maybe not

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

When I'm big, I want to be a .....

When I'm big, I want to be a .....
24 April 2013

One of the oldest questions ever.

What do you want to be when you're big?  A hugely important question actually, as the answer can set the tone, essence and quality of life, for the rest of that very same life.

And I would imagine that parents have been asking their offspring this question, since time immemorial.  Though I do suppose for pre-historic man, it was possibly slightly less important, as their options were rather limited.  And so for pre-historic boys, the question was perhaps, "do you want to drag a red haired girl around by her hair after killing your daily quota?".  "Or do you perhaps rather fancy yourself a brunette?".

The future career path of your child is rather important.  It affects so very, very much.  As a school going child, it affects their subject choices.  It affects their extra murals and the direction you help lead them into.  As a teenager and young adult, it can affect their dependency on you, as you have to support them whilst they are doing their studies.  And as an adult, it affects both your life and theirs, as a wrong choice or poor career path will severely affect their ability to be self-sufficient and independent, and drain your financial resources.

I remember dreaming big dreams when I was still a chillum.  I wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones.  A legal big wig, ruling the courts.  Convicting terrible criminals and always getting the baddie.  A beautiful and talented actress for sure.  A famous singer no less.  Possibly a teacher, teaching the littlies – my best.  A journalist, writing the most amazing stories ever.  A world class photographer.  A psychologist, helping to fix broken people.  But mostly, I simply wanted to be a mom.  And a really, really, really good one at that.

And now, as a parent, I am enjoying watching my kids future career dreams.  I have often asked them what they want to be.  And it is rather funny, seeing how their answers change as they get older.  As littlies, their job desires are completely unrealistic.  Being a superhero like Batman or Spiderman sounding ever so grand.  And let’s not forget a fairy princess, going to fancy balls all day long.  But even being an “ordinary” hero often plays a big role, and therefore they have expressed the odd policeman and fireman wish.  However, as they have gotten older, they have realised that these jobs are not glamorous at all.  Especially in sunny SA.  Furthermore, they are very dangerous and can potentially cost you your life.  And then sadly, they’re badly paid jobs too.  And so if earthly riches and comfort is your aspiration, these are not very wise career choices.

During his playschool and pre-school years, Luke expressed a deep desire to be a “hockey-hologist”.  Clearly archaeology dreams run big between the two of us.  Though I think Luke’s obsession came from his need to discover dinosaur bones.  And to be truthful, I sort of pandered to this.  I would plant coins in the garden, and send him out with a little bucket and a spade, and he would go a digging.  He absolutely loved it, and the joy on his little face when he finally found some loot was worth every cent it cost me.  Though, I was rather cheap.  I only planted 5c coins, though they had been spray painted gold for a pirate party I did for him one year.  He loved it!  And so this also led to a phase where he wanted to have a career digging for treasure.  Right!  But, I do find it funny, how sort of prophetic his “hockey-hologist” dreams were, as hockey is his very favourite sport in the world.  And a career as either a hockey player, hockey coach or sport physiotherapist with a hockey team, would be perfect for him.  And so, he now wishes to follow a career path, dealing with sports injuries and just with sport in general.  This has been pretty much a constant dream for the last few years.  Time will tell if it sticks though.  To be truthful, he did have a brief spell where he also toyed with being a lawyer.  I egged him on strongly in this direction, as he is just sooo good at arguing…..  However, the first time he told me that he didn’t have to do his Afrikaans homework, as it was an infringement of the South African charter for children and a violation of his most basic human right to receive education in his primary language, my sense of humour deserted me.  And then, just the other day, he decreed that he thinks being a car guard would be fantastic.  I am deeply troubled.  And much to his horror, when he told me about his wish to be a car guard (the child is fifteen, surely the bar has been set a bit higher by this stage?), I nearly crashed the car.  I laughed so hard.  I did apologise much later, but at the time, I nearly peed in my pants.  He was quite miffed with me actually.  Once I recovered my composure, I told him that it was a marvellous idea and that I was sure he would do really well.  I even suggested that we could go looking for a lovely little lumo reflective car guard vest so long.  You know, to make him stand out.  Quite funny, when a teenager’s biggest wish is to blend in.  I told him he was sure to look handsome in his vest and perhaps we could start finding out so long, where he would like his beat to be.  Perhaps at Checkers in Somerset West?  Or Pick ‘n Pay instead?  I felt it was only fair to warn him though about the continual risk of sunburn.  Something he fears most.  And so, he wisely decided that it would be best if he pursued his car guard dreams at the underground parking at the local Mall.  Yip, he’ll be financially dependent on me for life!

Now, as for my little Berry?  For the longest time, she wanted to drive a digger loader, and make roads.  I know, not your average little girl dreams.  Still she has always been a quirky kid and so I expected no less from her.  Naturally, she is also convinced that she is going to be both a world famous actress and singer too.  Can’t imagine where she got that from.  And for fun?  A super model.  Would anything else really suffice?  Her fascination with “make-ups”, lotions and potions since she was small, also led her to express a wish to be a beauty therapist.  And I am sure she would really love this, as it is right up her alley.  Especially if this allows her the opportunity to paint nails all day long.  And this would so play right into her personal grooming schedule, as it would give her a bona fide licence and excuse to wear oodles of make-up all day long.  However, she is amazingly talented with kids though, and personally I think that she would be a brilliant teacher.  She is exceptionally patient with small children and as a big sister, she has spent hours teaching Cole stuff.  And as for playing school-school!  She is fantastic!  She even has the mean teacher voice down pat, when her student is disobedient.  Though, her evil father, has thrown a spanner in the works.  Pretty much since birth, he has coached and coaxed her along the path to physiotherapy.  But, I know that he has done this for purely selfish reasons and personal gain.  He loves a good massage.  And with an eye on the endless supply of massages he would have on tap if his daughter was a physiotherapist, his motives are clearly not pure.  Still she has persisted with the physiotherapy thing quite a bit too.  Once again, time will tell.  But hey, chances are either which way, I could potentially score.  Either with loads of free make-up samples, or massages galore.

But perhaps, my wisest child of all, is Cole.  Whenever I ask him what he wants to be, he gives me a very quirky answer.  An answer always related to money.  And so for instance he’ll say, “a-policeman-so-I-can-drive-a-fast-car-do-they-make-lots-of-money?”.  All said in one continuous breath.  And if the answer to his question is “no”, then he simply changes his answer.  There is simply no way, that he will NOT be financially independent one day.  He likes money far too much.  His maths skills are not the greatest, however, any maths question, accompanied by a rand or dollar value, immediately escalates his ability.  In fact then he’s a fiscal genius and giant.  And so all career options for Cole, are always accompanied by the question “do …..(enter career) make lots of money?”.  Followed thereafter by his second most important question, “can I buy a fast car?” or “do …..(enter career) drive fast cars?”.  And so, just this past week, when the kids and I were driving in the car on the way to school, they were talking about what they want to be one day when they grow up.  And my boy Cole?  What did he answer?  What job does he want to do?  What does he want to be one day when he’s big?  Well, it was actually quite simple.  His answer was, “I want to be rich”.  And I’m sure he will be.  The actual career path he chooses to meet his end goal, will probably not matter much, as he is already focused on the outcome of that career.

In fact, I am one hundred percent convinced that Cole will meet his objective.  Of that I am positive.  And so, chances are that he will choose my Old Age Home for me one day, as he will probably have to pay for it too.  Which means that instead of him being financially dependent on me, my guess is that I will be financially dependent on him.  So best I be nice to that kid.  Which explains why I took his forgotten lunch box to school for him today.  Best I start sucking up now.

Still I suppose I’m better off than one friend of mine.  When her son was just five, he expressed a deep seated desire to be a postman.  This, the son of a pharmacist and a dietician.  He reckoned it was a way cool job to have.  You get to ride you bicycle all day long, post letters in post boxes and all the dogs everywhere always bark at you because they like you so much.  Right!  Good luck with that.  Still, possibly it is better than my uncle Willem.  When he was little he wanted to be an Assistant Train Driver.  Potentially a good choice, as there is way less pressure on the assistant than on the proper Train Driver.  And he could always pass the buck if there was a problem. 

Yet somehow, the Postman and Assistant Train Driver aspiration all seem rather glamorous when compared to those of my cousin, Maria.  When she was just a little chillum, she wanted to be a Police Dog.  And we never quite managed to figure out why.

Our wacky St. James Street neighbours - The Kemlo's

Our wacky St. James Street neighbours - The Kemlo's
23 April 2013

I spent the majority of my childhood, in fact in my opinion, the most important years of my life, before marriage and kids, at 29 St. James Street, Somerset West.  These were my formative years.

Some of my happiest days were in those years.  The irony of course, being that I didn’t realise it at the time.  That insight only came with advanced years and more life experience.  Life was simpler then.  I didn’t worry about bills, the education of my kids, running a home and a business, guiding my kids along the correct path, the moral fibre of society, the fact that Riaan Cruywagen had finally left our TV screens, or what to make for supper.

Oh no!  In those days, I worried about far more important things, like my split ends (practically non-existent at the time), how lame my folks were, how hard done by I was (we never even had a video machine in the house – I thought it was akin to living in the dark ages), the fact that my brother always seemed to have a handy excuse at the ready when us kids had to tidy the kitchen, a never ending cycle of practicing the piano for my next lesson, my teenage sister who simply ALWAYS borrowed my clothes (without asking!), the way I had to cycle or walk to school every day because my selfish parents wouldn’t lift me, the annoying habit my folks had of forcing me to do homework, the accountability they taught me for my actions, the pathetic curfew I had to submit to when I went out, the healthy food we had to eat (we NEVER did Take-Aways or restaurants), the snacky food in the house always being boring fruit (or raisins – yip-de-doo – NOT), the nagging I had to listen to about lying on the phone chatting to my friends when my folks were wanting to make so called “important” calls instead, the annoyance of not having the latest and most fashionable clothes, the horrors of hand-me-downs, my parents simply ALWAYS listening to their taste in music, loudly (they didn’t appreciate my much cherished Rick Astley record – can’t imagine why), the subjection we always endured on Sundays of listening to LOUD classical music ( yip, they were seriously lame), the way they wouldn’t let me go away for a weekend, unsupervised and un-chaperoned, with a boyfriend (pathetic!), their indulgence in family meetings, my continuous aspiration in getting the latest teen magazines, trying to save up money to buy a Roxette album, having a strict bedtime (We had to go to our rooms every night at 8pm – positively archaic!!!  We didn’t have to sleep immediately, but we were not allowed to hang around in the lounge, kitchen or in front of the TV.  So selfish and rude!), their obsession with us tidying up after ourselves, etc.  You know what I mean?  I was worrying about seriously important life and death stuff way back then.  At least it felt that way to me.

Now the thing with St James Street, is that it lay below the Main Road in Somerset West, towards the railway station.  A no-no.  Yip, we grew up on “the wrong side” of town.  29 St. James Street, was not a prestigious address, in the eyes of “the popular”.  Yet our house was golden.  Magnificent in every single way.  My folks had, with the assistance of an awesome team of labourers (Helene, Albert and Katrine), managed to lovingly restore and renovate the house to a place of beauty.  We spent weekends, wielding a belt sander, scraping a window frame, painting or varnishing.  I wish I could capture it’s magnificence for you.  Though there are many, many photos that sort of do her justice.

But the marvellous thing of St James Street, was the sense of community and camaraderie between neighbours.  It was a time and a place when being neighbours still meant a lot.  We knew the people who lived next door to us, and further up the road.  In fact, it proved to be quite a prolifically talented road.  It produced my brother, Albert Frost, obviously.  My dad too played in a band and was a musical maestro, promoter and organiser of note.  So was my mom for that matter.  It also produced the two Swart sisters, Lise and Nina.  Nina spent years playing someone called Willemien on 7de Laan, I think.  She has gone on to do many, many local television series, and has now even taken to directing and producing programmes too.  In fact, the Afrikaans programme, Boer Soek ‘n Vrou, is her brainchild.  As for Lise?  Well Lise is one amazingly talented lady.  She spent years doing the music scene, playing with amongst others, Anton Goosen, Valiant Swart, etc.  She is also SA TV royalty, especially on Kyknet.  She hosted the cooking programme, Roer, and Pitstop as well as the Revlon Supermodel too.

But this is not the Swart-Sister story.  This story, is about our other absolutely fabulous neighbours - the Kemlo family.  They were just such fun.  Part of their charm, was the fact that they were also quirky and different.  Just like us.  They comprised a Dad and a Mom, three sisters, a younger brother, and a granny we almost never seemed to see.  In fact, we often debated around our dining room table, if she was still alive.  Still, every so often we would see her again.  Only to start another round of dining room table debates, as to exactly where she had been?  Furthermore, irrespective of the season, come rain or sunshine, whether in the middle of the week or during the weekend, albeit the crack of dawn, midday, late afternoon, evening, or the wee nightly hours, the smell of a braai simply always wafted over the wall.  Followed by the sound of chopping wood for their braais.  Which inevitably led us to long discussions once more as to the last time we had had a live sighting of the granny?  They used to have marvellous parties, braais and unprovoked jols.  Most often accompanied by singing.  Lots and lots and lots of singing.  Singing of old songs.  The songs of my parents era.  The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Cream, Eric Clapton, Jethro Tull, to name but a few.  And just for fun?  Well the odd South African folky number too, like “My Sarie Marais”.  Occasionally it even sounded like howling.  Like the type one would expect wolves to make.  And naturally, this too led us to long discussions about the whereabouts of Noni, as granny Kemlo was called , once more.  Their life seemed a never ending series of fun and excitement.  A continuous never ending social gathering.  They always had friends around and were in a festive and holiday mood.  All the time.

And I suspect, that like my folks, they too had financial struggles.  It is tough making ends meet and feeding kids.  Not to mention schooling and clothing, and things of that ilk.  Their Dad was an excellent draughtsman.  The mom a home maker.  Their kids were amazing.  The daughter closest to me in age, was Vice Head Girl of the school, the year after I matriculated.  They are all successful, well rounded, independent individuals, making a positive contribution to society.

They always seemed jolly and happy.  Everyone always friendly.  I don’t think they had a Hi-Fi.  Ever.  Which was probably partially the cause of their late night singing/howling (about that granny…).

And what was so marvellous about that, was the occasional phone call we’d receive from next door.  Or even the odd holler over the wall.

“Please play that Stevie Ray Vaughan song again”.  Or “Track number three is cool, play it again”.  And then were was always “Louder!  Louder!!!”.

You Kemlo’s were the best.  Miss you long time and hope you’re all well.

And just to report back, granny Noni Kemlo died many years later.  Of natural causes.
Some of the St. James Street gang - from l.t.r. Tanya Kemlo, Jayne Holtzhausen, Katrine Auld and Lise Swart in the back - the fearsome foursome
View of St. James Street garden - too beautiful!

Now this one is a real gem - a St. James Street fancy dress at the Kemlo's.  Included in this pic - Cara, Tanya and Dean Kemlo, Jayne and Robin Holtzhausen, Lise Swart and Katrine Auld.