By the time we knew her she was Annie Bland. Never ‘granny’. Only Annie.
In fact ‘Annie Watson Bain’ to me was the lady who died (WW1?) whose name was on one of the monuments outside the Town Hall (a cousin of our Annie?).
They’d already lost the farms and the racehorses, and our gran Annie now owned the Caltex filling station in town. It was on Caskie Corner, opposite our posh Town Hall which Annie’s father Stewart Bain had been instrumental in building. It was called Bain’s Folly as it was such an imposing structure for our modest dorp.
Annie always spoke with great admiration of her late husband Frank – the granpa we never knew – and told me proudly how she’d never seen his fingernails dirty (as she looked disapprovingly – probably more disappointedly, she never had a harsh word for me – at mine). She called me Koosie (and the way she pronounced it, it rhymed with ‘wussie’ but don’t say that out loud).
And the car she drove was like this one, except faded beige:
I think a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline.It had a cushion on the seat for her to see over the dash.
She was born in 1893, the fifth of seven Bain kids of the ‘Royal Bains’ – meaning the Royal Hotel Bains. There were also ‘Central Bains’.
She went to school at St Andrews in Harrismith:
and St Anne’s in PMB where she played good hockey ‘if she would learn to keep her place on the field’. She’s the little one on a chair second from left:
Looks like St Anne’s in Pietermartizburg was a riot of fun and a laugh-a-minute.
She ran the Caltex and rented out the Flamingo Cafe and Platberg Bottle Store premises. At that time she lived in the Central Hotel a short block away across the Deborah Retief Gardens and I do believe she drove to work every day. Maybe drove back for lunch even?
Sundays were special with Annie as your gran. She’d roll up at our house in the big beige Chev, we’d pile in and off we’d go on a drive. The back seat was like a large lounge sofa. Sometimes she’d drive to nowhere, sometimes to the park, sometimes cruising the suburbs. OK, the one suburb. I’m sure she told us the whole history of Harrismith and who lived where and who was who. All of which we ignored, so I can’t tell you nothing!
Later she got a green Opel and for some reason (she could no longer drive?) it was parked on our lawn. I sat in it and changed gears on its column shift about seventy thousand times. Probably why I (like all males) am such a good driver today. Like this but green and white:
The pic of the Town Hall with the green Chev is thanks to De Oude Huize Yard – do go and see their blog. They’re doing great things in the old dorp, keeping us from destroying everything old and replacing it with corrugated iron and plastic (excuse little rant there!).