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1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 7_Confessions 8_Nostalgia 9_KwaZuluNatal school sport

Uh, Correction, Mrs Bedford!

In 1969 a bunch of us were taken to Durban to watch a rugby test match – Springboks against the Australian Wallabies. “Our” Tommy Bedford was captain of the ‘Boks. We didn’t know it, but it was to be one of his last games.

Schoolboy “seats” were flat on your bum on the grass in front of the main stand at Kings Park. Looking around we spotted old Ella Bedford – “Mis Betfit” as her pupils called her – Harrismith’s English-as-second-language teacher. Also: Springbok captain’s Mom! Hence our feeling like special guests! She was up in the stands directly behind us. Sitting next to her was a really spunky blonde so we whistled and hooted and waved until she returned the wave.

Tommy Bedford Springbok
jane-bedford-portrait

Back at school the next week ‘Mis Betfit’ told us how her daughter-in-law had turned to her and said: “Ooh look, those boys are waving at me!” And she replied (and some of you will hear her tone of voice in your mind’s ear): “No they’re not! They’re my boys. They’re waving at me!”

We just smiled, thinking ‘So, Mis Betfit isn’t always right’. Here’s Jane. We did NOT mistake her for Mis Betfit.

.

“corrections of corrections of corrections”

Mrs Bedford taught English to people not exactly enamoured of the language. Apparently anything you got wrong had to be fixed below your work under the heading “corrections”. Anything you got wrong in your corrections had to be fixed under the heading “corrections of corrections”. Mistakes in those would be “corrections of corrections of corrections”. And so on, ad infinitum! She never gave up. You WOULD get it all right eventually!

Stop Press! Today I saw an actual bona-fide example of this! Schoolmate Gerda has kept this for nigh-on fifty years! (this is in 2020)

– genuine rare Harrismith Africana ! – or is it Engels-cana? –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Tommy’s last game for the Boks came in 1971 against the French – again in Durban.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Two or three years later:

In matric the 1972 rugby season started and I suddenly thought: ‘Why’m I playing rugby? I’m playing because people think I have to play rugby! I don’t.’

So I didn’t.

It caused a mild little stir, especially for ou Vis, mnr Alberts in the primary school. He came up from the laerskool specially to politely voice his dismay. Nee man, jy moet ons tweede Tommy Bedford wees! he protested. That was optimistic. I had played some good rugby when I shot up and became the tallest in the team, not because of any real talent for the game – as I went on to prove.

~~~oo0oo~~~

ou Vis – nickname meaning old fish – dunno why

Nee man, jy moet ons tweede Tommy Bedford wees! – Don’t give up rugby. You should become our ‘second Tommy Bedford’ – Not.

~~oo0oo~~~

Meantime Jane Bedford has become famous in her own right in the African art world, and in Durban colonial circles. Sister Sheila and Jane have become good friends.

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1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 7_Confessions 8_Nostalgia Family school sport

Harrismith OFS in the Sixties

Big Sister Barbara Swanepoel Tarr has a good memory for the old days, good sources, like old school annuals, and friends like Ann Euthemiou, and is developing a good old-Harries network to enhance all that! She wrote in  November 2015:

Note:  To plough through this post easily you really ideally need to be: 
1. Ancient 
2. a Rooinek - and 
3. a Harrismithian!  

Dear Friends, Acquaintances, Dancing Partners, Boyfriends of Old and “Big Brothers.” Happiness is . . meeting old friends after a very long time and feeling that nothing has changed.

Platberg13

This is Harrismith OFS from about 1959 to 1971 – so in The Famous Sixties!

Recently, while chatting to Louis Brockett, he mentioned how nice it would be to have a reunion – with the kids that went to our Sunday School/Guild and Swimming Club. I have come up with these names and I am sure you all will remember plenty more.  If a reunion ever does take place, it should be quite a gathering – ‘n groot makietie’ – or just one helluva party. It would be great to see all again.

NAMES REMEMBERED

Our circle of friends at School / Sunday School / Guild / Swimming Lessons / Volkspele in the Kleinspan Skoolsaal; Then Parties! Christmas Parties at the Moth Hall, Church Hall & the Country Club; Even better: ‘Sessions’ and ‘Discos’ at the Moth Hall and old Jewish Synagogue, etc etc

METHODIST MINISTERS, SUNDAY SCHOOL AND GUILD TEACHERS:

Methodist Church crop

Justin & Dorianne Michell – them with the lots of kids – seven in all at the end! Mr Rev Michell used to go to the zoo after church and feed the warthog, so we named the warthog ‘Justin’.

Jack & Eileen MacGuire – we loved them at Guild. Jack was so NORMAL! Not ‘dominee’-like at all; He played cricket for Harrismith!

Bob & Pearl Yates – he confirmed many of us;

David & Thelma Young – who married Barbara and Jeff;

Then the church leaders: George & Lally Davies (Davie or Davies?); ‘Uncle Wright’ Liddell, organist; Mary Swanepoel, took over as organist; Emma Morton; Miss Ivy Petty; Poerie Coetzee; Cappy Joubert; Stella & Pye Euthimiou; Adie Crewe . . who else?

KIDS  IN  SUNDAY  SCHOOL:  (1959 – 1971)

Lynn, Pierre & Sonja du Plessis; Christos, Anne & Georgie Euthimiou; Shirley Mason; Petra & Ray Bissett; Alfie, Robert, Peter, Cecily & Ian Moore; Audrey and Monica Hastings; Jean Lund; David Davies; Renee Rae; Julian & Roma Roy; Richard, Cynthia (Sue), Denise (Lindy), Terence (Jimmy) & Beverley (Denny) Putterill; Etienne, Tuffy & Deon Joubert; Kevin, Leon & Judy Crawley; Heather, Melanie, Jenny & Norma Hattingh; Billy, Louie, Timothy & Charlotte Brocket; Allan & older brother Barry Summerfield; Michael, Sia & Georgie Mikalakis; Liz Paul; Trevor, Jennifer & Allan Priest; Ian Untiedt; Kenneth (Std 8 – 1963) & Maureen Atherton; Denise & Joan Brand (from Witzieshoek); Barbara, Koos & Sheila Swanepoel; Anne, Lynette & Desley Wood; Gillian Liddell; Patsy, Lionel, Cathy &  Judy Crewe; Mignon, Jean-Prieur & Jacques-Herman du Plessis;

In front of the old church
Guild Gang in front of the old church

Kids that crossed our paths in Harrismith (period 1959 to 1966):

Rosemary, Stewart, Barbara and Mary McCall; The Milton sisters, Patricia, Caroline & Pookie; Dick & Brian Riley; Nipper (Patrick) & Christine Lennon; Trevor & Deo Else; Bruce Liddell; Denise van der Merwe; Marion Searle with sister Jenny and brothers John & Peter; Rex Taylor; Gary Vedovitch (matric 1965); Violet Thurston (matric 1965); Gib Gibhard (matric 1964); Dawn and Lester Crawley; Sandra (Std 8 -1963) & Pam Cartwright (Std 9 – 1965); Joy, Claire and Heather Alcock (1960); And what about the Baxter brothers? Allan Baxter was a year younger than me and had older brothers; Leonard Walsh; Merle Wessels (matric 1964); Anna Bam (matric 1964); Poem-Celeste Hobbs (matric 1963);  Louise, Janet (matric 1964) & Gillian Liddell; John and Allan Landman; Lynette & Brian Doore; John Riddle & his older brother; Moira & Brian Sharpe; Dawn & Christopher Jelliman; Sandy & her brother Wally Goble; Ian, Gail, Sandy and Tabs Fyvie; Bev Mapp; Jenny Mapp; Ian & Gary Grant; Peter, Pam & Allan Sharratt;  Clive & Candy Goble; Pooksie & Michael Eksteen, sons of Dr. Boel & Ronnie Eksteen; The Kuhlmey Kids, Derrick; Stewart & Glynnis Hillcove; Sharon Kool; Donald, Anne & Eddie Coleman;

SWIMMING (1962– 1966)

Our teachers were Joan du Plessis and Joyce Joubert – ladies we will never forget.   We were all very privileged to have had them in our lives. Merryl Nocton also assisted.

Robert & Peter Moore; Louie & Billy Brocket; Ralph Morton; Jake & Annette Grove; Amanda Erasmus; Lorette van Wilpe; Lynn & Pierre du Plessis; Martie & Francois Marais; Etienne Joubert; Theo Maeder; Elsie & Trudi Steyn; Chris de Jager; Okkie Botha; Frik Ras; Rietta Meyer; Cecilia Vorster; Marissa Fouche; Franz & Musa von During; Jackie Viljoen; Lesley Wessels; Gib & Zak Gibhard (Model Kafee); Christijan (Oupa) Terblanche; Dirkie Roelofse; Christos & Ann Euthimiou; Peter Aligianus; Llewellyn & Eugene Georgiou; Sarie & Hilda Human; Llewellyn & Derrick Mileham; Trudy & Noelene Bester;

SWIMMING TEAM 1965.JPG

BIG  BROTHERS:

These we found at Sunday School, Guild, Swimming and Parties. They were the older guys and girls that looked out for the younger ones, that protected us and were our heroes.  I remember being in Std 5 in 1965 when Johnny Kongas and his band came to Harrismith to play in the Town Hall.   What excitement there was amongst the young crowd.   Pierre asked me to go with him, Lynn and Gary Vedovitch.   Only because Lynn was going did my Mom allow me to trek along. Even at the swimming pool the older guys kept a look-out on the younger ones. There were Big Brothers throughout my whole life in Harrismith.

Robert Moore Trevor Miller Arnold Schreiber and Carl Reitz 1968
Harry Hunks __ Moore, Trevor __, Arrie Schreiber & Kai (Carl) Reitz

OUR FAMOUS MOTH HALL PARTIES / Round Table-run SYNAGOGUE PARTIES / GARAGE PARTIES / VERKYKERSKOP NEW YEAR PARTIES – AND OTHER GET-TOGETHERS  (1966 – 1970) with Harrismith golden oldies and some “out of towners”:

Trudi Wessels; Lyndie Muller; Jenny Mapp; Max Bronn (fantastic dancer); Johnny & Lenda Pieters; Aubrey, Jurie & Kolhaas Linstrom; Roseanne Schoeman; Trish Carr; the brothers, Rob, Douglas, Neil & Gary Spilsbury; Guillaume, Carl & Bess Reitz; Des Glutz; John, Tim & Lal Venning; Al die landmeter ouens van die Sterkfonteindam projek; Don Inglis; Coenie Bronkhorst en Eugene Ferreira van Pretoria met hulle wit beach buggy; Chris van Zyl with his friend “major” Doubell; Arrie Schreiber with Ge-Org (surname long forgotten); Johnny de Jager; Hein Hansen; Gert and Saag Roets; Gary Beaton; Frans Stassen; Martyn Bean; Bennie Neveling; Trevor Muller; Gordon White; Richard & Elsie Scott; Jeannie Siman (USA 1967); Larry Wingert (USA 1969); Willem, Gideon (Giep) & Hanlie Steyn; Whitey Fourie; Bollie Bolton; Gert Kruger;  Marinus Landman; Killus Nortje; Chris Cloete; Ferdi & Wessel Smit; Tobie Lyle; Joe Oosthuizen (party trick: smoothest gear changes in his Cortina – undetectable!); Daan Smuts; Tienie Els; Annatjie Henning; Olive de Necker; Arina Uys; Dalena D’Alebout; Rita Nienaber; Marion Searle;

How can we ever forget those enjoyable Moth Hall parties where the music was great, always the latest songs, supplied by Ann Euthimiou – LP’s and Seven Singles played on what, Annie?? As long as we could dance the night away with great dancers and where one packet of chips fed all of us and a packet of Pepsin Beechies was shared, we were one happy family! I do not recall seeing any cooldrinks on display for our thirst – maybe just a bottle of Oros and a couple of plastic cups; what was available for those who snuck outside, hidden in cars or in the gutters did not bother us insiders either.   We just wanted to dance, dance and dance again – even if it was amongst all the military paraphernalia and memorabilia hanging on the walls of the Moth Hall.

Dodging bullets, bombs, swords, helmets and flags we twirled, waltzed and “sakkie lang-armed” to the beat of “Snoopy vs the Red Baron” or “The Ballad of the Green Beret”.  With all the Generals and Majors of WW2 looking sternly down upon us from their new positions stuck on the walls, us kids never touched a thing.   We were there to have fun – definitely not to fiddle with or re-arrange the past. A few of us would have had ancestors in those Generals and Majors hanging in there. I wonder what would have gone through their heads if only they could have had a detailed conversation with our parents afterwards.   But it was all good – we were a disciplined, trustworthy and happy crowd of kids having fun.

To be a wall-flower at our parties was not good and dancing with a group of girls was unheard of in those days.   When Volkspele at the high school fell away in about 1967 (I bet some of us are still “Soeking na my Dina”), why didn’t Eben Louw teach us Line Dancing or better still Barn Dancing?   Just “Imagine” . . we would have “had the time of our lives” dancing to “Grandma’s Feather Bed”, “The Lonely Bull” or “Groen Koringlande!”  Of course, not forgetting “Old MacDonald” and his whole darn noisy farmyard.

It was at these parties that we were introduced to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Troggs, The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Simon & Garfunkel and many other new stars of the day.   Where “Ob la di Ob la da”, “Proud Mary”, “House of the Rising Sun” and “California Dreamers” would make an impact on our lives forever.   Where “Bridge over Troubled Waters” and “Silence is Golden” would be the last songs of the evening so that we could snuggle with whoever was your beau or “flavour” or “case” for the night!! (“ . . and then he kissed me”) . .

but then as the clock struck 11pm, I knew I was in trouble as that was the time that this Cinderella had to be home – with two shoes or one – dit het nie saak gemaak nie – I had to BE HOME at 11pm!  If not, I was banned/gated for the next two or three parties and that would have been such punishment, even torture, as we only had about one party each holiday.   That means I could have been banned for a whole year!  Now I know why some of my friends didn’t want to stay at my house for these parties.   Really, parents . . 11 pm! Just when all the fun was starting.    I think my Mom had just got to hear of the new song of the moment: “Even the good times are bad . . ”        Yeah, Mom, but even the bad times were good! (Koos: Mom used to say – in justifying her curfew: “You know, Dominee Ras says ‘Na twaalfuur kom die duiwel uit'”).

Well guys, this is all that I can remember.   Please share your side of the stories with us and the names of your friends of yesteryear just to jog the old memories even more.

Love to all of you – Barbara Swanepoel Tarr

PS: . . And who could forget Percy Sledge’s “When a Man loves a Woman” . . just when things were hotting up and undying love was being confessed, declared or whispered in my ear, I had to grab both shoes and rush home! Maybe I would have turned into a pumpkin . . anything would have been better than leaving a good party filled with hope and promises.   I mean, those moments were gone in a second and were seldom relived.    Oh!  the agony of being young!   Sighhh . . !

~~~oo0oo~~~

Petra Bissett 1966.jpg

Petra Bissett replied:

Dear All

Such delightful messages filled with such lovely memories from Barbara and friends.  Barbara, I just don’t know how you keep all those memories so fresh in your mind.

As you all know Rey and I did not matriculate in Harrismith.  Std 9 and Matric I went to boarding school, and so did a few other Harrismith guys – Linstrom boys (they lived next to the Brocketts), Maaitjie Odendaal’s elder sister. We then only came home on the occasional Hostel weekend and holidays. The Odendaal girls lived on a farm – don’t quite remember. Rey went to a Boy’s School in Gauteng (Heidelberg) where he started his trade.  He did well there and was Headboy of the Hostel.  Both of us returned to Harrismith after school for a few years and I eventually left Harrismith in 1970 and Rey much later – possibly very early 80’s.  Rey was very close to the Georgiou boys and was very saddened when Eugene drowned.

Bissetts.jpg
Rey Bissett in matric; Rey (2L) and Petra (2R) at a picnic on Platberg’s slopes

I certainly missed a lot of fun those last two years of school but I have the wonderful memories until Std 8.  The famous Moth Hall Parties were definitely the highlight. I remember  very clearly my childhood in Harrismith and how you all, boys and girls played a big role in my life and of course the wonderful teachers we were privileged to have.  I also took music lessons from Miss Underwood whom I am sure some of you did also.  When we were in the Primary School, can any one still remember how we enjoyed the “Tickey Aand”.  The favourite part was where you could play a record for someone special and remain anonymous.  For days you would wonder who sent the message but was soon forgotten when the next exciting thing happened.

Louis Brockett met up with Gary Vedovitch a few months and shared the photo on whatsapp.  I remember the names Tokolos Coetzee and Arrie Schreiber but just cannot place them and obviously can figure out what connection there was – maybe someone can enlighten me.

When I started to work at the Standard Woollen Mills, I made a lot of Afrikaans-speaking friends and joined the Badminton and Tenniquoit Club.  We would often travel quite far to play a match and the places not too far we would have a braai and barn dance after the game.  During these years we got together – not sure if one could all it “dates” but nevertheless we had a great time – with Killus Nortje (a great dancer and later he and Maaikie Odendaal got serious), Chris van Zyl, Jurie and Aubrey and some girls would go all the way to Ladysmith to the Drive-Inn, Hennie van Aard, a land surveyor, Bruce Humphries (teacher), Garth Romeo – more – my memory has failed me.

I still have not been able to trace my photo albums but somehow found these few photos attached in a box.  Lynn was talking about the make up – I must say I only experimented with the eye shadow much later but the mascara and eyeliner was the in-thing as can be seen in the photo of me in 1966.  Audrey Hepburn looked so good with the eyeliner but – ah well we tried.

That’s what I have to contribute or fill in the gaps with the stories Barbs. Once again thank you for keeping in touch and being so disciplined in contacting us.  I know you are a very busy lady and that is why I appreciate your efforts – time is precious and goes by so fast.

Lots of love – Petra Bissett Cronje

~~~oo000oo~~~

Younger sister Sheila added:

Mignon, Sheila and Georgie
Mignon du Plessis, Sheila Swanepoel, Georgie Euthimiou

Mum Mary remembers a Sunday School picnic in the park where we were expressly told not to go anywhere near the weir – but needless to say, we went. Afterwards Mum said to all the kids “But didn’t Mrs Morton tell you not to go to the weir?” Pierre said, “Yes, but we didn’t hear her nie” (gently mocking Emma Morton’s famous double negatives).

Harrismith Park (2)

Mum still has the same red plastic bucket she used to make the ginger beer for the picnics.  Cappy Joubert would walk around with a wide grin in the President Brand Park where we’d sometimes hold the picnics, offering tea and buns, shouting “coop a char na boon?” mimicking the cockneys he’d met during the war. When he came back from the war in uniform his church had turned him away, so he’d joined the Methodists! Mrs Brunsdon was a huge part of the church those days – also Joyce Joubert, Anna Gavin, Emma Morton, Lallie Davie and later Adie Crewe.  And the long-suffering minister’s wives – Dorianne Michell – she of the seven kids – Eileen McGuire, Muriel McGregor, Pearl Yates.

Archie McGregor’s wife was Muriel. Their 4 kids were awful, and he was very difficult.  He got very irritated one year when we were playing a ball game down in the park at the Sunday School picnic and Adie Crewe ran away with the ball when it was thrown to her.

Other men involved in the church and not yet mentioned, were Bob Moore, Ernie van Biljon and Francois Maeder.

During an evening performance of some sort – I remember sitting up on the raised pews in the old church – Sonja du Plessis fell asleep with her head on Lyn Wood’s shoulder and when we had to stand up and sing, Lettuce couldn’t move!

Mary Wessels said no matter where she sat in church, Mrs Brunsdon always came and sat right in front of her – and Mary battled to keep a straight face when confronted by Mrs Brunsdon, singing loudly off-key, turning around and sniffing – and noisily wiping her nose.

1999 Harrismith Mary & Mary0001
Mary Wessels and Mary Swanepoel

Whenever Mum had to play at a funeral, she would always grab the biggest flower arrangement and put it smack in front of her face, so she didn’t have to see the grieving relatives.

Mum doesn’t remember the kids being allowed on the back of the lorry for the Christmas Carols – she thought it was only the choir – with Uncle Wright on the organ.  She says Edgar Ewan or Bob Moore would have driven the truck.

At one of the nativity plays – which Emma Morton always called the Nivity Play – I was supposed to be an angel, but I refused to cooperate, so they took you instead and you behaved beautifully.

Mr George Davie always spoke of ‘Cessily Maw’ – instead of Sissily Muwa, as we – and she – said, and that always amused me. Didn’t he know Cecily Moore was pronounced Sissily Muwa or Mu-uh?

Mum remembers that Myra Wood made the most delicious cupcakes – an art Mary could never master. A master baker she was not, so she’d call in the services of Mrs Woodcock to make our birthday cakes. Scotty (formally ‘Miss HM Scott’) was famous for her butterfly cakes.

Somebody made Mum a beautiful yellow brocade dress for her honeymoon – she later cut it up to make gypsy outfits for us – for some talent show. Koos and I wandered up on to the stage and won a special prize for being cute or something.

Mum also remembers entering us all in a talent show – you played the piano and I sang “Zoem, zoem zoem, bytjie zoem zoem zoem.” Mum can’t remember if Koos did anything.  Wonder if that was where Stuart McKenzie recited “New shoes, new shoes, red and pink and blue shoes”?  Heather and I went through three years of teachers’ training college together. Stuart died of cancer about ten years ago.

Anglican Church
The opposition!

Shocking news! Mary Methodist wasn’t always a staunch Methodist! She has admitted preferring the Anglican Church picnics as a teenager, as the boys were much nicer than the Methodist boys! Michael Scruby, Brian Brown and Peter Anderson, amongst others. (Koos: I think that’s what we Methodists would call ‘heresy’).

The picnics were held at “The Homestead”, up near the waterworks somewhere. Later on Bob & Nan Milne had a chicken farm there.

Harrismith Kings Hill Dr's Res (maternity home)
Duggie’s maternity home

When Mum was in Duggie Dugmore’s nursing home in the old Boer War officers’ mess on Kings Hill when Koos was born, Jessie Bain / Bell said to her – “Aren’t you scared of snakes?”  Mary replied “I don’t know – I haven’t seen any and I don’t think of them.”  “Oh” said Jessie “I would think of them all the time!”

And here’s what’s left of it. Bob Moore in the left picture:

Bessie & Sepp de Beer’s home was down near Granny Bland’s home – Mum loved that home – they would have concerts on the open veranda – Mum’s great friend was Joey de Beer – Marie Lotter’s older sister. Bessie always said their outside toilet was “halfway to Warden”

~~~oo0oo~~~

I added:

Lovely.
Cecily always corrected me when I said Cecily. She said “It’s Sissily”. I did say Moowa though, not Maw.
George Davie had the biggest ballroom trousers in the Free State. When he sang Sumbean, he could move his boep forward a yard before his trousers needed to move. His old grey Wolseley car had beautiful fold-down walnut tables for the back seat passengers.
Ernie van Biljon was a star – he (along with the Round Tablers) brought normality to Harrismith – the real world, common sense, parties – for which I’m everlastingly grateful.

Mrs Brunsdon used to turn round in church and peer intently at whatever interested her, quite disconcerting if it was you she stared at while singing lustily. She would then start the next line when she was good and ready, regardless of where the music and/or the other singers were at. Loudly. She would never skip or play catch-up. She’d go through it at her pace. Irregardless, as a friend of mine says.

Fluffy Crawley had a great sense of humour. When Mary Methodist made us sing ‘Hark Hark Hark, While Infant Voices Sing’ he would pronounce ‘hark’ in Afrikaans and make raking motions, cracking us up and making Mary get stern and admonishing.

I remember Bessie & Sepp de Beer’s home being nearer the Volkskool, nearer Francois Marais’ home and Lesley Wessels the bank manager’s home than Granny Bland’s in Stuart Street. Huge veranda – used by the invading Poms in the Boer War.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Sheila again:

Loved your description of Mrs Brundon’s church singing, Koos – spot on! Mary Wessels would have loved reading that!
The de Beers must have moved there later – was it Biddulph Street?  Then the Uys family lived there – Arina, Annemarie and Ronel. Mum remembers standing in our garden at Piet Uys Street and hearing a gun shot – Mr Uys had ended it all in the garden.
Pieter Nouwens now lives there and the home has been beautifully restored.  Pieter also bought and restored the magnificent old stone house in Warden Street – on the next corner up from Pierre & Erika’s.

Philip & Rita Schoeman family: Rita says Mum always said “If the four Schoeman kids weren’t in Church, then the Church wasn’t full!” I say if it wasn’t for the extended Schoeman family, Harrismith would have been emptier and poorer!

The thing that sticks out most in my mind is how cold the church and the hall were! How did we survive those winters! And how much I hated getting dressed up in stupid girls’ shoes on Sunday mornings.  I recall having to learn ALL the books of the Bible – in the correct order, nogal, in Miss Petty’s Sunday School classes. That wasn’t nearly as much fun as when Pye was our Sunday School teacher.

And Mr Davie singing ” . . In this world of darkness, so we must shine – You in your small corner and I in mine . . “ – and on the word “corNAH” he would rise up on his tippy-toes for emphasis.

At the end of the year, the Swanepoel kids would likely win the “Best Sunday School Attendance” prize – not because of our undying religious fervour, but by accident of birth – we had no choice! Mary Methodist was going off to play the organ – so we were dragged along! And far too early too – as Mary had to warm up the organ and her fingers!

OHS 155
OHS 155 – Our light blue transport to church

And can one ever forget how awful the hall toilet was? Down behind the main hall – down some steps, dark and dingy and not smelling of roses!

One cannot fail to be humbled by the efforts of the Methodists of little old Harrismith – cake sales, jumble sales, picnics, Nativity Play, Harvest Festival, Guild, building fund – all run by hard-working, dedicated volunteers – what would they have raised at a cake sale in the 1960s? Probably no more than R50! For all that work.

We owe a huge debt to the likes of Joyce Joubert, Anna Gavin, Miss Ivy Petty, Mary Methodist, Emma Morton, Lallie Davie and later Adie Crewe.  Then there was Uncle Cappie, Ralph Morton, George Davie, Bob Moore, Francois Maeder, Ernie van Biljon and many others. What an example they set for us!

Who can remember – Georgie? Lettuce? Koos? Charlotte? Sonja? – who took us for junior guild on a Friday afternoon?  I seem to remember Adie Crewe?  And how did they keep us occupied? I remember singing children’s hymns for some of the time. (Koos: Threats of eternal damnation, maybe? Actually that really wasn’t their style, was it? 😉 We seldom got the fire and brimstone threat! They made us pretty much assume it was Straight To Heaven for Methodists!).

~~~oo0oo~~~

Me again:

“Who can remember who took us for junior guild on a Friday afternoon?  And how did they keep us occupied?”

I think Stella Euthimiou – and occupied? We would just stare at her in total fascination, hopelessly devoted! She was gorgeous! She had us in the palm of her hand. Almost got us to heaven each week, but we’d fix that the rest of the week!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Ralph Morton remembers:

Freddie’s Groceries seems to be well remembered by most – how about Woolf Chodos & Sons and the Harrismith Market? The former was a general dealer store and seemed to stock most things, from groceries to furniture. My parents bought their groceries here as well as my school uniforms. Mr Chodos lived across the road from us in Stuart Street. He later sold his house to Hennie Cillier (the Joubert family will remember him), and his shop to Beares Ltd. The sale to Beares brought  Mr Crewe (manager) and his daughter Patsy to town and Laboria flats became a very popular place!!

The Harrismith Market was situated on the back end of the Town Hall and was managed by Mr Robert Rodgers. He lived across the road from the Municipal swimming pool and was the guy who snitched on us when we went for late night escapades. I wonder what Mr Rodgers would have done had he known that one of the crowd he was snitching on was actually one of the school boys working for him on Saturday mornings!! Yes, I actually sold fruit and veg; at first I got my lettuce and cabbage mixed up but soon learnt the difference.

Speaking of shops, does anyone remember Moira Sharp? Her dad managed a shop in Southey Street(?) which later became OK Bazaars. She was part of the Sunday School crowd and, I think, a “cast” member  of the yearly Nativity play. As was yours truly – one of the three Kings. We had to walk from the back of the Church, bearing our gifts, to the stage. I think Mr Davie would pray that we didn’t trip over our own feet as we were always checking out the congregation and not concentrating on our roles. Imagine, three young kids dressed in adult gowns trailing behind them, crowns too big for their heads,  little hands clasping “gifts” and you will appreciate Mr Davie’s concern that something had to go wrong. Fortunately, nothing did – maybe it was just because we were that good!!!

Finally, who can remember the Primary School in Stuart Street near the Laboria flats?  Sub A’s and B’s were schooled there. Ms Jordan was my teacher. We used to write with a nib pen with blotting paper held in your palm – write, blot, write, blot was how it was taught. The bottle of ink was kept in a special hole in the top corner of our desks. Rulers were a solid piece of wood with a thin piece of metal down the one side (not these plastic jobs we have now). This enabled one to draw a line without smudging (that was the theory). However, for Ms Jordan her ruler served another purpose as well –  to smack us on the knuckles when she felt we had misbehaved or got something wrong. I think I’m rather lucky that today I don’t  have any deformed knuckles.

And yes, our home telephone number was 350. Keep the memories flowing! Kind regards, Ralph

~~~oo0oo~~~

The pics are from all over, including Harrismith’s best blog deoudehuizeyard – go and check out the good work they did to keep your old dorp alive! (they have moved on now).

~~~oo0oo~~~

And just because:

and local talent:

Categories
1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 7_Confessions 8_Nostalgia school sport

Lloyd Zunckel R.I.P

Lloyd’s sister Filly wrote from Zimbabwe:

Lloyd sadly passed away in the early hours of August 3 2016 from a brain bleed –

huge shock to us all and especially his partner who could not wake him for his tea.

John and I held a memorial service for Lloyd in our garden and we were

overwhelmed by the 150-plus friends who came to bid him farewell.

I wrote:
Hi Filly
Dammitall I am so sorry to hear of Lloyd’s passing! So so sad.
He and I had a helluva good time together in Herriesmif. We clicked and just shared a similar outlook on life, the universe and kop-toe dutchmen.
It wasn’t long, but it was a great friendship while it lasted.
Thinking of you
Love

=======ooo000ooo=======

What a lovely guy from the bestest, funnest, hilariousest, lekkerest part of my youth. Lloyd Zunckel arrived in Harrismith from the metropolis of Bethlehem and switched the lights on. A breath of fresh air. He was kind, genuine, modest, charming, and a barrel of laughs. He just couldn’t do maths. Or English or science or any of that shit. But man, could he do life! LIFE! He loved life; and he loved people. I was very good at math. And English and science and that unimportant shit. But Lloyd taught me how to do life and I will forever be grateful to my friend Lloyd for that. Lloyd switched the lights on for me.

Things I remember with Lloyd:

What a tennis player!

A bit of golf. I would ride my dikwiel fiets to the hostel, pick up Lloyd and a golf bag and with him on the cross-bar, cycle to the country club where we’d while away the hours “playing golf”. Sort of. On the bike we would sing – him way out of key, me melodiously:

“Let the spidnight mecial.

“Line a shite on me

“Let the spidnight me-ecial

Line a helluva lotta shite on me . . “

Me and my mate Lloyd! There was this (where we almost escaped a para-military fate worse than death) and this (where we acted very speronsibly) and this (where we were instrumental in setting Kai up for his great success in farming).

What we didn’t know was this – from his amazing sister Filly:

I don’t know if any of you or his other mates were aware but Lloyd was hugely dyslexic – not really recognized way back then.  Lloyd hid it under his happy-go-lucky facade and was told throughout his schooling he was stupid and lazy and all sorts. Lloyd in actual fact did not matriculate and eventually left school in 1973 being 19 without getting higher than Std 8. He went off to the army in 1974 for 18 months. 

He married in 1979. Things went pear-shaped on our farm in Bethlehem with them partying and spending everything they had. My dad Fred bought him a Bayer agency and they moved to Pongola in Natal. Then to White River where his business was thriving and they were very successful but for some unknown reason his wife was very keen to move to the Cape – George and Wellington – and after a few years they were living way above their means. The marriage fell apart and Lloyd owed hundreds of thousands of Rands. He moved alone, with nothing but a bakkie my dad bought him, to somewhere near Pongola and we lost touch.

I eventually tracked him down, no car – written it off when he was two sheets to the wind. He was living on a verandah with a woman who was also homeless. A great friend of ours Dave Kahts drove me down to find Lloyd. It was his 50th birthday – and he looked awful.

My wonderful husband John told me to settle all his debts and bring him to Zim to live with us. Problem – he had no passport, so we sorted that and brought him here where John gave him a job in Mozambique. Sadly the farm invasions had started in Zim a few years earlier and we were hanging on to ours with every muscle in our bodies, but eventually lost it.

Things fell apart for all the farmers who moved to Moz, so Lloyd came back to live with us until he met Shana. He moved in with her – they were together for eight years, a rocky relationship, but they did love one another and she had a home and Lloyd did the cooking and oversaw the gardening – he was happy there 😀 .

And that’s that 😘

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Another song (reminded by his big mate Steve Reed);

Steve expostulated: Lloyd having no musical talent? That’s rubbish Fil.  Lloyd did a pitch-perfect rendition of:

“The doctor came in, stinking of gin”  

And sometimes he even added the next line:
“and pro-ceeded to lie on the table”
=========ooo000ooo=========
Actually, there was a third he would warble off-key:
“Christ you know it aint easy
“pum pum per-um
“you know how hard it can be-e . . .
“pum pum per-um
=======ooo000ooo=======
dikwiel fiets – eco-friendly transportation
Categories
6_Canoe & Kayak Rivers 7_Confessions 8_Nostalgia 9_KwaZuluNatal sport

Desperately Seeking Miss Estcourt

We were camping in the Estcourt caravan park on the banks of the Bushman’s River when we heard there had recently been a beauty pageant in the dorp. The crown had been awarded. A Miss Estcourt had been chosen, and she was in town.

But where!? Our source of this local knowledge was Doug the Thief, who had heard it from a local.

This was her lucky weekend! She could choose from four handsome, willing and able bachelor paddlers. Well, willing, anyway:

She could choose from Bernie & The Jets’ yellow helmet, Swanie’s white helmet or Lang Dawid’s blue helmet. A quick shower in the communal ablution block and we were ready to hit the dorp.

Doug the Thief had disappeared, nowhere to be found. Oh, well. His helmet’s loss.

Bernie Ford Escort
Like this, just white

We focused on preparation for the search, gaining bottled IQ points and suave wit before setting out in the Jet’s white Ford Escort which we thought the best vehicle with which to impress Miss Estcourt Sausages. Look! Miss Estcourt Sausages, we’d say. We came courting you in an Escort! HaHaHa! She’d collapse laughing.

We eventually tracked down her flat on the top floor of Estcourt’s only highrise building. It was also the third floor. And knocked on her door, calling out seductively and probably irresistibly for Miss Estcourt Sausages – expecting at any moment for her to open the door in a negligee and say Hello Boys!

Instead the door opened to reveal a horrible sight: Doug the Thief, who hissed FUCK OFF! at us and closed the door! The Swine.

Doug Eskort sausage

Disconsolately we had to schlep back to the caravan park and more beer. We consoled ourselves by braaing a few of these till they were overdone.

Categories
2_Free State / Vrystaat 4_Optometry Johannesburg 8_Nostalgia sport

Tennis Champs

The pinnacle of my tennis career came when I beat a Springbok Grand Slam winner in a doubles tournament at the Wanderers in Jo’burg.

Of course, it helped that my playing partner was Free State junior champ Alick Ross, a brilliant left-hander who carried me all the way.

Also, it helped that the ‘Springbok tennis player’ was actually our opponent’s DAUGHTER, not he himself. So the truth is Alick and I beat Ilana Kloss’ FATHER in an early round of a doubles tournament back in 1974.

Here’s Ilana, left, who we didn’t beat:

Oh, well, it sounded good for a while there . . .

Unlike me, Ilana went on to greater heights, winning two Grand Slam titles two years later, the US Open doubles with Linky Boshoff and the French Open mixed doubles with Aussie Kim Warwick. Her Dad had probably passed on a few things he learnt from me.

Us.

OK, Alick.

Categories
3_USA school sport

Football Turnaround – So Glad You Could Leave!

I played football in Apache Oklahoma in 1973 for the Apache Warriors.

– Apache Football Team 1973 – I was No. 47 – and surplus to requirements –

The coaches did their best to bring this African up to speed on the rules and objectives of gridiron. We played two pre-season warm-up games followed by five league games. And lost all seven encounters!

Myself I was kinda lost on the field, what without me specs! So here’s me: Myopically peering between the bars of the unfamiliar helmet at the glare of the night-time spotlights! Hello-o! Occasionally forgetting that I could be tackled even if the ball was way on the other side of the field! They decided to play me more on the defense squad, less on offense, which makes sense when you don’t know what you’re doing. Then for some reason, I was also on the punt-receiving squad.

At that point I thought: Five more weeks in America, five more games in the season, football practice four days a week, game nights on Fridays. I wanted out! There was so much I still wanted to do in Oklahoma and in preparing for the trip home. I went up to Coach with trepidation and told him I wanted to quit football. Well, he wasn’t pleased, but he was gracious.

We were a small team and he needed every available man, how would they manage without me?

By winning every single one of the last remaining five games, that’s how!!

Our coach Rick Hulett won the Most Improved Coach Award and the team ended up with one of their best seasons for years!

I like to think the turnaround was in some small way helped by the way I cheered my former team-mates on from the sideline at the remaining Friday night games! But I suspect it was the fire in the belly of my teammates determined to succeed without me!

Apache Football
– much improved since I quit! –

These news cuttings are all post-me!! –

One of the games I cheered was against Mountain View. We beat them 23-7, the third winning game since I quit. That weekend Jenny Carter from Bromley in Zimbabwe, the Rotary exchange student from Mountain View was staying with us at the Swandas. We gave her a hard time at the Friday night game, and Sunday morning for breakfast we framed the Saturday news report of the game and put it on her place at the table!

edit:
I see Apache football has had some great results recently!

The second game after I left was against Cyril, rated 17th in OK and expected to whip us handily; but we beat them! I traveled to Cyril to cheer!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Categories
6_Canoe & Kayak Rivers 8_Nostalgia sport

The Lowveld Croc

Never mind crocs, watch out for hippos!

There’s a Crocodile River in Gauteng, so the river near Nelspruit that flows east into Mocambique and forms the southern boundary of the Kruger National Park has to be called the “Lowveld Croc”.

A wonderful canoe (kayak really) race is held annually on this river. The presence of hippopotamuses in the river adds a risk and a thrill to the two-day race. Race organisers engage with local farmers and wildlife people and trip the river in the weeks before the race in order to identify possible hippo hotspots which are then compulsory portages on race days. Sometimes a helicopter is used to do a scouting flight on race day morning, and volunteer paddlers also scout the route by starting ahead of the competing racers.

The year I did the race (1983) I remember the route as from above Montrose falls to Mbombela town (formerly Nelspruit). We portaged around the falls.

montrose-falls 3

The hippo were in the last pool before the finish in Nelspruit, so the race was ended a few km short at the last accessible spot before the hippo pool. I see they now start higher up and end the race above Montrose falls.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Here’s video of the 1989 race. The second day here was our first day. We portaged around the Montrose Falls and paddled to Nelspruit (today’s Mbombelo). Actually, just short of town, as hippos in a pool at the usual finish dictated we end a couple km early.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Back in 1951 Mom and Dad had stopped here on honeymoon, on their way to Lourenco Marques:

Categories
2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia sport

Bain of Harrismith

My granny Annie had an older brother Ginger. He was the oldest of the seven ‘Royal Bains’ and a great sportsman. They owned the Royal Hotel and they were ‘Royal’ so as not to be confused with the ‘Central Bains’, who owned the Central Hotel! As fishermen from the tiny hamlet of Wick on the more freezing end of Scotland, they couldn’t really claim the traditional ‘Balmoral Castle’ kind of royalty.

Playing rugby for Hilton, ‘Bain of Harrismith’ became the bane of Michaelhouse in the first rugby game between these two toffee-nosed schools, where vaguely bored and lazy shouts of ‘a bit more pressure in the rear, chaps!’ are heard through the gin fumes surrounding the rugby fields.

Here’s the report on the 1904 derby – the first game between the two schools:

Hilton Ginger Bain_2
– reprinted in the 1997 Hilton vs Michaelhouse sports day brochure –  

Drop goals were four points and tries were three in those distant days. I like that the one side was “smarter with their feet” . . and that being smarter with your feet was better than “pretty passing.”

A century later these rugby genes would shine again as Bain’s great-great-grandson – grandnephew actually – also whipped Michaelhouse.

I’ve included a lovely picture of the Michaelhouse scrum on top.

~~~oo0o~~~

Rugby in Harrismith was full of Bains and Blands, seven in this team:

1921 Rugby Team Bains Blands
– Ginger also captained the Harrismith A Polo team –

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Handwritten on the edge of one of these is “He wasn’t ill at all. (illegible) just found him (illegible) “

~~~oo0oo~~~

Categories
6_Canoe & Kayak Rivers 8_Nostalgia sport travel

Lake St Lucia and Dukandlovu

Dukandlovu rustic camp was underutilised. Parks Board wanted to increase its use and were looking for new ideas. It was a walk-in or cycle-in rustic camp and they were reluctant to open it up to drive-in access, so wanted to try other ideas first.

Rustic, but splendid, it’s a four hut, eight bed camp with basic kitchen facilities and cold water showers. The widows are openings with roll-down reed blinds which keep about half the wind and none of the mozzies out. The beds had mattresses, but bring your own bedding.

It was doomed. So few people want to rough it! Not ‘nowadays’ – always. Since humans first walked upright the majority have chosen the cushiest of whatever’s available. ‘I prefer roughing it’ has always been the weirdness of a few.

Dukandlovu (3).jpg
– our pic – the rest are internet pics –

 

But the rugged few in Parks Board were reluctant to give in too easily, so first they tried us: “Let’s test the feasibility of adding canoeing-in to the access menu!” they said. Robbie Stewart was approached and he took Bernie Garcin and I (and others – who?) to test the waters. Literally. We set off with our plastic kayaks to False Bay, launched them and headed south towards the mouth of the Hluhluwe river on the Western Shores. Right from the outset we could see this wasn’t promising: We touched bottom often. Our draft was mere inches, but the lake was that shallow in places. Great for small worms and other marine creatures and for the wading birds that spear them from above, but not good for paddling. Oh well, we had tried. Not long after this they actually did open it to vehicle access. With a sigh, I’ve no doubt.

false bay shallow

After staying a night the rest of the guys went home on the Sunday. I stayed over with Parks Board Rangers Dick Nash and Trevor Strydom. Monday morning I woke, eagerly looking forward to my day of ‘rangering’. What derring-do would we get up to with me as ‘ranger-for-a-day’?

Paperwork at a desk, that’s what. As head ranger, Dick first had a whole bunch of admin to sort out! Not what I’d imagined.

But later we got going on their regular bird count in the wilderness area in the north-east arm of the lake. We set off in their spacious craft with a Hamilton jet propulsion system (an impellor rather than a propellor, it sucks water in the underbelly and spits it out the back). This was fine in clear deep water, but when we nosed up the Mkhuze river we soon sucked up waterweeds and came to a halt. Dick pulled rank and ordered Trevor to jump overboard and remove the weed from under the boat. On the bird count we had seen at least fifty thousand and ten of their distant cousins – crocodiles – so the thought of jumping overboard was not inviting! Anyway, before Trevor could remove his shirt Dick was already under the boat doing it himself. A bit disconcerting when you looked at his hand as he chucked the weed away: He only had two fingers and a thumb. Had a croc taken the other fingers?

False bay st lucia - mkhuze mouth.jpg

Looked like this, but I think this is maybe Kosi?

We got going again in fits and starts and after a few more stops to clear the impeller we turned back to the lake and continued to count birds. And thumb our noses at the crocodiles.

So do go to Dukandlovu, you can drive there now. You wimp.

Lake St Lucia

~~~oo0oo~~~

Categories
2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia sport

Harrismith’s Mountain Goat

The people of Harrismith dubbed Michael McDermott ‘The Mountain Goat’. The mountain being Platberg.

Or so running e-zine ‘Modern Athlete’ says of SIXTEEN-times winner of our Mountain Race. Apparently we used to write supportive messages for him along the route of the Harrismith Mountain Race, much like supporters do in the Tour De France. Race organisers would set him up in our local hotel with the room number that corresponded with the win he was going for. Michael became a hugely popular and inspirational figure thanks to his sixteen-consecutive-year winning streak in our rugged annual race.

They go on: Michael’s love affair with Harrismith’s imposing Platberg began in 1978, when he was just 13. “I was alone at home and ran 5km to the Harrismith Harriers clubhouse because I wanted to run that day, but no-one was there, so I ran back home. Then they called me up to ask where I was and came to fetch me. So before the race, I already run 10km,” says Michael, who ran the race and finished 32nd. “Nobody believed I had completed the race, though, because I was so small!” he laughs.

In 1980, he finished eighth and qualified for a gold medal, but had to receive it unofficially, behind the tent, as he was still below the minimum 16-year age limit for the race. A year later and now ‘legal,’ he finished fifth, and then in 1982 he posted the first of his sixteen consecutive wins, an amazing record putting him right up there in the crazy stakes with uber-talented athletes Michael McLeod of England (won the Saltwell 10km sixteen years in a row), and Jim Pearson of America (won the Birch Bay marathon sixteen times).

Michael held the record for the short 12.3km course at 50mins 30secs in 1985 and the long 15km course at 1hr 05mins 05secs as the first winner over the new distance in 1996. It came to an end when he ‘stepped skew’ and tore ligaments in his ankle while well in the lead on his way to a 17th straight win in 1998. Michael Miya took over and won the race in a new record time of 1hr 04mins 06secs and became the first black South African winner. While McDermott was really disappointed, it was also “a relief as there wasn’t that pressure to win after that.”

SPRINGBOK

Michael earned Springbok colours in 1988 for cross-country, and was invited to run a number of international mountain running events in the early 1990s. He won the Swiss Alpine Marathon three times, shattering the course record in 1993. He also represented South Africa seven times in the World Mountain Trophy, from 1993 to 1999, with a best placing of fifth in 1993 in France. http://www.modernathlete.co.za

Also see *my potted history of the race*


This post opened a flood of ancient memories!

Thanks Koos – very interesting.

In “our day” Johnny Halberstadt was the King – wonder where he is today? (Koos: In America: Just sold his sports shop in Colorado).

I strolled the race two or three times in the 1990s – never finished in the allotted time, but always walked away with a medal, ’cause I knew Jacqui Wessels (du Toit) who handed out the medals!

Remember the year we did it after “peaking” at Pierre’s home the night before – about 3am. You remarked as you crossed the Start Line (not the Finishing Line) – “I think I’m under-trained”. The hangovers were monumental. As we strolled past the adoring, cheering spectators, one guy was heard to remark “Daai mal ou het sy verkyker om sy nek!” That was you! (Koos: Actually, it was Wimpie Lombard and he said “wadafokmaakjymedarieverkykers?” You’ve forgotten: Afrikaans is always one word).

The year Karin Goss and I did it, (circa 1998) we were so last that even the Coke truck had packed up and left by the time we strolled into Die Groen Paviljoen! We were so busy ‘phoning the whole world from the summit that we forgot to be competitive. Jacqui insisted on giving us medals, but drew the line at Gold – we had to be content with Bronze. Don’t know why she was so strict – there were a few Golds lying in the bottom of the box.

Was Alet de Witt the first lady to compete?

Love – stroller Sheila Swanepoel

———————————————————————————————————————–

Jacquie replied: Sheila, I think you forgot that when we allowed you to go through the finish banner after cut-off time, there was a breathalyser test for the finishers. This you seemed to have forgotten! Legal limits are 0,24 milligrams per 1000 millilitres. Finishers (at sunset) with this reading all get GOLD.

Unfortunately your readings were 0.60 . . . hence the Bronze medal. 😉

All the best (hope you enter the Mountain Race again this Year).

Kind Regards – actual finisher Jacquie Du Toit, ex-Mountain Race high-up official

——————————————————————————————————————-

Kar Goss got excited: Hey Sheils
 
I think we must do it once more!! Seriously!
 
What comes after bronze?? And is there a medi-vac chopper available?
 
Thanks for the interesting article Koos!
 
Happy Women’s Day everyone.
 
Love- (Sheila-like stroller) Kar Goss xx
—————————————————————————————————-

JP de Witt reminisced: Sheila, As far I can remember my Mom Alet and Mavis Hutchison did the race around 1969 / 1970. Koos Keyser won it five times 1964-68. Wally Hayward (five-times Comrades winner) won in 1952.

actual finisher JP de Witt

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Pikkie Loots committed: Sheila, For what it’s worth – I’m seriously considering doing it this year… if anyone wants to join me, perhaps we can motivate each other 🙂 **(Hushed silence from the sundry assorted 60-somethings – *sound of crickets*)**

And yes, there is a ‘medi-vac’ chopper 🙂 I was running the race in about 1985-ish, when a runner from Welkom dislodged a rock on One-Man’s Pass. The rock fell onto his thigh, cutting and damaging the muscle. Tony Perry, a fellow runner from Newcastle, and I were immediately behind and below the unfortunate gent. With the help of two of his team mates we carried him to the top. Another of his team mates went ahead to tell Doc Mike van Niekerk that we needed a casualty to be taken off the mountain. By the time we got to the top, both Mike and the chopper were ready….

Tony and I missed out on our silver medals by about 10 minutes (silver time was 1 hour 40 minutes). I moved to Cape Town and never ran another mountain race! So I still only have a bronze. [PS! Mike asked the committee to award Tony and I silver medals, but they must have had a shortage that year 🙂 ]

Footnote: Michael McDermott was at school when he joined our running club in Newcastle, in about 1979… there were a few ‘windhonde’ in the club at the time, but pretty soon he was chasing and beating most of them on the shorter runs. There were a few Harrismitters I saw regularly at races: Pieter Oosthuyzen and Koos Rautenbach, I especially remember, as I often chatted to them at races.

Has anyone from Harrismith ever won this besides Volschenk? and btw, I thought it was Koos Keyser who was the big hero winner of our school days? (Koos Swanepoel – not Keyser: True that. Koos Keyser won five times in a row).

PS: Note I said ‘doing’ the mountain race… no commitment to running it at this stage, but that may change on the day 🙂

Love to you all – actual finisher Pikkie Loots

—————————————————-

Pikkie, you must shine up! The year I strolled it with Sheila, Pierre and Ilse we got silver medals. OK, to be fully honest we gave those back to Jacquie and settled for (unearned) bronzes, but we DID briefly hold silver. So shine up, mate. Try harder.

Koos

(and just for the record, I do have four legitimate finishes from pre-rinderpest days – once, I got a medal with a handy bottle opener attached). I ran without binoculars in those days.

HS Mtn Race badges, medal

~~~oo0oo~~~