Categories
1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia Family

Annie’s Abodes

Annie was one of the seven Royal Bains in Harrismith. She was born in the cottage behind the hotel where her parents Stewart and Janet raised all the kids.

Cottage behind Royal Hotel Harrismith

Her daughter Mary says they were Ginger, Stewart, Carrie, Jessie, Annie, Hector and Bennett. They had eight cousins who were ‘Central Bains’ – children of James Bain who owned the Central Hotel.

Mom Mary says only Hector got off his bum and got a job – he went off to become a bank manager in Ndola, Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. The rest hung around the hotel and had fun, got married, whatever. Ginger played polo; Carrie got married and left for Australia. Stuart did a bit of work on their farm, Sarclet, not far out of town on the Jo’burg road. None of the other six felt compelled to move on, up or out. After all, the hotel had a bar, and Dad was the Lord Mayor of the metropolis and was known as The Grand Old Man of Harrismith to many townsfolk, and ‘oupa’ to his grandkids; so enjoy! Why leave!?

– His Worship the Lord Mayor of Harrismith”, known to his many grandkids as ‘Oupa“’ Bain –

When Annie married Frank Bland, she moved out to their farm Nuwejaarsvlei on the Witsieshoek road;

– I have no pictures of Frank! –

When the farm could no longer support the horseracing they moved in with Frank’s mother Granny Mary Bland, nee Caskie, now with two daughters, Pat and Mary. When Frank died aged only 49, Annie and the girls stayed on. They were joined there by her sister Jessie when her husband Arthur Bell died in Dundee, where he had been the dentist; Then later they were joined by now married daughter Mary, husband Pieter Swanepoel, and daughter Barbara when they arrived back from his work in the Post Office in Pietermaritzburg.

Some time after that – maybe when Granny Bland died? – Annie moved into Randolph Stiller’s Central Hotel; She then left Harrismith for the first time in her life and went to stay with sister Jessie down in George for a few years after Jessie’s daughter Leslie had died; When Jessie died, Annie returned to Harrismith and lived in John Annandale’s Grand National Hotel. John said to Mary he was battling to cope with hosting her, so Mary moved her home. Much to Pieter’s delight. NOT.

So within a month Mary moved Annie into the Eliza Liddell old age home. Two years or so later, Mom remembers a night hosting bowling club friends to dinner when the phone rang. It was Sister Hermien Beyers from the home. “Jou Ma is nie lekker nie,” she said. Mom said I’ll be right over and drove straight there, she remembers in her red car wearing a navy blue dress. She sat with her dear Mom Annie holding her hand that night and – experienced nursing sister that she was – knew when Annie breathed her last in the wee hours.

Her visitors the next morning included Mrs Woodcock and Miss Hawkins. Mom regrets not letting Miss Hawkins in to see Annie. She should have, she says. She remembers being fifteen years old and not being allowed to see her Dad lying in Granny Bland’s home and has always been glad that she snuck in when no-one was watching and saw his body on his bed and so knew it really was true.

~~~oo0oo~~~

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

Eina! and Skande!

. . and then tragedy.

Original message from Etienne Joubert in 2014 – (translation below)

Good morning all you Harrismith followers!

Who was Paul de Witt . . ?? . .  Skande gemaak vir Harrismith se mense.

KAAPSTAD – ’n Predikant en bekende restaurateur in Hentiesbaai is Maandag in die vroeë oggendure deur doeanebeamptes met sowat 11 400 witmossels en 20 kg calamari  in sy besit by die ­Vioolsdrift-grenspos vasgetrek.

Ds. Paul de Witt (63) het die twee spesies, wat albei beskerm word, sonder vervoerpermitte in sy Nissan X-Trail van Kaapstad na Hentiesbaai vervoer.

De Witt is omstreeks 01:30 deur die polisie voorgekeer en sy voertuig is deursoek. Verskeie sakke vol mossels met ’n geskatte waarde van R11 400, en ’n sak met 20 kg calamari is agter in sy voertuig gevind.

De Witt is deur die eenheid teen georganiseerde misdaad in hegtenis geneem en daar is beslag gelê op sy voertuig, sowel as die sakke seekos.

De Witt is ’n boorling van Harrismith.

~~~~oo000oo~~~~

I immediately contacted my mate Steph de Witt:

Hey Steph – I vaguely remember a Paul de Witt. Who and what was he op Herries?
He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar!
Cheers – Koos

~~~~oo000oo~~~~

On 2014/07/08 Steph de Witt replied:

Koos! Dis my bloedfamilie, my own cousin !!

~~~~oo000oo~~~~

Me: Fokkit I can still live with the witmossel-steel part, but the DOMINEE part? THAT’s the skande!

~~~~oo000oo~~~~

Translation:

Eina! and Skande! – ouch! and scandal!

A Harrismith old boy who became a preacherman was caught smuggling protected seafood – mussels and calamari – from South Africa into Namibia.

He was an interesting character: My sister remembers him as one of a gang of ‘naughty / rude’ boys as a teenager. As does happen with some naughty / rude boys, he became a preacher. But as less often happens, a preacher who operated a pub. He sold salvation on Sundays and booze from Mondays to Saturdays! Like, ‘create your own sinners.’

His pub obviously needed seafood so he ‘fetched’ some from across the border – illegally. And got caught.

Sadly, he died in a car wreck soon after!

~~~~oo000oo~~~~

Steph: Poor fella died in a motoraccident on Friday afternoon, can you
believe it ?!
Me: No!! That's very sad! Dammitall. Jammer ou Steph - do you know his vrou and family?
Steph: Ja, had a sad but interesting innings, will keep you posted.

Subject: Paul de Witt

Hey Et – Steph has just informed me that Paul died in a car accident on Friday.

Dammitall. From sudden fame / notoriety to tragic end.

Etienne:

Yo ....that's sad, my condolences if you make 
contact again. But at least we know he's gone 
to Paradise, where there's lots of white & black 
muscles & of course, calamari .........!!
Cheers - Et 
---------------
paul de witt case
Vraagtekens oor kroegdominee se storie

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Tragically, Steph never did keep me posted. Our dear friend Steph also died in a car accident ten months later!