Mom & Annie’s Durban Sanity Trips

Off they’d go in Mary’s pale blue VW Beetle OHS 155. Off to Durbs-by-the-Sea, the Lonsdale Hotel or the Four Seasons for a whole week!

Lonsdale Hotel Durban

Might that be Mary’s VW outside the Lonsdale in this picture? Three cars behind the Borgward?

Lonsdale Hotel Durban_2.jpg

Durban Four Seasons Flats

The cost of their stay: R2.95 each per day including meals. Mom thinks Randolph Stiller may have owned the Four Seasons. He certainly owned the Central Hotel in Harrismith where Annie stayed, one block away from her Caltex garage in Warden Street. Only the Deborah Retief gardens between her hotel room and her office, but she drove there in her great big old beige Chev Fleetline; one block up to the garage. Mom – ever kind – says her legs were too sore to walk.

In Durban Mom and Annie would visit Annie’s sister Jessie (Bain Bell) and her daughter Lesley (Malcolm-Smith ) in their flat in Finsbury Court in West Street. Lesley worked at Daytons – a supermarket, Mom thinks.

They would all hop into Mom’s car and head off on a drive – to the beach, to the Japanese Gardens; and – always – to visit Annie’s bridesmaid Maggie McPherson who lived in a ‘posh flat up on the Berea. Looked like a bit of Olde England’.

Maggie_McPherson
1922 wedding

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Many years later – 1980’s – we would go and listen to Joe Parker in the Lonsdale. Beer-soaked, we hosed ourselves, but I don’t think Mom and Annie would have approved!

While we’re getting nostalgic, some names to remember: Gillespie Street; The Italian restaurant Villa d’Este; The Four Seasons Hotel, with its Pink Panther steakhouse; Palm Beach Hotel; Millionaires’ Club; Lonsdale Hotel; The El Castilian nightclub (remember The Bats?); The Killarney Hotel, where the Monks Inn used to be (with the words “Steak, Eggs and Strips” posted prominently outside); Thatcher’s Bar at the former Parkview Hotel.

 

 

Pony with Pleasure

Sister Sheila sent this lovely old photo – she thinks ca 1920 – of Jack Shannon and our Mom Mary’s cousin Peter Bell on their ponies on Kindrochart, the Shannon farm on the Oliviershoek road and near Mom’s parents Frank and Annie Bland’s farm Nuwejaarspruit, on the Witzieshoek road. Sterkfontein Dam now lies between the two farms – in fact, the Nuwejaarspruit homestead is now submerged under the clear waters of the dam.

Peter Bell was Mary’s first cousin – his Mom Jessie Hastings-Bell (neé Bain of the Royal Bains) was Annie’s sister. Peter joined the Rhodesian Air Force in WW2 and went MIA – missing in action – his body was never found.

1920 Jack Shannon & Peter Bell.jpg

Mom tells the story of how Jack was urged to give his Shetland pony to “the Bland girls”, Mary and her sister Pat, once he’d outgrown it. He was reluctant but his folks urged him to be generous and asked again if he would be so kind.

“Yes” he said, “but not with pleasure.”

Mother Mary

Tue 2nd May 2017 – I got a phone call at work from a friend who had just visited Mom & Dad – “Your Mom was saying strange things and was not herself, I think you should visit”, said Keith Griffiths. I phoned sister Sheila (who phoned other sister Barbara) and drove to Maritzburg.

Mom was physically fine, but a bit confused and – tragically – with marked short-term memory loss. Trying hard to be alright she asked me “How’s Trish?” Trish who died six years ago. Dear old Mom has had a probable TIA leading to sudden short-term memory loss. Tragic, she has always been so sharp and organised. Luckily her longterm memory and sharp sense of humour is unaffected.

DAMN!!

Probably a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke”.

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A TIA is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain.

The disruption in blood supply results in a lack of oxygen. This can cause sudden symptoms similar to a stroke, such as speech and visual disturbance, and numbness or weakness in the face, arms and legs. However, a TIA doesn’t last as long as a stroke. The effects often only last for a few minutes or hours and fully resolve within 24 hours.

But Mom’s memory loss is still apparent a week later.

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Phoned them this morning

Dad says he told Mom to stay in bed till the sun came up but she didn’t. He wants her to see an audiologist as she doesn’t listen! (He’s as deaf as a post and her hearing is great, making the joke all the better).

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Mom says she prays for Tom n Jessie every day that they’ll understand their lessons and pass their tests.
I asked her if that wasn’t cheating? Mary Methodist hosed herself. Slightly cautiously – was raised not to tempt fate.

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From Sheila: Hi Everyone – I’m in the middle of a massive clean-up and came across this – on the back is written:

Marjory, Pat & Peggy – Harrismith 1938 – Signed DC Reed

** missing pic **

So I phoned Mum for more info:

Marjory was Farquhar – her younger sister was Dossie, who was Mum’s great mate – Dossie lives in an old age home in Bethlehem and she and Mum chat quite often.

Pat was Bland, Mom’s older sister.

Peggy was Hastings – Michael’s sister – she had a lovely sense of humour – she had 3 kids and then her husband walked out on her – she came back to Harrismith and married Bert Starkey – her kids were Barbara, Stuart and 1 other.

The “DC Reed” Mum thinks was Peggy’s cousin Daphne, whom they called Dodo – Mum says she was lovely and they all loved her.

It’s really a gorgeous pic and Pat looks so full of fun and nonsense, which she usually was!

So now you know. Love Sheila

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One day, before Mum started school, Brenda Longbottom came to play. She lived across the road in Stuart Street and was 18 months older. Mum very proudly told Brenda about a book she was reading – all about a little girl called Lucky.

When Brenda saw the book she told Mum in a withering tone that the little girl’s name was Lucy, pronounced Loosie, not Lucky! Mum was devastated.

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Years later I was also teased for getting hard and soft ‘c”s mixed when I said SirSumFurr-ence for circumference. Hey, we read phonetically ‘by our own selves’, so this happens!

Martha and My Man Friday

This beautiful 1938 Buick Coupe was a regular sight on the streets of Harrismith back in the Sixties.

Martha McDonald and her friend Carrie Friday used to cruise the streets going nowhere. Mom called them Martha and My Man Friday after Robinson Crusoe. She says Roy Cartwright coined the nickname. Roy ran the Tattersalls horse racing gambling joint in town and was full of wit.

Years later Sheila found out that Pietermaritzburg restorer Ty Terblanche had found it, bought it and restored it to its former glory. Well done Ty! What a beaut!

1938 Buick coupe2
The actual Buick we frew wif a stone decades ago! Martha and My Man Friday cruising around the metropolis of Harrismith ca. 1960’s

With childish logic and mischief we’d occasionally throw it wif a stone (as we’d mockingly say). Always missed, mind you.

The redoubtable Martha McDonald, asked one day if she had any children replied in the negative, adding loftily “My husband was too much of a gentleman.”

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Here’s a better angle to showcase those beautiful lines:

Buick 1938

From the front it’s much like other cars of its era, but from the side and half-back you can see why it gets so many oohs and aahs!

Buick sports coupe 66s 1938

thanks, conceptcarz.com and powerful-cars.com