Stephen Charles Reed was the laat lammetjie son of Vincent and Doreen Reed. Vin and Dor. Butch was the big black Labrador in residence.
Vincent was hizzonner, the Lord Mayor of Clarens, so although Stevie was by a long shot not their first son he WAS the First Son of Clarens.
In the holidays I would ring up Oom Lappies Labuschagne at the Harrismith sentrale. He would say ‘seker‘ and patch me through to the Clarens telephone exchange – their ‘sentrale‘. The operator lady would answer with a chirpy “Clarr-RINSE”!
Three Four Please. Seemed somehow wrong that their number was 34. I mean, Vincent was the Mayor. Surely it should have been One Please?
Anyway, Three Four Please.
“No, Stevie’s not there, he’s at the Goldblatts, I’ll put you through”.
Old Clarens, before the rush. Here’s the Reed’s store.
laat lammetjie – afterthought child, unplanned, not to be confused with unwanted
seker – sure
sentrale – telephone exchange
Zena Jacobson wrote:
Can’t remember Steve, did your family own the garage? I remember your dad being the mayor though. And I remember the craziest dog I had ever seen called Dennis – a cross between a Labrador and a dachshund or something! I also remember the “centrale” telephone exchange lady, who kept interrupting every three minutes to tell you how long you have been talking, and one day I got irritated, and said something like “aw shut up!” and she scolded me for being so rude! I was mortified!
You should see Clarens now! Although I haven’t been back, it’s the central art and antiques weekend getaway in the country. Quite the arty place, with hotels, B&Bs and coffee shops by the dozen.
AND – they have a brewery! One of my favourite newer tales of Clarens involves young Rod Stedall. He and Karen bought a stand, built a lovely sandstone cottage, made a good income from it for years, had some lovely holidays there and then sold it for a handsome profit. Boom! I stood and watched as all this happened, thinking “That’s a great idea, I should do something about that”, and doing buggerall. Rod then bought a house in the bustling metropolis of Memel, thinking that would be the next big Vrystaat thing and I thought “That’s a great idea, I should do something about that!” Yeah, right.
OK, Memel didn’t happen in Rod’s time here (he offered to sell me the Memel house when he was leaving for Noo Zealand), but guess what: SANRAL are talking of bypassing Harrismith and running the new N3 past Memel. Boom time! Bust for Harrismith, it would be, though.
Terry Brauer wrote:
Clarens is one of my favourite getaways in SA. Who’d have thought, Mr Reed?! We stayed in that wonderful home with the Stedalls. Had we not owned San Lameer we’d have considered buying it. Fabulous place. Fabulous hosts. Pete, join the Brauer investment club. Fail. Epic fail every time.
A brief history: Clarens, South Africa was established in 1912 and named after the town of Clarens in Switzerland where exiled Paul Kruger, who some think a hero of South African independence from Britain, died after fleeing there. He fled after calling my great-great uncle – who bravely fought the whole war against the thieving British – a coward! The swine!
A company wanting to establish a village in the area bought two farms: Leliehoek from Hermanus Steyn in 1910/11 and Naauwpoort, situated near the Titanic rock, from Piet De Villiers. The two farms were divided into erven, and these were offered for sale at fifty pounds sterling apiece.