Buckle the Blacksmith

After Maritzburg College, Dad joined the General Post Office as an apprentice electrician. 1938. Here’s a spirit level he was issued with that day: While he was still apprenticing, he tried to enlist but was sent back. He was transferred to Harrismith, from where he again made his way to Durban and was sent homeContinue reading “Buckle the Blacksmith”

Flag Wappering

If it wasn’t for Arthur Kennedy the ladies of Harrismith would have had a more boring Republic Day in 1961. They would only have seen kids waving flags and men on horseback. Thanks to Arthur there was also a strapping male physique in a tight-fitting white leotard with a bulge in the broek. No waysContinue reading “Flag Wappering”

Early Bird Book

Way back around 1968 a new book appeared at 95 Stuart Street Harrismith. I was fascinated. Nearly as fascinated as I’d been when cousin Jack read Valley Of The Dolls from the big wooden bookshelf in our long, dark, carpeted passage. That novel must have been good, as Mom actually physically took it from me,Continue reading “Early Bird Book”

Come With Me To The Station

The old man inviting me to go someplace! How’s that!? I hopped into the old faded-blue VW Kombi OHS 153. This sounded interesting. We never went to the railway station. We’d go near there to the old MOTH hall and occasionally to the circus field when the Big Top was pitched there! But never toContinue reading “Come With Me To The Station”

Tool Chests

The Studley Tool Chest: Made out of mahogany, rosewood, walnut, ebony, and mother of pearl. Henry O. Studley (1838–1925) was a carpenter, organ and piano maker, who worked for the Smith Organ Co. and later for the Poole Piano Company of Quincy, Massachusetts. He is best known for creating the famous Studley Tool Chest, aContinue reading “Tool Chests”

Caltex Calenders

Annie had a Caltex garage; Dad worked for Annie; Louis Schoeman traveled for Caltex. Between 1962 and 1971 Caltex gave cloth wildlife calenders as their gift to their filling station owners. Dad (now 96) says Louis would ‘forget’ to hand them out and he would insist on seeing what was in his boot. And there,Continue reading “Caltex Calenders”

Post Office Linesman

Dad was a Post Office technician. He applied for ___ which was more technical, but was given electrician. He did his apprenticeship ca.1938 and was soon put on telephones for some reason, given a truck and sent off to Ixopo where he was assigned a “line boy.” Actually an adult to do lots of theContinue reading “Post Office Linesman”

Victor Simmonds, Artist

Dad: “Victor Simmonds was a lovely chap and a very good artist. He was a little man, grey, a lot older than me. What? How old? Well, I was probably 35 then and he was grey. He was probably 50. He lodged with Ruth Wright on the plot next door to ours, Glen Khyber. IContinue reading “Victor Simmonds, Artist”

Sgt Culling on Kings Hill

One of Annie’s workers at the Central Service Station on the corner of Warden street and Southey street – the ‘Caltex garage’ as we knew it – was called Johannes. Because he looked so different from the other petrol attendants, we learnt his surname. He was Johannes Culling. Today I found out a bit more:Continue reading “Sgt Culling on Kings Hill”

Local Knowledge

Another of Dad’s tales: Koos Mof van Wyk was a bachelor who lived with his Ma out on the Kestell road. One evening he drove home and a Joburg driver drove right up his bum as he slowed suddenly on the main road in order to turn in at his gate. The Joburg oke wasContinue reading “Local Knowledge”