Categories
8_Nostalgia

Royal Brush Off

‘I’m reading a book about Princess Elizabeth’s visit to East Africa; and so I’m remembering her visit to South Africa in 1947. I’ll never forget it.’

This is Mother Mary Methodist speaking, reminiscing.

‘I was nursing at the Boksburg-Benoni hospital and the Royal Family cavalcade was going to pass right in front of the hospital. We all went down to the road in our uniforms and we just knew she was going to stop and chat to us because the porters had wheeled Daphne down from Ward 7 and put her hospital bed right at the edge of the road.’

– here they come! Oh, hell, they’re gone –

Daphne was well-known: Young and paralysed from diving into a shallow pool. The King and the Queen and the Princesses would definitely stop, lean forward and have an earnest chat with Daphne making sure not to get too close. Mary and her fellow nurses crowded round Daphne’s bed and waited breathlessly, the loyal Royalists they were. And here they come!

And there they go. They drove straight past. Didn’t stop; just a vague wave in the general direction!

But of course loyal Monarchist Mary immediately made excuses for Their Royal Bliksems: ‘They were on a very tight schedule.’

Bah, jou moer Koning Jors, us republicans would have said. Actually, we wouldn’t have been out on the road waiting . . we would have pretended to not even know they were visiting . . Who? King of where?

~~~oo0oo~~~

Later Mom’s friend, nurse Audrey Beyers was chosen to accompany Daphne to America for an operation. She doesn’t know what transpired, except Audrey got married and became Audrey King.

Categories
1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 7_Confessions 8_Nostalgia 9_KwaZuluNatal Family

Bloody Marys

Mary Bland and Sylvia Bain, cousins, decided there was NO WAY they were going to miss the dance in the Harrismith Town Hall. This is quite possibly Mary’s single biggest act of defiance or wilful disobedience in her whole life. See, they were meant to be in Durban then, to start their midwifery course at Addington Childrens Hospital.

But to the dance in the dorp they went. Mary with Pieter, who she later married; and Sylvia with John, who she later married.

The next day they left (by train?) and in Durban they got their new quarters and their new uniform, which they loved: ‘It had a long fishtail headdress down the back almost to our waists. It looked beautiful.’

Also, their new matron was Mary Hawkins and they knew her sisters in Harrismith and in fact, Mary’s Mom Annie had dated her brother ‘Hawks’ Hawkins for quite a long while.

When they were summonsed to Matron Hawkins’ office they waltzed in merrily feeling glam and looking forward to a warm Harrismith welcome; only to be met with a frosty blast and a good dressing-down from Bloody Bill, as Mary Hawkins was known by those who knew her! Or sometimes Bloody Mary. She had been the Matron of all SA nurses in the war, and this was shortly after the war, and she was in no mood for nonsense. They were LATE starting their course!

– Mary left and Sylvia, new in Durban – ca.1949 – day off –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Somewhere there’s a newspaper photo of Mary and Sylvia with a New Year crop of fresh Durban babies. Must find it.

The feature pic shows Mary and Pieter also in 1949, also outside the Town Hall, but another occasion.

~~~oo0oo~~~

pics from skyscrapercity.com; and kznpr.co.za – thank you. kznpr is Hugh Bland’s site; Here’s the cover of Hugh’s book on the Addington Childrens Hospital:

Hugh Bland and Mary Bland are related if you go way back to Josiah Benjamin Adam Bland and John Francis Adam Bland, so they have both played a part in the Addington Childrens Hospital. Hugh didn’t deliver any babies, though.

~~~oo0oo~~~