School day memories

I know that Mom being away for six nights wasn’t easy for any of us but luckily for me i did sneak in some personal time. When I was in London last week I got the opportunity to meet up with two old school friends for dinner. Now when I say old I mean it in terms of the time we have been out of school – 20 years this year – and not in how we have aged because honestly I think we look better now, 80’s styling was not always that attractive! But I digress.

Spending time with Mandy and Lesley Anne we got to reminiscing about days gone by, friends and family and of course some of the ridiculous antics we got up to at school. We were all together at Potchefstroom High School for Girls which is largely a boarding school.

I was late in coming to the school only joining mid way through standard eight so thankfully escaping being a junior in the boarding house. Having come from a co-Ed day school in Johannesburg it was a difficult transition for me and what happened in my first two of weeks of boarding school ever didn’t help.

I promise, and those that were there can attest to this, that the following incident is completely true, it may appear as something out of a movie but it happened and in Potchefstroom of all places! Before going on, I need to give you some background.

Potchefstroom is a largely academic town built to accommodate children from the surrounding farming areas. It has a university, boys and girls English high schools and a number of Afrikaans schools. It is also the biggest town in what was formerly known as the western Transvaal housing a large amount of churches, shops, medical and sporting facilities, and a mental institution known as ‘Groendakkies’. Also, just outside of the town was the army base.

I was settling into the routine of boarding school in a dorm which I shared with Rebecca (who was a year above me) and Stephanie and Beatrix (same year) who were on the other side of the half wall that divided our room. We were in the last dorm on the ground floor in North Wing, East House. One night after about a week or so of being there we heard some shouting outside and Beatrix called me to come and see ‘the boy playing with a pencil’. Needless to say it was not a pencil but rather his private parts!

We informed our housemistress, the boy was caught and it was discovered that he had been in Groendakkies but had recently been released into his parents care.

Two nights later, I woke in the middle of the night to find said boy climbing through the window on my side of the dorm. He had used a large rubbish bin as a step and broken off the horizontal burglar bar which he was holding in his hand. Needless to say I started screaming at the top of my voice and ran down the passage to Mrs Malherbe leaving Rebecca frozen to her bed. The boy was caught once again and returned to Groendakkies.

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Other than some army boys trying to break into the hostel to steal our bashers (hats) as part of their initiation and the odd snuck in Potchefstroom Boys High boy during visiting hours on a Sunday afternoon, we didn’t suffer from any other unwanted male visitors!

We did however get up to lots more mischief as you do in boarding school but although we thought it was so bad at the time, it was completely tame.

Some of the antics included hiding in a quad and tanning in our bikinis instead of school costumes – highly illegal, bunking out to go swimming in the school pool late at night, holding hands and kissing at school dances, smuggling old brown sherry or in the case of Lesley Anne Cape Velvet in to hostel and drinking said sherry with Oros – not recommended, not wearing regulation school underwear and so it goes.

We were so protected and in our own little world of bush post between boys and girls high – actual written letters, Saturday mornings downtown, movie nights, school dances, church, slap chips at the corner cafe, lunches at Mikes Kitchen after weekends out etc.

From someone who was so anti Potchefstroom Girls when first informed by Gagga and Grandpa I was going there, I am now appreciative of the time I spent there and the memories made. Dad also went to boarding school at St Albans and I am sure will one day share with you all that he got up to.

Special times indeed!

Where did September go?

Wow. It is already the 4th of October and as my boss pointed out to me today only 11 weeks left of the year…

I have been particularly bad at posting over the last few weeks but oh my word what a month September was. You see we had a small family event taking place, Kristy’s wedding. As the ‘Maid of Honour’ and unofficially appointed wedding co-ordinator I had my hands full. Added to this is the fact that Kris is not really known for her organizational abilities – her love for animals, adrenalin junkie, infectious laugh, tenacious spirit and loyalty yes, but organization no.

Also, Gagga went off on a cruise from Barcelona to Rome to celebrate her friend Kathy’s 50th returning just 10 days before the wedding. Spending my hard earned inheritance again 🙂 So, we had to push out the hens party and some other last minute arrangements – like getting Gagga an outfit – to the week before the wedding.

We also had another very special event the weekend before the wedding a visit from my closest childhood friend Cindy, her wonderful husband and three kids all the way from their farm in Henty, Australia (population 863). It was great to spend time with them, albeit too short and to gain a different perspective of how family life can be lived. Have to admit to being a little envious, particularly when it comes to things like safety and security.

The amazing thing about reconnecting with old friends is just how easy it is to pick up where you left off, even if you have added a little someone extra to your family. The many hours, days, weeks etc we spent sitting on ‘the wall’ that divided our properties talking through everything, dissecting every word or action from our current boy crush, moaning about our parents, dreaming about our futures, bemoaning our curly hair – all the things teenage girls care about, cemented a bond that transcends both distance and time.

How strange to, to see Cindy’s daughters, the age we were when we first met. Completely surreal but also not. Amazing how growing up and getting older creeps up on you when you are not looking and how you just don’t feel any different. In so many ways I am still that young teenage girl sitting on a wall sharing confidences with her friend.

I hope that Oliver too will grow up to have a friend like Cindy is too me and Dwayne is to Dave one day.

But back to our busy September. I am delighted to say that putting aside the stress and running around everything went spectacularly well and the last two weeks of September were an incredibly special time for the whole family. But more on the wedding to follow in a dedicated post or two as it is not every day that your baby sister gets married!

Nightly rhythms

It appears that the dance is deep within my child and I am absolutely delighted! Oliver’s appreciation for music has taken on a whole new dimension in the last couple of weeks. We now have nightly dancing in the playroom where our once shy little boy who only danced when he thought no-one was looking gives us a performance of all his latest dance moves.

Dave and I often sit in wonderment with our mouths hanging ever so slightly ajar in watching this little person who only walked at 17 months, now so completely at one with his body and expressing himself so freely.

From deep shoulder moves, one foot spins, a collection of often bizarre steps, diversified hand movements and of course his interpretation of the moonwalk Oliver is slowly but surely becoming equipped to handle whatever 70’s or 80’s music throws at him.

For the majority of the last few weeks we have had to sit through Tears for Fears album Tears Roll Down night after night with Shout being the favourite song. Thankfully though we got to introduce a new album last night after Oliver asked for some new music (whoops of joy).

So Dave went off to pull out something from the CD drawer whilst I anxiously waited for the choice to be presented knowing that this would be something I would be listening to for a long time to come. Thankfully my husband is a wise man and he came back with an all time classic ABBA Greatest Hits. I can never get tired of ABBA 🙂

Their music is the type that appeals to Oliver upbeat, energetic and filled with a variety of instruments. He took to it like a fish to water pulling out some new moves to celebrate the occasion!

Sitting there watching him I was struck by a sense of unreality. This was the music my Mom introduced me too and watched me dance to when I was young, shared with my Great Ouma (she played Thank You for the music on her record player), danced the night away to with my girlfriends so many memories and just one more very special one added.

Bokkie power

With Springbok mania gripping the country, I decided the time was right to introduce Oliver to the men behind the game that I am so passionate about. I heard that the Springboks were having an open training session at St Stithians, the school Dave teaches at and decided to take him along to see the Bokkies in action.

Our close friends the Kaufies have two boys who, through their Dad’s interest and growing involvement in the game (he is working towards becoming a provincial referee), are becoming certified rugby nuts. So, I let them know and arranged to meet them there.

A busy morning at work, followed by the mad rush that is the school run and then home to get all decked out in our Bokkie gear. There was much excitement and discussion around seeing ‘the men on the TV’. All efforts to teach Oliver the captains name and details of how the game is played were met with “But Mom are we going to see the animals?”.

It was incredible to arrive at Sts and see boys and girls of all sizes there to support the team, get autographs or just ogle the players – Patrick Lambie was a firm favourite with the girls! Also wonderful for the Kaufie boys and Oliver to get so close to the players.

The little guys in front of the Springbok bus
Oliver, Luke and Tyron in front of THE bus

I wish that I could report that we spent hours on the side of the field watching the Springboks going through their paces but the truth is I think we had about 15 minutes tops. Of more interest to our little guys were the massive Springbok bus, scrumming machines, TV cameras and running wild on the rugby field.

Boys hard at work on the scrumming machine
Scrumming is hard work!

So, maybe Oliver is still a little too young to appreciate live rugby but maybe when we sit down to watch the Springboks in action against England in the 2nd test on Saturday he will feel a little closer to the game and ultimately become a couch rugby enthusiast like his Mom!