Iets wat ek steeds goed onthou was die vakansies wat ons gehou het op n plaas in die Laeveld
As kind het ons een keer per jaar vakansie gehou. Dit was meestal die Kersvakansie wanneer die fabrieke gesluit het. Langs ons het ‘n skoolhoof gebly wat ‘n plaas naby Witrivier gehad het.(Ons het toe nog net buite Pretoria gebly daardie tyd) Hy het die huis tot ons beskikking gestel om vakansie in te hou. Dit was die heerlikste vakansies.
Die eerste keer wat ons gegaan het was ‘n belewenis. Ons was so opgewonde dat ons nie tot rus kon kom die aand tevore nie.
Vroeg aand, voordat ons die volgende dag vertrek, het Pappa die Buick of Studebaker(maak vergeet!) gepak. Kon hy vir jou pak! Alles het n gaatjie gekry. Ons het selfs n lewendige hoender in ‘n hokkie saamgevat vir Kersfees. Tot ons twee honde het ook saamgegaan. Een was n foksteriër en die ander ‘n Bull Mastiff. Hoe ons almal ingepas het sal net my Pa weet.
Ons was veronderstel om die oggend voor die son opkom die pad te vat. Pappa was egter te opgewonde. Hy kon nie slaap nie. So teen een uur kon hy dit nie meer hou nie en het hy ons uit die vere gejaag. Ons is op die agterste sitplek ingepak, om verder te slaap. Daar was altyd ‘n gekarring oor een se voete wat in ‘n ander een se gesig was. Beknop se Moses met drie wat moes lê en nog twee honde ook.
Voordat die son opkom was ons in Middelburg, Transvaal( vandag Mpumalanga). Ons het altyd by die padkafee(dit beteken dat jy met jou moter parkeer en dan bring die kelner die spyskaart, jy kies, en sy bring dit vir jou op n skinkbord.) gestop om die toilette te gebruik. My Ma het altyd padkos ingepak en ook ‘n fles met tee. Ons het dus nie nodig gehad om iets te ete te koop nie.
1956 was daar geen snelweg van Pretoria, Laeveld toe nie. Dit was nog enkel bane en nou kronkel pad. Vandag vat dit n uur en n half tot 2 ure om in Nelspruit te kom. Daardie tyd het ons die hele oggend gery.
Ons het ook langs die pad by bankies en tafeltjies gestop om bene te rek, en n laaste teetjie te drink.
Die plaas was n heerlike rustige plek. Min geriewe: buite toilet, warm water in die donkie wat met ‘n houtvuur verwarm word. Dit was ‘n grasdak huis. Heerlik koel in die skroeiend warm Desember son. Die huis was tussen Dennebome omdat die plaas ‘n Denneplantasie en piesang plaas was.
Aan die een sykant van die huis was daar n stroompie, eintlik meer n leivoor. Ons het altyd probeer om krappe te vang. Ons was maar skrikkerig want die grootmense het gewaarsku: “Krappe hou van menstone, veral sulke klein toontjies soos julle sin!”
Die water en modderwal word versigtig met n stok geroer om te kyk of ‘n krap wil uitkom. Sodra die krap die punt van die stok beet het, het ons hom uitgeskiet na die wal en gehoop hy bly vasklou, wat natuurlik selde gebeur het. As ons een uitgeskiet het was dit n gegillery en rondspringery om te keer dat die krap jou nie in die hande kry nie.
In die denne-plantasie was daar sulke dik bobbejaantoue soos die in die Tarzan flieks. Ons het heerlik geswaai en Tarzan-Tarzan gespeel.
Die heerlike Kersmaal was altyd ‘n hoogtepunt gewees. Mamma het die saamgebringde hoendertjie gestop, en heerlik knapperig in die gas oondjie gebraai.
Die vakansies op die plaas is afgewissel met vakansies in die Kruger Wildtuin. Dit was ook netso heerlik gewees. Een jaar, toe my Oupa uit Holland kom kuier het, het ons in n tent uitgekamp. Dit was nie n groot sukses nie omdat ons nie uitkamp mense is nie. Die Wildtuinvakansies is moontlik gemaak deur vriende wat bestuurders in Pretoriuskop was. Hul het makliker vir ons plekke kon bespreek.
Wat n lekker herinnering van kindwees en vakansie
First Holiday at White River
As a child, we only went on holiday once a year, mostly the Christmas holidays when the factories closed. Next to us lived a school principal who had a farm near White River (at that time we still lived just outside Pretoria) He made the house available to us to use during the holidays. These were the most wonderful holidays.
The first time we went was a great experience. We were so excited that we couldn’t come to rest the night before.
Early evening, before we departed the next day, Dad packed the Buick or Studebaker ( forgotten the make!). He could pack a car like a champion! Everything got a place. We even took a live chicken in a tiny cage with us for Christmas dinner. Our two dogs went along too. One was a fox terrier and the other a Bull Mastiff. How we all fit in, I can’t tell you.
We were supposed to start our journey the morning before sunrise. Dad was too excited; he couldn’t sleep. At one o’clock, he couldn’t wait any longer. We were packed in the back seat, to sleep further. There was always an issue with our feet that were in smeone else’s face. What could we expect with three who had to lie on the back seat; with two dogs too?
Before the sunrise, we were in Middelburg Transvaal (today Mpumalanga). We always stopped at the drive-in cafe (which means you park your car, then the waiter brings the menu, you choose, and she brings it to you on a tray.) We stopped to use the toilets. My mom always packed a picnic basket and a flask with tea. We didn’t need to buy something on the way for lunch.
In 1956 there was no highway connecting Pretoria with the Lowveld. The road was still single lanes, narrow and winding. Today it takes about an hour and a half to two hours to drive to Nelspruit, the capital of Mpumalanga. Those days we drove all morning.
We also stopped at the roadside benches and tables to stretch legs and drink a cup of tea.
The farm was a lovely quiet place. It had few amenities: outside toilet, hot water in the donkey heated with wood fire. The house had a thatched roof. Cool in the scorching December sun. The house was between Pine trees because the farm had Pine plantations and banana groves.
On the one side of the house was a creek. We always tried to catch crabs. We were scared of them because the grown-ups warned:
“Crabs love human toes, especially those little ones like yours!” As soon as the crab caught the tip of the stick, we ejected it to the dry patch next to the creek and hoped it would stay stuck, which of course rarely happened. If we succeeded to get one out of the water, there would be delightful screams and running and jumping to stop the crab from getting hold of our toes!
In the pine plantation were thick “bobbejaantoue” monkey ropes? like the ones in the Tarzan movies. We had great swings while playing Tarzan-Tarzan.
The delicious Christmas meal was always a highlight. Mom stuffed the chicken and roasted it till crispy and brown in the gas oven.
The holidays on the farm were interspersed with holidays in the Kruger National Park. It was also just as good an adventure as going to the farm. One year, my grandfather visited us from Holland. We camped in a tent. It was not a great success because we had never been campers. The park holidays were made possible by friends who worked in Pretoriuskop. They could easily book places for us.
I described my mother and my father for my writing group in the local Library.
Both descriptions are of my parents in the hospital before they passed away.
My Father passed in 1994 and my mother in 2006.
Mum in hospital
Frail and bony hands were on top of the blanket. She taught us that you never sleep with your hands under the covers. Her handkerchief clenched in one hand. She regularly swept or just held it under her nose. Pale blue eyes looked at me in recognition. Eyes kept wandering up to the shelf where a toy husky looked down at her. “He winked at me. His tongue is hanging out, he smiled at me “came the shaky words. Her hair was sparse and bland. She looked so fragile. She never complained about pain and yet one could see it in her eyes. Her body was swollen twice as big as normal, from all the water caused by heart and also kidneys failure. The physiotherapist came, Mom wanted to show how strong she was. We had to support her; she could hardly sit up. She still asked:” Is it good enough?” She was brave until the end, not complaining about all the pain.
Dad in hospital
He sat in the chair next to the bed.Old and tired of the life. His hands clenched around the armrests of the chair. Those strong hands, which worked hard throughout his life, looked old and wrinkled. The oxygen pipe in his nose helped his shallow and irregular breathing. He was still fighting against the world and its many injustices. He could not make peace with circumstances. Surviving World War II in the Netherlands nearly totally had broken him. He even accused my mum of not loving him at the end! She was the one supporting him his whole life. He just did not trust or believe anyone. He kept on fighting against all will till the end.
Not a Christmas baby
Not a New Years baby
Between the two baby!
My little “girly” was born
just after 11 am.
Here are two photos of her, 24 hours after birth.
I saw her again on day four.
I am so proud of being a granny to little Beatrix.
I am also very proud of Stella. the Mummy, for delivering this little treasure into the Kruger family.
Thank you Bertus, I am so proud of the way you handled the birth of your little
Being a parent is one of the world’s most wonderful
May God bless the three of you.
I want to share the following about my dear father.
On Fridays I attend a writing group in our local library.
I have been writing anecdotes since 2012.
At this stage I am using my older writings and edit and also expand them.
For today we had to do a short description of a person.
Illustrate characteristics of the character.
Use some conversation to illustrate it.
Here is my description of my father:
My father was about 5’7”/1.7 m.. tall, not very thin but also not really fat more stocky. As long as I can remember he did not have much hair, only a ring around the lower part of his head. My parents always explained this balding:”… The military cap stopped the hair growing because he had to wear it every day and night during the war..”
My father wasn’t a man of many words and jokes. He did not smile or laugh much.I was always looking to please him because he was very strict. It seems that he was a perfectionist when it came to planning and doing things.
I think he loved to work in the garage, fixing his car when it was broken.(Maybe he hated it, and had to do it. I will never know) He was really handy when it came to fixing and planning the best ways. He was the patriarch of the family. We obeyed him in everything.
Even after I had my own family my father still ruled and wanted me to do things as he wanted it up till his death.
On his death bed he still told my son, who was only 13: “Don’t be like your father. Look well after your mother!”
He also went on: “You have to come back to the Reformed Church.” I went over to my husband’s church the Dutch Reformed Church. It shows, till the end he wanted his way.
My father even had an argument with my mother before he passed away about her love for him.
He asked my mother:” Do you love me?” She answered “Yes, always will”. He went on: “Impossible you can’t love a person like me. You don’t love me.” Those words broke my mother’s heart. She had given her everything to him and our family. Afterwards she could not stop crying. I told her that he did not mean it like that.
This whole episode made me feel so sad and my heart yearned to wipe out those last words.