Writing + Memoirs: My bedrooms


Our fold up beds had curtains at the front. When we were in bed we could close the curtains and played that we were in a tent.

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Words: bedroom, holiday, teasing, excitement, post

I used the word bedroom for my Friday It’s Write Easy at our library.

A bedroom is an important room in a home. When I taught at a rural school near Potgietersrus, the children had to draw their homes. The children came from far off rural places. Their homes usually had only one big room. The whole family did everything there. There was no bedroom at all.

I am very privileged that I could share a bedroom with my sisters. First with my older sister and later with my younger sister. I had my bedroom when both my sisters were not living with my parents anymore. The room was a so called “rondawel” meaning a round room with a thatched roof. No ceiling, only wooden beams with the grass on top! This was a bad place to sleep because I had hay fever for Africa due to the dust and grass.

In the Netherlands

My big sister and I shared a bedroom. It was so small and narrow. There were two beds, which were folded up against the walls during the daytime. At night when both were down, you could hardly open the door. The last night, before our departure, we were so excited and could not sleep. My sister and I were playing in bed, in the dark room, when suddenly my bed’s two legs gave way. I crashed on the floor, bedding and all. My parents couldn’t enter the room because the bed was in the way. We were not robust enough to pick up the bed. Finally, my father pushed the bed up against the wall from the outside of the room.

We were told:“Now, stop your play and go to sleep! Tomorrow you have to get up early for our departure to Rotterdam harbour and then off to South Africa.”

On the ship

My parents and younger sister used one cabin while my big sister and I were next doors in a small cabin. It was as big as a cupboard, hardly any space to turn around. There were only two bunk beds. My older sister slept on the top while I used the bottom one. I had to first slide out on my back before I could stand up. We could look out of the porthole and see the sea. Lucky for us the weather was good during our trip. When we had to enter Cape Town harbour a storm broke loose. We could not enter the harbour and had to sail out to the deep sea again. The waves were so huge they came up to the porthole and covered it completely at times. Very scary. We had to stay in our cabin during the storm.

As grown-up:

When I left home, after teaching from home for four years, I slept in my own bedroom in the school hostel. We were four lady teachers, each in separate bedrooms and sharing a bathroom. We were on duty twenty four hours a day just like parents look after their children.

The next move was into my own flat. It had only one bedroom. The bedroom was on the walkway side of the building. My flat was the second last one on the top floor. Near the stairs going down to the garages and parked cars. Very noisy at times especially during weekends. I changed my bedroom to the sitting-room and the sitting-room into the bedroom. I loved to watch people’s faces when I invited them into my bedroom. One day the Reverend, deacon and elderly came to visit and see how I was. They could not believe that they had to go into my bedroom. We had a good laugh and years later we were still joking about me inviting them into my bedroom.

 

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Writing + Memoir: House sitting an old dog called Meggie


I did house sitting for four weeks which ended Sunday, August 21. I cared for a sixteen- year-old Border Collie named Meggie. I wrote the following about Meggie for my writing group on Friday.

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Doef, doef, doef, swoosh

Doef, doef, doef, swoosh

Doef, doef, doef swoosh

From kitchen to the bedroom.

Bump, bump, around.

Doef, doef, doef, swoosh; doef, doef, swoosh

Back to the kitchen!

Scratch, click, click nails on the linoleum floor.

Up and down, up and down through the passage from the kitchen to the bedroom and back again. For at least half an hour.

The poor Meggie can’t get herself to lie down.

“Just take it easy Meggie! Slow down now!” It doesn’t help to talk to her because she is deaf. If I want her to react, I attract her attention by standing in front of her so that she can see me.

It is tough for her to let her back and bottom fall to the floor. There is something wrong with her nerves, and she has arthritis. Poor dog.

She has got dementia too because she would take a walk and then just stop, and stare in front of her. I usually kept an eye on her and would attract her attention and show her to move on. She could stand just where she was for long times.

The first two evenings Meggie was crying before she let herself fall to the floor. I gave her lots of time during the four weeks of my stay, to lie down and rest. It helped because if she had been moving or walking up and down too much, I think her legs and body aches too much.

The following is how twenty-four hours of my days/nights happened.

Early morning:

“ Look out Ineke, don’t step on Meggie.”

She usually sleeps in the kitchen doorway.

Touching her:

“Come on old girl. Get up! Let’s go outside.”

She’ll go outside and would stay out till I tell her to come back inside.

It does not matter if it rains. She gets wet and never came inside without me showing her to enter!

“Meggie, come on, come inside. You are soaking wet.” I rubbed her dry.

I had to lock her up in her kennel for the time I had to work. If I did not lock her up, she’d just stand outside in the rain.

Coming home in the afternoons, I first had to open the gate, drive the car inside, close the gate again. Then let Meggie out of the kennel. There were only three dry days that I could let her be outside her kennel during the afternoon.

 Dinner time. After dinner, Meggie got a treat. A small cone with some ice-cream. I also enjoyed an ice-cream after dinner.

Then it was time to calm down and have a nap before turning in.

“Meggie, stop moving up and down. You’re making me nervous with your turning around and around. Just settle down now!” As soon as I sat down, she’ll also lie down.

Then just before bedtime:

‘Meggie, wake up! Let’s go for a wee!” She’ll wake up as soon as she smells me passing her. She’ll get up and out of the door. Then it’s time again to keep an eye out for her to come back inside.

“Where could she be? Oh, there you are.” I clap my hands, and she’ll come inside. Usually, I had to dry her with a towel. Then we are off to bed. Again an up and down session and boom, off to relax now.

Every early morning Meggie would get up.

“Oops, I did not hear you getting up Meggie! Just look what you have done! Now I have to clean up behind you! Sigh!” Lucky for me that I first put the light on before going down the passage to the kitchen.

Then back to bed for another two hours and time to start a new day.

This was only twenty-four hours I had for four weeks!

Heritage: The Daily Post Photo Challenge


Ben Huberman says at:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/heritage/

This week, share a photo that channels a living tradition, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.

HERITAGE

I do not know if it was my father who started the photo scrapbook

or if my grandmother/father had started it.

After both, my parents had passed my

younger sister gave me the following scrapbook

as an heirloom.

Front cover:20170521_112948

 Family tree written by my father.

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My young grandparents from my fathers side

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Motorbike experience: Memoirs


May 5, 2017. It’s write Easy.  Every Friday I join a writing group and write anecdotes from my past. We usually get six words for the week. We pick one word or more and write about it. My word was motorcycle.

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Some people, when they are young, love to show off by having a better motorcycle than their best friends.

My son, while at school was and still is a big motorcycle fan.

While in school he bought himself a field motorbike with his money selling newspapers. It took him two years to put the money together. It was a second-hand motorcycle, and most of the time he was busy trying to fix it. As soon as it was roadworthy again, he would go off with lots of noise and speed up and down the dirt track near our house.

He studied at the Technikon in Pretoria. After a year of using a yellow Austin Mini which I gave him as his first vehicle, he bought himself a black streamlined motorcycle.  He enjoyed to ride it. He even would drive the hundred and fifty kilometres home on the weekend to visit me.

Some years later he told me that he nearly killed himself driving down a steep hill. He drove downhill and lost control, ventured on the pavement, and almost bumped full on into a signboard pole which stopped him. He showed me photos of the brake marks on the road and sidewalk. Lucky for him that he missed it by a few millimetres.

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One of the first things my son did when he arrived in New Zealand he bought himself a motorcycle. He even bought a second which he tried to modernise his own way. He loved fiddling with the engines. Nowadays he is more into designing and making electronic boards which bring in some money to help pay the bills now that he has expanded his family.

Describing a person: Memoires


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.