To start today’s memory,let me give you some BACKGROUND first….

I can’t remember exactly,when we got the new neighbors,across the wide dirt road from us.My memories of them are still fresh,even though it was 3 years,to 40 years ago.Most of the people,already passed away.

I was in grade 2 and my mother and the aunt across the street,have been friends for a year or three.She moved with her children,from a town relatively far away,from where I grew up and lived,for the largest part of my life.According to the maid,that moved with them,her husband has been abusing her and her children.They had to work, as farm labourorers,under inhumane circumstances and had to work extra long hours,on his potato farm.He told them,that they had to earn their keep.They weren’t allowed,to have outside contact,except to school and back.Nò extracurricular activities and nò going into town.She eventually befriended this lady,who worked as maid in the house,while she and the children,were slaving away in the fields.Each day,she’d bury a bag’s value of potatoes,away from where they worked and on weekends,this maid would find people(of color)to buy it.They also hid the money,where the husband wouldn’t find it.It took years,but eventually they saved enough money.They planned everything,for the weekend,when her husband usually drank himself,into a new dimension.He gave her a few bruises the previous night again,so she arrived at thìs house,still sore and blue all over.

Those years,neighbors still had the decency,to welcome new neighbors,with a tea and sandwiches.Most of the times,the electrity took up to 4 days to connect and then the neighbors,would generously provide food and drinks,for the new family.Mother didn’t say anything,but the maid felt,that she could trust my mother and told her everything.Come to think of it,she herself didn’t stay long…The children were already about 18,21,24,25,at this stage.The daughter of 21,had a beautiful little boy,big, mdeeo blue eyes and blond hair.When he pulled his mouth to try and smile,you could see his dimples….So sad,that he was unfortunately cerebral handicapped…

Thìs aunt wasn’t the cleanest lady,but boy,could she bake and cook!!Today,that’s what I like,about the innocence of a child…to not be judgemental,to not even see,or notice your flaws.Every afternoon,after school,my mother would go over,for a smoke…funny that mother never wanted tea, as she already had at home….It didn’t bother me,as I enjoyed everything she offered me…

One afternoon,mother said I could go play with the boy and tell to tell the aunt,that she’s on her way.Let’s call the little boy littlle Johny…?Well,little Johny couldn’t walk and had trouble eating.He wore nappies and àlways drooled..this didn’t bother me a bit.I taught him to walk and before he died 3 years later,he ran towards me,in his own way,on wobbly unstable legs,that could give in on him,at any moment,when he recognize me,coming through the gate.

Thìs specìfic day,I couldn’t wait,to go play with little Johny.My sister bought me a ball,from the money she made,working as cashier, over weekends,after school and during the school holidays.When I got there,the aunts eldest daughter and her 2 children(nephew and niece of little Johny)were also visiting.We immediately started playing,throwing the ball at each other,when suddenly their dog,a South African Mastiff charged at the fence.Our dog a Mastiff mixed breed,came after me.The moment they reached each other,I threw the ball as hard as I could,at our dog to scare him,so that he would hopefully,run back home.I was only 8 years old,remember…It was thè biggest mistake ever.I missed our dog and accidentally hit the other dog.He immediately turned to me and charged.The second mistake,was to try and run away.He bit me in the groin area and his one canine,tore a gap in my flesh,about 5 cm long and relatively deep,according to the doctor.

I don’t make a secret out of the fact,that I fell pregnant prematurely(had my eldest son,a month after my 17th birthday)but it was on purpose(will tell more in coming blogs.When I was six and a half months pregnant,my sister-in-law(deaf and dumb)and I took out usual walk,after supper and after the kitchen was cleaned up.We walk about the same distance,every night,but tried to not get bored and took a different route. It was already dark this specific night,when we reached the end of the street,just about to turn back around …I felt burning pain in my left calf,at the same moment,I heard the growl and when I looked down,the dog has already turned and ran back into his yard.We never saw the dog,as he attacked me,after we passed his yard already.I wore corduroy pants and the doctor said I should thank my lucky stars,for that strong material(well,it was back then,in any case)He only managed,to bite a hole,in the upper part of my calf and left a bite-mark,of about 3 cm on my shin.

Before I got pregnant,with my 2nd son(he was born 4 months after my 18th birthday)we were invited,by my brother-in-law’s,parents-in-law-to-be(raw Dutch folks) for dinner on a Saterday evening.I wasn’t really in the mood for going anywhere,as I was very tired,but they kept nagging and I gave in.We were joined,at the gate to the Dutch mansion,by two other couples,also communal friends.As we got into the yard,a Regular Collie ran up to us,with a wagging tail and sniffing away.I froze immediately and sumerely refused,to go any further.It was like a choir…voices echoing,as everybody was trying to tell me,that it’s okay,this dog is a Collie and Collies don’t bite.To put me at ease,the let me walk more or less,in the middle of the group…..thìs time,no growl, just a burning sensation,where his one tooth,caught a little piece of flesh.It wasn’t enough to be stitched up again…not on my body,in any case.

I am still terrified of big dogs and certain breeds give me the chills;Mastiffs,Alsatians, Rottweilers,Dobermans, Ridgebacks,Pitbulls,Bullterriers…..I most certainty,don’t trust àny Collie breeds and I will never,ever,ever again,trust these last famous words:

:Don’t be silly,he won’t BITE….