With my next true life story, I’m sure there are a few of you,who could relate to thìs memory,from way back when.
One of our rare(àll)family photo’s,in 1981:My eldest brother(died on 6 January 2020)at the back,my sister left,then me(7 months pregnant)on the right right,father on the left,below my sister and mom right below me and right in front,my youngest brother.
My memories go way back,where I still had both paternal grandparents and also the maternal father and stepmother.My grandparents from my father’s side,weren’t particularly rich,but because my grandfather was a diamond prospector,they didn’t do too bad.They had 15 children in all,of which 5 of the “in between” children died,due to a variety of illnesses,under which Pneumonia and other new lung related illnesses,were the main reason for the deaths.
9 of the 10 surviving Bothma “clan”who could make it for this reunion,in this photo:my father left back and his favorite(oldest)sister 2nd from right,in front
My father was the eldest son and his favorite sister was the eldest daughter.
My fathers eldest and favorite sister,on her 70th birthday(my father died at the age of 56)
Unfortunately,I have no photos,of my mother’s side of the family…On my mother’s side,she had a brother,jùst older than herself and twin sisters much younger.According to my mother,the twins were in Standard 2(grade 4)and on their way home,with their bicycles,when one of those really big mining trucks,ran the one twin over and she died.Their own mother died,when my mother was only 12 years old and when her father remarried,she was up in arms.He married a much older woman,with 3 sons and a girl.My mother just couldn’t make peace….
My thoughts go back to my grandfather,on his farm with the wife,my mother hated.I never knew and for that matter couldn’t care,thst she was nòt my blood related grandmother.She spoiled me a bit and I always had her attention.Her eldest son and daughter were closest to my mother’s age,but all were more or less,the ages of my eldest siblings,which made it easier,to form a bond with them.At that stage,I was the “baby” and my grandmother went out of her way,to keep me happy.I was the only one,with whom she shared her prized,free roaming eggs…she took me to all over the dips,nooks and crannies,to find all the hen’s nests.Then she’ll help me fill an oats box,she emptied especially,to save my “take away” eggs.She’d talk so much and I didn’t always understood what she said,but I could sense her love and she was the one,to take me out on the farm,when things get too heated between her and my mother.The house,like all farmhouses back then,had that familiar “old bear” smell.
They always had a baboon species,called Blue Baboons,on tall tarpoles, before you can enter anywhere.Even at the main gate.Some of the smaller baboons,would jump on the adult’s heads and start looking for “fleas” This gave us children and especially me,enough time,to slip into the house.They had a vicious blue male,on a long chain,sitting on the pole,to patrol the area,around the outside pittoilet,as he would make sure,there are no snakes entering his area.Thìs toilet wasn’t close to home and when I wanted to go to the loo,my eldest brother offered,to go with me.He explained,that he needs to go first,so I had to distract the baboon,away from the entrance and then he’d do the same for me.He distracted the baboon and I went into the loo,but when I came out,my brother was gone and the biting guard,sat grinning,showing that mile long canines,very proud on his tarpost…I screamed and shouted and luckily,after some time,sòmeone started looking for me and found me,where my brother left me.
It was time for my parents,to take the fight on the road again…Then me,being so small,can remember having a crush,on one of my stepnephews/step uncle’s uncles…..for another post.
I got hold of my mother’s brother and halfsister,to inform them,of her being on her last and the last I saw them,was a quick glimpse,while covering the grave,with that first few shovels of dirt,before the funeral parlor finish up, their job of covering the grave with sand.
It wouldn’t take long,after we stopped at front of the farmhouse,at inside gate,before mother would pick a fight,with my grandmother.Remember that I’m used to the assault between my parents,but it was as if my mother wanted to prove a point….She just didn’t except the older “stepmom” and then,my mother started with her accusations and having words,with my grandma’.They’d shout and scream at each other.We visited less and after my grandfather’s funeral,we never saw the family again.It was only later in life,that I realized there was a vicious hostility,between my mother and her stepmother.
It was a shame,because the rest if us,liked the spot we were in.I liked my grandma’s attention, because my other grandmother,with the many children,didn’t feel it necessary,to include us.My grandma from the farm”made me pork crackling,as well and I remember a few times,when I got really sick,in the car on our way home,from eating too much crackling,or homemade butter….Mother and father,would also be at war,at this stage.The drive back home,were pure agony,as the fight now turned to blaming each other.He was mostly angry,because she wanted to go visit,but it wouldn’t be long,before she’d pick a fight,with my grandma…
Then we were sumerily gathered,to get in the car to go home and I couldn’t wait,to get out of the car….I had no say,but it was the worst times of my life,going ànywhere with my parents.They’d drink beforehand and also poured,extra long shots in the car,pull over and fight and drink and do the same,on the way home.Of course,thìs fight could most probably last,through the rest of the weekend.
My mother’s youngest stepbrother(on which I had a major “little girl crush”) was a few years older than me,but he had so much patience with me.I still remember,the double track dirt road,between the high towering and healthy corn in the fields,on the way to the farmhouse.This,is where he taught me to ride a bicycle…he held the back,of the bicycle saddle steady and I had to pedal… the left site of the rubber pedal was missing,so each time my foot slipped,it would catch my skin and draw blood…funny that something that hurts thìs much,could be surpressed,just to help you persevere and succeed,in your new experience.I still have the scar to prove it.
My grandparents also had a Big cattle pin,where the oxes mainly roam,to keep the cattle apart,when the cows are ready to mate.AGAIN,my eldest brother and his endless schemes!I was convinced, that we gave to go through the pen,to reach the house, as the baboons were grazing on the side,we usually enter.It was nauseating!!Fresh cow dung and to step on it….hot and slippery and did I mention the stench….?
There was a bull looking at us,with the same hangover eyes,my mother had in a Monday morning.My brother lead the way and then started running…The bull charged,but he made it through the split poles…then te bull turned to me,but I was already,on the opposite side of the pen….he stormed and I slid through the wooden bars….and then the bull stopped,with just enough time to give my THE look,as warning,to not cone mess around in his territory.
I have so much more to share,regarding my childhood experiences,on my grandpa’s farm.I can remember how much I loved him and in my memories,I can recall his love for me…
I would learn later in my adult life,that my grandfather’s wife and her adult children,assaulted and abused him,until he face up the farm to them.
Years later,when my eldest son was about 18 months old,I told my mother and sister to help me,go look for my grandpa “Feet” (my understanding of his name, as a little girl)We found him,living in horrible conditions,in a room in an outside shack,on someone’s farm.I could see the resemblance,of my grandpa in this man’s face,but his eyes were empty and had no fight left…..
I had to leave,some of the farm adventures,for another time…so keep reading
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