Friday, January 31, 2014

Beech Ave

This blog is a bit of a follow on from my last Blog. We had moved from Wankie to Queens Park West in Bulawayo. Within a couple of days of moving in to Dane Road my second youngest brother Shane had an horrendous accident, certainly one of the worst our family and especially Shane have had to date.

For some reason we boys all take after my Dad when it comes to a love of climbing and heights. Dad lost the sight in his right eye whilst climbing a tree as a child and Shane (aged 5/6) fell out of this tree at Dane Road from about 10 -12 feet off the ground (I'm old school so if you want the metric conversion - it was about roof height) and landed very badly.

Scattered around the yard usually under trees were home made planters. These planters were made from old 44 gallon drums that had been roughly cut in half and when I say "roughly", I mean precisely that. Shane landed face first on the rough rusting edge of one of these planters and slashed his face through his upper and lower lips, both sets of gums where he knocked out several teeth. Fortunately Dad was home (Mom didn't drive and we only had one car) and we all rushed Shane up to the hospital where they did a marvellous job of putting him back together.

I don't recall how long we lived in Dane Road but it would have been a year or so. I recall Mom often sending me up to the Butcher with a 10 bob note to buy meat for dinner and a couple of packs of smokes from the corner store. The shops were in a sort of semi circle and all next to one another at the QPW round about.

Not long after changing schools from Newmansford to Hugh Beadle we moved to 21 Beech Avenue in Sauerstown. This was the smallest house we lived in but it had a big yard for us kids to play in and it had a lot of colonial charm. I'll never forget whilst we were moving in my Uncle Joe brought in our very first TV and of course we were all so excited to have a radiogram with pictures. As uncle Joe put it down on the cement floor the front legs which were rather spindly, did the splits and the TV fell flat on it's face with a rather shattering sound but there was no glass on the floor so we kids hoped that it would be fine but alas it was not meant to be, however the TV was replaced a few days later and the very first show I saw on our beautiful massive 15 inch black and white TV features a cowboy with a mask across his eyes and the theme music was Rossini's William Tell Overture. Instantly the Lone Ranger was my hero with his sidekick Tonto and his horse Silver. The next day I made my mask and relived my hero's actions. I still love Rossini's William Tell Overture.

The house had it's back to the street and was actually a rondavel (round house) with everything else added on as an afterthought. There was only one bedroom but it did have a large kitchen and a small dining room so the dining room could accommodate a couple of bunk beds and that became Shane and Dan's bedroom. Another set of bunk beds was put at the "foyer" entrance for Guy and myself, there was just enough room for an adult to squeeze through. We had no running water but the well was only about six feet from the back door and it was fitted with a state of the art hand pump that the smallest of children could use. We had a beautiful massive cast iron coal/wood stove with ball and claw feet and the ornate brass trim was a delightful green colour. I can't remember the names of our neighbours in front of us (between us and the Umguza River, down a short lane way but I recall the day that they took delivery of their new electric stove, everyone came out to have a look at this modern wonder.

A lot of the mod cons had been around for a while but people on this side of town were mainly single income families so we were a bit behind the times.

My Mom's sister used to visit every Thursday. While sick with malaria I dreamt that my youngest brother Dan had wandered onto the Road (Beech Ave) through a personnel gate that we never used - I dreamt that Dan was run over by the Sauserstown Omnibus whilst I was running after him as my Aunt drove up the street. The dream was so vivid that I woke and went to check on the gate at about 2am - it was open, I closed it. (Several years later I would be chasing after my best friend as the Sauerstown Omnibus ran over him on that very street in the exact same location - strange hey).

I found a few old photos from the old days, I'll leave you with those.

37 Spreckley Road North End 1970-1977

28 Marula Avenue - there was no fence till Dad and I put one up. 1966-1970

I bought this R4 from Dad in 1977 - the year Ronnie and I married.

Mom in the front yard 28 Maruala Ave about 1967

Mom and Dad's house 130 Borrow Street 1978 - 1981

21 Beech Ave 1965 note the hot water system next to the well (left) which is not visible from this angle.

Till next time, God Bless.

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