Today I received a number of photo's from a friend, I'm not sure what the politically correct term would be but back in the day we called them "Pen-Pals" so I guess "Blog_Pal" would be the accepted term, I shall simply refer to him as my friend Ron. Anyway the photo's are of one of the old neighbourhoods that I used to live in - Sauerstown.
Sauerstown is north east of Kenilworth and Rowena in Bulawayo and west of Queens Park. I lived there between the age of nine and fourteen. My grandparents on my mothers side lived in Kenilworth on Irene Ave. Oupa Dan and Granny Phoebie's was the first house built in the area, long before the siding and the shops, oh how I loved that old house with the stable kitchen door, Oupa's sheds under the Syringa Tree. I can still smell the dank musky smell of dust, mud, linseed oil and rust that assailed one's nostrils upon entering those dark cavernous sheds. The promise of mystery since they were always locked up tight and it was a rare occasion to accompany Oupa into one of those dark and slightly eerie sheds.
I remember the old black car ramp which would become the "Star Ship Enterprise" when all of us cousins got together. We were always trying to move the exceptionally heavy steel channels so that the "Star Ship" was just the way we liked it. Funny I don't recall ever fighting over who was to be Capt. Kirk, Cousin Gary was the oldest and so it was a foregone conclusion that he would play that part. What imaginations we had.
I have mentioned Sauerstown and one of the tragedies in a previous blog, the loss of my best friend Mitchell so I'll not go into that again. Whilst living at 28 (I think) Marula Ave, diagonally opposite "Skippers Garage" we had a few tragedies or rather I had a few tragedies but I also had some awesome times there.
A little about Skippers Garage, it was blue and white (a "Caltex" servo with the flying pegasus symbol) and the Pumps were stood in little blue and white ship like platforms with portholes, ropes and anchor's at either end. There was a duck pond and a wishing well on the northern side. We would often make wishes at the well while feeding the ducks. Old Skip loved to give kids those little flattened cardboard garages that would pop up by sliding the top and bottom parts in different directions. I got my first Yoyo from Old Skip too, never did become the whiz I believed that I would be with that thing but I did manage to master "Walking the Dog".
On the opposite side of the street (Sauerstown Road) and the other end of the block was "Thackewray's (Sp) Garage" (a Shell Servo I think) I think Mr Thackewray had three daughters but I do know that I had my first almighty crush on one of the beauties when I was thirteen, of course I didn't stand a chance since I know that I wasn't the only kid feeling that way. I have three wonderful brothers - Oh! young innocent love.
On the topic of brothers, my second youngest brother Shane had a friend who lived in the rather stylish and up market two story house on the corner of Jacaranda Ave and Sauerstown Road, John was his name, sadly deceased far too early. This friendship would see remarkable chapters written into our family and all of our lives but especially Shane's. John at about age 16 was abducted by terrorists and held for over a year in one of Robert Gabriel Mugabe's ("Uncle Bob") camp's in Mozambique ... but that is another book and not for me to write either.
I am a western movie nut and have always been this way, my Mom said I was born in the wrong era and I tend to agree. Well it's not cool for a senior school child to play Cowboys and Indian's which is exactly what I was doing at age thirteen and hoping not to be seen by my class mates who would rag the heck out of me if they saw me. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed since we lived on the corner of Sauerstown Road (Main Street) with the yard visible to all and sundry.
Anyway one fateful day, probably a weekend as Dad was home, it was getting late around 17h00 (5pm) when there was an almighty loud bang, that sounded like an explosion to my left, I got such a fright I froze to the spot for what seemed like an eternity, as (what appeared to be) an angel fell from the sky to land about two meters in front of me. No sooner had this thought shot through my mind when a great big dark object smashed down upon her, bounced off and rolled over... it was a Morris 500 SideValve with a box backie. I realised a moment later that this was no angel, but a very pretty young oriental lady dressed in white, she looked so clean and peaceful with only a little trickle of scarlet running from her left ear. Suddenly! Dad was shaking me..... "Run up to the police station and tell them to come quick with an ambulance - hurry Peter!"
I shot off as though my tail were on fire up to the BSAP Station opposite our Junior School "Hugh Beadle" a block south of us. I told the police that there had been a terrible accident at our home and they called for ambulance and fire brigade.
On my arrival back at the house my mother had covered the lovely lady with a blanket, she was deceased. Mom and Dad were trying to help a young man who was unconscious in the other vehicle, a pale blue Ford Customline if memory serves me correctly. It amazed me that after hitting that Morris so hard that it became airborne, the Ford had taken out our telephone pole, a safety bar over a culvert, our (New) corner fencepost and had only been stopped by a huge Jacaranda tree. What a mess!
My classmates found out that I had been playing cowboys and indians and yes they did rag the heck out of me. They were and still are a great bunch of Northlean's, would'nt mind a bit of that ragging right now :) Eddie in particular had been my personal bully ever since (my) arriving in the neighbourhood, little bugger had even shot me once, .... and no it wasn't an accident, he had missed three times as I tried to outrun him ... but that's a story for another time.
I'll leave you with a few recent photo's, the ravages of time and a lack of maintenance may leave you a little heartbroken too.
|Marula Ave - 30 years of neglect|
|Marula Ave and Sauerstown Road (Nick's old Home next to Thackwray's Garage)|
|Sauerstown Road with Skippers Garage on Left|
|Bridgewater and Beech Ave (Mitchell died here) bitumen gone now.|
|Thackwray's Garage from Beech Ave|
|Thackwray's Garage from Beech Ave|
|Thackwray's Garage - I remember when upstairs was built and the shop to the left of the courtyard.|
|Mr Thackwray passed just after completion if I remember correctly|
|Nick's home (I think Nick was in Guy's class)|
|There was no wall, gate or razor wire back in the day - what a shame.|
|If I hadn't been told that this is Skippers Garage I would never have believed it. There was a windmill in the duck pond once.|
|Matabele Steam Laundry - There were no gates or fences back in my time.|
|Hugh Beadle I think|
|This house was the envy of everyone - Jacaranda Ave/ Sauserstown Road|
|Matabele Steam Laundry in front of the "Drift"|
|Beech Ave Shops|
Till next time, God Bless.