PS – Also entered in this week’s Discover Challenge – when I saw the prompt I though how appropriate this post was for that too.
As a family we relocated to South Africa in 1974 and until my folks found their feet some 5 years later, we lived in different places. My Dad had the same job for all of this time, so the reason we moved around a lot is that my folks rented all the time instead of buying a house. Come to think of it, it took a while before they could afford to buy their own home. They had 3 kids under the age of 10 to clothe, feed and educate.
The first house we lived in was in Park Crescent Street in Germiston, in front of a large park where we often spent our afternoons playing. It belonged to a friend of my Dad’s boss and he let us have it for a small monthly rental. It had large rooms, with beautiful wooden floors and a large established garden. I remember the peaches, plums and grapes that the garden offered up to us. The plums were black, sweet and juicy. I still remember their taste as I write this.
The landlord still maintained his wine cellar in the basement, which had a separate external entrance. He was a large Italian man who made his own wine and cured his own meat. Peering through the glass of the basement’s door we often saw salami hanging out to dry.
The garden was not a child-friendly one though – it had lots of cactus plants and I remember my Dad pulling thorns from my brother’s forehead on more than one occasion when he mistakenly rode his tricycle into the plants.
Two years later we moved to a house in General Alberts Street in Alberton, the first of two in this town. It was large and had a beautiful garden too. In the corner of the garden stood a tall willow tree, its branches forming a canopy big enough to accommodate a large party of people under it. My folks often entertained here.
This house was newer than the previous one. I remember my Mom making home-made custard with fluffly clouds of meringue in the modern kitchen which was a treat for us kids.
Located close to the race course, it was surrounded by many stables. Across the road from the house was a large patch of land where horses were taken for their daily exercise routine. This was very entertaining and is where my sister developed a love of horses. She desperately wanted to learn to ride although my folks couldn’t afford to send her to lessons, much to her disappointment.
Six months later we moved again, this time to a house close to the town centre in St. Columb Street. It was older, with parquet flooring and a garden so large that it had enough space for a second house to be built on it had the landlord been so inclined.
Like the first house, there were many peach trees in the yard and the biggest mulberry tree I’d even seen. It was as large as the willow tree of General Alberts Street and provided wonderful shade to entertain family and friends. I often gorged myself on the little berries which meant that my Mom had a tough time getting the purple stains off my clothes until someone told her to rub the green mulberries on the stain before washing to remove it – which seemed to work well.
I remember my Grandfather came to stay with us for a few months. He was sick at the time, and the moments we spent with him in this house were the last time we saw him alive. He returned to Portugal shortly thereafter, where he passed on a few years later.
We stayed in this house for another 2 years, after which my Dad changed jobs and we moved to Johannesburg. The name of the street was Terrace Road which hugged the bottom of the Yeoville koppie and was framed by tall jacarandas creating a purple canopy when they were in flower. This is the house with the gray wall in the featured photo.
Much to the disappointment of us kids, this house had a round hole in the back which was supposed to have been a pool but the landlord never completed it. That aside, the house was large and close to the school bus route. When we lived there it had a low wall, which enabled our friends to pop in and out whenever they wanted. My brother used to ride down the hill on his bicycle, at full speed, and one day…he came off it…and got badly grazed.
Two years later we moved to Third Street where my folks, for the first time, felt settled, and where they stayed for the next twelve years. It was still a rented house, and even though they could by this time afford to buy one, they decided not to.
This is the house where us 3 kids finished school and graduated from university. Our Matric dance photos were taken in this house as well as mine and my sister’s wedding photos.
It was situated in front of a large park with a recreation centre, a tennis club and a pool. I learnt to play tennis here, with a coach that we very cute looking – I didn’t learn to play very well, but I enjoyed the lessons anyway :-). The pool was used – a lot – we couldn’t wait for it to open on September 1st to start the swimming season.
I eventually left this house to go to my own home. My folks eventually did buy a house – the one they still live in today.
Each street I have lived in was special and I made precious friends and precious memories. Sometimes I drive past some of them and I remember with nostalgia all the good times I had there.
Featured photo taken from Google.