Our address when I was 12 years old was 12 Fourth Avenue, Fairways, Cape Town. I loved that house. It was the second house that we lived in but the only one that I remember. I don’t have many memories of my childhood and one day I hope to do some regression therapy, but that’s another story for another day.
My father built that house himself. It was nothing but a plot of land which he sculpted into the magnificent house that became my home for just over 20 years. It was an impressive house. He built it with comfort and practicality in mind. Four bedrooms, one for my parents and one for each of their children. Two bathrooms, one with a shower, bath and toilet and the other with just a shower and toilet. A large kitchen, big enough for all of us to be in there without it been crowded. The dining room housed a majestic 8-seater table where we enjoyed our family meals together. Ah, and the lounge. It was so big. I remember lying on a rug in front of the fireplace in winter. Bliss. Also in the lounge was a antique sofa set with traditional ball and claw feet.
Then there was the outside. My father’s garden was one that was admired by all who passed it. The grass was lush and always neatly cut. The shrubs were always pristine with not a twig or leaf out of place. Flowers lined the path to the front door. The ones with the sweetest smells were strategically placed to make the walk to the entrance a pleasant one. The garden at the back was even more impressive even though not many people got to see it. He didn’t care about the praise. It was a matter of pride for him. Gardening was therapeutic. The lawn again looked perfect. It looked like what you’d expect to see in an advert for grass. There were no flowers in the back garden. Instead an apple tree, a grapevine, a plum tree and a citrus tree all bore fruit regularly.
To the side of the house was the garage. It was no ordinary garage though. Leading from the driveway, behind the garage door, was sufficient space for up to 4 cars. Enough secure parking space for all of us. Beyond the parking space was a brick braai area where we had many an outdoor family meal. Such wonderful memories. Opposite the braai area were the kennels. We always had one or two dogs – usually a big one and a small one. There were Scampy, Wollie, Bros and Cuddles who were Maltese poodles. Rocky was a cross between a Doberman and a Ridgeback. Tess was a Rottweiler. I don’t remember what kind of do Sheba was. She had black fur and was quite big. She looked like an Alsation. We had a Chihuahua named Chico but he was knocked over by the owner of the shop next door to us.
When we moved into that house, my maternal grandmother, Mimi, was living with us. I shared a room with her. My brothers, who are 8 and 11 years older than me, got their own rooms. A few years later my Dad added on another room. This was for my paternal grandmother who was moving in with us. Her room was great. It had an en-suite and a door leading out into the back garden. The grandmothers didn’t get on so well all the time. I’m not sure why. Maybe there was some competition for our affection? I’ll never know. After a while my Dad’s mother moved to my aunt’s house and a room became available. For the first time ever I was going to have my own space. My oldest brother got the room with the en-suite. My Dad didn’t like the idea of being at the back of the house. I think he liked to be at the front to keep tabs of our comings and goings. When that brother got married and moved out, my other brother got the room. I bided my time. Once he got married and moved out then it was all mine 🙂
One of the saddest moments for me was when I was told that the house was being sold. I was living in London then it shouldn’t have mattered so much. I thought it would always be there. I know why they sold it though. A five-bedroom house for only two people is a bit much and it was tiresome to clean. Sometimes when we go to SA on a holiday I drive past the house but it doesn’t feel the same. I feel disappointed. Disappointed that the new owner doesn’t have the same sense of pride to keep the garden impeccable. At least I have my memories.
Thanks for reading. x
Writing 101 – the task:
Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?