My first house
A very old and precious photo, bent and stained, of my father (left) and a friend in front of my first house. Take note of the dress. In those days, you dressed up to visit friends!
This is where, when and how it all started for me...
the soil from which I sprang and in which my roots are still implanted.
I spent the first five years of my life in a mud-brick, flat roofed house with my father, mother, sister, two brothers and spinster aunt. Mine was a very simple house, without adornment or grandeur on the outside, but loving and warm on the inside.
My parents' and my aunts' bedrooms were at the front of the house. Both these rooms were places of mystery to me....
My parents' room had a snow white, embroidered and starched cover over the bed and on the washstand was an even more beautiful porcelain Jug and Basin set. The room was always perfectly tidy and clean and although no one ever said anything about it, I just knew that this was my parent's domain.... their private space.
The door of my aunt's room was always closed and I never had the courage to turn the knob and go inside. She was very big, nursed old people on farms and only came home for short times once in a while. I only came to know her much later.
I shared a bedroom with my big sister. She was 12 years older than me, and the prettiest girl in the world.
My brothers, 10 and 14 years older than me respectively, slept in an "outside" room that led off the back porch. They were bigger and stronger than any dragon that would dare come near me when my father was not there...of course, when he was there, no dragon would even dare.
The bathroom also led off the back porch. In it was a huge zink bath that my mother would fill up with hot water from two big pots on the stove in the kitchen.
We had what the Americans would call an outhouse. It was at the bottom of the back garden. I developed very good bladder control very early, as it was the scariest thing possible to go there after dark.
We had a sitting room, but I can hardly remember it. We spend most of our waking hours in the kitchen, or on the back porch. The kitchen was big and had a huge old Ellis de Lux coal stove that warmed up the whole house during the cold winter months. Summertime we spent on the back porch, just outside the kitchen. A row of big Bluegum trees cast their shade over this porch in the afternoons, making it the only place cool enough to be comfortable in.
This is the house of my first memories, a safe and loving setting where I became me.