Creative Writing : Lesson 3

Exercise 1: Five details about my childhod bedroom
I was the last born child in a two bedroomed home. Initially my bedroom was a sleeper couch in the kitchen near to the coal stove. However the house was extended with an American kitchen and a geyser. I then slept in the dining room which was effectively the old kitchen but no more smelly coal stove. As such I had no privacy and due to its very nature I have no real details to discuss.
When my sisters left home to live on their own I got the other bedroom – I was about 10 years old. 5 details that I can remember are 1. Big airy room.2. Wooden floors no carpeting. 3. Floors and doors creaked. 4. High pressed ceilings. 5. old fashioned wardrobes / cupboards for clothes etc. Limited capacity.
Exercise 2. Main memoir time frame.
The time frame for my memoir will be from the early nineteen fifties until roughly 2010 or in my age terms from 5 years old until 60 years ie the baby boomer.
Exercise 3. Time frame most important events.
1. Education
2. Motor car accidents
3. Sport – a change in direction
4. Marriage and my immediate family
5. Career building
Exercise 4. Memory of a Memoir ‘PLACE’ i.e. Jo’Burg Southern Suburbs
Downtown Johannesburg was considered to be central and the northern suburbs was the affluent area and included a substantial Jewish community. A southern suburbs individual had the reputation of being rough and tough and consequently was treated with respect and even sometimes fear. There was no doubt that the suburbs of Johannesburg were thoroughly class conscious built on my definitions above. My home was a typical working class environment.My father was a boxing champ and a motor mechanic and this established my initial identity notwithstanding that I had no affinity to this description. The southern suburbs consisted of areas such as Turffontein, Forest Hill, South Hills, Regent’s Park, La Rochelle and Rosettenville where I stayed. A “northern suburbs” enclave consisting of Linmeyer, Winchester Hills and Mondeor also featured in this southern portion of Johannesburg and to a lesser degree followed the reputation of the northern suburbs.
Rosettenville’s infrastructure and road grid had been well planned. The street names had good continuity making it an area that was easily traversed. My junior school was in the suburb of Regents Park and Senior school was in a suburb called the Hill, Hill high school. These schools were excellent and provided sufficient opportunity to be successful scholars. All territorial matters between opposing índividuals were almost always satisfied in the park after school with the aid of fisticuffs. There was limited fascilities to play our different sports and invariably we ended up playing in the street in front of our house. Street soccer was played using front gates and garage doors as goals. We walked to get to the different places that were available in Rosettenville as there was no public transport. In order to travel to Johannesburg CBD we made use of the public network and we caught the No 45 bus to Johannesburg with traffic seldom a serious issue and taking approximately 30 minutes. The Rosettenville corner was considered the shopping mecca with many different categories present. There were Cinemas, Indian owned clothing stores offering the latest fashion and it was always an experience to haggle prices with them. Around the corner from our house there was a mini shopping centre consisting of an old-fashioned grocery store run by a family that lived a couple of houses down from us. They offered minimal credit which we took advantage of as we neared the end of a pay period. Next there was a dairy, a butchery and a limited laundry. Most likely due to their proximity we made good use of these shops but more importantly I also obtained limited employment with all of them. Eventually the big stores crowded them out and the grocery store closed down and was replaced by a Fish & Chip cafe run by a Portuguese family. La Rochelle had been adopted by Portuguese immigrants and many of them had established unique restaurants offering traditional fare. They added a strong flavour to our identity.
Exercise 5. Events in my MEMOIR time frame.
Support the local business community
SASBO dances (or sessions) including territorial brawls
Fiercely contested white only soccer league including my family’s involvement
Unopposed political party in my area was United Party – Dr Eric Fisher
Portuguese influence
Big Store implementation
Best long playing records
Guerilla movies
Currency changed from British sterling to Rands and Cents
Formed a republic
RSA currency created
Sport meltdown
Helen Josephs influence as well as Verwoerd, Vorster and Botha
Pariah identity
The Kennedy family
Cold War
Maggie Thatcher
James Bond
Exercise 6. One line summary of my MEMOIR.
My memoirs refer to the baby boomer period but the unique rich place that I grew up in caused each and every one of us, including me, to question each step that we took to constantly move forward and establish a consistent identity.
Optional Exercise. Memories of a family photograph.
The family photograph I selected was one from my daughter’s wedding album. First of all the photographer had he been sharp  would have captured my family in one photo. However the picture captured my mother, my wife, me and the bride. This meant that my daughter’s 10 month old son plus my son did not feature in the photograph. This is not a critical issue but it would have made my visualisation complete.  My grandson was very young but he had a whale of a time as he was spoiled rotten. His contribution to my recollection of smells etc are vivid but due to their very nature I will not discuss them at this time. First of all lets describe the venue which was outdoors in a conservation area. The sounds, smells and other sensations thereby depicted a pleasant wholesome outdoor environment. It was a particularly hot day and the wild flowers including the smells generated were a great backdrop to my beautiul daughter’s special day. A river babbled in the background adding to the serenity. The guests were seated at tables with umbrellas but the intensity of the sun ensured that we all smeared those body parts susceptable to the sun accordingly. The idle chatter that could be heard whilst we waited for the photo session to be completed lulled us somewhat as none of us saw the highveld storm creeping up on us – most certainly caused by the extreme hot weather. We were treated to a cacophony of thunder and lightning causing us to retreat indoors which was a limited in size hall. My initial fears were that the party would be dampened but quite the opposite happened as the party grew in sound and stature. A compelling reason was that the elements outside were sufficiently conducive to keeping everybody in their seats. I reckoned that I had sufficient food and beverage to sustain the party for some time. Obviously the freshness of the air caused by the heavy rain now provided a new backdrop to this special day. An air of friendliness and  togetherness was revalent which led to all and sundry having a great time with sufficient to eat and drink. My daughter and son-in-law were complimented on their choice of venue time and again notwithstanding that it nearly ended in disaster.

About Pikkewyn

I am 63 years old and retired, I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I always wanted to author something other than work related issues. MY long-term career was as a people oriented Information Technology Project Expert. In this function I have traveled widely and I have many experiences that I have lived through and sharing them is my ultimate dream. Reading other individual's similar renditions I have soon realised that presentation and holding your audience's attention is critical to success. I have the memories and I want to share them with you holistically even though we have varied backgrounds.
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