Earliest Childhood Memories

many

the earliest is of a first birthday, black and white, preserved in print

balloons and merriment surround a toddler, at a large dining table,

minerva’s table; large, long, heavy, old oak

children

older, black and white, in print, silly cone hats, twirling like vanilla ice-cream cones

boys; short, straight, black hair, cakes, cookies smothered in icing, marked with little

round chocolates, covered, thin multi-coloured shells, like those of swallows’ eggs

grandparents

sunday evenings, butter, toast, barley soup, and percolated coffee which keeps the

child up, scalding hot, an amusing habit of pouring into a saucer and drinking

just so

at home

no coffee, milk, we miss him in the avenue, on the corner, marching off

on the terrace, hordes of men, congregated, discussing a half on the cold terrace

on the grandstand

father

and son sit, africans, coloureds, indians on the banks of the river, they have the

best view, blue and gold scarves warmly wrapped, liesbeeck river, a railway

stand, elegant, grand, old way, old logs of wood from carriages forming foundations

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arsonist

burns it down, a belief in freedom from slavery and oppression, detesting all

things colonial, a price to pay for freedom when it comes

aparheid bus

mother

fries fish and chips, fridays, an enthusiastic clap when she turns to peel more

potatoes over a sink, they watch, careful to not let hot fish oil spill over

newspapers scattered over polished tiles, read

grandmother

shopping, fishmonger, a warm, moist parcel, the pungent vinegary smell, salt

butcher, a little further down lower main road, spoiled with a bright bus-red

penny sausage, served cold, sitting on the side of the counter

butcher shop

bijou

music and lyrics of a legend, women wilt under firm, warm embraces of

men, in oblivion, waltzing, laughing, and death delivers a blow to those with

love in the hearts, a radio hardly ever plays

bijou bioscope

school

on stoned buses in the morning of cold, sad affairs, mournful silence, winter

chills icily through cavities, drafts of wind are no longer a concern, it bothers

the boy, why do they do this, curious at their strength, they walk

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