Athlone Park (1964 to 1978)

 

This page covers the period from my family's move to Athlone Park until leaving the family home on my marriage.

My room was at the back of the house next to the kitchen. (second window from the left) My eldest sister, Corien had her room opposite the passage. Ineke and Riana shared a room at the back of the house and at the end of the passage (the last window to the right in the shadow of the tree and partly obscured). One of my duties, being a boy was to water the newly planted grass.

My sisters and I loved to climb the trees in the back garden

All us siblings were assigned various duties in the home. I usually mowed the lawn or helped my father in the garage. After Sunday lunch we would all have to wash and dry the dishes while my parents went for their customary rest. I would often sneak of to the library (loo) to continue with my latest fiction adventure novel. This action caused considerable friction with my 3 sisters but I figured I had done my share outside. Here I am relaxing with my guinea pigs on the front lawn.
We had a very comfortable home with a large front garden. Here with my sisters Ineke and Riana enjoying the sunshine with our dog 'Lulu'.
Playing 'table' tennis with my eldest sister, Corien with Ineke and Riana looking on
My sisters and I walked a distance of about 3 km to the Umbogintwini Primary school. The head master was a Mr Pop Feron and he knew every single pupil by name. ' I was also sent to the office occasionally and he certainly knew how to cane offenders. We called the caneings 'cuts' or 'flaps'. I never qualified for 6 flaps (maximum) only qualifying for 4 on one occasion. The schools' motto was 'Aim High' a quality I took on board and have become a perfectionist in many respects.
Once we settled in Athlone Park I joined the 1st Umbogintwini cub pack which was in the nearby Rees road. The scout grounds were known as 'the Jungle' Corien joined guides while Ineke became a brownie.
I was given a small transistor radio and it fascinated me and invoked an interest in electronics.
Besides dishwashing I generally got on with my 3 sisters, Riana, Corien and Ineke. (left to right)
My mom and dad were really proud of our family
I started high school in 1968 going to Kingsway High school in Amanzimtoti. This photo was my standard 6 class. Click on the photo to see who my class mates were
Early in the year I keeled over in morning assembly as I fainted and was rushed to the Umbogintwini factory hospital where my appendix was removed for a total of R73.90 which at the time equated to about £10.00

 

I was selected by the headmaster to represent the school at a Veld and Vlei leadership course held at Greystone on the banks of the Wagendrift Dam near Estcourt. On my return from the course I had to do a talk at the morning school assembly and I was initially terrified of speaking in front of the whole school but I successfully completed the challenge and so my confidence in public speaking began

 

We were divided ito small teams and slept together in canvas bell tents and when it rained you had to be careful not to touch the sides Each day as a team we had to complete a challenging commando course
On the final day our families were invited to see us in action. Here from the left my grandfather Opa van der Vooren, my mother, myself and sister Corien watching the other teams in action.
The presentation of certificates by the camp warden, AS Webster
My camp report and badge
Certificate
I played school rugby usually playing in the 4th team but played one game for the 3rd. I normally played right lock. I can be seen here chasing the ball in covering the right flank running on the extreme left of the photo. I was determined to score a try but only ever managed to score a single one.
The science group was interesting and so was the chess group which I then both joined.
The school's 1st cricket team was in need of a scorer so I figured that this would be a good idea as I wasn't really a cricket player but it did keep me occupied during the season and was also not compelled to play. Many games were played away. On these occasions I would sometimes rather hitch-hike than go with the slow school bus.
Four pupils from Kingsway, Michael Johnson , Aubrey Welsh, Patricia Smith and I were selected to represent the school at the Durban Youth Council. the four of us would travel into Durban by train and then walk to the city hall. This was when I learnt meeting procedure and protocol. Knowledge that I have put to good use many times in my life on the various committees I have had the honour of serving in.
At the end of 1972 I matriculated with an university entrance exemption. As can be seen from my results they were not that good being content only in reaching the finishing line. I had no desire to come first in class. Besides I was busy enjoying my life. As long as I passed with reasonable mark, I would be content!
When I asked for a testimonial and I got a reasonably good one despite my not too good marks.
To get a bursary or sponsorship from any South African company I had to become a South African citizen so naturalized on 10th July 1972.

Now a South African citizen I had to apply for an Identity document. To see the inside pages click on the image.
After naturalization I knew that I would be required to undergo military training and expected a call up which arrived in late 1972 with a call up for a period of 10 months.

After the army I was hopefully now an adult but I still boarded at home in Athlone Park while attending university during 1973.