The Schwegmann family consisted of 7 children; 5 girls and 2 boys. They were the Pentecostal family in the circle. They were the ones who kept us all feeling guilty for any bad thing we thought or did. Movies, parties, jeans, make-up, jewellery and anything else the Lowe’s loved, was “sinful”, but they did join in our escapades when it was convenient. Their mother, Dawn, ruled the house and kept everyone on track. Gary Snr was a South African boxer and a non-church-goer. He was like one of the kids. Dawn preached to him from the moment his eyes opened to the time he went to sleep. He just wasn’t interested. He was a lot like us and we liked him.
Gary Jnr was the first boy I kissed and “spin the bottle” was the game that made it happen. A bottle was put in the middle of the circle of boys and girls. Someone spun it and if it pointed to you and you were of the opposite sex, you had to go into the cupboard and kiss them. Most kids flew out of the cupboard wiping their mouths in horror and disgust. Others were quite happy to keep kissing even when the game had stopped.
There were many sleepovers at their house. I loved their big bedroom with 5 beds lined up next to each other, one for each girl, from oldest to youngest.
The Allan family lived near the entrance to the circle. There was Old Mr and Mrs Allan, Gregory Allan, his sister and his mom, who we called “Fatty Allan”. We felt the reasons were obvious. One afternoon, Gregory came huffing across the park with an envelope in his hand. 5 minutes later, Val was marching across the park to his house. Fatty Allan was fuming mad and inconsolable. Someone had cut up a Little Lotta Comic and written some pretty ugly stuff about her and Fatty Allan being related. We were all called in and interrogated and Val was convinced that her kids had NOTHING to do with such an awful incident. Every child in the circle was blamed and every one of us was innocent. Susan Lowe and Glenda Schwegmann owned up months later when they thought it was too late to get disciplined for it. They were wrong. Val and Dawn made sure they felt very sorry.
We got to the Schwegmann kids and then they got to us. It took years of preaching and telling us how sinful we were, but when we finally came round, the Lowe family was changed forever.