Tag Archives: family life

Post 52. Living with the Wallaces


Rigby and Sue were leading a small but growing church called “Waverley.”   It was full of life and an oasis after my travels and intense ship life.   It was an important time for me, watching their marriage and observing how they raised their children.  I also saw the stresses and joys of church life.  

We were no longer living under the rules and regulations of our former church.  We could dance, wear jewellery, jeans and go to movies without thinking we would be left behind if the rapture took place.  It was lots of fun and I made some amazing friends.    

I loved living with the Wallaces.   I had been in love with my nephew Ryan from the moment he was born.  

The Pink Family from New Zealand was touring around South Africa.  They were a Maori/Pacific Island family and we had become friends.  There was a farewell party for them about an hour away from Rolleston Place and I couldn’t go by myself.  Sue was 8 months pregnant and we managed to convince Rigby there was NO WAY the baby would come 6 weeks before its due date.  He REALLY didn’t want us to go, but being the girls we were, we drove off up to Botha’s Hill.   The party was well under way.  Sue seemed fine.  But she wasn’t.  We had only been there for about an hour when her waters broke.  Rig was an hour away and furious.  A trip that should have taken an hour, took him 25 minutes.  He did not stop telling us that he had told us so.  She was taken straight to Addington Hospital and Ryan was born 6 hours later.  He was 6 weeks premature and looked slightly monkey-like.  There was hair all over his ears and body and he just couldn’t  keep his eyes straight.  He was the most beautiful thing we had ever laid eyes on.  I was smitten. 

When he was four,  I was his first date.  He wanted to marry me.  We dressed up and went to the movie, “Never-Ending Story.”   It was unforgettable.  He was 10 when I moved to Johannesburg and not interested in any more dates, but we were still friends.  

Leigh was born when I was on the ship.  I missed out on so much of her babyhood but we made up for it.  She was gorgeous.  She had a thick head of blonde hair and a pouty mouth.  It was a challenge to get her to smile or laugh.  She was so serious.  I loved blow drying her hair and making her look pretty.  Her favourite pastime was staring.

They had two dogs; Nelson Wallace, a huge black Newfoundland and Jackie Wallace, a little white fox terrier.  Jackie loved to jump up and hang on Nelson’s ears.  He shook her off and sent her flying.  She would just rush back,  growling for more. When she got too frisky, Nelson put his big paw on her and pinned her down.   Brenda Botha had been visiting us.  When she got home, Jackie jumped out from under her car.  She had found a little space and curled up near the engine.  We aren’t sure at what point of the journey Jackie woke up, or what went through her mind when she did.

Rigby was terrified of mice.  The property next to our house was vacant and we had quite a few visitors.  One night I was reading on my bed and a mouse ran into my room.  I screamed and Rig came running in wearing his dressing gown and slippers.  He was armed with a bucket and a broom.  He looked so brave.  That changed when he saw the mouse.  He was jumping and twitching all over the place.  I was standing on my bed shouting and pointing to wherever the mouse was.  It disappeared behind the curtain and I couldn’t see it anymore.  Rig stood on the bed, poking and prodding the curtain with the broom, for what seemed like ages.  Suddenly, the mouse jumped onto us from the curtain rod.  We flapped and screamed and fell all over each other.   We stood on the bed and could not stop screaming.  When we realised the mouse was nowhere to be seen, we laughed until we cried.  Every time we thought about it we laughed again.  We laughed for weeks.