Our parties were good clean fun until our older siblings started experimenting with alcohol and weed. They thought it was cool to share their new found pleasure with us.
Sue was caught smoking and denied it all. I was devastated when I slept the night over with some of her friends and I saw her smoking inside her sleeping bag. Her and her friends showed me how to shoplift in Grey Street, Durban (then called Coolie/Indian Town). We would come home with lots of beautiful “Coolie Bangles” up our jersey sleeves in the middle of summer. The SCA (Student Christian Association) had regular visits from Sue, mockingly dancing through their meetings. When she was 13 she dated Gordon Igesund (South African Soccer Coach) which displeased dad no end. When Mr Menzies moved out (we had made the poor man’s life really miserable), the Igesunds moved in. Gordon and Sue were banned from seeing each other. All hell broke loose on her when dad found out she was at the same party as Gordon. He walked into the party while she was dancing and pulled her out by her arm and escorted her all the way to the car. That was one of her big embarrassing moments. Resentment began to build up towards dad. Just before she was expelled from Mowat Park Girls High School, she was pulled out and put into Mitchell Girls High.
Dave smoked pot with our African gardener Amos and anyone else who would smoke with him. Dad called him an “uncouth youth,” and was constantly lecturing and disciplining him. Every now and again dad would laugh at something naughty that Dave said. It would be undone when Dave went into hysterical laughter at the table and sprayed food on dad. Farting was one of Dave’s favourite activities and he chose the moment just after grace to express himself.
We teased poor Peter endlessly about being adopted, but mum had photos to prove to him that he wasn’t. Going to the beach was a nightmare for me. I would watch Peter like a hawk and at the end of the day, his arms were black and blue from all my squeezing. I was his protector and he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the sea. When he was about 3, I heard that peanut butter was good for toddlers so I forced tablespoons of peanut butter into his mouth. He would gag and throw up but I would just shovel more in.
He was also very accident prone. In his fifth year of life he fell out of the car on the way home from the Drive-IN. I was in the back of the car with him and didn’t notice that he had pulled the handle. He dropped out and onto the road. I went hysterical and Val had to slap my face to bring me round. He was fine; just a few cuts and scrapes and he loved the fuss and the big bandage around his head. He also fell onto the BBQ with all the meat. His hands were burnt in a grid design.
When he was 9 he would take on anybody the bigger boys dared him to take on. He would wrestle and punch and fight until he was pulled off. He was also dared to down a bottle of Old Brown Sherry which he did. He was VERY sick.
Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail and Peter were taking strain.