12 February 1944 - 22 July 2010
How can I possibly do justice to the life of a man who meant so much to so many people in a simple blog? I normally start my blogs by loading up the photos and only then I start writing because the photos bring the experiences rushing back to mind. My Mom's been scanning in so many wonderful old photos which I've uploaded (thanks a MILLION Mom!). And they have brought the memories flooding back. But I'm still stuck for the words to pay tribute to the amazing, multi-faceted man who was my Dad.
I was his little girl - right up to the day he died. There wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for me if I asked for help - Mom's always said I had him wrapped around my finger! As I sit here contemplating how to go about this, allowing the memories to wash over me, I really am having a hard time thinking of Dad alone. I have been extremely blessed to have two parents who were a complete team. I can't think of Dad without Mom being right there too. What amazing role models they have both been for Douglas and I!
Dad knew a huge amount about so many things. And what he didn't know and wanted to, he'd find out. Especially when it came to building stuff. He was a born engineer. I like to think I got some of that natural aptitude for things mechanical from him. Dad used to service both his & Mom's cars. I remember standing over his shoulder while he was working on Mom's mini. I remember his eventually relenting and showing me stuff - I think he wished I would just wear pretty dresses and play with dolls - instead I lived in jeans and ended up doing woodwork to matric! But once he came to terms with having a tomboy for a daughter, he was only too happy to explain & show me how things worked.
You know, I don't remember Dad ever being too busy to answer questions, help with something or play with us. How awesome is that? And play he did! Heavens, I don't know who had more fun - him or us. There was the rough 'n tumble on the lounge floor where he'd tickle us & get us squealing (in my case screeching!) and getting Apollo (our long-haired Alsatian) all worked up into a frenzy. And how can anyone who grew up within a 5km radius of our house ever forget Mr Wells' Legendary Rope Swing?! A long, thick rope swing tied to a high branch of one of the tall pine trees. Another long, thinner piece of rope slung over another tall pine tree which served as the pulley. A kid got onto the swing, held onto the swing rope with one hand & the end of the pulley rope with the other. All the kids waiting in line for the swing would grab the other end of the pulley rope and pull. The kid on the rope swing would be pulled higher and higher until they felt they were high enough (usually as close to the height of the pulley branch - about 20m up - as possible) and then let go. Woooooohooooooo!!!!!! Wind rushing through your hair as you swung like a pendulum, missing pine trees by inches. What a RUSH!!! Of course these days, there's no way Dad would've been able to get away with that - which is completely irrelevant, because he did then. And all the kids in the neighbourhood have some hair raising experiences to take with them forever.
I grew up having a Dad who went diving for crayfish and perlamoen (abalone). Who bought a ski boat hull and, together with a couple of mates, built the rest of the boat and took me fishing. To this day, I love nothing better than to get to the very front of a boat/yacht and curl up on a life jacket and listen to the slapping of waves against the hull and feel the boat rocking. Most kids fell asleep in cars - my favourite place to sleep was the anchor well covered in life jackets while Dad & his mates fished. Not only did I learn to fish, but I learned to scale and gut fish too.
And along with that was learning how to cook a fish on a braai - after making a roaring fire which took at least 5 hours to burn down to coals suitable for cooking!
When I was a teenager and the home phone was MINE, I remember Dad embarrassing me no end by answering calls, "It's your 10c, speak up!"
And Dad was never happier than when he was building something - a braai pit, a new kitchen/lounge/bathroom, a beach cottage, a hydrolic-something-or-other garage door.... and not to forget the legendary wind charger!
I even had the extreme good fortune to work for Dad for a few months at Springbok Sprinklers where I got to learn his amazing work ethic and ingenuity in solving problems as they arose (traits Scott is also blessed with).
I have a lifetime full of memories which I could go on for days describing. But looking back at these memories, it's glaringly obvious just how much I learnt from Dad and how he had such a huge hand in shaping who I am today - and what I'm capable of doing.
I miss him terribly. And I know that Dad was very happy with how my life is shaping up. He was so happy that I'd finally made it to Australia. And he was over the moon with my choice in husband - a younger version of himself who loves to drill shit, hammer shit and build shit! They say daughters marry their fathers, well I got extremely lucky and managed to find a man who is so like my father in so many ways. And Scott and I will continue to do Dad proud in everything we do, how we treat each other and those around us.
1944-45 - Dad with his Mom (Cape Town Granny) at Onrust
1949 - Dad at Onrust
Also around 1949
1952 - Dad fishing at Onrust
And later he taught Doug & I to do exactly the same thing, in the same spot.
1952 - Dad, his sister Jane and their Dad at Onrust
1952 - Dad at Onrust
1965 - Dad with his future mother-in-law - my Little Gran
1965 - Dad at an army camp
12 February 1966 - my beautiful parents on their wedding day
(also my Dad's birthday so he wouldn't forget their anniversary!)
June 1966 - Dad at Hartebeespoort Dam in the jersey Mom knitted for him
Old Years' Eve 1966 - Dad on the left, Little Gran with a white dot on her mouth and Mom just right of centre in the blue.
1968 - Heidelberg Kloof - think Mom & Dad were on a camping weekend
Around 1970 - Dad with Cape Town Granny at Onrust
1970 - Dad giving Ranger an enormous bone - somewhere in Jhb
1971 - Heidelberg. My future godparents, Rayna & Johnny, Dad and Little Gran. Even camping Dad had to having a marque instead of a simple tent!
1973 - Dad with his little girl - Lombardy East
1973 - Lombardy East - Dad & Jane with the little cousins - Me, Naomi, Shane & Delice
1975 - And little Doug arrives to complete our family of 4
1977 - The Sand Dune Beach at Onrust - Dad and Doug
1977 - Dad at Onrust
1978 - Onrust - CT Granny, Mom, Lourens, Dad, Doug & Me
1978 - Dad with the cine camera at Onrust
1980 - Onrust steps with our successful Harder catch - Glynn, Dad, Tracy, Me & Doug
Early 80's - Cape Town Gran & Dad at the airport
Early 80's - Cape Town Gran, Mom & Dad at the airport
Early 80's - Mom & Dad in the pool at Lulworth Way
1983 - Dad & I braai-ing at Onrust
1983 - Dad building the new lounge extension at Lulworth Way
(See the height of those pine trees? The swing tree was the thick on on the right of the photo!)
1983 - After a hard days' work... Nothing like an ice cold Castle & a nap in the chair...
1984 - Mom & Dad at a cricket club party at the Lulworth Way house
1984 - An after show party in the braai pit Dad built next to the pool in Lulworth Way
1984 - Dad & Doug with Dave Millar's Great Dane at their small holding (think that's Joy Millar in the background)
Around 1985 - Dad was busy doing something and I pushed him in the pool - that's Apollo in the background.
1985 - Dad building the cottage down at Pringle Bay
Mid 80's - Doug, Dad & Apollo fooling around on the lounge floor
1986 - Dad fooling around with a family friend, Heima at Tokai Forest - if I remember correctly we were playing cricket & there was some confusion about who was going to catch the ball...
1986 - Dad at Pringle Bay
Around 1986 - De Kelders with second cousins - Adi (I'm hungry!), Michael and Geoff Baker
1986 - Up at sparrows seeing visitors Jonno & family off from Lulworth Way back to Jo'burg
1986 - Boys weekend at Pringle Bay
1987 - Playing a joke on me at Pringle Bay - Dad & cousin Jonno
1987-88 - Doug's godfather, Geoff Du Bois with Dad at Lulworth Way.
Geoff & Pearl now live on the Gold Coast & as I write this, I am sitting at their dining room table!
1987-88 - Grampa and Dad - Lulworth Way
1987-88 - Dad relaxing at Lulworth Way
1988 - Building the stage for the Hobbies Club - Doug, Len Pye, Alan Russell, Dad & Apollo sitting guarding the lot - Lulworth Way
1988 - Dad & Neil Veitch at the braai at Pringle Bay
1988 - Dad enjoying a great skottel braai breakfast - baked beans, scrambled eggs, tomato, wors.. Yum!
1988 - Good morning! Starting breakfast before a surf at Pringle Bay - Stephen Coetze, Mom, Dad, Doug, Deon Truter
1980's - Springbok Sprinklers end of year braai - Dad & Dave Pienaar with the boys
1989-90 - Mom & Dad in the lounge at Lulworth Way
1991 - Table tennis tournament - Dad & Neil at Onrust
1991 - Launching the rubber duck at Onrust - Dad, Neil, cousin Naomi and me
1991 - Braai at Onrust - Neil, Mom, Len Pye & Dad
1992 - Little Gran, Doug & Dad in the huge Lulworth Way kitchen that Dad built
1993 - Mom & Dad at Lulworth Way
1993 - Mom, Dad & Doug at Lulworth Way
1993 - My 21st - Dad, Len, Nicky, Sharon & Nols
1995 - Dad & I - a wonderful photo taken by Bennie Smit just before I left to go over to the UK
1995 - Dad relaxing with the papers after a hard days' work
1998 - Geoff, his enormous camcorder & Dad at Onrust beach
1998 - Mom, Dad & CT Gran at Geoff's 50th in Edgemead (think that's the back of my head in the foreground)
2001 - Mom & Dad in the garden of their new house in Green Way
12 Feb 2003 - Dad's birthday & folks' anniversary - dinner at Green Way
March 2003 - Mom, me & Dad - Green Way
2003 - The Wells Clan - Doug, Mons, Tiffer, me, Mom, Gran Noreen, Gramps, Dad
2003 - Dad & Tiffer eating ice cream
2003 at Groote Post wine estate on the West Coast - Mom, Dad, Mons & Doug. I introduced Dad to Groote Post Shiraz & it was his favourite wine and is still one of mine.
2003 - Mom, Dad, Tiffer & Buddy at Green Way
2003 - Dad & Mom on a sunset cruise at Langebaan - the first time Mom had been on a boat (without getting seasick!) in years!
Xmas dinner 2003 - Mom, Gran Noreen, Dad, me, Hilda Collins & Gramps
2004 - Mom & Dad picnicking & summer sunset concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens
2005 Fathers Day - Scott & I took Dad to Onrust for the weekend. Stopped at Pringle Bay on the way home.
August 2005 - Dad & I at my surprise birthday/engagement party at Cape To Cuba
August 2005 - Dad probably telling embarrassing stories about me at the party - Dad, Jordy, Lilly, Gaz
18 March 2006 - Dad on my wedding day
18 March 2006 - Wedding pics - Mom, Scott, Doug, me & Dad
What a very happy day this was!
Dad rocked the dance floor at our wedding - Dee, Dad & I
Dad doing his famous left-footed-elbow-flap-bum-wiggle with the girls at our wedding. Dee, me, Janke, Dad & Lilly
Mom, Dee & Dad at our wedding
March 2006 - After the wedding, Mom & Dad took Barry (Mom's brother) & Alison to Evita se Peron in Darling
April 2006 - Cousin Shane came to visit - Scott, Shane, Cape Town Granny, Dad with Buddy, Mom & me
June 2006 - Fathers' Day at Scott's folks' place in Wellington.
Dad & I with Scott & his Dad, Mike.
Fathers' Day 2006 - Dad deep in conversation
12 February 2007 - Dad trying out his birthday present in our Kindroggan apartment
12 Feb '07 - I love this pic of Mom & Dad!
March 2007 - The Onrust Chainsaw Tree Massacrer! Following the mysterious poisoning of the three trees next to the Onrust house, Scott & Dad had to chop down the dying trees.
They were like two kids in a candy store fighting over who got to use the big power toy first! LOL!!!
1 Sept 2007 - Housewarming/my birthday party at our house in Parow. Mom & Dad playing the fool for the camera!
1 Sept 2007 - Housewarming/birthday party at our house in Parow. Dad discovers the Orgasmatron....
December 2007 - Scott's birthday - another sunset concert at Kirstenbosch - this time Michael Buble!!!
12 Feb '08 - Dad's birthday at Green Way
16 Feb '08 - Dad at our farewell party at Green Way
19 Feb '08 - farewell dinner with Dad, Scott, me, Mom, Shane, Cape Town Granny and Megs (this was also shortly before Shane & Megs moved to Perth)
31 May 2008 - Mom & Dad land at Sydney airport
Dad harassing some poor lady at Sydney airport - damn! he had such a wicked sense of humour!
June '08 - Dad, Mom & Scott at Wahroonga train station, Sydney
June '08 - me, Mom & Dad in Sydney Harbour
June '08 - Mom & Dad at the fountain in Hyde Park, Sydney
June '08 - Mom & Dad at Bobbin Head, Sydney
June '08 - Geoff, Pearl & Dad - Gold Coast
June '08 - Dad at Surfers Paradise
13 June 2008 - Mom's birthday at Doug's place at Banora Point, Gold Coast - Dad, Scott & Mom
June '08 - Mom, Jazzie & Dad at Byron Bay
June '08 - Dad in his favourite place - Tumbulgum - with Chris
July '08 - Dad & Chris with a koala on the Gold Coast
July '08 - wish I'd been there that day - Dad wearing the results of his sheep sheering efforts!
July '08 - Dad & Chris building a tree house in the garden at Banora Point
July '08 - Dad enjoying a cruise up the Tweed River to Tumbulgum
July '08 - Dad & Chris on the cruise up the Tweed
July '08 - Mom & Dad at the Tumbulgum Tavern
July '08 - Dad & Doug at the bus stop - Mom & Dad travelled by bus & train between Sydney & the Gold Coast so they could see more of the countryside.
July '08 - Lazy Sunday afternoon at the Newport Arms, Sydney
Another stunning pic of Mom & Dad - taken at South Head with Sydney skyline in the background
July '08 - Mom & Dad on the Harbour Bridge
Dad having some fun at the Japanese Gardens
Digging into a couple of Tigers at Harry's Cafe de Wheels
Fooling around at Bondi
People watching at Bondi
Dad & Scott with their Aussie hats at the Opera House
Taking a break at the Rocks Market
Dad doing a non-coordinated march in the Blue Mountains
July '08 - last scrumptious dinner at Lotus Inn Chinese restaurant in Wahroonga before Mom & Dad left Aus.
Arranging beautiful magnolias after a few wines.... with Dad's running commentary - very funny!
July '08 - Mom and Dad waiting to check their luggage at the airport
12 Feb '09 - Mike, Dad, Mom & Cavell celebrating Dad's birthday
And the Green Way house is sold! Dad celebrating with the estate agent at the pool (which Dad built!)
And of course, he couldn't resist dunking a pretty lady in a white blouse! LOL!
16 April '09 - Dad in the lounge amongst the clutter on their first night in the Kindroggan apartment.
12 July '09 - Dad being a boy & throwing logs into the flooded canal
June '09 - Dad in his element! Revamping the bathroom at Kindroggan
October '09 - Dad still in his element! Revamping the kitchen at Kindroggan
July '09 - Dad building bookshelves in the lounge in Kindroggan
July '09 - Dad with his new toy - a big flat screen TV!!!
Xmas '09 - Dad with CT Granny at Pinelands Place
3 Feb 2010 - Dad's always been fascinated with stained glass so decided to learn how to do it himself. Here he is at the studio in Salt River where he took lessons.
March 2010 - Dad & Bennie at Gaansbaai harbour for lunch
March 2010 - Dad & Bennie - fire, beer, wine, whiskey - happy as Larry!
April 2010 - Dad, Doug & Chris at Onrust
April 2010 - Dad, Doug, Chris & Sean braai-ing at Onrust
2010 - Breakfast train trip
1 July 2010 - Dad in the Soccer Bubble Boat at the Waterfront
3 July 2010 - Dad & friends on the Fan Walk. He SO enjoyed this day!
3 July 2010 - Dad on the Fan Walk
Dad, I know that you know you were well loved. I miss you so much.