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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The end of an Era.

October 31, 1957. A recently arrived emigrant from the North of Italy to South Africa moves into her 'new" home.
October 31, 2011. The same person leaves this pace she has called home for 54 years.

Whats this about? Well, let me tell you.
When my dad emigrated to RSA in about 1954, he had already planned to marry my mom, and bring her out to this country. 3 years later, they got married by proxy. OK, what's that 1 of you are asking (so, only one out of my 4 readers, not bad). Mom went to a church in her home town, accompanied by her "father-in'law" to be. He stood in as proxy for my dad who was supposed to be in a church here in SA. (He was probably in a pub somewhere!) So they got married by proxy. The a few weeks later she was on the plane, those days it was probably a 3 day flight, what with all the stop overs for fuel etc. and arrived in SA at the beginning of October sometime. They stayed with an Italian family in Randfontein for a couple of weeks, while dad arranged for a house from his employers - Venterspost Mine. Those days everyone (white) who worked on the mines, and was married got a mine house. Very, very low rent, free water.

He got the house, and they moved in - with very little furniture - just the basic necessities. Dad didn't believe in buying on creit. So they bought stuff as they had the cash for it. First was a bedroom suite, and a fridge. Slowly they developed the house into their home. It was basic, and brand new.

Over time dad created flower beds, got lawns growing, created a vegetable garden, poured a concrete driveway.....

9 months later, in July, my sister was born. Their first child. Dad planted two palm trees in the front lawn to celebrate this event (probably a few days later, once he'd finished celebrating at the pub!!) 11 Months later, I came along. Not too sure if he planted anything then, or just went with the liquid celebrations!!!

And then in 1968, my brother came along. A "glipsie" as they say in RSA. but much loved by all.

Over the years much changed, was improved on. it has always been "home", even after we all got our own places - that was "home. I have so many incredible memories of home, and will at some point post some of them here.

Anyway, around 1995/6 dad got very ill, and was nursed for over 8 months at home till he passed, by mom. She was fine with stating on her own, and looking after the home, so we didn't consider any move. Soon after I build my place in 2004, I offered to build a flat / cottage for her on our property. There was no way she was moving! As far as she was concerned, she would die in her home.

But as time passes, things change. She is always complaining about her maid. Only comes in once a week, but she does not work like mom wants (think this is the 5th one she got). Thing is, mom always cleaned her home herself, and it's only in the past few years she has needed the maid, and it does not work.
She always is complaining about the garden services. I have spoken to them, I have explained to her what they are contracted to do, and what not. She is adamant they not doing their work. But then, she just wont listen.
Armed response - she gave them my number as the alternative contact person, in case something happens. So she gets pissed off every time they call me, and I call her to check if all's OK.......
But they have been good, and efficient.
And then there's the ongoing maintenance of the property, the fact that after 54 years as a member of the local Catholic church she's really pissed off with the black priest, the way the darkies are fucking it up, and the fact that they do not look after the people who, ultimately built, and kept going, this church
And she nearly did, a my earlier blog on her operation and recovery from it showed. This time we raised the option of her moving into a retirement village (something we have broached on and off over the years), and she agreed. We managed to get her a place in a Retirement village 3 km from where I live! It's a lovely develpoment, with varius sizes of accomodation, but also has high care, and frail care facilities. So, as you get older, and or sick, you can move into the part that you require to be for the care you need.

You buy the unit you going to live in, and furnish it. Then there is a monthly charge (currently ZAR5000 per month) which covers 3 meals a day, laundry, apartment cleaning, water and lights, security, garden services. Basically, she will not want for anything for day to day living, other than some stuff (snacks, coffee, tea) which she might want to keep in  her paratment.

It's a small place to move into after living in a 3 bed-roomed house for 54 years, but it's OK. A bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette / open plan living area. Ground floor so she has a "veranda (Covered) and access to the gardens. Nice. Cosy. Comfortable.

So, my brother is now driving up from the coast, and on Friday we will move mom into her new "digs". By Saturday evening, she will be settled.

For the past few weeks I have been going round to the house to clear out. Loads of stuff went to the dump. (It's amazing what "stuff" you keep for "in-case / one day"). Also moved some stuff to my place - temporary storage till she decides what she wants do do with it.

Furniture - we got the local pawn shop to come out and make an offer. The bedroom suite which my dad bought 54 years ago (laminated wood), consisting of two wardrobes, a double bed, and dressing table 0 they offered her ZAR2500!!!! Abut ZAR1500 more than I thought they would! Kitchen table, with 4 chairs, ZAR250. There's also a wonky book rack, and some other odds and ends which they will make an offer on in the next few days.

The house - this was a worry, as the market is flat / down. The house is in what is now the "old" area of Westonaria. Most of the people living there now are darkies (nice people though, ave been very good to mom). So the estate agent says market value is about ZAR450k. I am happy with that, as I had that figure in mind. Have been watching the market in that area for a few years anticipation this requirements. So mom gets 2 or 3 agencies on board to find a buyer. She has 3 couples come through the house in about 3 weeks. All want to buy. First couple - darkies - wife wants the house, husband says it's too much for a house in that area. Second couple, don't make a decision soon enough. Third couple - a white couple, walk in, like the place make an offer for ZAR440k, and are cash buyers. The deal gets closed today! Money is deposited (full amount) with the conveyancing lawyers, so there is no risk, and the deal is done! This is a big relief, as we didn't want a protracted sale situation. So we move mom over the weekend, and on presentation of proof of funds being deposited in the holding account, the new owners can  move in!!!

Then it's all the other stuff. Telephone account - new owners are transferring to their name. ADT armed response, they taking over the contract. All concerned parties have been notified of moms change of address. She has taken over the phone in the unit she has bough, so already has a new number.

Basically, everything is sorted, packed up, ready to go.  Although she's still driving, occasionally, she decided she didn't want to drive anymore after she moves. Not sure why, she said she's scared of the steep driveway to come out (it's not steep at all) but anyway, so she got a valuation from a local second hand dealership, and then I bought the car for the same amount. Not sure I will need it, but maybe GMan can use it, or I will sell it later. What I want to do is after she has moved in, I want to visit her in her car, then get her to go for a drive. But let her drive. a) She will see that the driveway is not as steep as she thinks it is. b) She wont get lost. c) She can get to the shops, and the church safely. Then maybe she will decide that she was a bit hasty in her decision, and I will give the car back to her. Let's hope!!!

Anyway, I'll post some more on this later, and some interesting pics to go with it.

Here is the first one -
Photo from some Google Earth function. In front are the two palm trees, now 53 years old.

The end of an era is is - and for me - old Mr. Sentimental - it's not an easy closeout!!!



Divemaster GranDad said...

It may be a sad ending to an era, but it's a heart-warming story.

Never pictured you for the sentimental type though.... Mental, sure... :-)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

What a great story!

Bruthafromanothamutha said...

Emotionally its a tough time leaving all those 'things' behind but thats just it - they are physical things and as hard as it is to part with them you still have your mother and all the memories and many more to come. Great story - good luck with the move this weekend .
Love to you all

Wreckless Euroafrican said...

DMDad.... Fanks - I think - u haven't seen me at my worst bro!!!

Daft Scots Lass - thank you.....

BfaM - It's a really hard space to be - but u right - material things only....
memories - created a whole bunch of new one's this weekend too - will blog later.....



Jayne said...

Hey Wreckless! I'm finally starting to catch up on blogs! (thanks to being in a hotel in Lagos with shitloads of time on my hands!)
Having just spent the last couple of months trawling around Italy, I have to admit I got a bit teary eyed reading this post. Bless your dad for planting those palms - they'll forever be a reminder of the home in which you grew up & I bet you a fiver, every time you drive by that house, you'll take a look to make sure the trees are still standing :-)
I hope your mom is happy in her new spot...........inmho she's made the right choice & shouldn't have to worry about future care.

Take care - will email soon & send you some of my favourite pics from the trip :-)

Wreckless Euroafrican said...

Jayne - I owe you a fiver!!!!
Italy - ahhhh...... can't wait to see the pics....."jealous".......
Mom seems to have settled in - still having moody moments, and taking it out on me, but I understand.