Tag Archives: family

Friends for Life (My Other Family)

Memoir of Chris De Flamingh

My friends whom I met & known over the past thirty (30) plus (+) years have always meant the world to me as I would always try my best to be loyal to all my friends, as friendship has always been very important to me. We would always meet up for beach braais (bar-b-que), birthday parties, and stock cars at Goodwood show grounds (long before it became Grand West) on Saturday & Friday night.

We did everything together and felt like a family (almost like a brotherhood). Many nights we would just sit and chat when we didn’t have money to go out or go to local clubs like Alligators (Paarden Eiland), Arena (close to the waterfront), Crowbar(CBD), Quay 4 (on the waterfront) and many other venues.

The Blue Peter was just a small little venue back then in the early nineties (1990s) and we often pop in for late-night drinks. Then there was also a club called Tramps in Greenpoint very close to Arena we frequently frequented. Those were the good old days.

I personally stopped going to clubs during the early 1990s as I felt “been there, done that. So I had no more great eagerness to go clubbing. I would drink on weekends and occasionally during the week as well. I would get to bed at 5am and be up at 06h30am for work and felt wide awake. I was filled with the energy of youth.

Today …….I do not have that kind of stamina to party like that anymore.

We always remained together as a close-knit group and kept up together. Communicated as we prepared mature plans for the day or weekend.

Often alcohol would play a part in us having fun/parties as a group and we would drink as usual but really enjoyed those days.

Some friends stood out for me namely Chris, Damian, Erik, Keith & Gerald Hopkins.

Chris is a mechanic and we would at times take our cars to him for repairs. He hardly ever refused us unless he was really busy.

He can withstand patience only for so long then he would explode if people abuse his good deeds; as I learned one year after he just had enough, so I gave him some space and we discussed it afterwards and understood fully where he was coming from so I would preferably call him so he is aware I’m planning to pop in and so I learned to respect his privacy including his needs as a father and breadwinner in his own household.

In April 1995 my dad passed away and they all came late one evening to lend their moral support as I was absolutely devastated and wore black for more than a year, as I mourned the loss of my father. I had difficulty accepting he was gone.

There isn’t a manual that teaches anyone how to deal with traumatic situations except for the Word of God (The Bible). I really had to grow up fairly quickly at this time in my life as I had to start paying bills like water, electricity etc. As my mom could not survive on her pension and I at the age of 24, it was just KFC, Steers and parties and alcohol etc.

Some years later, I was unemployed for about 3 years and Chris arranged from the group of friends to contribute each a certain amount which I was able to pay for some essentials petrol (fuel) etc.

In 1998 Erik paid for the repairs of my car and didn’t know how much it meant to me. He used to host many times nice causal braais at his family home and his parents were always very accommodating to all his friends being there having parties or just a plain decent visit for coffee.

I suffer from severe depression and anxiety and I had been feeling down for quite some time. One night I was in the Edgemead / Bothasig area and parked down a quiet street when I wanted to take my own life. As I held the gun to my head, I didn’t know how to deal with what was going on in my life. But for some or other reason I decided against it and lowered the gun. Then I drove to Erik’s house and he was alone as his folks had been away on holiday. When I pitched up at his front door he told me to enter and have a seat he made us some coffee and I proceeded to explain to him what had just transpired. I thank the lucky stars he was there for me that night and on so many other occasions.

Damian is another very good friend of mine and he is always available to help a friend and hardly ever says “no”. Damian has knowledge of electronics, computers, cars, etc. He is self-taught and has a very inquiring mind and that is how he accumulated his knowledge of some technical issues in the above-mentioned experiences. One essential thing I learned about Damian is, Don’t piss him off!

On more than one occasion he has repaired my cars in the past and refuses any compensation for it. Damian, I trust with my life and know he will always do something within your best interest.

God brought this wonderful group of friends into my life for a reason and they mean the world to me never ever take them for granted.

I also had other friends over the years and some are longer around as they went to be with God our Father.

Marie Upton, Cathy Ward & Deon Marais, Raymond Murray, Sandi Shaw (born Tuck) – These were very close friends of mine with some I would often share very personal information and brought a form of mental salvation to me at the time.

My friends are my family and I feel very proud to have such a great bunch of guys that I made friends with almost thirty (30) years ago.

Don’t take your friends for granted and have the utmost respect for them and take their social needs into account so you don’t crowd your friends and cause a very taste of dislike, disrespect and emotional discomfort and maybe feel too embarrassed to show your face again.

One day I had an argument with Sandi on the phone and I was very upset and felt very ashamed after the argument.

Sandi sent me a letter which she called a “Thank you gram” Thanking me for being her friend and I had known her for about twenty (20) years. She mentioned something in her letter to me where she said “Don’t let the sun set on an argument.” This was I think at the beginning of 2015 and passed away after suffering complications from cancer.

She lived at the time in KZN but we kept in contact on almost a daily basis. Either via email and /or Skype and phone. I was very heartbroken when she passed away.

Mr Kent is a very special friend of mine, he is a retired school principal and was also a good friend to my mom when we didn’t have a car to transport my mom to and from the hospital. He also assisted me with taking me to my clients at the time when I had to supply them with paper rolls which I sold through my business. He even cancelled a family commitment in order to assist me once I needed to be dropped off or collected where I had to go one afternoon. Mr Kent was kind enough to transport us wherever we had to go and was a great help and inspiration to me and still is. He is such a very humble and loving person.

I met Frank in 2004 after starting a new job at a carwash he used to pop in during his lunch hour and I always looked forward to that, so we could have our friendly casual chats etc. He mentioned one day that I should come to his family home which I did and we became good friends. He has been there for me in times of need when I needed his help. When he needs my help I jump for him because we have been very good friends since 2004.

Just a last word on friendship, if I may. Lessons learned from my experiences with my friends especially are to always respect one another and have compassion for one another and respect one’s personal space and family time. Always show courtesy for your neighbours & friends.

Where Are Our Children

Written by Deborah Jordaan

Hello to all our loyal readers. Without you, we could not reach out and help someone that might read our article and find it helpful. I’m writing about parents that need their children in their time of need and they are absent. This next passage I’m going to write is about a parent who has given me permission to write his thoughts.

Coming back from the hospital where my left foot was amputated I was trying to get in the house up the stairs I had to go up from behind and on my bottom. Once I got inside it was a battle trying to get into a chair as I wasn’t equipped with paraplegic aides. I took the walker and moved slowly toward the bedroom but on the turn going toward the bedroom I lost footing and fell. My carer was trying to help as much as she could but it was the first day home so we were still trying to find a way to do things. As I lay there tears filled my eyes as I realised that I was alone – where are my sons? Why cant they be there to pick me up as I picked them up when they were in pain? I finally found myself in the bed, sleep evaded me. I was wondering -who will pick me up when I fall tomorrow again?

I myself feel lonely sometimes. I have two daughters but they have lives of their own and also have challenges. I try to be there for them but I myself fall emotionally and wish they are there to pick me up when I go to a dark place. When our children are grown they seem to think they are no longer a part of us as they have their extended families also to spend time with. Many children do so much for their parents and others disappear. Where do our children go? As parents grow older they need to feel loved and like they matter and not that they are only an ATM to their children and a place to stay when times get tough. Acknowledge us as parents. Make parents feel like they are a part of your life and make sacrifices for them as they gave up many things the day you were born.

Dont go knocking on your parents door when you hear they are ill. Are you already counting the money you will inherit when they die or are you really concerned? Remember your parent has worked really hard in life to get where they are in life and of course it will all go to you but dontcount your chickens before they hatch. Your parents didnt count pennies when you were born they did what they had to do to get you grown-up, educated and tried to teach you respect toward mankind. No matter what your mother had to do – she did what she had to do to feed and clothe you so dont throw her away when she is in need. Your father gave up hes aspirations and had you in mind as he was sweating at work everyday to earn a living, so its time you wipe the sweat from hes brow if hes ill.

Don`t let society consume your humanity and make you part of the rat race. Keep your humanity and empathy. Be the child your parents dreamt you would be one. Make them proud. Whether you are a cleaner or pilot, just love and respect your parents and everyone else.

May the universe bless you with abundance and bring love and light to you and your loved ones in the month ahead.

My trip to Australia by Grazia Martienssen

In 2014 my nephew Vinny very generously offered me a trip to go see him and his family in Australia. I flew there via Dubai and enjoyed a free meal while waiting for the final plane.

On Arrival
On arrival, while waiting to go through border control, a big black sniffer dog decided to sniff me out of the line. I started talking to the dog while wondering what he was smelling. The man handling him was watching my reaction and asked, “Do you have dogs?” To which I replied, “yes, three.” I was told he was smelling my dogs from home, and I could continue through customs.

It took me forever to get my luggage, and in the meantime, my family started worrying that perhaps I got lost in Dubai or missed the flight. Finally, I found my luggage and got to them. We went home to Ryde, in Sydney, where I took a nice bath and slept for what felt like an eternity. After which I unpacked the gifts and we caught up.

They were the most gracious hosts; I felt so much at home, I could do anything. What impressed me was how similar the landscape is to South Africa, and yet how different the lifestyle is. My family there is by no means rich however, with their tax return, they were able to pay for my ticket and passport, spoil me while I was there, and write a letter that they would be able to support me for the three weeks that I was to be there. The letter was needed because we were so broke at the time; I went over without a penny and did not pay for anything.

It was also lovely to see Rainbow Lorikeets (Parrots) flying free and coming to feed in their backyard. Near the house there was a park or recreational grounds with trees and beautiful birds and little animals. I was also impressed by how safe the parks are for children and at most parks there were gas barbeques and designated picnic areas. I also noticed they are strict about security and safety, as a young child accidently dropped a glass bottle at the pool in Ryde, and immediately the lifeguards were around the glass making sure no one stepped on it. They even questioned her as glass was not allowed.

During my stay, my little grandniece turned two and we had a lovely party at the house with my nephew’s in laws. A cousin also celebrated his birthday at a park in Neutral Bay, which was a lovely get together. In three weeks, I did not see any homeless people, not because they don’t exist, but because being a first world country, they are taken care off. Although, my nephew did not attend Mass, he graciously chauffeured me to church every Sunday. As I love water, we caught the ferry from circular quay in darling harbour to Manly which was very relaxing. We walked across the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, went to the Opera House, ate out before I left, and bought gifts for everyone at Chinatown. As a parting gift my nephew took me to a clothing store to choose something. I was hesitant as they had already done so much, but my nephew insisted, so I choose a light grey jacket which I still have.

Grateful
I enjoyed every minute of my stay there. As a mom, I phoned home every day, even though my daughter was 18 and I knew she was able to take care of herself. I will be forever grateful. I am blessed to have such a loving nephew who has such a graceful and loving partner. I’ll be forever grateful.