What is this?
Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and all the other social network sites make history stalking very convenient, but
even with their wide reach, they fail to find some number of people. Perhaps they do not wish anyone to find them, or
perhaps they wish only for Internet robots not to find them. Perhaps they're dead, or in a witness protection programme!
I don't know, but if they're at all interested in being found, I hope that when they search the Internet for their own
names (where I know them) or for stories they might know, they might find this page and get the hint that they should
send me a ping.
I'm not really trying to re-establish long-lost relationships or anything; it's really only curiosity that makes
me wonder where they are, what they are doing.
Heck, even if you know for a fact that I know how to contact you, and that I only procrastinate doing so, send me a
message when you find this page. I'll be watching my server logs closely, and I'd like to keep a rough idea of who
is landing here. And in any case, if you know any more details to add here that would help the search, I'd like to
add those. Note that I haven't added every last detail I know, so if there's something you're looking for but don't
see here, just ask - there's a chance I can fill in some details for you.
And also, if you're a character in one of these stories and would prefer to be more anonymous (or written out entirely),
then again, send me a message to that effect! But then you can't blame me for wondering what's up, whether you're
hiding from an international gang of child traffickers, or whether you've faked your death and are enjoying an
insurance-policy-sponsored retirement in the Bahamas, or just avoiding a psycho ex.
I was at Judy's Creche in De Lorentz Street, Gardens, as a young child, in 1981 and 1982.
Judy Bagraim (the labour law guy's mother) ran the kindergarten, along with a small staff complement.
While I remember knowing some other kids (I'm sure it was more than just Eugene Burgers?) whom I would
later meet in Jan van Riebeeck primary school again, I remember nearly nobody else in particular.
There was one girl who lived in the apartment block across the road from the kindergarten, and we even visited
each other's homes, but I remember neither her name or how she looked.
Facebook is a school memories stalker's dream, but some people choose not to indulge in that, or other, social
networking sites' offerings. All the more mystery! I'm thinking especially of Matthys de Kock.
My mother tells me that we were mutual arch-enemies in Sub A (as her amusing conversation with his dad
at a parents/teachers meeting informed her), but we later learned to grudgingly, and even later happily
tolerate each other. We were never really friends but by high school I think we mostly got along okay.
And as prominent as he was all throughout school, being one of the handsome
(I think! I don't know!) rich kid overachievers from an
overachiever family, he now seems to have all but disappeared. A few times over the years I've asked
Uncle Google to find him, but to no avail. His name seems far too common for that to be very useful, and perhaps he
doesn't want Internet spiders to find him. Almost every time I see Johan Neethling we reminisce about
Mrs Rankin losing her cool at Matthys.
"Matthys! Wipe that smile off your face! Stop laughing! Get out of my class!" I think we all we barely able
to suppress our own laughter at hearing Matthys uncontrollably laughing as he walked down the passage,
the laughter getting softer as he got further. I remember it like it was yesterday!
Waaay back, in 1979 or 1980 or so, as a three-year-old, I was in Somerset Hospital for a
tonsilectomy. It's hard to tell genuine memories apart from reconstructed ones,
when thinking back that far. I do know there were two other children in the ward, and that I lent my
Chicken Little story book to one of them. I guess things got mixed up when one or the
other of us got moved / operated on / discharged, and the book went missing. I don't really want the book
back (although it'd be cool to see it again and feel that wave of nostalgia crashing over me), but I'd like
to know how it lived out its life.
What happened to Juffrou du Plessis, my Sub A class teacher? A few times over the years people
(most notably Edwin Cross, or people who heard it from him) have told me she got married and
went to the USA. It's odd to think that she'd be well on her way to being an old lady now! Until maybe a decade ago
I would occasionally see her colleague, Juffrou Terreblanche, at Gardens Shopping Center. I should
ask my mother to keep her eyes open for the "tannie with the bolletjie" (she always wore her hair in a bun). Nothing
like enlisting family in a stalking operation!
Who was the slightly older girl who sorta babysitted me when I was living in St Quinton Road,
Oranjezicht? Her name may have been Michelle, and I'll have to check with my mother whether
she lived in the same building we did, or just somewhere nearby.
I had a friend in primary school, Danie Beresford, who lived about halfway along my way home.
It feels like a world away when parents would allow their children to walk 5km home on their own. I still feel bad
for punching Danie square in the face as he came round a corner one day at school during break - I had assumed he
was one of my tormentors who used to mercilessly tease me at the time, and I thought I would "show them" and give
them their comeuppance. Apparently he was instead coming to my aid - I was his friend and he wanted to give me
backup. Danie left our school at some point - I think by 1989 he was gone. I have no clue what happened to him. I
don't even remember who his other friends were, so I don't know whom to ask if they know anything.
I have a few old issues of the primary school magazine, Die Suidooster, and I'm wondering what to do with
that goldmine of reminiscences. I'd like to just scan it and republish it online, but that seems fraught with copyright
problems. Who owns the copyright? The school? The contributing authors? The editorial team?
These were all at Laerskool Jan van Riebeeck, where I was from Sub A to Standard 5, or at
Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck, where I continued my schooling from Standard 6 to Standard 10.
- Juffrou CJ du Plessis my Sub A class teacher.
- Juffrou Terreblanche (spelling uncertain) the other Sub A class teacher.
- Juffrou van Reenen already a little old lady when she was my Sub B class teacher, I fear
she may have already passed away.
- Juffrou Kotze (too lazy to dig out the class photo with her surname) my Standard 1 class teacher.
- Juffrou (Joan) Baard my Standard 2 class teacher, was feared by many and respected by all.
I last met her about a decade ago, in Government Avenue, and she seemed to still recognize me. She had retired and
moved to Yzerfontein a few years after I left primary school, IIRC. I wonder if she still drives her Honda Ballade?
It's almost certain that
one of Google's results for her title refers to her.
- Juffrou Maritz my Standard 3 class teacher. I had a puppy teacher crush on her, so when it was
her birthday I made and decorated pancakes, my best recipe at the time. She accepted these cold, rubbery, quirkily
decorated (with green food colouring) gifts so gracefully! (I doubt she ate them, though.)
- Meneer (Dennis?) Coetzee our general science teacher, from Standard 2 to Standard 5. Never my
class teacher, I think he had the other Standard 3 class.
- Juffrou Vermeulen / Juffrou Venter (maiden name / married name) my standard 4 class teacher.
Oh my. AWB. She threw a fit about how the blacks (I can't recall if she referred to them as kaffers)
would take our future jobs, murder us in our sleep, rape our sisters, etc., if we didn't take the
Republiekdag celebrations more seriously. The headmaster was administering an oath / vow or something,
and had just spoken, "En herhaal agter my:" ("And repeat after me:") when the whole school
repeated after him, "En herhaal agter my!" Pure LOL, and I don't even think there was any coordination
for this mockery. Still proud of it.
- Meneer (Koos) van der Vyver not sure I have the right name for the right face.
- Meneer Jacobs taught us geography and Afrikaans literature. We read Roman en Robyn
- Meneer Vosloo ran some sort of computer programme, and I don't know if he did anything else.
- Juffrou van Rooyen my Standard 5 class teacher.
- Meneer Schreuder the headmaster from before (?) I entered Sub A in 1983 until the end of that year.
I know he had a son, Francois Schreuder and a daughter whose name I've temporarily forgotten.
- Meneer Bouwer the headmaster from 1984 until after 1989 when I was in Standard 5.
He taught a small group of us gifted kids mathematics, as part of some Education Department experimentation on
children programme. He took us through three years' worth of mathematics in two years' classes, so after Standard 5
we were ahead of our classmates by one year. The high school allowed us to maintain our head start, and we'd write
the class ahead's mathematics exams, but the school provided only limited tuition, the teachers spending most of the
class time on the kids doing the normal programme. I wonder what the outcome of this experiment was?
- Juffrou (Mariëtte?) Wagener my Standard 6 class teacher, also my biology teacher throughout
high school. Once a suitor came into the class with a bouquet of flowers, looking for her. I hope she was pleased
with this, that it wasn't some psycho stalker type!
- Juffrou (Hesti) van Zyl
(thanks for the first name, Naspers!)
was my classmates' Latin teacher. I think she was also my Standard 7 class teacher, but I'm not sure. I think we also
got a new teacher during 1991, as (IIRC) the first one fell pregnant and went on maternity leave.
- Frau (Inge) Hugo my class teacher from Standard 8 to Standard 10, also the German
(third language) teacher. She was cool; she let me read comics in German class if I was bored. (I am German, so
almost all of the der/die/das drilling was a bit superfluous. I did learn though, that it is der Moskito.
And I learned some grammar rules that, until then, I had been using implicitly with the native speaker's "does it
sound right" test.)
- Meneer (Gideon Trevor) Robertson the physical sciences teach...er. I think everyone who spent
even one hour in his class will have a story to ... tell. I was his pet student, as I was a major physics/chemis...try
dork back then. I finished all exercises in our text...book in the first two weeks of the year, and then never had to
bother doing homework for that subject again that year. If only I had that work ethic in the rest of my life!
- Meneer Myburgh was the woodwork teacher. I must have been his favourite pupil, since although I
made practically no progress on my class project besides making a crude mortise-and-tenon joint, I got a good grade.
One of his expressions that entered our class lexicon was "Eh-raait, jy kry nu-u-u-l!"
- Juffrou Roelofse our maths teacher, and a keen golf player. She was quite good at her sport,
playing at provincial level.
- Juffrou (Louise) Bester our Afrikaans teacher, for some of my last years at school. Also my
step-brother's wife. I got away with murder due to that familial relation.
- Miss Swart my English teacher in Standard 6. She made us pronounce her surname as an Englishman
- Miss Mycroft my English teacher in Standard 7. AFAIK she got married during 1991 and left the
school not long after. I'm all but convinced that I've found her online.
- Mrs (Jeanne) Rankin my English teacher in the last few years. She lived just a few blocks
from me, and would give me a ride to school in the mornings. I'm sure my tardy ass pissed them off to no end on
the many occasions I wasn't at their house on time! In hindsight: I'm sorry Ma'am.
- temporarily forgotten name the geography teacher, ostensibly an ex-recce. I think he
deliberately cultivated a "psycho ex recce" image.
- Meneer Viviers a maths teacher, though never mine, I bumped into him a year or two ago in
Parklands. Still a flamboyant man.
- Meneer de Villiers the deputy headmaster; I never had any of his classes.
- Meneer (André?) Viljoen the headmaster. One of his daughters, Kathy Viljoen
was in my class.
- missing headmaster whose name and appearance I've forgotten. I think he left in 1991 or 1992,
replaced by Mr Viljoen. Or am I fudging things and was Mr de Villiers the acting headmaster?
- The string "d707b1a5-6152-404a-ae80-7bcd0dfcebe2" hashes to