Monday, 21 November 2011

Starting Over... A Short History...

I was born in South Africa and lived here until I was nine, with my grandparents.  At nine, I was sent to California to join my mom in Hollywood (she was a 20th Century Fox actress). There I went to school; junior high, high school, ending at UCLA. Before I completed university, I was in a car accident; after I recovered, I used the insurance settlement to move back to SA: Back in SA, (re)met and married M (born in SA), we farmed, M made handcrafted furniture and we had two sons. We then spent a year in the US (Missouri, Oklahoma) while my husband studied agriculture.  Back to SA to the farm, together we ran various projects, opened a gift shop, started a plant nursery, did property development, had another two sons, opened a ceramics studio, created a boutique hotel, had two antique shops, M built computers,  I made hammocks. When the children left home, we packed our lives into a crate and moved to the UK where we were homeless for a time, worked in various jobs and ran our own tearoom and antique shop in Scotland.  Back in Africa, we explored all over, settling on the incredible Cape west coast, where we are now. Together M and I made many decisions; choices that took us along “the road less traveled”.

Fifteen years ago, we lived in vastly different circumstances than we do now. Life then, a hundred-year old mansion filled with antiques to a seaside cottage now. In between (the last fifteen years), we have “started over” several times, been homeless (through no fault of our own), lived (slept) on London buses for some weeks, owned our own businesses, been robbed twice, worked for others, and lived in a garage.  Except for the bus (and it had its moments too) and the robberies, we enjoyed most of the adventures…Scary but when you realize that “you can do it” ordinary fear falls away and anything seems possible. Very empowering!


I know we’re not unique; our story is different but by no means, extraordinary.  I write about it for these reasons.  The first is to preserve our personal family history; this is mainly for our growing tribe of grandchildren – most of the story lives only in our memories as all our papers, family photographs, and memorabilia of previous generations were destroyed in one of the robberies. My family history exists only with myself and my mother; all the other family members are dead. M’s family history was contained in dozens and dozens of documents, deeds, books and pictures, also gone.  Unfortunately, M’s family is fragmented and all the original protagonists are either dead or very nearly.  In a family divided by feuds, jealousy, bitterness and acrimony and bound together in a destructive, polluted destiny, history has taken on various interpretations as suits each individuals' cause. With no axe to grind, having walked away a free man - the first in four generations - M (and I) would only like to record the important points, the bare facts, preserved for any future descendants who may be interested.


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