Saturday, February 03, 2007

About time!!!

Have you noticed how fast time is going? I dawned on me today that I have not updated my blog once this year - how sad is that? So - how has 2007 started for you? Too many questions at the start of a post don't you think?

No seriously, I love blogging - it is a way of letting people gather a glimpse of a "day in the life of..." and sometimes that can be a good thing, sometimes a bad thing. Over the time life of this blog I have had some wonderful creative ideas spring to mind on how to make this a platform for sharing information, staying in touch with friends and family, and for making new friends. I must say that I have had the blessing and honor of establishing contact with long lost friends and one in particular I would like to expound on. When I started high school a few years ago (yeah right...) there were two seniors who took me under their wing so to speak, one now lives in Mauritius, the other in South Africa. Ken and I over the years became best friends, and one hobby we shared was building bicycles and perfecting the art of "popping wheelies" - the art of riding your bicycle on the back wheel for as long and far as possible. We really became good at it, and at the local shopping mall we often would attract a small audience who would cheer us on, and watch how far we could go. Those were the fun days...!

Well Ken and I lost contact many years ago, probably early 80's when he left Zimbabwe for South Africa and so to have been able to re-establish contact lately has really been wonderful. One thing that is scary is when you are a kid, and time passes by, when you see your friends from school days you get a sudden shock and reality check of what the aging process does to our bodies as we grow old. Recently Ken rode his motorcycle up to Zimbabwe, and whilst there he took a few photos and sent them on to me. It touched my heart to see pictures of places that I had frequented as a kid, my old school and finally to see pictures of Mom & Dad's home where we grew up. Memories came rushing back, and I would like to share a few with regard to the pictures below.

The first few pictures is of a place called "Hillside Dams". In the 70's and probably earlier too, this was a family picnic get-away on weekends. There were two dams, - upper and lower, and lots of nature paths to walk on, with descriptions posted along the way educating you on the flora and fauna. The upper dam allowed you to fish, usually catch and release, no boating was allowed and during the rainy season we always placed a bet on how high the dam would rise, and whether in our lifetime we would see it overflow - well of course it did overflow many times! The lower dam is usually where the crowds would gather. You could hire a boat and paddle across the dam, along the edge of the water bank you were allowed to feed the ducks, and fish. I remember the fish actually stealing the bread from the ducks as fast as it landed on the water - funny how childhood memories stick in your mind so vividly. The lower dam also had an attraction in the form of a live band that would play music under a gazebo, and a well stocked candy shop offering treats. Looking at the pictures below, and reading some vague descriptions of what used to happen here would make it seem this was a major figment of my imagination. Sadly most people who lived in our city should they read this entry will add their amen! Now this once prolific sanctuary has become overgrown, frequented by fishermen catching for food, not for recreation. It is a place that is unsafe to visit alone usually resulting in crime, and the memories of yesteryear have all but vanished into the depths of those who have sought life outside of sad.

This house brings back memories. The funny thing is none of us have been there for years, and yet it still is the same color Mom & Dad painted it many many years ago. I never thought it would still look exactly the same but it does. This is the house that I knew as home for many years of my life, as well as my sisters and brother. It was home! The tree that is almost over shadowing the entire house was planted by Dad - something he carried out of his car and dug a small hole and planted - well look at it years later! To the right of the house is what used to be a lockup garage. It took on a few different purposes over the years, from keeping Dad's car safe at night, to housing my first motorcycle. Then it became a living flatlet that was used by a few members of the family in transition to their own homes etc. I remember on the roof of the garage one day I became creative...having come across a can of white spray paint I decided to write something on the galvanised corrugated roofing. This is what it read "JESUS CHRIST IS..." and then there was nothing more ever written. At the age of 16 I became a Christian and so one day I remember thinking to myself - "...airplanes fly over the house every day...what if I write that Jesus Christ is Lord on the roof, perhaps someone will see it and their life will be changed...". What a concept. Years later I remember one comment Dad made...and this is what he said to me: " should have finished what you started on the garage roof that day". Isn't life like that? We start many things and don't seem to have the energy to bring to completion many of the projects we embark on.

Gifford High School was less than 5 minutes walk from home. I remember my first high school day as if it were yesterday. Stiff starched uniforms heavy, back pack with books, and big kids being nasty! Little did I realize that in time to come, I would become one of those kids towering over cowering kids on their first day of High School. The pictures below will show you the prized Rugby Field where only the Headmasters First Team would play. No other levels in the school were permitted on that field during Rugby Season. I do remember my first high school rugby game though. It was the first sport I chose to get involved with, because I loved the nature of the game, the seriously rough and tumble manner in which it was played, with zero protection. My first game was amazing - my parents were there in support and the inevitable happened. As the whistle blew for kick off, I raced towards the defense knowing I had an audience (Mom & Dad) reaching the defense with the intention of ripping the ball from his hand and darting to the other end of the field to score a "try" everything ended almost as fast as it started!!! I crashed into this kid at full speed putting my knee out, ending my career instantly on the rugby field. The pain was mega excruciating and trying to put on a brave face was impossible! Today as you can see in the pictures this is not the flamboyant field it used to be. Behind the field you can see a building with the roof ripped off. That used to be the music and art block...I sat in those classrooms honing my skills - or should I be more honest and say "goofing off" just like 99% of the other kids. Music was one of the most painful experiences for me. Mrs. Hughes was the most strictest teacher I had ever come across - we had to sing, and sing properly - I hated it with a passion. She once caught me riding my bicycle in the suburbs with my school socks down below my ankles - she pulled me over, yelled at me, and told me i would be visiting the Headmaster (Mr. Menee) the next day to explain my tardiness outside of school. I received two cuts with a bamboo cane for this little incident. Those were the "old school" days - where discipline meant what it stood for!

Looking at these few pictures sent to me by my good friend Ken, sure stirred up fond memories of life growing up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. None of the photos resemble what used to be...the vibrant exciting city is being laid to waste - sure the structures are there, but life will never be the same.

If you could turn back time in your life today, have you ever wondered what you would do differently to shape your future? Like Dad said to me many years ago...son you should have finished what you started...

1 comment:

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