Islamic Fundamentals

When Aitch died it was two Muslim Moms that stepped forward and calmly and without fuss saved my butt. They re-organised their lift club to include me and kept me informed of what was happening at school. I did the morning ‘deliver’ school run every third week, while they shared the afternoon ‘fetch’ school run between them, insisting I needn’t do it as I was working and they were home Moms.

Then every year they’d give ME presents “to thank me for my help”! Five and a half years they just sorted me out, reminding me of events, juggling times when needed. We were all flexible, swopping times as needed by any of us in special circumstances.

They were fundamentally fantastic.

Thank you Sarah and Katie (Saarah and Katija)!


Jessie’s Show & Tell – and Aitch’s Legacy

Jessie’s grade 10 class had Dr Chris Barnard and heart transplants as a subject last week.

When she told me I asked “Did you tell them your Mama worked with him?”
Actually, no she hadn’t. She vaguely knew Mom had done it, but wasn’t confident enough to step forward. My shy Jess.

So out with Aitch’s old albums of her working next to the old charmer (still quite young then) who had tried to get her to go out with him one night, as he apparently did with all the nubiles on the team. And there was Aitch in theatre greens and mask: The cardio-vascular perfusionist operating the heart-lung machine (‘the oxygenator’) that kept the patient alive once the blood circulation had been diverted away from their own heart and lungs. And there was a heart in a jar.

Aitch Barnard Heart (4)     Aitch & Barnard at the heart-lung machine

The heart, the Prof, the Mom

Off to school went the album the next day and Jess was the focus of much attention and oohing and aahing.

The Prison Lady

I went to hand over the cash we had raised after the first school swimming gala to the bursar. Livingstone school, around 2011.

TomTom accompanied me.

Livingstone Walkathon (8)
Much counting and signing and Tom showing off his swimming “medals” with Rick making all the right noises from behind the hatch at the bursar’s office.
As we left, Tom says to me: “We call her the Prison Lady. You see all the bars she’s behind? Look, even her door has burglar bars!”
Oh, I said, I wonder if she has to sleep in there all night?
“No”, he says airily, “she has her own keys”.


When I told Rick about this, she told me how one little kid had peered at her through the bars and asked:
“Do you have food?”

To Tremendous Applause . . .

Dropped Tom off this morning. First day, last term.

He was great, full of beans. We chatted a bit and he didn’t roll his eyes much when I repeated my Better Marks, Less Detentions speech.

“Gotta go Dad”, he says as he fist-bumps me and rolls off the back seat “My fan club’s waiting”.


Tom got two more. One for flying a paper plane in class. The other for shirt out and socks down. Shirt out or Socks down No. 132

I said –

“¶¶You’re in trouble, boy and now you’re headed in for more. It’s the same old story¶¶:

Either you build a paper plane that flies the length of the passage or . . . “

No problem. Fold fold fold fold fold, flick. We high-fived before it even landed.

See, Dad, I made it for Teshail and it was passed around the class and then came back to me. I threw it at Teshail but it went too far and landed on Mr Verster’s desk.

OK, boy. I see.


TomTom has to keep a daily holiday diary for school. Verbally he can be quite verbose. When a story can be told in 10 words, he’ll take 20, then repeat them in case you weren’t listening.

So we went shopping and walked for miles in Westwood centre, then drove to the Pavilion, looking for soccer collectable cards and an album. Plus we had Kentucky Fried chicken and a Tab, bought plasters for him and disprins for me. And he listened to music on his headphones in the kombi.

In his diary he wrote: I have soka cards frommy Dad. That was it.

Earlier, we had arranged to go to the Palmiet River*.  Aitch was out, so I told TomTom we should leave a note for Mom to tell her where we we’d gone.

He wrote a big note. It said (in glossy silver pen): We have gone.

On my insistence he added some detail:

And we well come back


*(Our fossicking turned up tadpoles, mayfly nymphs, baby frogs, freshwater shrimps and little fish fry)

Appropriate indeed

So I’m dropping off the twins (the terrible twins, Ebony Tom and Ivory Joshua) at Paula Dean’s Holiday Club, at West Virginia (or so it sounds when the kids say it – it’s actually Westville Junior).

Josh and Tom

Also Jessie and Londeka, whose visiting her grandma Gogo Regina, our housekeeper,  from Mbumbane.

On the way up the steps I remember, and mumble, that I must fill in an indemnity form for Josh.

No, Dad, we already filled in our Indignity Form, says TomTom.