I found this photograph of my mom on her wedding day in December 1948. On the photograph is her sister Rhona Muriel and the two flower girls are Katy and Yvonne. One cannot help but wonder and perhaps for a moment grasp the wisdom of God not to permit a clear picture of the future. How could my mother have known the future and all its sadnesses,conflicts, loss and emotional warfare that lay ahead of her. She would surely have turned her face away and run….as it was she was a very unsure and tremulous bride….and not without reason. She was never sure of anything. It is only when life begins to carry weight and the pages become filled that one can look back and say….yes there God was with me…and no..here I was totally lost….and yes for a moment we were a happy family unit…just for a moment.
Today confined as she is to a wheelchair she still retains that level of innocence and naïvity so indicative of her generation.
My mother lives her name of Elizabeth which means…an oath or fullness of God. During the15 dark years we were sojourned in the Free State she came to terms with many issues as a woman. In this sandy, dry and oftentimes desolate place she learnt what it meant to survive without family…no phone…no letters….only memories of childhood days. She learnt what it meant to follow a deathly routine,and endless cycle that seemed to hold no promise. She then did a very daring thing…and all on her own…she joined the local library. The fact that she did this in itself caused upheaval but she held tenaciously on….and the world opened to her and because of her to myself. She began educating herself…she read everything that the local library could hold…..and she grew in a different direction and she began building the dream….the dream of freedom…one day …freedom. We read all the time and listened to the radio. Plays and dramas were the highlight. We listened to Edgar Cree and his programme ‘From my window…the sea’. Our hungry and empty souls forgot the politics and shadows of a small town….and we turned inward and acquired…constantly acquired knowledge.
My mother taught me that it is not the person who holds degrees, or who has the finest education who is necessarily the finer human being. There are uneducated people who had one thing…one tool…and with this ability to read they surpassed the most degreed persons…and held on to their inner souls by remaining grounded in their foundations of Life.