Eryn

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2004
Eryn
11
Tue, 03-30-2004 - 10:33am
I wish...I was 9000km away when my darling little granddaughter, Eryn turned 1 on Saturday. I decided to dedicate this to her.~~~~


Her eyes widened as the candle flame flickered. The bright pink crinolene doll stood proudly on the table. Voices rose as the ever popular strains of Happy Birthday filled the air.

Her dimpled hands clutched the arms of the chair as she leaned forward squeaking with excitement.

Sliding her gaze away from the colourful scene, she smiled beautifically up at her grandmother.

With thumb and forefinger she picked up an Iced Zoo Animal Biscuit and still gazing at the love of her life, she stuffed the cookie into her mouth. It was her first experience with a sugared treat and her nose crinkled as she tried to get used to it.

She was one today...

Jo- the other half of a cat-mad duo

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: jo_gran
Tue, 03-30-2004 - 1:10pm

This is so sweet, Jo.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2004
In reply to: jo_gran
Fri, 04-02-2004 - 5:32am
Hi Lynda

I wrote this little story with the following idea in mind. I intended the POV to be that of Eryn, yet the reader is not to know until the last sentence that she is only 12 months old! Was this too adventurous of me. I struggled with the concept of seeing it from a baby's POV, yet to make it believable. The crinolene doll is an pink iced cake; in reality my daughter in law would not have had that for a cake. Rather a shape of a cat or dog. (I doublt whether she had ANY cake as grandma was not there to insist)

Eryn has her own special high chair in my home. It is a handmade piece of furniture, beautifully carved out of yellowood and hardwood, polished to a high sheen by Emily, my cahr. When Eryn is excited, she grips the sides (bars) of the high chair and leaning forward, crows with delight.

Is it realistic to say that she heard voices singing Happy Birthday?

Her manner is to stare intently at an object, and if you call her name, to attract her attention, she "slides" her gaze towards you.

I like the way you said she experienced the Zoo Biscuit. The oly sugar she has ever tasted is in the form of fruit and perhaps a little fruit yoghurt. Her gran and mother are Weight Loss Group Leader and journalist respectively, so what do you expect?

Did I approach the whole idea badly/incorrectly? Is this a difficult concept? The first thing I remember in my life, was when I was barely 3 years old. Wem were travelling by train from Durban in South Africa, to a small village called Melsetter in Southern Rhodesia (Now Zimbabwe) My family emigrated there.

So many questions; thanks for your input.

Hugs and blessings

JO





Jo- the other half of a cat-mad duo

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: jo_gran
Fri, 04-02-2004 - 1:52pm

Writing it from Eryn's POV

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2004
In reply to: jo_gran
Tue, 04-06-2004 - 6:47am
Morning Lynda

Thanks for the ever welcome input. I have taken note of all you have said; I can still write it from the baby's POV yet need to make the language related to a young mind. Please forgive me for the typo! I meant Emily, my char. She is caring for my 9 cats and 3 dogs and home while I am in Africa. She is also supports my son, Angus who is in charge of the whole household.

I am off to work again. Will post on other boards.

Hugs and Blessings

JO

Jo- the other half of a cat-mad duo

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: jo_gran
Tue, 04-06-2004 - 10:02am

Good morning, Jo!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2004
In reply to: jo_gran
Wed, 04-07-2004 - 5:22am
Hi Lynda

Thanks, I had a lovely weekend. I played in a golf tournament, albeit a friendly one, for the first time in my life. Our team ended 3 under par and won. I had learnt how to hold a golf club the evening before ("left hand on top and left arm straight, Tannie Jo" from my young South African instructor) and took my first swing against the practice net only hours before the tee off. Great fun. The term "tannie", Afrikaans for "Aunt", denotes respect for older people in South Africa. The following day the South African expats made various meals in the form of "Potjiekos" roughly translated as "pot food". Meat and vegetables are cooked for many hours over a slow open fire in a cast iron three-legged pot. Copious quantities of red wine is consumed while the stories related become more and more fantastic as the heat of the day and the alcohol takes effect. The secret of potjiekos is once the onions and meat is browned, layers of vegetables are placed on top and it is NEVER stirred again. Truly delicious.

Emily is my housekeeper in South Africa. She is a single mother of 4, and being too young to draw an old age pension, arrived at my door in 2001, quite destitute, to ask for work. The people in this age group have minimal education, no skills to work in administrative positions and depend on the local community to employ them. She is a fellow Christian and the same age as I (51). We bonded immediately. She is the mother figure in my home while I am in West Africa. She keeps the house in order and of course, cares for my many pets. She and Angus do not often see each other; he leaves for work at 7am and she arrives at 8, leaving after lunch to go back to her home in the township. She only works 5 days a week. She is able to use the telephone, can read and write,so they keep contact in this manner. I have supplied her with a cell phone for her own safety and convenience and if Angus needs to speak to her off duty. She orders all cleaning materials, shops for pet food in town and her own food, primarily meat, at the local butcher when necessary. Angus has given her a budget for this which she manages superbly.

When Eryn visits with her parents, Emily babysits while they go cycling or running. She does this with great love and dedication.

A while ago I wrote a paragraph on life in the townships as part of my assessment in my correspondence studies in Cape Town. My lecturer came down on me like ton of bricks (excuse the cliche). She asked whether I still felt guilty because of the way the people of South Africa had been treated under the previous regime. Not my intention: I find all people and lifestyles interesting hence the subject.

OK Lynda, you asked for explanation on the word "Char" and got the above instead! Apologies for using the word, char (me being hi-faluting) or is it English?

Thanks for the tips on POV. I will apply.

I am working on an essay and hope to post it soon on the excersise board. I heard an amazing account of the courage of a woman, worked out the outline, decided on her as the theme, yet last night I decided to use Life on Camp as the main theme and this lady as a sub-theme and let the events take place. I hope I get it under way - I always sound a lot more confident than I really am! What do you think? Can I post it on the board?

I tried to avoid the word "was" in this reply. Scanning through, I do not see any sign of the little blighter...

Have a good day

JO

PS Is there a Writing Excersise for April?








Jo- the other half of a cat-mad duo

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: jo_gran
Wed, 04-07-2004 - 3:43pm

Good afternoon, Jo.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2004
In reply to: jo_gran
Thu, 04-08-2004 - 10:15am
Hi Lynda

What a blessing your family must surely be to you. You seem such a wise mother as well. Is this spring break a long one? You obviously enjoy having them around all day and benefit from some time off yourself -the lie-in.

I bought Eryn two baby books, months before she was born. She has a veritable library already.

As young parents, my husband and I bought a television set for the first time in 1995 even though TV had been in South Africa since 1975! Both my sons grew up without the box. Today they are very well read, excellent conversationalists and love the outdoors and sporting activities.

Thank you for encouraging me to write - everytime you question a phrase or word, I launch into a lengthy explanation and another seed is born! You have made so aware of my surrounds and to note down everything I hear and see.

We do not have the day (Good Friday) off tomorrow, which I am sure is celebrated in your country, so may you and your family have a blessed Easter.

Yesterday I posted on the Fiction Board under Funs Games and Roll calls, "Why did you start writing" and had a lovely reply from Eleyne. Writing that down made me veer off onto another track; last night I quickly penned a little story about the last week in my dear mother's life. ( what she had meant to me in life, how I felt about her impending death at time)

I itch to know what cl- in front of your names stand for and feel embarassed that there may be an explanation somewhere that I have missed. (lol)

Hugs and Blessings

JO

Jo- the other half of a cat-mad duo

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: jo_gran
Thu, 04-08-2004 - 1:56pm

Oh, Jo, my family is certainly the best blessing I have received.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2004
In reply to: jo_gran
Fri, 04-09-2004 - 11:15am
A blessed Good Friday to you and yours, Lynda!

Thanks for your explanation re cl.

I love the sound of your family. I grew up in a close knit family of 4. However, I ended up with 2 sons, my darling daughter-in-law, Debbie and our dear sweet Eryn.

I forgot to explain WHY I had used the word "char" in my previous but one reply. I thought that Americans used that word. In SA these ladies or gentlemen are called domestic helpers. I refer to Emily as my housekeeper and Induna (Zulu for Tribal Chief/Supervisor!) She ensures that the gardener is gainfully employed (lol) and feeds him. I told you how she keeps everything neat and clean at home.

Early in 2001 the government brought in a minimum wage for employees. While this initially seemed an excellent principle and stopped exploitation of farm workers, casual labourers and domestic/garden helpers, conversely it has done more harm than good.

For generations a farmer employed the strong males, having been born and raised on the farm, in the field and the women, also local and part of the family, as it were, in the house. An average upper middleclass farmer's wife had a cook, a scullery/laundry maid, two housemaids and, if the children were still small, a young woman to look after them. I have friend who has at least 6 young women in every Friday to wash windows, polish the furniture and brass and shine the yellowood floors in her palatial home.

All these women are able to work with their children strapped to their backs. Later when their babies are bigger, the were allowed to play in the kitchen or on the sunporch while their mother worked nearby. As these children grew older, they often became best friends of the family's children, especially the boys. Both benefited as the Sotho lad learnt English or Afrikaans and the "white" boy became fluent in Sotho.

During jam-making and fruit preserving time, you would call for at least three women to come in for a few weeks to assist. In the winter, when the famers slaughters beasts and makes dried sausage and biltong (jerky) the farmer's wife employs one or two of the elderly people to sit quietly under the tree in the kitchen garden and clean the sheep's heads and tripe (a South African delicacy which I, even before I became a vegetarian, could never partake of!)They earned approximately US$1.75 per unit and were fed from the kitchen for the day.

All these people, normally related, were housed on the farm; the farmer supplied a cow, often two, for their daily milk. They had weekly rations of meat and monthly rations of maize meal. I know farmers who, when they buy new pick up trucks, instead of trading the old one in,give it to his Induna for his own use. The children were taught by a teacher, paid for by the famer, in the farm school which had been built by the farmer's ancestors.

At Christmas and Easter, for death or birth among the folk, they were supplied with two sheep and whatever refreshments the farmer felt inclined to give. The farmer's wife acted as midwife and layed out bodies; should the need arise to be hospitalised, the farmer supplied the transport and footed the medical bill.

A farming village normally consisted of about 40 souls. Bearing in mind that the regular, permanent workers were paid for their labour, the casual workers were paid "piece work" wages, had eveyone happy with their lot.

At present,our National Health Service is supposed to be freely availableto anyone without Medical Insurance. Yet the hospital and clinic equipment and funds have been misappropriated so that it is almost always "fatal" try and be helped this way. The clinics are so overcrowded that patients often sit and wait all day for a turn to see the medical staff to no avail and have to return the next day. Very sick patients have died on the way to hospital due to the ambulance being in such a state of disrepair that it breaks down or is involved in a road accident. These facilities are run by the "previously disadvantaged", who after years of not having authority, cannot handle the power and subsequently misuse it to the detriment of their own people.

What has happened since the new law, is that many farmers cannot afford to pay all these people the minimum wage and have had to send them off. The same has happened with domestic workers or cleaners and helpers in businesses. They are not employed any longer and many unemployed and homeless are wandering around the country. The crime is horrific in SA and worsening all the time.

By the way we are not and have never been farmers. My heart bleeds for the people. The old and infirm have left the farm they grew up on and the children have become "street kids" while their (normally single parent mother) endeavours to make money the only way. I pray that I am compensating for one person by treating Emily with the respect she deserves and rewarding her amply for her contribution to my home.

Thanks for the "nitpicking" That is exactly what I need to know to really polish my writing.

The mine has declared Monday a public holiday, being Easter. My laptop arrives this weekend and I intend to write, write, write!

Hugs and Blessings

JO










Jo- the other half of a cat-mad duo

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