Breadcrumb trails

What is this?

Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and all the other social network sites make history stalking very convenient, but even with their wide reach, they fail to find some number of people. Perhaps they do not wish anyone to find them, or perhaps they wish only for Internet robots not to find them. Perhaps they're dead, or in a witness protection programme! I don't know, but if they're at all interested in being found, I hope that when they search the Internet for their own names (where I know them) or for stories they might know, they might find this page and get the hint that they should send me a ping. I'm not really trying to re-establish long-lost relationships or anything; it's really only curiosity that makes me wonder where they are, what they are doing.

Heck, even if you know for a fact that I know how to contact you, and that I only procrastinate doing so, send me a message when you find this page. I'll be watching my server logs closely, and I'd like to keep a rough idea of who is landing here. And in any case, if you know any more details to add here that would help the search, I'd like to add those. Note that I haven't added every last detail I know, so if there's something you're looking for but don't see here, just ask - there's a chance I can fill in some details for you.

And also, if you're a character in one of these stories and would prefer to be more anonymous (or written out entirely), then again, send me a message to that effect! But then you can't blame me for wondering what's up, whether you're hiding from an international gang of child traffickers, or whether you've faked your death and are enjoying an insurance-policy-sponsored retirement in the Bahamas, or just avoiding a psycho ex.

The stories

I was at Judy's Creche in De Lorentz Street, Gardens, as a young child, in 1981 and 1982. Judy Bagraim (the labour law guy's mother) ran the kindergarten, along with a small staff complement. While I remember knowing some other kids (I'm sure it was more than just Eugene Burgers?) whom I would later meet in Jan van Riebeeck primary school again, I remember nearly nobody else in particular. There was one girl who lived in the apartment block across the road from the kindergarten, and we even visited each other's homes, but I remember neither her name or how she looked.

Facebook is a school memories stalker's dream, but some people choose not to indulge in that, or other, social networking sites' offerings. All the more mystery! I'm thinking especially of Matthys de Kock. My mother tells me that we were mutual arch-enemies in Sub A (as her amusing conversation with his dad at a parents/teachers meeting informed her), but we later learned to grudgingly, and even later happily tolerate each other. We were never really friends but by high school I think we mostly got along okay. And as prominent as he was all throughout school, being one of the handsome (I think! I don't know!) rich kid overachievers from an overachiever family, he now seems to have all but disappeared. A few times over the years I've asked Uncle Google to find him, but to no avail. His name seems far too common for that to be very useful, and perhaps he doesn't want Internet spiders to find him. Almost every time I see Johan Neethling we reminisce about Mrs Rankin losing her cool at Matthys. "Matthys! Wipe that smile off your face! Stop laughing! Get out of my class!" I think we all we barely able to suppress our own laughter at hearing Matthys uncontrollably laughing as he walked down the passage, the laughter getting softer as he got further. I remember it like it was yesterday!

Waaay back, in 1979 or 1980 or so, as a three-year-old, I was in Somerset Hospital for a tonsilectomy. It's hard to tell genuine memories apart from reconstructed ones, when thinking back that far. I do know there were two other children in the ward, and that I lent my Chicken Little story book to one of them. I guess things got mixed up when one or the other of us got moved / operated on / discharged, and the book went missing. I don't really want the book back (although it'd be cool to see it again and feel that wave of nostalgia crashing over me), but I'd like to know how it lived out its life.

What happened to Juffrou du Plessis, my Sub A class teacher? A few times over the years people (most notably Edwin Cross, or people who heard it from him) have told me she got married and went to the USA. It's odd to think that she'd be well on her way to being an old lady now! Until maybe a decade ago I would occasionally see her colleague, Juffrou Terreblanche, at Gardens Shopping Center. I should ask my mother to keep her eyes open for the "tannie with the bolletjie" (she always wore her hair in a bun). Nothing like enlisting family in a stalking operation!

Who was the slightly older girl who sorta babysitted me when I was living in St Quinton Road, Oranjezicht? Her name may have been Michelle, and I'll have to check with my mother whether she lived in the same building we did, or just somewhere nearby.

I had a friend in primary school, Danie Beresford, who lived about halfway along my way home. It feels like a world away when parents would allow their children to walk 5km home on their own. I still feel bad for punching Danie square in the face as he came round a corner one day at school during break - I had assumed he was one of my tormentors who used to mercilessly tease me at the time, and I thought I would "show them" and give them their comeuppance. Apparently he was instead coming to my aid - I was his friend and he wanted to give me backup. Danie left our school at some point - I think by 1989 he was gone. I have no clue what happened to him. I don't even remember who his other friends were, so I don't know whom to ask if they know anything.


I have a few old issues of the primary school magazine, Die Suidooster, and I'm wondering what to do with that goldmine of reminiscences. I'd like to just scan it and republish it online, but that seems fraught with copyright problems. Who owns the copyright? The school? The contributing authors? The editorial team?

The Cast


These were all at Laerskool Jan van Riebeeck, where I was from Sub A to Standard 5, or at Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck, where I continued my schooling from Standard 6 to Standard 10.

Random tokens