Down Memory Lane          - 9/5/2017      <--Prev : Next-->

I have so many happy memories, we lived in Malindela (one of the first houses built there) and we had endless hours of fun playing in the river that ran alongside the Bulawayo Golf Club, we built dams and forts (there was a lot of tree cover), fished, gardened and collected golf balls which landed in the river with regular monotony. We rode to school and in those days you could weave all over the road because there were very few cars making their appearance at the hour we went to school. Life was certainly much less stressful then - all you had to worry about was stepping out of line at school or home and the consequences on the rear end.

My Mom worked at the Dairy Marketing Board, first in the Grey Street dairy and then at head office in the industrial sites. I can remember walking from our home in Malindela on a Saturday when my Dad was on shift - to meet my Mom as it was a half day, going into the back of the factory where the farmers brought their cans of cream, scooping a cup of cream (those paper waxed ones) and drinking it. To this day I can drink cream without batting an eyelid (don't think the veins like it but I sure do).

Such happy memories, but my kids aren't in the least bit interested in hearing about those times - how sad. If I try to explain to the grand children, they look at me as if the marbles have left and all they have is a vacant head in the granny. I can remember sitting with my grandmother when she talked about the times she went in an ox wagon up to Bechuanaland with her step father who was a trader, the wild animals they encountered and the fireside stories - sadly I was not clever enough to think to write them down as we loved hearing them and maybe could write a book for the kids of today to try and paint a picture of past times.

Enough nostalgia, hope all is well in your neck of the woods and grandson is growing like a weed.
A recent series of pictures on the Rhodesian Facebook page started me reminiscing about my childhood in Bulawayo. Jacaranda time was the most fun, riding bicycles down 14th Avenue, which was deserted in the early morning but covered in beautiful lilac blossoms which popped and moved as we made a wobbly path through them, circled and rode back just to make sure we had covered all the territory.

The famous crossroad ditches in the city, when it rained they became little rivers, absolutely essential to ride through and maybe accidentally fall off - then a rush home to Malindela for a lovely hot bath and warm mug of tea. Di Bella Bakery in Fife Street brought out their piping hot milk bread at 3 - just in time for the ride home, it was the most delicious feast, hot, soft and spongy. Their ' Cake of a Thousand Leaves' was a special treat for Birthdays, high days and holidays, have never found another bakery that made it the way they did, not even in Italy.. Downing's Bakery made the best pies and rolls, but my favourite was a square sponge cake covered in fondant icing and marked off into squares with walnuts in each square - it was my Aunt Emmies favourite too, so we always knew when we visited her house we were allowed a piece.

Bunking afternoon school to play in the river behind the convent that bordered on the Police Camp, then disguising ourselves by swopping hats etc (what that achieved I will never know but we thought it was a good idea at the time) as we walked back to school past the power station where my father worked. Bunking to go and see Elvis at the Palace in Fife Street in his first movie 'Jailhouse Rock', imagine our surprise when we came out and found the Mother Superior waiting for us and we knew the punishment was not far behind. Dancing on the wall at Treger House on the top floor to see who could do it fastest - never a thought to what would happen if we should fall. The beautiful red brick Drill Hall which was next to the Convent and where we trooped for the weekly swimming lessons in summer and if we were lucky an afternoon dip when it was very hot.

Cecil John Rhodes statue in Main Street looking north reminding us of his vision for a great road from Cape to Cairo. The perfect peace at the top of World's view in the Matopos where he was laid to rest in company with other pioneers and of course the amazingly beautiful Shangani Memorial on the side of the hill. Just to sit up there and ponder was so special, and of course to climb up there to watch the sun come up on New Year's day was to have lived!!! Borrow Street Baths, which opened for the season on the 1st September, best part was being allowed a new bathing costume every year which came from Morrison's on Fife Street.

Every Easter Morrison's would have a display of live chickens in their window (the animal rights people of today would have had a fit) and one year my brother and I received a chick each, his was Donald who turned out to be a Black Australop and he had a vicious temper, he was allowed into the yard on Sundays, and we kept clear as he was a monster. Mine was Daisy a Rhode island Red and a very passive girl she was too, probably cowed by the cockerel she lived with, needless to say they both died of old age as we could not bring ourselves to kill them. Another lasting memory is the Hillside Dams, endless places to play and hide, climb and explore.

My first ever Girl Guide camp was there on the border of Sander's home - have a lasting horror of long drops from that time on. Centenary Park with its little train, the Museum, band stand, can even remember the Sunday concerts on the lawn under the beautiful trees and Phoenix palms, the wonderful flower beds and walks. When Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret visited in 1953 my Mom took us to stand near the Clinic so we would get a view without the crowds and the Queen graciously let me take a picture with my box brownie camera. Was a dedicated royalist from that day on.

Who can forget the Dairy Den near the Trade Fair Grounds, maybe memory dulls ones taste but somehow ice cream does not taste as good as it did from there. More and more memories are tumbling into my head but for now these will do. Maybe you can recall some of the special times you had during your childhood in Bulawayo. A part of my heart will always remain there.

Cynthia Tiddy