Lady Of Alex

Alexanderfontien is about seven miles outside Kimberley past the Airfield. Where a old famous Hotel stood. The building was build by De beers ( Mining Company). The Architect was a Mr. Greatbach. The Construction was done during the Boer war. It opened its doors in 1902 ( The year the founder of De beers , Cecil Rhodes Passed away.) . And with its beautiful gardens pool and Being licensed with a Tram running from Kimberley. It always was the place to be. Dances on the famous spring floor. Parties . Weddings. Love and yes even murder. Manny a important person came to stay at this Hotel. But as it were the place closed its doors for good in 1939. During the Second World War the hotel became the officers quarters for the Kimberley flying school, up to 1950. Then a School for Physically Handicapped girls were established in this old building. This closed in 1961. My father then an Inspector of Labour in Queenstown where I did my first year in school at “ Hangklip Primary”. . Got an promotion and transfer too Kimberley as head inspector. A part of the old place. The front bottom. Was offered to my father as so to be a “ Part time” caretaker of the place. We got there in January 1963. As a seven year old the place was Enormous! It was an child’s Dream come true. The big lawns, Trees, and more. The homes around the building ( Where the pilots and officers of the world war period stayed). Was occupied by the school teachers of the reform school. The school and residence were down the road from there. So we never really met these boys. But were friends with the children of the teachers. We then, My Brothers and I traveled by school bus with the other children to school in Kimberly and back. ( I was in Staats President Swart Primary).
The Alexanderfontien Hotel building was empty , except for us occupying three of the 36 rooms. And we used one of the Bathrooms at the bottom. We played Cowboys and crooks in the empty part. Now my story begins let say about February 1963. We were about seven boys together. Consisting of , My brothers, Hans and Fritz, Louwtjie, Tom, Jose, Willie and myself. I was the youngest. That Saturday we were still reenact a cowboy movie we saw the previous night at the reform school. I remember we ended of in one of the empty pubs in the old building , playing out it was a saloon. It got dark. In the building ( the part not used). It got so dark you could not see your hand in front of you. “ Let’s go up the stairs through the hotel.” Hans still said. “ It’s too dark we can’t see anything.” Tom answered. “ Chicken!” Hans shouted and ran up the big stairs to the top. Everyone else followed and me , at the back. Down the passage I went. Suddenly I was alone. ( What I did not know was the others Ducked into the first room and hid away from me). I went past them. It was dark , I was scared , lost and alone. I started crying. I felt this soft hand on my head. “ Are you lost, my child?.” A beautiful soothing voice of a lady said and in English ( We were all Afrikaans). “ Tannie , They left me alone.” I stammered. “ Who are they?” the sweat voice asked. “ My brothers, Tom, Louwtjie and them.” . I then felt calm looking up to the dark silhouette of a woman Then bending down and wiping away my tears, her sweet perfume, saying: “Do not be afraid, you are not alone,”. “ Come I will take you to them.” She said taking my hand gently. And so we walked in the dark. “ Are you from here? “ I asked. “ Yes my child , I have been here for quite a while.” She said. As we walked along I was chatting away in the dark till we came to the back top veranda and the long way around the back to the doors leading to the stairway. “ There you are child. Now be good.”. She said. “ Will I see you again.” I asked. She never answered for she were gone, disappeared! I went through the doors down the steps and there I found my Brothers and their friends waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. They were too scared to look for me. “ Where were you” Fritz still said. “ O we were walking around the top, the Aunty and me.”.
After this I never was scarred of the Dark ever again. As for the Mysterious lady. Everybody still joked about what I told then, Even my Mother joked and said it was a “ Afkop vrou” ( Headless woman). I never saw her again. Years later being married and staying in Bothasig in Capetown it was round about 1998. My wife , Veronica and I were on leave and decided to go on holiday for a few days to Kimberley. We then found out that the Jack Hindon club was open to public. We jumped to the chance to go see where I have spend my Primary school years. The people that worked there, where wonderful. We walked out. As we were walking on the back veranda, I was jabbering like always. As we were walking. I felt my wife’s hand softly hooking into my left arm. As we got to the hall that now is the officers mess. I then said “ I see they changed the Sliding doors with windows now!” and turned to my wife. Then only I realized she was on my right hand side talking to the staff….( Did my lady remembered me?) So as The legend goes . That many an officer when staying there and workers at The Jack Hindon Officers' Club At Alexanderfontien have felt her presence, smelled her sweet perfume or even seen her up to this day.
Louis Coetsee
lolgingin lolgingin
61-65, M
1 Response Oct 2, 2013

spooky, im scared to go to the toilet now