I Remember.....

  Recently, I read a book by Dennis Herson, entitled 

"I Remember King Kong.' The cover shows a picture of the author as a child and the picture is framed with a yellow and blue Chappies wrapper. 

It's written in short sentence form, for example:


"I remember Portuguese greengrocers,Greek cafes and the Lebs of Highlands North who were supposed to be armed to the teeth."

I remember how Goldreich and Wolpe escaped across the border dressed as priests." 

I remember demi-johns of Lieberstein wines."


Every recollection however small, evokes incredibly powerful memories for me. He somehow manages to maintain a naivete that I find charming and funny. 

The book immediately triggered my own memories which I feel prompted to share.

"I remember lucky packets that came with soccer cards. I collected the Highlands Park team pictures."

I remember waiting outside the cafe near my house for the new stock of lucky packets to come in.'

I remember going into my maid's sleeping quarters and seeing two bricks under each leg of her bed and a calendar on the wall advertising blood tonic.

I remember attaching playing cards to my bicycle wheel frame with a clothes peg to create the sound of a motorcyle.


I remember falling out of the top of trees with Zeljko Berkovic and using the branches to break our falls. 

I remember my first school blazer. It was maroon with a blue and yellow badge. I was so small they put me in a 00 size and cut off the sleeves at the elbows. Even so, the sleeves were too long. 

I remember going with my nanny to church on thursday. She would meet her congregants in an open field all dressed up in her starched church dress and doek. 

I remember how dogs were left to run free everywhere and how a basset hound followed me home from school one day and stayed with us for years.

I remember our nutty neighbor Leah, who would serve us Ovaltine in plastic cups and Marie biscutis.

I remember her husband, Jack wearing a wife beater  with his slicked-back brilliantined hair. He'd corner me,  sit me down and force me to  listen to Jazz music with him.

I remember a junior school tour of the Voortrekker monument and someone farting. I remember the fart richocheting through the building and one of the students, Herbie, wailing, "It wasn't me......!"

I remember June 1976. 

I remember deciding to march

I remember my friend Jonathan Fluxman deciding he had 'other things to do' besides march.

I remember how the protest started small and grew into a crowd thousand strong

I remember when the police arrived and how I hid under a car and could feel the breath of a police dog hunting me down.

I remember going home and my dad yelling at me and telling me I knew **** all about what was happening. 

I remember Dennis Woods warning us that the riots were coming. I remember him doing wicked impersonations of the politicians in power. 

I remember his family receiving parcel bombs that exploded in their faces. 

I remember 12 and 13 year old children being tried in court for their roie in the riots and being too small to be seen over the dock in court


I remember June 1977 when students covered the campus lawn with black crosses in memory of the students who were killed in the '76 riots 

I remember the engineering students getting angry and kicking the crosses over. I remember an activist refusing to intervene because he felt their actions made a powerful poiltical statement.

I remember when the same guy was detained for 90 days without trial and came back to campus with a glazed look in his eyes after receiving shock treatment. 

  I remember coming home after the riots and hearing my father tell me that we started the riots and that he'd cut me off if I carried on with my ****.

I remember how he rewrote history after I left.

I remember returning home and visiting him in hospital. I remember him looking at me and saying , "You had no idea what was going on in this country, did you?"

penguinswon penguinswon
Feb 8, 2010