Today another fine woman departed this world for a better place – Mrs Haynes, mother of my oldest friend (we met at the age of 4 on the pavement outside my house, where our mothers were catching up with the latest happenings, as housewives did in those far off days. S and I almost shared a birthday, two days apart, and this somehow cemented the friendship which has endured for nearly 63 years. They lived a little way down the road from us, just far enough for her to watch me run all the way up the road after spending the afternoon playing together, until I reached the corner where I would climb the steps up to the house. Or vice versa. I think I went to her more often, as there were many exciting things to do right in front of her house – play along the banks of the Silvermine River, explore the sand dunes looking for tadpoles in the natural ponds, and pretend to be living in a fairy tale in a nearby duck house built to resemble a little cottage – perfect for children whose imaginations were allowed to run wild.
Mrs Haynes introduced me to egg sandwiches. This is satisfying dish has stuck with me throughout my life, and every so often I feel the need to fry two soft eggs, slap them between two buttery pieces of white bread and slather them with tomato sauce. Heaven on a plate, and always accompanied by thoughts of her cheery smile and no-nonsense from Noisy Barnes approach. I treasure the nickname she gave me at a tender age, and used until the very last time I saw her a few years ago before she left Fish Hoek to join her children in New Zealand. I do not recall her ever using my real name.
Life was not always easy for her, and she remains an icon of fortitude for me, to be admired and loved for her infectious laughter, ready smile and never a single complaint. Rest in peace, dear Mrs Haynes. Remembered with love always.