Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pleasant surprise for an oldie

Last week I posted in depth and at length about moving MIL Pam from the bachelor flat into her own unit in the retirement center. 

Pam has three younger sisters and a younger brother; Gill, Judy, Carole and Dave. Pam and Gill were born of the same father and mother, Ernest and Esme Keiser. When Pam was ten and Gill four years old, their parents divorced. They never saw or heard from their father again. 

Meanwhile, Ernest's only sister, Hazel had been married to a wealthy farmer, Arthur Buttemer in the Kwa-Zulu Natal midlands. Hazel passed away after a long illness - during which period her sister-in-law, Esme, nursed her - leaving Arthur with four teenage daughters. 

In time, Esme and Arthur married; their union produced three more children, Judy, Carole and Dave. Arthur Buttemer died in 1974 when our oldest son, John was three months old. Esme passed away in an old age home in 1994. 

Judy and Carole's husbands have since passed away. Gill, a trained theater sister, remained a spinster and traveled the world until she was 50. Then she married a widower and was herself widowed three years later. When she was 60 she married a widower, Neville,  from her church. Carole also a trained hospital sister and who never remarried after her husband died, has been the matron of an up-market retirement center in Durban for the past 31 years. 

While we were moving Pam across last week, Gill phoned me and said she - now nudging 80 -   Neville (81) and Carole (70 -something)  would like to come up over the weekend. It was to be a surprise for Pam so we had to keep mum. They made the 450 km trip from Kwa-Zulu Natal and arrived at midday on Saturday. 
Sitting chatting after tea and before going to visit Pam. 
 From left: Neville, Carole, Gill, Rina and Grant

After a lovely tea of fruit scones and tuna sandwiches, we piled into Neville's car to go to Pam. Driving onto the property of the center, and up to the building housing the units, all three visitors were lyrical at everything being so beautiful. The same went for the interior of the building as we walked down the passage towards Pam's new home. 

By arrangement we got Rina to knock and go into Pam's room first. She told Pam that she'd brought people to see her in her new unit. I pushed the door open further - of course I was armed with my camera...
Pam peering ahead to see who was at her door
Once she saw who'd arrived, she was totally overcome
Carole appeared next much to Pam's surprise
Neville pulls up in the rear to greet his excited sister-in-law
A family photo of the sisters and Neville
The sisters together with Rina watching from one corner and Neville from the other

Once the old ladies had chatted up a storm, we told Pam we'd be fetching her to join us for a BBQ that evening. 
From left: Pam, Gill, Neville, Grant et moi and Carole

While Grant took his mother back to the center later that evening, the ladies washed up the dishes. Neville grabbed a dish cloth and helped dry! 

Early on Sunday morning I started the lunch of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and vegetables. Rina made her famous chocolate pudding. Because we'd be having a large cooked lunch, I served a cold breakfast of scones, muffins, yogurt and honey and sliced fruit. Before church, Angus and Amanda arrived to greet their great-aunts and uncle. 
 While Gill and Carole watch...
Rina and Joel enact a worship song which she taught him

The great-aunts and uncle oohed and aahed over the littlest Hedges who was asleep in his pram on the patio.

Abby telling Aunt Carole all about her baby brother 
The star of the moment slept through it all!

Later we oldies went for a walk around town. It's amazing how much you remember about your town when you're showing visitors around! 

Grant fetched his mum for lunch which was enjoyed inside around our large oak table. Much laughter and reminiscing went on the whole time. What a precious time! 

When they left for home on Monday morning, we all felt as though we'd been away, so special had been the time together. 

I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday here


  1. What a sweet post Jo! It really warmed my heart to see all of Pam's visitors from out of town and to see all the generations together. How precious indeed!

  2. You are so blessed to spend time with family.

  3. Wow, what a family meeting ! I too discover always new things when I have guests to show around !

  4. HI Jo What a wonderful surprise for Pam and great that they were all well enough to make that journey. it looks like you all had a very special time together, good company, wonderful food and many happy memories to talk about. By the way, someone has suggested a Black Kite I I do think that might be the answer. I had thought Kite but Red only to discover that they were not in that area.

  5. this is a wonderful tale of family re-united and everyone looks so happy.. i like Pam's new apartment and that last photo of the walkers is my favorite. so happy they all got to visit.

  6. What a lovely family reunion. Looks like a success in every way.

  7. Desde luego muy familiar... Un saludo desde Murcia.


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