Thursday, April 9, 2015

Good fences, great memories

While in a neighboring town recently, we parked the car and walked to the shop on the next corner. I lagged behind taking photos of a church which is very near to my heart. My paternal grandparents, Hendrik and Eliza Marais were married in this church just after WWI, on 21 November 1918. My dad, an only child was born in 22 October 1919. When he was three months old, he was christened in this church. 

On 20 May, 1966, my grandmother died on the farm where she and my granddad lived. She was buried from this church.  My grandfather came to live with my parents and us four children, in a town 400 km down the road. Three years later, on 24 September, 1969, my grandfather passed away. He'd lived a month past his 85th birthday which he'd celebrated with great gusto with family and friends. 

My grandfather's wish was to be buried with his wife in the Free State. There was no funeral transport service in the mid-sixties. My mum's older brother, Raymond offered to help. He collected the coffin from the freezers in the city morgue where my grandfather had been interned;  he and my cousin loaded it on the back of the pick-up truck and arrived at our home twenty minutes later. Grant, with whom I'd started going out earlier that year, wanted to attend the funeral with us. So he sat on the back of the pick-up, alongside the old man(Grant was very much in love with me those days)My dad and mom and us kids, now teenagers,  traveled behind the "hearse". 

When we arrived in this town, my uncle and cousin off-loaded the coffin at the undertakers and we drove out to my dad's relations on a farm. We stayed with them until the day of the funeral, my grandfather was buried from the church in town; then we, as a family, returned home to Kwa-Zulu Natal. I remember Grant saying he wouldn't mind living in the Free State. I also remember looking at him with horror. (The joke was on me in the end, wasn't it?) 
The fence surrounding the church
The logs along the fence which encloses the whole property,  are petrified wood
Rina, who turned back when she saw I wasn't with them, mused that perhaps the rock above was previously yellow wood? 
I held my phone over the fence trying to get photos the "wooden" logs and autumn leaves lying around
Another picture of the cut logs lying inside the fence
The beautiful gardens surrounding the church

Great memories are evoked whenever I'm in this Free State town and walk past the church. 

I'm linking my post to Good Fences Thursday which you can visit here

Happy Thursday to you all! 


  1. really neat memories. (way to impress, grant.) :) love the petrified wood!

  2. It's a lovely church and gardens. Glad you had a nice "walk" through memory lane. xx

  3. HI Jo Such wonderful memories for you and it looks a lovley little church and beautiful resting place for your grandparents.

  4. Lots of memories with this church ! I just imagine the coffin on a pick up truck ! Was really a very special transport !

  5. Hello Jo, the church is beautiful. Such lovely memories there.. Neat shots of the petrified wood and fences. Have a happy day!

  6. this is a really beautiful old church, and glad you shared it and your family story. would you do a post on what Free State means?

  7. The fences are quite nice but what I really enjoyed was the story behind your photos.

  8. It's a beautiful church with some great memories! Very meaningful. Loved reading the story about the pick-up truck hearse...and your eventual return to the Free State. Life is always full of surprises!

  9. Such lovely memories and what a splendid location too.

  10. Wonderful memories! The church us just beautiful. I love the petrified wood too! Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing.

  11. This is fascinating family history. I love hearing about family stories of long ago.

  12. A lovely church filled with memories.


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