Monday, October 22, 2012

My dad

Today - had he lived - would have been my dad's 93rd birthday. I will never forget the day my dad died: 11 September 2000; exactly one year before 9/11. So my dad has been gone these past twelve years. However, I didn't want to commemorate his death rather his life which was celebrated on this day: 22 October.

My dad was six foot one, slender and one of the most handsome men ever. Although he was big, he was a gentle soul. I cannot recall receiving a single hiding/spanking from him in my life! 

During WWII, my dad fought in Italy and it was here that he became friendly with a man called Ernest Kapp from Durban, South Africa who, incidentally was my mom's dad! After the war, when these two men disembarked, my mom and my grandmother were waiting on the quay to welcome my grandfather. Ernest introduced my dad to my mom and the rest is history.

Strangely, my mom's family referred to my dad as Punter, although he never gambled!  As children, we used to giggle uncontrollably whenever we visited this side of the family. We knew my dad's name was Andries (the Afrikaans version of Andrew) and not Punter!
   My dad and mom on their wedding day in 1947; and on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997

My dad was an only child and his only extended family were two cousins, Joyce and Joan, who were identical twins. 

 My dad, with his only cousins, Joyce on his right and Joan to his left

My mom didn't last long after my dad's passing. In fact, she died 16 months later on their wedding anniversary in 2002. They would have been married 55 years that day. 

Often when our granddaughter, Eryn visited me at home in Marquard, I'd talk to her about my mom and dad. I still have special glasses which my mom had bought me and I'd say to Eryn : "Would you like to drink your milk from my mother's glass?" She always said yes, but she also asked me where my mother was. And I'd try to explain death to a two-,three-and four-year old.

After a weekend which John, Debbie, Eryn, Joshua and I had spent on a Guest Farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal, in 2007, we decided to stop off in Estcourt and visit my parents' graves. Eryn, who was almost five, was most excited when I told her we would be visiting the place where my mother and father had been laid to rest! 

Of course, I had my camera and we used the opportunity to take family photos at the memorial of two very special people in our lives. At first Eryn was very solemn but later she found little wild flowers with which to decorate her Gran's mother and father's graves.   BTW Estcourt Cemetery is very neat. There are no built-up graves. You have a gravestone (headstone) on your grave and the rest is lawn. My parents are buried head-to-head.
 Eryn, John and I behind my dad's gravestone. Note the date of his death: 11.09.2000

 Debbie, John and Eryn pose behind my mom's gravestone which is the reverse of my dad's

Eryn and I at my mom's gravestone

 Eryn had gathered a bunch of wild flowers and soon was filling the vases built into my parent's headstone

My dad was a God-fearing man who loved and cared exclusively for his wife and children, and later his nine grandchildren. From his 18th birthday, when he was confirmed and accepted into the Dutch Reformed Church, until his death 63 years, later my dad served, first as deacon and later as an elder.

To me, the following Scripture describes my dad perfectly:

"An elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control , live wisely and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his house and be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace-loving and not one who loves money. He must manage his own family well with children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot handle his own household, how can he take care of God's church?" 1 Tim 3:2-5

May you continue to rest in peace, Daddy! 

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead.


  1. This is a beautiful memorial. You obviously were raised by magnificent parents. Sounds like your Dad fits that scripture perfectly.

  2. I was thinking of Dad this morning. If ever there was a good man it was him.

  3. My Dad passed one year After 9/11...Mom passed in '96. Lordy, I miss them.
    Love all the photos Jo...

  4. This is a beautiful tribute to your dad. Your parents make a lovely looking couple.

  5. Hi Jo, We've been in Ohio this past week with friends. Had a great time and did LOTS of hiking..

    Love the photos of your parents. We thought my father-in-law would die soon after Mom died ---but he (at age 100) just keeps on hanging on.

    Great that you could take your grandkids to the cemetery where your parents are buried. That's special.


  6. Still miss daddy to this day! What a beautiful piece on his birthday Jo! He was a great father and and hugs Rosemary xox

  7. What a nice tribute to your father !


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