Tuesday, July 24, 2007

unexpected bonus

One of the unexpected bonuses of our ongoing historic research is the cool people we are meeting. We typed a little flyer asking people to contact us if they had any info, photos, anecdotes etc to add some pieces to our zigsaw puzzle, and K has been dropping them in people's letter boxes. We have already had a few replies. Last night we were invited to the home of a delightful lady who turns out to live 2 houses down from K, and her family has been in the house since 1926, in fact she was born there in 1944. She told us some delightful anecdotes about growing up here, and very generously gave us a copy of a family photo, taken in the 1920s, when her granny gave a housewarming party. The clothes and headbands are stunning! I'll show you when I get a chance to scan it (my cd/dvd reader has packed up, grrrrrrrr, so I can't load the software for my new scanner, and my friendly computer boffin can only come and fix it tomorrow.)


Then this morning we had tea with another neighbour, who has done a wonderful job of restoring an old cottage around the corner. What makes it interesting is that the original owner was the headmistress of the Erica School for girls, and she used the two cottages next door to her as classrooms, until the school buildings I am always showing you across the park were completed in 1903.


Aside from the hospitality and info, it was wonderful meeting her, because she is an amazing person, a strong capable and creative woman who has had some pretty harsh knocks in life (among others, she is an incredible artist whose hands have been completely crippled by arthritis) yet gets on with things and makes the best of it. She is new to Port Elizabeth, and doesn't know anyone, but we really 'clicked' and I think we are going to become good friends. K and I have promised to take her along to some openings of local art exhibitions so she can meet some of the who's who in our little backwater!


So beside the joy of the hunt, we are unexpectedly enjoying the social spinoffs!

NOW AND THEN:

The old graveyard, over looking Russel Road, 1800s and now (clickable if you want to see them bigger)

4 comments:

Sheila said...

HI, I'm back and have tried to catch up with as many posts as possible..!
I can see where this research can become addictive. To find someone with first hand knowledge, having been born there and lived in a home owned by the same family for 80 some years must be a valuable resource..!

RUTH said...

How wonderful that delving into the past has found you new friends for the future :o)
Rx

Blue said...

I love the before and after shots. And when you live there and can see the old photo to compare, that is the coolest thing.
xo
Blue

Suzi-k said...

Welcome back Sheila, I missed you!
Ruth, that's a nice perspective on it!
Blue, so true, and I have been taking it a step further and painting some of them, so i have the old, new and arty versions! It IS fun!