Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Firemen, macaws and duckies

Ek sê maybe life is coming round to donner me a generation later but this oke is proud of how he turned out. Yes I am proud that I broke the mold. Who would have thought someone like me could come from the era of the Durban ducktails.

So who are the ducktails? Well remember the TV series called Sha Na Na. Well the music and looks was about as close these greasers came to the ducktails. Yes the caked back brylcreem hair and the cigarette packs rolled up into their white t-shirt sleeves were their distinctive dress code but this was a rebellious, hedonistic and apolitical subculture that was shaped by rock 'n roll and flick knives. They were known to be clean fighters and would never kick an opponent, unless he was down. My mom once told me of a story that a local Durban ducktail put razor blades on a children's slide. How true that is I am not sure but you get the idea that these weren't nice clean people as Sha Na Na depicted.

Talking about my mom, I am only now piecing the stories from the past. I haven't spoken to all parties involved and could have gotten it all wrong but this is what I have pieced together so far. My mom's brother Ronnie ran with the ducktails in Durban. I spent quite some time with him talking about Durban, the ducktails, firemen and my late father. I am not too sure if my dad was a ducktail but by association he was. Now where do firemen come in, you may ask. My dad was never a fireman due to contracting Rheumatic Fever at about 6 years of age but he must have worked in admin or stores to have access to firemen boots. Sadly that's my dad; he used to supply Ronnie and the ducktails with firemen's boots. Ronnie introduced my dad to my mom's sister and they went to the Friday and Saturday dance sessions and of course the bioscope. But somehow my very young mom and dad hit it off and I was the result. After they married my brother arrived.

Now this is where it all gets interesting. Not sure if it was out of love or necessity that my mom ran off with a fireman to Vereeniging or Vanderbijil. It was here in the Transvaal that she fell pregnant with my sister. My mom later returned to Durban and to my dad but not for long as she soon fell in love with another fireman who later became my step-dad. It was in this interim period that we kids found ourselves in an orphanage. Taken away by the state it was the only dark part of my youth and thankfully they had the foresight to keep the children together. Once my mother remarried we were returned to her. My stepdad was totally opposite from the ducktails. Clean cut, hard working and driving suped up Jaguar's to the Friday and Saturday dance sessions so they could pick fights with the ducktails. This was the start of my much disciplined era of my life. It was a hard time for us kids but that is another story to be told. All that is left to say is my dad later fathered two daughters and my mom another son.

So what got me thinking about the ducktails, firemen and my past? Was it this photograph of Phoenix, a Hahns Macaw or my depressive state? Like the mythical Phoenix, I proudly rose from the ashes of my broken past to become who I am today. I need to hold onto that as it keeps me knowing that there is a path set out for me. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I remember fondly in the early 90s finding a heart scratched in the concrete sidewalk along Point Road in Durban with JW loves MK and a date from the 60s. It made my heart leap knowing that it could have been my old man who scratched his love in wet concrete. Ducktails, firemen and phoenixes, yes I once was but now I am.

Good night, and grease for peace.

2 comments:

Petunia said...

Jerome, I think this is your longest post and most personal one (i might be wrong)

Yes and yes, it is really not about where we come from but it is about where we are heading. God has great plans for us and has always been.

Thanks for sharing your story...

Anonymous said...

I think this is a shocking post. How can you post something so personal on the www? It shows hige disrespect for your mother. What if she were to read it?

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