My Family

 

Meeting Tessa

At the Office Club in Wynberg, I became friendly with Mark Rappaport who was in the January 1977 intake, 6 months before me. Mark was never shy to go up to a girl he fancied, telling her the he was a lonely national serviceman and whether she would be interested in a date.

Well one morning while on Clifton beach enjoying the surfing and admiring the lovely ladies, this is exactly what Mark did, taking on my challenge that he would never do it.

There were 2 beautiful girls sunbathing which we had spotted. I went in for a swim while Mark promptly introduced himself and asked whether either were available or knew somebody who may be. One of those girls was Tessa, my wife to be. Tessa had recently broken up with her boyfriend, was not interested, and Mary was attached. However they thought Mark a charming fellow and sympathising with him, give him the number of a friend of theirs, Di, who they thought may take a fancy to Mark. As soon as Tessa got home she phoned Di to tell her, just in case Mark phoned. Well Mark did phone, and because I had the only means of transport, we both took Di out for dinner at the Newlands Hotel. It was an unusual evening, but pleasant.

Di reciprocated by inviting Mark and myself to a party she was having at her apartment in Wynberg. This was where I met Tessa for the first time. We fortunately met early in the evening and I don’t think we parted company throughout the party. Tessa looked gorgeous with her lovely big green eyes and blond hair. She gave me her address and after waiting a day or two, not wanting to be seen to be too keen, visited her on the off chance of her being at Carringlawn, No 48 Kenilworth Avenue. My timing was spot on. I got to meet the Pitt family and from there our love grew.

Our first get away was to Pine Lake Marina on the garden Route in December 1978. We set up our tent, as we were camping and within a few hours the rain came down and our tent was of no use. The manager of the complex saw our predicament and with sympathy put us in the annex to the main house. This was a treat. We had a wonderful time.

Our Engagement, Bachelors, Kitchen Tea and Wedding

Our engagement on my birthday, 30 November 1970, was celebrated with Tessa’s family and Ann that evening at Carrighlawn, Kenilworth.

My Bachelor Party was held at the Vinyard Hotel, Newlands on 21 June 1980. I was fortunate to have my good friends to send me off into my next stage in life, it was a lot of fun. Those who came were Dennis Walker, Pat Quamby, Nick Trace, Deon Le Riche, George Bishop, Niel Douglas, Clive van der Poel, Stephen Baird, Derek Pitt, Mike Pitt and Mike Spiro. My best, man Dennis Walker, was supposed to look after me and protect me from those nasty friends who wanted me to be able to eventually do the waltz at which I have always been so clumsy. Dennis failed and the mob succeeded. I ended up with some ladies panties on my head, a visit to a bowl which seemed larger than a bathroom basin and comfortably to bed. It was a great evening with a terrible head the next morning.

Tessa had her kitchen tea on 23 June 1980 celebrating with Rose Hart, Di Clarke, Marri Keegan, Linda Moore, Marie Ferrandi, Nolene Saayman, Jacqui Braunlich, Jane Deacon, Jane Withey, Sarah van der Poel, Shelly Levy, Dawn Hayes, Julie Dyer, Margie Walsh, Rose Bullen, Penny Whelan, Jerry Whelan, Joan Manders, Jeanne Paterson, Ruth Walsh, Peggy Coehessy, Joan Pitt, Dianne Pitt and Magdalena Davy. The outfit she had to put on was priceless. She wore goldilocks scourers as his hair piece and a little hat held on with clothes pegs. I was living on Grove Avenue, Claremont at the time and she was made to stand at the stop street in the freezing cold as a lady of the night.

We were married at Springfield Convent Chapel, Wynberg on Friday 27 June 1980 at 5pm. My best man was Dennis Walker and Tessa’s bridesmaid Rose Lloyd-Roberts. The day was overcast with lots of rain and time spent under umbrellas. Tessa looked beautiful with her lovely white wedding dress and tiara made of carnations. The cocktails reception was held at the Mount Nelson Hotel while well known pianist Bruce Gardener playing in the background. We left the hotel about 9pm in Tessa’s black VW Beatle which we dropped off at Ann’s apartment and headed off to the Devon Valley Hotel in Stellenbosch for 2 nights. We then flew to East London and spent the rest of our honeymoon, six days, at Trenneys in the Transkei. It was a wonderful time shared with some lovely people.

Tessa continued her teaching at Kirstenhof Primary while I completed my Articles at Alex Aiken & Carter. I met so many of Tessa’s school and university friends at this time which I enjoyed.

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