Rondebosch Boys High School, Canigou boarders (Ben)
Peter was at school with several Melcks and spent holidays on the farm WaterBoersKraal near Hopefield, with William Melck.
At my sister June Melck's memorial service Arthur introduced me to William's son Philbert Melck (very old, in a wheel chair).
Philbert was very interested to meet one of Peter's children. He made a point of saying "My father always said the best friend
he had ever had was Peter Fletcher."
Thanks for all the things you sent.
The waterblommetjies mentioned in the Langrietvlei material; they suddenly brought on a feeling of
nostalgia. Yes, my brother-in-law was Desmond Melck. I remember how we used to go to vlei areas
with water and pick them and take them back to the house for supper. They were not everywhere - you
had to know where to find them. Desmond was a half generation older than me. There was never a
better person. I am embarrased to think how many boxes of shotgun and rifle cartridges he had for
us at the beginning of the school holidays, and how empty they were at the end. We lived on the river
and on horses in the veldt. Desmond was not very tall (hooker), but very strong. He had huge hands
and wrists and was the local finger/arm wrestling champion. He had a mischievous and amiable sense
of humour which I associate with South Aficans of his country background. He farmed on a Melck farm
called Kruispad, on the river, closest to Langrietvlei. It might have been a subdivision of the farm
Doornfontein which hisbrother Ryk(sp?) Melck farmed. Next door also and upstream was the older farm
Kersfontein which when I was at school was in the hands of the Martin Melck family. The old farm buildings
and house were on the edge of the Berg River near the bridge. Martin was a character .... and he was most
friendly and talkative. Ryk went to live in Langebaan, and lived to a very ripe old age; when I went to say
goodbye to family before leaving Afica I saw him there and/0 he was still going strong if I am not mistaken.
But I think his wife Marie had died earlier. I was very fortunate in that my sister was able to come to stay with
us for a couple of months in Australia after Desmond had died. Her son and grandson are still on Kruispad.
But my father was also friendly with the Melcks. When my sister announced she was engaged to a Melck, my
father was able to tell her all about them!. I was also at school in Rondebosch with them. And like my father
I was also friends with other families from the area, in particular the Duckitts. They were from the Darling
area. Modderfontein * was one of the farms.(?)
My father used to tell a story about how he and a number of farm girls and a Grannie had gone to catch cray
or something at the coast in that area. Evening fell and they got on to the waggon and the girls huddled under
a bucksail. My father and the Grannie sat up at the front with the driver. The girls invited my father to join them
under the bucksail. But he was shy, and declined. It was cold. He remembered one of the girls saying "Kyk na
sy hoendervleis". (goose bumps)
The girls under the bucksail died in the 1918 flu. Only my father, the Grannie and the driver survived.(?)
Further to this: On our farm at Bembesi in Rhodesia the SW area had a number of places where many
small piles of rocks on the Greenstone schist ridges marked the graves of natives who had died during the flu.
They were of natives living on the farm in the old kraals, but not in employement. My grandfather (Pat F.) rode
his horse at night, with a sjambok in hand, to the kraals of farm employees and drove everybody out of their
huts, and made them sleep at a distance from one another outside in the cold. I never heard that any of these
died from flu. But perhaps some did. I attach a scan of the flyleaf of a record book that had an important place
in the history of the farm. It contained for instance an unbroken record of rainfall from 1922 to 2002 seasons
on the farm. It also had data of area of lands, feed mixes, depths of wells and boreholes, river flows, weights
of things etc etc. Over the years I saw most times I opened it the name of someone, crossed out, who clearly
was something to do with the family survey business. It has only been recently that the name has been
N.F. ... email to Kobus Kypers
Peter told me that "so many people died of flu (Spanish ..1918...) that the bodies were just taken out to sea
in Table Bay and dumped."
Alvin Cope .. email