Rosalie - some of her recollections
Work in progress
Email Wendy_Neil. 26 March 2008.
"Mum says she does not remember very much about Tom and Violet on their
visits from Joburg, only that he was a banker, had an athletic build, and that she
used to send him Christmas cards. Then he died, and no one told her, and she
continued sending him cards until Lionel told her that there was a problem
getting them to him. Violet used to come up from Joburg to look after her and
Aunt Patty when she had to go away. Lionel was a good friend of Alistair and
visited Umvutcha a lot - Mum says she remembers he had a beige coloured
'Baby Austin' that he used to park at the back of the house, and that he boarded
at Umvutcha for a short while."
Wendy - could you find out more about Tom's visits. Your mail seems to suggest
that Tom was not resident in Byo from very early on, something I was not aware of.
I am fairly certain he is in that Xmas at Umvutcha photo of 1908 or so. I remember
him from the 1940's at Fort Street and Hillside, but of course he might have retired
to Bulawayo by then. I dont think it correct that he was a banker. Have always heard
that he had something to do with the railways and on Roderick's birthcertificate of
1908 Tom is given as Mechanical Engineer.
Tom died in the very early Fifties when he and Violet were living with Lionel and
Loris in Napier Ave, Hillside.
Lionel and Loris were good friends to a lot of the family besides Alistair, - in
particular to the Zimbile Fletchers and their kids.
What does Rosalie mean when she says Violet came up look after them "when
she had to go away". ?
Loris in the Fifties had a "Baby Austin", I think, - probably the same one.
I remember going in it with her.
Phone conversation with Rosalie 16 June 2008
She said she had met Jean Fletcher in Cape Town when she was taken down
with Patty by Annie. She said she might have been 10 years old so so. (This
would imply 1933 or so) She was not aware that Jean was married, and had
only the vaguest recollection of the occasion. "She didn't like Annie and Annie
didn't like her", she thought. "RA used to talk about her a lot. I got on well with
Rob. He was a gentle person and sentimental. I felt sorry for him. Annie did not
have much affection for him.
"He talked to me a lot and when we went out at night to feed the dogs he used
to point out all the stars to me, the Southern Cross and so on." ......
"Except when they were in
Salisbury they never shared the same bedroom. When at Umvutcha Patty and
I shared a bedroom with Annie." "Yet he was very fond of her......She never
smiled very much....She didnt have an affectionate bone in her body".
"But one had to admire her strength. And she brought Patty and I up.
She was a good woman".
Lilian lived with her brother Harry (Huntley) on a farm. She supervised the
kitchen. Harry was very fond of roast chicken and one evening when they had
guests he was carving and asked each one what part of the bird they would like.
When it was Lilian's turn she said she would not have any. Harry was suspicious
and later quizzed the servants who revealed that the bird had been dropped into
the slop bucket, and Lilian had just washed it off and put it back in the oven for
Harry married late, a very nice and good looking woman called Bona, and they
had a little girl Ann(a?). Harry was very lucky to find such a nice woman
considering what a reprobate he had reputedly been previously. They visited
Patty and Rosalie when they were at Rustenberg school.
Lillian went to live in a room at the Grand Hotel. She used to dress in all her
jewellery and during the war when the Air Force chooms came out to learn to fly
they used to sit around and listen to all her stories of the early days....
7 December 2009
Phone conversation with Rosalie:
She remembers Howard Moffat very well. He used to go to Zimbile
every year for the big family Christmas. RA and Pat were not talking
to each other, and Moffat would sit between the two of them in the big
"There were more than 50 people always, and Annie made a big
contribution, bringing puddings and so on."
Rosalie remembers having a swimming race with Ben on "open
surface water. There was a lot of it at Zimbile". But she does not
think it was a reservoir. She would have been about 14-15, making it
about 1937. She said swimming was her sport at school[?]
She thought Moffat drove himself to the farm from somewhere quite
close. She agreed it might have been Shangani. She remembers the
name Pick Moffat, and thought he might be Howard's son. She also
remembers the names Unity and Bobby. She thought they were
Moffat sisters, probably Pick's.. [So who was Pick's wife.? Because
that's his?son in the ca. 1945/6 photograph round the reservoir at Z.]
[I can remember old Moffat coming to visit Pat, not long before 1948. I
am almost certain it was him (and not Papenfus) who sunk in to the
axle on the Fingo just outside our grid on the boundary. There is a
bit of sandveld "brok" that gets very soft after a good rainy spell. I
seem to recall it was a Chev saloon.]
She did not know anything pertaining to Moffat's letter to RA 1931?
about RA needing a rest from government.
Rosalie was about 6-7 when Annie took her and Patty to live at
Umvutcha. That was a year or so after Kenneth remarried. [check]
She said Annie went and built herself somewhere to live on the
farm Hamba Gahle after Alistair got married. Rob refused to
follow her, and remained living at Umvutcha. "It was not a good
marriage as far as I can remember. I was sorry for him. He was
always in love with her. After Annie had died Patty and I used to sit
on the verandah near Rob's bedroom He was quite old and would
sometimes get morbid and call out "Nance, Nance" - that's what
he called her...."
Rosalie had read the collection of Annie's letters recently dug out
at Chingoma. She thought they made Annie seem a bit pathetic.
But she agreed they showed a side of Aniie she had not
suspected. Nevertheless she thought Annie was harder and often
unkind to him. "When he was in politics he would practise his
speeches, and asked Annie to listen to him. She told him 'Don't
speak as though you've got a hot potato in your mouth'. He was
a shy person. Shy of women too. Where he once worked he used
to go to his office so as to avoid all the women. When they realised
this they got another wall and door put in so that he had to go past
and say 'Good Morning' to them each day"
Annie and Rob went to England when Rosalie was 10-12. Violet
came to look after her and Patty at Umvutcha while Annie was away.
She does not remember ever seeing Violet & Tom together in
Bulawayo. She thinks Violet might have come up to look after them
from down South.
She first remembers Lionel when he came to Umvutcha in his car.
"He was such a long slab, and he climbed out of his Baby Austin"
She thinks she might have been about ten. . [I described
the Austin I recall as Loris' ca. 1949-50 . Olive-khaki-brown,
squarish, a crank lever at the front. Rosalie seemed certain it was
[N.B. First mention in Peter's diaries of Lionel, 1931. Check again,
the entry at the beginning of the year might be "Lionel's dinner",
and not Leone(Robinson?) if Lionel had just come to the country.]
Rosalie said she did not have the faintest recollection of what
Jean Fletcher looked like. [See earlier conversation June 2008.
Annie took Patty & Rosalie to see Jean in Cape Town. So she
would be unable to clear up the problem of the Jean Fletcher
photo recently put up on Picasa by Robby. ]
Click on image to enlarge. Click on Back or < to return to this page.
Pattie and Annie Fletcher at Hamba Gahle