Grandparents also faced crisis of World War 2


Dear Charles Beningfield

Thanks for your weekly column and especially the recent story of your lockdown emotions and your dear wife’s handling of them (‘Highs and lows of lockdown living’, May 21).

Yes, lockdown is minor when you have been torpedoed in the middle of the night in the middle of the North Sea as a little girl of nine!

In the week before your column, I was also reminded to put things in perspective in the time of Corona by a couple of happenings: first, my friend Luke Yazbek told me: “Rory, you must remember that our grandparents went to war.”

He was right, but in my case only one set of grandparents (my grandparents Stone, my mother’s parents) were old enough to go to war in the 1940s.

The other set (my grandparents Haschick) were learning for matric by candlelight in King William’s Town as all the available fuel for lights was being used for tanks and planes in the war effort.

A few days after Luke’s comments, my mother gave me a Bible for my book collection which was owned by my Oupa, HM ”Boet” Stone.

It was a gift from his wife Col and is dated 1934.

I don’t know if it went with Oupa and the Allied forces to the Northern Sahara Desert in 1941 but I like to think that it did.

Granny was left living somewhere between modern day Katlehong and Boksburg with no job, a baby in arms and no money to speak of.

My mom’s older sisters were forced to queue for food parcels in the same way that needy South Africans are doing at the moment.

By God’s grace, Oupa returned from North Africa after the war and the family was reunited and moved to the Eastern Cape. These little reminders of the past humble and encourage me and my family as we live in lockdown.

Thanks for your column, Charles and we will soon see you back on the beach at “Bonzies”.


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