A couple of weeks ago, I opened my e-mail inbox to find an email from Paypal, the site that I use to sell my book. It said that a woman in South Africa had purchased the book and had transferred the money into my account.. The address for despatch was a box number in Modderfontein Gauteng. There was also the name and e-mail address of the purchaser. As is my custom, I immediately e-mailed the lady as follows:
Thank you very much for purchasing my book “Life is…a coming of age memoir“.
I have received your payment for which I thank you too. I will be posting your book on Saturday morning. Post from NZ to SA takes between 6 to 10 days so please keep an eye out for it and let me know when it arrives.
Please would you tell me how you heard about the book, I am always interested and thrilled to find out how the word gets around.
My late dad used to live in Illiondale, which is near Modderfontein, what a small world.
Alf Q Wood”
To my utter surprise, I received this reply the next day:
I am Vivienne your half sister, I found you on Facebook. At first, I could not find you, but found Margie and Bradley and then from their profiles found you. Your book looks very interesting and I would love to read it.
Vivienne (nee Wood)”
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
Apart from Margie, I have two half sisters from my dad’s third marriage to Dorothy Hawley.
Shortly after Dad died in 1981, Dorothy had a severe stroke leaving her partially paralysed and debilitated. At the time, Desiree was sixteen and Vivienne was nine. Dot’s unfortunate illness made it impossible for her to take care of the girls so after a family discussion it was decided that Des would come and live with us and Viv would go and live with an Aunt and Uncle of Dot’s in Springs. Irene, my wife managed to organise a job for Des at the company where she worked. This arrangement was not ideal for little Vivienne but was thought to be the best solution because Dot was to stay with her mom who lived in Springs and that Viv would be near her mom so would see her often.
In 1983, I transferred to my company’s head office in Pinetown Natal. We asked Des to come with us but understandably, she declined saying she needed to be close to her mom and sister.
Well, inexcusably, over the years I lost contact with the girls. I thought of them often but was always too busy or too lazy or too something to get off my bum and make contact. On occasions, I would hear the odd bit of news from here or there.
The older one gets the more one realises how important it is to treasure family. I am so grateful that Vivienne made contact and bears no animosity. I have now discovered that I have a lovely new niece called Kaylee who is eleven and a handsome nephew called Brandon who is seventeen years old.
My only regret is that we did not make contact sooner while we were still living in SA, we are now so far away from each other. I hope that we will all get together before I depart this earth plain. Fortunately, they are all still young and energetic enough to visit NZ one day.