The tears blur my vision as I remember a very special lady, a special lady not only to me but to all who knew her.
Avis Doreen Zock, nee Thomas nee Lavenski.
My Aunty Avis.
Aunty Avis or Ave as I used to call her is one of my Mom’s elder sisters. I say “is” and not “was” because she and Mom live on in all our hearts. All of us who are related to her and all who have had the privilege of knowing this remarkable lady will agree that she was very special. She was one of the kindest, sweetest ladies I have ever known. Whenever anyone, family or friend, moved house, Avis was the first to be there to help. She would arrive with her portable sewing machine and her suit-case full of pre-loved curtains and in no time she would have the curtains up and furniture arranged. Avis had enormous energy. Work never ever scared her; in fact I would say that she thrived on it.
What a lot of people may or may not know is that Avis was an accomplished dancer. She danced in many stage productions as a young woman and also was an excellent dancing teacher. When in my early teens, I remember how she would come home and teach us all the latest dance steps, the Bossa Nova, the Twist, Jive and so many more. Put on music and Avis would start dancing. She was full of rhythm. I even danced with her on our last visit to SA when she was about to celebrate her eightieth birthday.
I remember Avis’ sense of humour; she very seldom had a scowl on her face. She would laugh a lot and had such an infectious laugh that we would soon all be laughing with her. I’m sure she would not mind me telling this story: Avis had a weak bladder and if she laughed too much she would pee herself. To prevent her from peeing she would sit on the edge of a chair or stool, after a minute or so the urge would ease and she would then run to the toilet. One Saturday morning we were all sitting in the dining room chatting while the African cleaning man was on his knees polishing the floors. We were all laughing and joking. Avis was telling us about her date and laughing so much she was about to pee herself. She sat on the edge of one of the dining-room chairs and waited for the urge to subside. Finally she got up to rush to the toilet but the cleaner was on his hands and knees right in her path! She realised at the last minute and in her haste, jumped over him. As she leapt over him she let go and accidentally peed all over his head. You can imagine the hilarity; everyone was in stitches except perhaps the poor cleaning gentleman – he was certainly not amused. He picked up his brushes and polish and we never saw him again. Avis always felt very bad about what had happened and tried for weeks to find and apologise to the gentleman.
Avis was so full of life and love and has touched the hearts of everyone she has come into contact with; I am going to miss her so much. At noon (SA time) on Saturday 14th January 2012 My Aunty Avis will be laid to rest. Go in peace, my beautiful Aunt, go and meet your two sisters and your mom and dad. We all love you and will carry you in our hearts forever.
To my dear cousin Avril and her daughters Audrey and Kelly and their families and all our family in South Africa and abroad, please accept the most heartfelt condolences from all of the Wood and Maine families around the world.