[A lilac post with a hint of lime]
A bit of background information for the uninitiated.
My parents, Cedric and Coral Harding, met in Port Shepstone on the Natal South Coast and were married there on 30 November 1960. After many years living and raising their family in other parts of Natal, now KwaZulu-Natal, they retired back to the South Coast in 1998.
I am the oldest child, born Mary Coral Harding on 17 August 1961 in Port Shepstone, the same place as Dad was born. The family moved to Pietermaritzburg in 1972 and I have remained here.
Kimberley Mae Bruce is my only child, born in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday 11 August 1992 at 00:57 – on what was apparently the coldest night of the year. I married Robert Andrew Marsh Bruce (b. 25 May 1960) on 30 October 1982. We had been advised that we were unlikely to have children and Ms Bruce Jnr has been a source of joy and pride since we heard of the pregnancy on 18 December 1991. After almost fifteen years of marriage, Rob and I were divorced in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 18 July 1997. Rob has remarried and lives with his wife and two daughters in Gauteng. Kimberley lives with me and visits Rob, Natasha and girls twice a year during the July and December holidays. I currently remain happily single.
My brother, John Laurence Harding, was born on 30 December 1962 in Durban, where Mom was also born. John married Susan Abbott on 10 August 1984 and they now live in Augusta, Georgia, USA.
Our paternal grandparents were William Laurence Harding (d. 7 July 1978) and Gladys Annie (nee Lello) (d. 6 November 1983) who married on 29 June 1935, and our maternal grandparents were Hector and Gladys Moseley (nee Pearson) (d.1967 and 1958 respectively). ‘Grampa Moseley’ remarried in 1962 and we grew up knowing ‘Granny Edith’ as an integral part of our family. ‘Gran’ and ‘Pa’ (Harding) lived on the same property as we did for most of our formative years and we visited our other grandparents for sea-side holidays at Sunwich Port on the South Coast, not far from Port Shepstone.
The Hardings lived on a farm, The Summit, at the top end of Oribi Gorge and remained there until early in the 1960s. Pa had been ‘Up North’ during the Second World War, serving in the Engineers Corp. Shortly after I was born, Dad took up an opportunity to join the Durban Symphony Orchestra as one of the youngest professional musicians at the time. He still has a newspaper clipping announcing his appointment and, although he is now 71, he is unmistakable. Mom had attended school in Port Elizabeth but, after the death of her mother when Mom was just 16, she and Grampa Moseley moved to what had been their holiday home at Umzumbe – on the South Coast. Mom worked in a bank in Port Shepstone and played the organ in church. It was their shared interest in music that first brought our folks together. John has inherited the talent ; a lack of the same has probably brought me as close to adoption as anything could.
After the War, farming became even more financially difficult and my parents moved with me to Durban when Dad joined the orchestra. We lived in a series of flats and one can only imagine the difficulty Dad must have had in adjusting to life in this environment after growing up in the freedom of the Gorge. This was where John was born. A couple of years later The Summit was sold and we moved to Sithele, a small holding in the Botha’s Hill valley, opposite the Chanteclere Hotel. This was the first home I remember and formed the mental background for many of the stories I loved reading – from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five to the Billabong books of Mary Grant Bruce (a lime moment – one of the coincidences I cherish).
The trip to Durban combined with financial considerations lead to us leaving Sithele in 1969 and settling briefly in Inchanga, a small settlement possibly most well known for its presence on the Comrades’ Marathon route. Having both started school at Hillcrest Primary, John and I spent eighteen months at Cato Ridge Junior School. We finally moved to Pietermaritzburg in 1972.
This forms the foundation and reinforcing rods for any subsequent ramblings on my part. They will be moulded and padded with many memories of our pets over the years, viewed by my parents and Kimberley as much as me as extended family members.