My Granny had a best friend who we called Granny Jonas. She claimed us as her own and was never very far from my Gran's side. They were neighbours for many years and, at the end, ended up in a Rondebosch old age home together. They were never far apart. In later years their friendship was often tested, mainly because my Gran became less tolerant of Granny Jonas's bossy and interfering ways. She was a part of our family though, a part of our holidays, our celebrations and our saddnesses.
Why I got thinking of these two colourful old ladies today was because we had got talking the other evening about the things that we were told when we were young (mainly old wives tales) and which we believed. Most of these superstitions came from my Gran, some of these are well known and others, I do not know where she got them from and I now know that she added her own little bits to the end. "Don't swallow bubble gum because it will live in your intestines for 7 years and rot", "Never crack your knuckles, they will get big and bulbous and no man will be able to get a wedding ring on your finger", "Don't go to sleep with wet hair, you will wake up with a horrible smell coming out of your nose (weird)" "Never put a hat on your bed or your shoes on the table - bad, bad luck", "Don't eat bananas before bedtime, you will have nightmares", "Put a slice of wedding cake under your pillow and you will dream of your future husband", "Don't rinse your hair under the cold tap because you will get meningitis", "Don't tickle a babies feet. It will make them stutter."
Granny Jonas was the family soothsayer and, until I came along she had never given a wrong prediction about the sex of a baby. People came from all over the city for a consultation with her. From the time my stomach started protruding she would tell me that it was "definitely a girl". She could tell by the way I was carrying (high and all in the front) and the fact that she thought I had "lost my looks" - "When you carry a boy, you get prettier but a girl takes your good looks for herself" (She never was big on tact). To prove her point she one day plucked a hair from my head, removed my wedding ring and told me to lie down. She then tied the strand of hair around my wedding ring and held the ring over my naked stomach. The ring swung up and down like a pendulum - more proof of a girl (a boy makes circles).
When Gareth arrived she was, for the first time in her life, speechless. She knitted beautifully and arrived at the nursing home with my Gran, hours after his birth to double check that she was not wrong, with a cardboard box filled with her beautiful knitting. Thank goodness I had asked for everything to be in white. Every year for the next 14 years, she called him on his birthday at 6 in the morning with the same story "Hello my Luvvie - 14 (13, 12, 11 etc.) years ago today you were born. I still cannot believe that you are a boy. All in the front, your mother carried you know and she really did not look very pretty either. Do you know that when you were born, it was the first time that I had ever been wrong?"
Pictures: PinterestGood memories of two special ladies.