Harmony has posted a series of drawings by Trevor Romain vividly depicting some of the things one might remember from growing up many years ago in the suburbs of Johannesburg and ‘The Witwatersrand’.
The one above includes a fast foodery which holds a special place in our hearts. The Doll House. This was a scene of visits when driven there by parents, and later over a number of years it saw us in all the stages of growing up from teenage to young adulthood.
It was there that I passed out after having been dared to do a ‘boat race’ or ‘down-down’ on half a bottle of whiskey after many other drinks at a work party. Fortunately my girlfriend, after wondering if the corpse would ever be revived, and how she could drive my sports car home when her feet wouldn’t even reach the pedals, recognised a cousin’s boyfriend as a late visitor to the roadhouse.
He was also far gone and had come to try and revive himself with coffee, but sobered up immediately he saw me. He drove me home in my car while girlfriend drove his. Then I was marched up and down outside before being injected into the front door. I woke up the next morning with no memory of the party or its aftermath and a hangover from hell. I didn’t touch a drink for a good couple of years after that!
Surprisingly, that girlfriend didn’t dump me, and the Doll House saw many more visits from us over the years of our courtship and engagement.
In due course, when we were visiting it as newlyweds, all we had to do was draw up and a minute or so afterwards two Cokes, in glasses for dipping, and three ‘Frozen Dolly’ ice creams on sticks, would be delivered to our window. I would be dipping two-handed. One Frozen Dolly would be slurped by me and the other held over my shoulder to where our Siamese, Thai, would be sitting on the backrest telling me loudly to get a move on with it.
I can imagine the howls of protest at the thought of feeding a cat Coke and ice cream, but he loved it as passionately as we did, and showed no signs of not thriving. He went everywhere with us, and he gave me the inspiration for my character Tabika’s dog-riding exploits when he rode a notorious cat-killing German Shepherd, who had escaped from confinement and come looking for trouble, all the way down the road, digging pins energetically into its back and hindquarters. The dog was so petrified it left a trail of … ahem!
After that Thai would often sit on the gatepost, head moving from side to side as he hopefully looked for any more dogs to chase or ride.
Anyway, a less pleasant memory of the Doll House was when we ran our budget too tight, and I went to work in the kitchen for a while wearing glassless spectacles and a false moustache – my employers frowned on moonlighting. It was extremely hard work, and without the tips enjoyed by the front line staff was poorly paid.
Nevertheless I look back on that roadhouse with great fondness.
Thanks for the inspiration, Harmony!
© January 2013 Colonialist (WordPress/Letterdash)