Lovely warm day today. Tension off so I could read the book I brought with me, Completed two grants and only have one left to do. Life is good. Think I will drive home tomorrow since I am running out of food.
“Memory Turns the Dial” by Madeline O’Connor
I must not forget one big event in my first year in school. This was a school and neighborhood welcome and reception for a returned soldier from serving in the South African war — George Bryan — a former pupil of our school. Many older people, as well as the young ones, had never seen a soldier before and when he strode up the aisle to the school platform in his khaki uniform to the flag draped chair, we children were so speechless, we forgot to sing ‘Soldiers of the Queen’ which the teacher (my brother) had so earnestly taught us. He gave the organist a sign to cease the music and he proceeded to read the address of welcome and praise of the guest while two trustees presented a gold watch, suitably engraved, gift of School Section No 5. Then we sang our song with real gusto. (I am a collector, as my friends know, and I have the copy sheet music as well as Red Cross arm band I wore in the tableaux we presented between musical numbers of the concert that night.
As memory turns a dial, I realize that 70 plus years ago this was a truly different world. If there was crime, violence and vandalism, we were sheltered from it. we had our disputes and petty quarrels in and out of school but we did respect others, especially older people. I have lived a long life, had many glad and many sad experiences but I can say. “Thank God for my happy school days in the old stone school house at Long Point.”
Wow, that is so sweet. Madeline loved her life out there. In the spring she and her aunts would go searching together for May Flowers and then berries as they came into season. She grew up surrounded by family and as you can tell from Charles Diaries they always had visitors. I will copy up a few more of these little stories from her book and then go back to Charles Diaries.
In case you are interested here is some info on a Boer War from Wikipedia.
Second Anglo-Boer War
Main article: Second Boer War
Siege of Ladysmith
The Second Boer War, also known as the Second Anglo-Boer War, and the South African War, 11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902.The war was fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic). After a protracted hard-fought war, the two independent republics lost and were absorbed into the British Empire.
In all, the war had cost around 75,000 lives — 22,000 British soldiers (7,792 battle casualties, the rest through disease), 6,000-7,000 Boer Commandos, 20,000-28,000 Boer civilians, mostly women and children, and an estimated 20,000 black Africans. The last of the Boers surrendered in May 1902 and the war ended with the Treaty of Vereeniging in the same month. The Union of South Africa was established in 1910. The treaty ended the existence of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State as Boer republics and placed them within the British Empire.
The Boers referred to the two wars as the Freedom Wars. Those Boers who wanted to continue the fight were known as “bitter-einders” (or irreconcilables) and at the end of the war a number like Deneys Reitz chose exile rather than sign an undertaking that they would abide by the peace terms. Over the following decade, many returned to South Africa and never signed the undertaking. Some, like Reitz, eventually reconciled themselves to the new status quo, but others waited for a suitable opportunity to restart the old quarrel. At the start of World War I the bitter-einders and their allies took part in a revolt known as the Maritz Rebellion.