A trip down memory lane

Last night was my ‘little’ brothers 21st. Firstly I can’t believe he is that old, because that means I am that old. Being 4 years apart as he now officially enters into adulthood, I am reminded that I am crossing over into a new age bracket. Eish. From next week (my birthday is Friday 14th September FYI and yes I do expect presents!) I will move up a tick box.

Slightly depressing, but exciting in a way too as I move into the next stage of my life. Looking back it feels like my 21st was just the other day.

I came across my dad’s speech for my 21st birthday and I thought it deserved to be share on under5foot. It might also shed some light as to how under5foot came about. For those of you who know or how have met my dad you will appreciate his humour!

Good evening all, I would like to share some of my memories of

Megan’s growing up. Sunday, 13th September 1987. It starts.

Ingrid started cleaning the house, which, for those of you who know her, was not an unusual occurrence. But I did realise that something was different when she started vacuuming the garden and shining the roof. Obsessive cleaning is an indication of imminent birth.

So off to City Park. The receptionist took one look at Ingrid and said “Off to the labour ward with you.” After some argument we arrived in the labour ward to be told that Ingrid had been in labour for 12 hours!

It was this point in Megan’s existence that we realised that she was her own boss. She was not going to make an appearance until she was damn well ready! I spent the night gazing at the city lights, Red, Green. Amber Red. Green Amber. Oh, the excitement. I thought it would never end.

As it turned out, not only would Megan only do things in her own time, she also likes being fetched and carried. So we had to have an emergency Caesarean as she was damned if she was going make her own way out.

The next memory is of Megan and the pony on Agga’s farm. Such a tiny little thing. Megan wasn’t too large either! She loved riding on the pony and it was only many years later that we realised that her bright red legs after a ride was entirely due to an allergy to furry things!

The allergy problem is a challenge with which Megan has to deal every day and I am proud of how she just deals with it. Actually, there is an interesting sequel to the allergy problem —  after all our pets had passed on, Megan indicated that she’d like a pet. Allergy ruled out dogs, cats, birds. Goldfish are not the cuddliest of things and a pet snake wasn’t going to be an option. We found out that pot beIIied pigs did not cause allergic reactions, so we decided we’d look into that option. I contacted a dermatologist friend who suggested that, as they have wool rather than fur, a poodle would be a far better option. Actually, he said “Forget the chassar and get a poodle!.” We duly took Megan to hug a poodle and no side effect! Which is how we got Gigi and then Jasper.

Greenfields. Megan was always the first to arrive at school. This was not so much due to her enthusiasm, as more due to the fact that she got a lift with her father, who liked to be in his office by 07:00.

Most of Megan’s friends looked down on her, even then as today. But that doesn’t stop her from being a bossy bitch. As I’m sure you are all well aware. But then she does get things done. Her way!

All of a sudden we’d reached the end of grade 7 at Greenfields and it was time to move on to high school.

Before we do, some quotes from Megan’s Greenfields teachers:

Grade 5 —  Mrs Baister:

“Megan is a child who needs to be kept busy all the time. She works quickly and then if left to her own devices can be quite noisy.”

 Grade 6 —  Mrs Barrett:

“Megan is a very capable pupil who tackles projects enthusiastically and is happiest when given a challenge. She has an excellent ability to look at a problem from a different perspective and so is a constant source of unusual and new ideas.”

Grade 7 – Mrs Myrdal:

“Megan is a very chatty member of the class, who, given half a chance is off convening a meeting of what is to happen after school!”  She has the ability to get down to a task with a minimum of fuss and simply get it down —  a plus in the world we live in!”.

High School – Ingrid suggested Springfield, her old alma water. Megan wanted Westerford.  Anyway, so as not to have all the eggs in one basket so to say, we duly went for an interview with Mrs Bruce of Springfield. Megan had a solo interview with Mr. Clark of Westerford. Megan was accepted at Westerford, so we didn’t go back to Springfield for the second interview.

One and a half years later. June holidays. Megan decided that Westerford was not her scene and that Springfield would be a better choice. Off to Springfield for an interview where Mrs. Bruce asked why we’d not bothered to have the second interview – a bit embarrassing! Springfield did not have a place, but we were promised the next available spot.

Two weeks into grade 8, 3rd term, I had a call from Springfield – there was a place available and we had to make a quick decision. So we met with Mr. Clark, told him that Megan was moving and Megan entered Springfield. Although Mrs Bruce strongly advised against Megan’s subject choice of English, Afrikaans, French, Maths, Science and Accounting, that’s what Megan stuck with.  Big challenge!! after a couple of accounting lessons, it became painfully obvious that what passed for accounting at Westerford, was not going to pass muster at Springfield. Megan was 1 and half years behind the rest of the class.

This opened my eyes to Megan’s tenacity and sense of purpose. Knowing that she had to catch up, Megan spent the whole of Christmas holidays catching up on Accounting.   She got a distinction and won the class prize for accounting in grade 12. Not too shabby! She got a few other distinctions and things and ended up passing Matric with distinction. Again, not too shabby when one understands that she attained it by hard work.

With advertising in her veins – her uncle ran one of Cape Town’s largest and most successful ad agencies, Megan decided that she wanted to enter this field. As even she would not even class herself as A CREATIVE, management was the way to go. Don’t forget, she’s been a bossy bitch since birth!

Again I have seen massive effort being poured into this project, with distinctions the norm rather than the exception.

Often Megan comes home at one AM and then spends the next 3 to 4 hours studying.  Given a project, Megan is normally the first to complete the task. I’m pretty sure that she can’t even spell procrastination. I’m pretty sure she can’t spell a whole bunch of shorter words either! Megan, I am sure that you will achieve your degree with the highest honors and I salute you for that.

In addition to all her scholastic achievements, since the age of fifteen and a half Megan has gone out and found income producing jobs. Without our help, she went out and successfully applied for various waitressing jobs.

I am reminded of the saying —  Some people make things happen.  Some people watch things happen. And some people wonder what happened. Megan is quite obviously of the first group. She makes things happen.

Having started at AAA, she arranged a job in marketing and this year moved on to a larger advertising company and she has even grander plans for next year. With some of the money earned she bought her own car. Not too shabby!

Finally, I am sure that your grandparents, Grandpa Bernie and Grannie Anna and Granny Sybil and Poppa are with you today, at this milestone in your life. Mom and I have great pleasure in giving you a present which has some specific significance —  The centre stone is from Granny Sybil’s engagement ring and the smaller stones are from one of Granny Anna’s rings.

Now, I ask you all to be upstanding to offer a toast to Megan. Megan, may you always be Ouvrou, Ougat and TOUGH. To Megan.

~ Robert Bernstein

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