Because my older sister(nearly 8 years my senior)and eldest(late)brother(nearly 5 years my senior)went to the same Primary School and attended the same teacher’s classes,I had it a bit easier,in a way.

They were “A” students and luckely I wasn’t behind,on the IQ part of things…..

Ugly….Àlways was!!!Nothing changed in the mean time “so will always be”

That aside…. back to the IQ.So,I had the same teacher,as my siblings,in Grade one;Miss Page,an “old maid” ànd in Grade two,it was her sister,Miss Gardner…also an “old maid”…a very lovely lady,but not as “soft” as Miss Page.

Miss Gardner got married,two or three years later.Miss Page?Never met that someone “special”and shifted all her love and attention into her classes and learners.We loved her sò much.Some of us,because she was such a beautiful lady.Us girls,wanted mothers like her.Her hair always up,in a neat” Beehive”made up perfectly.Beautiful athletic legs,showed off,when she was wearing those short dresses(fashion in those year/s)and left the boys drooling.I only wanted to be like her,when I grew up!!

My precious memory of Miss Page..

Maybe thàt was the main reason,behind her success rate…?

For some reason,I didn’t cry,the day my brother took me,to my class and left.I was overwhelmed by all the children,but I didn’t mind.

After everybody were settled in the classroom,I told my teacher,that it was time for me,to go home.She took me aside and gave me a hug and explained, that I’m in school now and I hàve to learn,to become clever,finish school,get a job,get married,have children and grandchildren,grow old…..NO!!She didn’t say all that,but she should’ve….. Maybe,I would’ve walked out,that 1st school day,already!!

I did cry….after the December school holidays and on my next new 1st day,back at school,when our beloved Miss Page,walked us(the few that waited for her)to her sister’s classroom…

My memory of Miss Gardner’s hairdo,when I was in Grade 2

We didn’t realize the impact that 1st year would have, on our lives,for the rèst of our lives.We excelled to Grade 2!!I wasn’t impressed with this teacher,Miss Gardner,jùst because she was the last step,before the”big”school…going on to the Standards(in South Africa)from then on.

We’ll now,also be in a class,where the first stage,of corporal punishment was allowed…RULAR ON HANDS!!!

My parents,but my sister,in particular,were proud of me….

I was in the “A” class,agàìn!!!But like Shania Twain singsthat don’t(didn’t) impress me much”Somehow,the few Miss Page fans,got used to being without her.

Thinking of it now,it makes me feel nostalgic and teary eyed…

After the next December holidays,I knew I was going on,to Standard 1″A”(Grade 3)In thìs new teachers class,were old enough,to be punished,a bit harder.

Imagine the surprise and disappointment,when the teacher arrives and it’s nòt the teacher you expected…. It wasn’t the teacher,that we got to know,from playground duty….No,it was a brand new face!!!

Awh,we didn’t like thìs one!!She was nasty and ruthless.Permission to hit us on the bum,didn’t stop her from hitting us,flat hand,on the naked thy, when she was in one of her miserable,vicious moods.She was impatient and didn’t like to repeat herself…

We(and in this case)our parents,were delivered to the grace,of the Headmaster and the Department of Education,had about the same rights,as the Church,in their children’s lives.

Not that it bothered my parents in the least!!It was seen as “discipline” and I didn’t have the privilege,to complain to my parents,about getting a hiding at school.Mother would see it,as being naughty and shaming her.She’d most probably give me a hiding,I wouldn’t easily forget,because of it.Something I could do without,thàt stage of my life….

My “vision” of the Standard 1 teacher..

We moved on to Standard 2″A”Agàin,a beautiful teacher,with patience and empathy and that would do the bit extra,for not only her learners,but all children.She’d offer to stay behind,after school to help.Again, if I ever thought of needing to do it,my mother would take it as”lazy”to learn and “concentrate” and a hiding would follow,as answer.

The boys secretly loved this teacher,Miss Small and the girls admired her,a great deal.She couched Netball and our Netball practice, only started in Standard 2.

I got chosen and play for the “A” team,for the rest of my primary school career.This year was by far,the best year of my life in school.

How I still remember Miss Small’s beautiful hair,draping over her shoulders..

I moved on to Standard 3(Grade 5)Thìs teacher,Mrs Luis,was the devil’s sister, herself!!She gave 2 subjects;Geography and Home Economics.The second one,was actually only the beginning,to set you off,onto the real work ahead!!She just taught different sowing stitches….Which I didn’t like a lot!!How to mend clothes and like cross stitch,for tapestries.It build the foundation,but in today’s modern life,this is dying a slow death.

Nòw,she enjoyed,bringing her Marital and household issues to work.She was like”if you’re wrong,you’re wrong and if you’re right, you’re also wrong“It was about the same,with my mother….a “win-win” situation,but unfortunately nòt in my favor.

I liked the Science teacher, Mr.Prinsloo(he was called “Padda Prins”(Frog Prince)…an overweight,miserable man, but a good teacher though.He went out if his way,to make sure,that all children leaving his class, understood everything.

I went on to Standard 4..to a all-time favorite,of my siblings,Miss Norm…The Class register ànd English teacher.Now,she was the old in old maid,of the school.She was like Miss’s Rottenmeyer,in the children’s series,Heidi..she was as classy,but calm and understanding,of a real old great grandma’..She was already relatively old,when I was in her class.At one stage,my sister asked her, when she plans to retire… she replied “when I see the last little Bothma through Standard 4″True to her word,she did retire a few years,after my youngest brother(5 years my junior)left for High School. You automatically behaved,in her class.Children respected her,as a rule…FULLSTOP.

We had to move to another suburb,about 30 kilometres away and we had to attend a new School.I’d be the first,to not finish my Primary School career,in the “family” school.

I got into Standard 5(Grade7)and suddenly,a lot changed…the classes weren’t “A” or “B” but according to the register class’s teacher.

How could I ever forget the music classes,we had in thìs school hall.. the school photos (disaster-photos follow with next story)OR my Standard 5 farewell…another good laugh,to follow

I had to work hard to make the”A”team in Netball,as there were much more girls,trying out.These children formed groups and understandably so….most of them started out together,in Grade one.Yet, we weren’t used to that…. We had a lot of poor people,in the previous school and even though,wè weren’t off,much better,we shared our sandwiches,with those who definitely,didn’t even have food at home.It wasn’t a “farm school” but everyone knew everyone and we respected values.These children bullied and easily discriminated,against newcomers.My little brother was in Grade two and rèàlly had it rough!!Some days,I’d leave the “odd group out” and go sit with him,during breaks,as he wasn’t allowed on the”senior” playgrounds.This “nose in the air” school,wasn’t for “cash strapped” families and pupils like us….

My parents couldn’t care less,of course.We needed to attend a school…FULLSTOP

Thìs time,I had a rèàlly great History Teacher.We didn’t have different teachers,for every subject,but rather one teacher,that could give more than one subject.In a way it was bad,because if you and one of the teachers,couldn’t see eye to eye in one class,it easily affected the next subject,you take in his/her class.

Òne good thing,that came out of it,was the History Teacher,Mrs.Krög,who also gave music.

I can still remember:”Mesopotamia, known as the two “stream” country”

Then a sentence,that would saved my but,with a full 10 exam points,in Standard 7(Grade 9)“A contour is the red line,on a map,indicating the hight,meassured above sea-level”

She didn’t make a difference,between those who could keep note,or those of us,who envied them and wished we could. Music class,was the place you could escape to…the place you don’t hàve to pretend,the class you could relax and enjoy.

My memories on the songs, from back then?Piet Heinz(zij naam iz klëin,zij dade…)meaning,his name is “small, but he’s actions are big/welknown.

Appeltjes van Oranje…A weird song,rather nòt to be translated,by me!!

The German song:Güter Mõn(du bist so rürig,in das abent wolken heen)

The school had a swimming pool and I couldn’t swim vèry good.

In Standard 3,one of my friends,tired of playing with me,in the shallow water,took me alongside the swimming pool,to the deep side.She held my hands and told me to hold my breath and then sink to the bottom,then kick myself back up.She moved further,with each kick,left my hands and told me to follow her….I did and I reached the side.I kept going,from the one side,to the next.

One day,in Standard 4,my sister and her friends,met us at the pool.She taught me,how to float,use my arms and kick.

I couldn’t even began to think,that I could compete against these “snobby’s” They’ve been swimming, since their 1st day at school!!

My mother wasn’t interested,in buying me the MANDATORY swimsuit and cap….only a waste of money,she didn’t have and my father wasn’t willing,to take from his “drinking” money.

If I’ve been a pupil,at thìs school,from Grade one, would it have affected my life,as I know it today?I often wondered,how my life could’ve been,being a “snobby” from Grade one….


The teachers that had such a big influence on my life,for the 1st 6 years,of my school years@

RACHEL DE BEER Primary School

Miss Page 1971

Miss Gardner 1972

The “teacha” 1973

Miss Small 1974

Mrs Luus 1975







Not only Doom and Gloom Jaquies(Jakkies)

Keep reading,for when I share some fun ànd heartbreaking stories…… to follow.