In case someone comes searching.

28 07 2007

The life and death of a fallen ancestor.

Julius Wronsky was born on the 22 January 1889 at “Makouwrskop”, district Wolmaranstad, Tranvaal, Union of South Africa. His parents were Fritz and Maria (neé Libenberg), Fritz and his three brothers, Ludwig, Eric and Wilhelm emigrated from Prussia in the mid- to late 1800’s arriving in the port of Cape Town. They were “Russian Jews”.

Julius had 2 siblings, Alice Elizabeth and William Henry Wronsky. Julius and William attended St. Andrews college in Grahamstown in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. After completing his schooling, Julius studied to be a teacher at the Normal College in Pretoria, South Africa. After teaching for a number of years, he enlisted and was drafted into “C” company, South African Irish regiment on the 5 October 1914. (No. 260). During his time with the SA Irish, he was involved in the German South West Africa Rebellion and the “S. A. H.” (Highlanders?) He was discharged from that Regiment on 23 July 1915. On the bottom of a pay-slip, Julius’s next of kin was given as “Miss A. Wronsky, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, Cape Colony”.

Not long after that, on the 7 September 1916, Julius enlisted again, being drafted into the 2nd Brigade of the South African Infantry, No 7646. On his “Certificate of Medical Examination” is stated the he was 5’8 ¼ “ tall, weighed 175lbs, “flush” complexion and “fair” hair. He was re-assigned on the 20th October 1916 at Robert’s Heights/Potchefstroom to the 2nd Regiment 1st SA Infantry Brigade (Overseas), No. 10348. At that time (11 month later), his complexion was “dark”, eyes “blue” and hair “dark brown” and his weight 165lbs. Strange transformation.

He embarked on the “Walmer Castle” on the 6th November 1916 in Cape Town arriving in Southhampton, England. He left for the front on the 25th February 1917 and joined his unit on 26th February 1917. Julius was killed in action at the battle of Arras, France on the 9th April 1917. He was buried at the “Brown Line British Cemetery, North of St. Laurent Blangy, 1 ¼ miles North East of Arras.

In a letter from the Office of the Staff Officer, War Records, Pretoria, dated 28th December 1920, his next of kin (then given as W. H. Llyod-Wronsley, 4 Mayfield Terrace, Newington, Edinburgh, Scotland) was informed that Julius’s remains were exhumed and re-interred at the Point-du-Jour Military Cemetery No. 1. 2 ½ miles East North East of Arras, France.

All SA troops who saw service in any of the theatres of the war – in Julius’ case – the Western Front – received at least 2 medals. The British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

The BWM was an automatic award you almost just had to report for duty for that one while the AVM was awarded only if you were in a theatre where fighting was taking place.

Julius would have been awarded the medals posthumously them going to his next of kin.

R. I. P.

Who am I?

28 07 2007


100% nascisistic but the soul-searching revealed some stuff…try it!

• I want to be known as a devoted daughter, wife, mother and friend.
• I love music – anything form Karen Zoid to Led Zeppelin, Metallica to Mozart. (Whether its my I-pod in the gym, CD’s in my car or at home, sometimes very loud and other times in the background).
• My favorite food is crayfish. (Although don’t get to savor it too often!)
• My favorite drink is double Jack on the rocks with a splash of lime.
• I love walking on the beach.
• I am a keen twitcher (bird watcher).
• I love going for long walks in the bush and going on holiday to places where there is no electricity.
• I must have fresh bed linen on my bed. (The thought of mites in my mattress and linen feeding off dead human skin and bodily fluids freaks me out!).
• Reading is one of my favorite past-times.
• I read the newspaper from front to back (even the “hatched, matched and dispatched!”)
• I grow African violets.
• I have a very wide general knowledge. (Mostly totally useless information!!).
• I feel proud when I drive past a house or building that I designed or had a hand in.
• I like to watch are doccies (with the exception of 7de Laan – yes, a soapie!!)
• I love to laugh and cry easily during sad movies.
• I can never remember or tell jokes well.
• I cannot stand pretentious people.
• I will avoid confrontation at all cost but there is a line that if crossed – well, lets just say it can get ugly.
• I clean furiously when I’m angry.
• I like my home to be neat and tidy but I’m not neurotic.
• I fart in front of my family.
• I detest shopping.
• I am proud of my children.
• I love it when there are 10 cars parked in our driveway when my kids having friends over.
• I socialize with my kids friends but I know when to leave.
• I seek out solitude. I like my own company.
• I have a short circuit between my brain and my mouth but the current flows freely between my brain and my finger-tips.
• I am a morning person.
• I don’t like coffee but love black rooi-bos with lemon and honey.
• I treat myself now and again to a treatment at a health spa.
• I think having a scence of humor is essential for maintaining relationships and your sanity.
• I try to never look back.
• I am an eternal optimist.
• I hate routine.
• I love doing laundry but don’t do ironing.
• I love cooking but hate washing up. I often run the dishwasher with only two plates and a couple of glasses in it.
• I make a mean curry and lasagna to die for. My sticky toffee pudding is much loved.
• I am very interested in genealogy.
• I don’t really like going to the movies.
• I am a cat and a dog person.
• I am a good listener.
• I can converse easily with strangers.
• I never judge anyone.
• I like to try new things.
• I have an open mind.
• I am very bad at administration.
• I want to swim with wild dolphins.
• I want to do a buddy sky-dive.
• I want to sit in the jump seat of an aerobatics plane doing loops and dives.
• I want to travel more.
• I AM still going to buy and learn to ride a motorbike.
• I am not a hoarder – things or clothes I haven’t used or worn for a year, I chuck.
• I never procrastinate.
• I sometimes tend to over-think stuff.
• I can go for days without needing to talk to anyone.
• I like to look good and take care of myself.
• I am a chocoholic (reformed!)
• I enjoy a small cigar after a good meal.
• I don’t like standing around at cocktail parties.
• I will clean up anything – puke, shit whatever but don’t pick up dead birds, catch spiders, bats,rats or snakes. (Not in my job description!)
• I don’t socialize with my neighbors. Good fences make good neighbors, I say.
• I hate guns.
• I am very patient. (MOSTLY)
• I am never late for an appointment.
• Driving through heavy traffic is one of pet hates.
• I ALWAYS give way to taxis.
• I have 3 or 4 really good friends that I have known for nearly 30 years.

Slippers vs Stiletto’s.

21 07 2007

Comfortable slippers…we all have them. After a hard day at the office, there is nothing better than kicking of your shoes and sliding into a pair of well worn slippers. Feelings of AAAH, I’m home now, so I can relax and be just who I am. I don’t have to be the super efficient go-getter, the over-achiever, the corporate-ladder-climbing bitch that is required of you to earn your salary every month. I have had countless pair of slippers over the years. They become like old friends, each toe, each bump and indent on your feet has been molded into the soft inner sole. They make a distinctive sound when you shloff around on the tiled floor. Strangely enough, I (maybe others feel differently about it) will never wear my slippers when expecting company. It’s a part of my routine that is private. My relationship with my slippers is secure, comfortable and relaxed.

On the other hand…Stiletto’s. That pair of black leather, 4 inch high, pointy-toed, thin ankle strapped stiletto’s at the back of my cupboard beckon me whenever I reach in for something more “practical”. Only on high days and holidays do I get the opportunity to take those girls out and put them to good use. The routine goes something like this…a night out is planned. The day arrives. Soak in a hot bubble bath. Rub down with a nice rough towel to get the skin smooth. Moisturize from head to toe. Do the make-up. Do the hair. Slip into the little black number. Slide on the sheer, silky stockings and finally place feet slowly into shoes. Tighten straps. Stand up and stand tall. I feel like a different person, suddenly. I walk up straight, my stride is longer, I feel desirable, gorgeous, sexy, confidant. There is NOTHING that says sexy more than a confidant woman in a pair of stiletto’s. These shoes are not for the feint-hearted. I wear then for two, three hours, tops. By that time, my feet are really hurting. The shoes have squeezed, pinched and chaffed to the point of causing me real pain. But I like it. Once at home, I rub my feet, gingerly touching the blisters and swollen ankles. My slippers are a welcome relief.

Every REAL woman should have a pair of comfortable slippers and a pair of BITCHIN’ stiletto’s.

What happens when you tell a “housewife” to get a “hobby”…

16 07 2007

What happens when you tell a “housewife” to “get a hobby”.

A hobby??…..Mmmmm, now why didn’t I think of that…when I said I’m bored that translates into having an hour or so with nothing pressing to do. As far as actually DOING something is concerned, just FYI: (you’ve opened a bee’s nest here!!)
1. I DO NOT have a full time maid. I would not like having her under my feet 24/7.
2. I keep a home together and functioning, like a well oiled machine, for a family of four (plus various pets). That includes ALL the cooking and doing ALL the laundry.
3. I do volunteer work for Ancestry24 transcribing documents.
4. My genealogy work (note – “work” not “hobby”) keeps me busy for 3-4 hours a day.
5. My growing responsibility towards the care of my mother weighs heavily on me. My brother and sister live too far away.
6. I am the conduit through which all things pass in my family – I mean my whole family – whether I like it or not. I have unwittingly become the “glue” that tries to keep it all together.
7. I am wife, mother, friend, daughter, taxi driver, confidant, shrink, nurse, chief cook and bottle washer, coordinator, organizer, chef, cleaning lady, general handy “man” and sometimes, just sometimes, I have an hours or three to spend as I please.
8. The work I do, like that of countless other “stay-at-home-moms” is a thankless, silent and unappreciated job from which there is NEVER respite. 24/7/365.
9. The perks of the job? Knowing that I have raised, almost single-handedly, 3 of the nicest, well-mannered, hard working, honest, fun-loving kids that I know of. The Platinum credit card doesn’t hurt either.

I was going to apologize for this tyrade, but hell no. Your comment about getting a “hobby” so as not to be bored, just pissed me off, big time. Being bored is only a case of my (temporary) bad time management.

Lest we forget…

10 07 2007

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Why the Poppy?
Poppy seed will lie in the ground for years if the soil is undisturbed. That churned up cemetery known as the Western Front provided the ideal medium for masses of poppies to blanket the graves. By the support programs like meals-on-wheels, drop-in centres, etc. Buy and wear a poppy. It is simple, painless way to recognize contributions and 1920s, Legion Branches were selling the paper flowers to: provide assistance to needy ex-servicemen and their families, to build housing for seniors, and sacrifices barely imaginable to us.

The shit hitting the fan (or was that the ball hitting the screen?).

9 07 2007

I’m soooo glad I’m not 17 years old anymore….Let me re-wind here and fill you in on the background. About 3 weeks ago, our “old ” TV packed up. The very day before the Boks were playing England in the 1st test of the Tri-Nations. So Hubbee went off and spent a small fortune on a new, flashy, huger than anyone REALLY need, flat screen TV. It was hooked up and ready to go minutes before the match started. All good, so far? Three weeks pass, everyone enjoying the new addition when youngest sprog returns from holiday, starts up an energetic game of fetch with the dog (yes, throwing the ball in the house – “DIDN’T I TELL YOU NOT TO DO THAT???”) AND THWACK…new flashy flat screen TV is no more.

My heart just aches for young lad but shit happens, I guess. I remember as clearly as if were yesterday, me standing in front of my dad, eyes downcast, wishing he’d have his say and get done with it…but no, he would rant and rave for a hour – this was quite a regular occurance with me. Hubbee is soooo not impressed (understatement of the decade) saying that he’d better get a job ‘cos it’s gonna take a lot of table-waiting to pay off the damages. I just keep my head down, flying under the radar – getting on with other things….tum-tee-tum…another day in the life of “These are the days of our mornings”.

Forgotten WW1 hero’s.

6 07 2007

History – not one of my favourite subjects at school. But knowing now what I do, I regret not paying attantion in class! In my on-going “excavation” into my family history, a decorated WW1 hero family member came to light. His name, Julius Wronsky, had been all but overlooked on my (growing) family tree. He met his fate fighting on the Western front in France in 1917. Recent successes in other strawberry fields and/or rose gardens, spurred me on to find out more. My journey has just begun down this particular avenue and already, through the input from family members, historians and other interested parties, in the shape of photo’s, letters and anecdotes, lifts my spirits. I believe that everyone has a story to tell but some can no longer speak for themselves, hense their stories are lost. It always amazes me how willing strangers are to assist in a quest..hopefully I can do the same for those kind souls someday.