Weak after Week!

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon / 8 years 8 months ill / Physical Adv CBD : Mental Adv Ed

  
ED is in tirED and ED is in Eina Damnit!

This past week, Grey Reunion 2015, has been busy, tiring , exciting and gratifying.

Last Tuesday evening, we had supper at the timeless Phoenix Hotel to celebrate Sean’s birthday.

Wednesday we attended the 30th Selley Concert in the Feathermarket Hall, then joined Sean and his friends at his birthday party at a pub in Walmer. I then met up with some of my ex-pupils at Old Grey Club.

On Thursday I joined the golfers at Humewood for lunch and drinks. Thereafter, it was the Reunion Dinner in the Memorial quad at Grey High and after-dinner drinks at Old Grey Club.

Breakfast on Friday morning was eaten in my erstwhile home, the Grey Hostel. This was followed by the interment of Rector Pakendorf’s ashes ino the Remembrance Wall of the Grey’s De Waal Hall, tea in the Restaurant, Reunion Assembly and lunch in the Rectory Garden with the Rector and the Class of 1990.

The cadet parade, the Trooping of the Colour, concluded the festivities at the school, and then the 25 Reunion class had a party bash at the Westview Drive Bowling Club. I left early at ten pm but the party continued into the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Saturday was rugby against Queens, watched from the new school pavilion thanks to sponsors Adviceworks. Lunch in the pavilion was followed by drinks in Dexters Den at the Junior School, the First XV  game on the Philip Field, drinks in the Pavilion and Memorial Quad and then au revoir at Old Grey Club!

Needless to say, Sunday was celebrated for the purpose it was made – the Rest Day! I was very weak when we got to the MacKenzies on Sunday evening to have supper with them and the Ogilvies!

Monday was my appointment with the chiropractor – needles and all! Tuesday was my haircut day.

It was great meeting up with so many old friends and acquaintances, many of my ex-colleagues, Maureen and Rudi Pakendorf and Kurt, Anton and Hans, and all my old pupils and parents. They are the tapestry of my memories of The Grey.

That was Grey Reunion 2015! Now, I am never an Old Grey but I am old and grey.

In Remembrance Dieter Pakendorf Rector 1977 -1992

 
The interment of Rector Pakendorf’s ashes takes place on Friday at 10h00  in the memorial quad at the now 100 year old Mill Park campus of Grey High School. All are welcome to attend!

In lieu of flowers please consider buying one of the In Remembrance of Dieter Pakendorf lapel pins.

All funds raised will be deposited into a Class of 1990 trust fund in order to start a Green the School project in remembrance of Dieter Pakendorf.

Just 400 pins will be available at reunion venues during the weekend.

Please consider a donation of at least R100.

Thank you!

Port Elizabeth Welcomes you Back!


Reunion 2015

One of the most poignant set of postings that I have seen on Facebook this year, together with the pic above:

Kurt Pakendorf posts:

And finally there she is – Port Elizabeth. Or as Rory Stear always says – the epicenter of the universe. Stoked to be back in PE after 19 years and looking forward to giving my Old Man a good send off, seeing Grey High School, Old Grey and my long lost mates.

Heathrow Terminal 5

Airport terminal · Hounslow, United Kingdom

· 3.9

280,280 were here

How’s your Mother?



(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon 

8 years 6 months ill …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

It was January of 1984. 

I had completed my matric, a year of studies in Oklahoma, USA, my university education at Stellenbosch and two years in the defence force at Oudtshoorn.

Now it was work time, and together with some 15 other new teachers I arrived at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth at the beginning of the new academic year. The chairs were meticulously arranged in a circle in the office and just one remained unoccupied. The incumbant must have got cold feet because the man in charge, we learnt later, did not make such mundane errors!

That person in charge, the Headmaster, introduced himself to us as Mr Dieter Pakendorf, the Rector, and would henceforth be addressed either as such or for less formal occassions we could use the word “Sir”!

The meticulous arrangement of the chairs was indicative of the man’s style – military, precise, exact, strict, unambiguous, unerring, authentic, conscientious, rigid and true.

He shared many pearls of wisdom with us that morning. One, I recall, was that no new teacher was to smile at his class before Easter. You ensured that you started with the discipline in your upper hand and then gradually relinquished it. The other way round would not work  – never start off being friendly and then trying to become a disciplinarian! Once lost, he said, it was always lost!

He was small in stature. But his presence filled the room, any room, that office, the De Waal Hall. the hostel and indeed the whole school building  and gounds of the Mill Park campus, now in its 100th year.

And just as his diminutive presence filled the space that he entered, just so did his presence fill those that he encountered with fear and trepidation – whether you were a pupil or a teacher.

There were many issues that one, as a staff member, had to bring to his attention, or discuss with him. I was not the only person who would spend agonising days and nights pondering the correct approach and practicing the appropiate vocabulary. 

Then came the moment.

You would muster up the courage, proceed down the stairwell from the staff room to the Rector’ Study, only to turn around at his door and return the way you had come!

Your courage had failed you.

Time and again you would attempt the landing approach into his office. Eventually, it would happen – and I don’t recall him ever asking you to sit down to discuss the issue. His mind was too quick for that!

Whatever problem you had pondered about – often for days and weeks – would be listened to, summarised, analysed and categorised. A few possible and probable scenarios were sketched, each with its own outcome and positives and negatives. Within minutes, he would spurt forth the correct decission “according to Dieter” aand, come hell or high water, he would stick to that decision, even if it meant that he would have to apologise in the long run!

He stood by his word, he stood by his decision and he stood by his man and his staff member! Even in show downs with parents, he would  back his staff member to the hilt in front of the parent, only to call you back on the departure of the parent and to reprimand you for having made the wrong educational decision and to remind you that should it happen again you would not be able to depend on his protection!

He never fraternised with his parents nor his staff. What was said was said using the least number of words required. In fact, he never encouraged idle chatter and seldom, if ever, initiated trivial or petty conversation.

He left staff functions first in order to allow the staff to let down their hair, and made it quite clear at functions after sport events when staff members should leave and end the party. For some or other reason he would approach me and advise “Mr Lunnon, it’s time for your friends to leave!” He certainly did not mince his words!

In the hostel, he and the hostel staff ate breakfast together with the boarders every morning.

We were quite a jovial bunch of young teachers in our early twenties. But whatever we would be discussing when he joined the table would be killed off in a matter of seconds by him. So we each had to bring three topics of conversation to breakfast table, so that when he killed one subject, we would have another to contnue with – until such time as we had run out of suitable subjects!

And the morning when he poured the orange juice out of the silver milk jug and over his jungle oats, in full view of all at the table, not a single soul would have dared a smile let alone a hearty laugh!

Personal matters were never discussed, so it came as quite a surprise one morning when The Rector looked up at me and enquired how my (ill) mother was. She had actually passed away six months earlier, so my sort of garbled response was “She’s fine Sir, she passed away in November!”

To this day, the standard form of greeting between Tony Reeler (now Headmaster of Pretoria Boys High School) and I is “Mr Lunnon / Mr Reeler, how’s your mother?!”

Desspite his serious attitude, he always looked at  his happiest when dressed in his grey suit, he would drive the school’s blue tractor around the Philip field or on the ash athletics track! To me, he always seemed more at home on the tractor than in his black robes. But his school, The Grey, came first and he punted it at every occassion, whether it was to the Boys, the parents, the Provincial Rugby Club that he chaired or the UPE Council that he headed.

After i had left teaching, I received a call from Lorraine (Coetzee) Schumann his secretary. She enquired whether I was wearing a jacket and tie because the rector had invited me for drinks at St Georges CluB that afternoon.

I thought she was joking and was setting me up. After all, the rector had never invited me for a social engagement at school never mind after having left the school.

I drove past St Georges that afternoon just to check, and lo and behold the grey Sierra was parked there. I went in to find the Rector and Ronnie Draper.

I was greeted with a “good afternoon, Mr Lunnon”, and I replied “Good afternoon, Sir!”

” Dieter” he said, call me “Dieter”! 

“Yes Sir,”  I replied! 

To this day, I don’t know of any of his staff members who would call him Dieter to his face!  

I was offered a beer and with no further word spoken, a plate of snacks was put in front of me. I took a meatball off the plate holding the toothpick at the top of the stick with the meatball below. I was quite nervous at this my fist personal social encounter with the Rector.

The meatball fell off the stick onto the floor.

With nothing being said, he moved the plate over to me yet again. This time he picked up the meatball, turned the toothpick around so that the balll rested on his fingers and handed the toothpick over to me, ensuring that if it slipped it would simply rest on my fingers! I imagined that he must have said to himself “what a fool!!” but he wasnt like that.

He guided you and led you and taught you in the way he did so well, quietly, few words, practically and by example.

Despite the outward appearance, he really cared about you as a person, whether  it was to offer you a job back at the school (which what that meeting was all about) or whether he was concerned about my future teaching and job decisions, my house I bought in Ryan Street (Maureen, he told me with pride was a Ryan!) or an invite to visit at their Nature’s Valley home.

He cared deeply about his school and would say that the parents’ role stopped at the front gate. From thereon inwards, was his role and that of his staff. I often wonder how his teaching style would have gone down in the new South African era! My computer laboratory, the first of its kind in Port Elizabeth, received all the assistance that he could muster.

He cared about his country and in the height of apartheid days the black hostel staff would be requested to sing at the BODA banquet, none other then the original African national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

And he cared about his Grey boys. He left them, in his unique way, a legacy that would be difficult to find elsewhere. it would be difficult to find a product of Dieter Pakendorf, staff member or pupil, who would be unable to say that he did not learn something from the man.

In 2010 I heard him make an unprepared speech at the 25th reunion function of that year. Despite his illness already taking over his faculties, the Rector did not disappoint. He moved from person to person in the room and recalled an appropriate story for each person.

A few years ago Grey was playing rugby against Paul Roos in Stellenbosch. I was not there but my youngest son Philip later told me that a man had called him over and asked him if he was related to Ed Lunnon. Phillip said he thought it was a previous Rector because he recognized the man from the painting in the De Waal Hall. Indeed it was the ex-Rector and once again he showed his concern and astute intellectual ability by recognizing me in my son and by passing on his good wishes to me.

He showed just why he will remain a revered Rector of The Grey.

I was sad that I could not attend his funeral in Cape Town, but I will be there at the reunion ceremony when his ashes will be interred into the wall of the De Waal Hall. It is somewhat ironical that in our later years we have both had to battle similar neurological illnesses. We certainly weren’t given the easy ones!

It was a privilege and a pleasure to teach under you, Sir. I will count those as some of the special days of my life and I shall remain indebted to you for employing me, not once, but twice!

Maybe now, you can let me know just how my mother is!

 

On the Road Again (2)

Tuesday 1 October 2013: 7 years 1 month on …

Physical Advantage CBD / Mental Deuce

(continued from “On the Road Again”)

Unlike Port Elizabeth, Cape Town is spoilt for shows. There were a number to choose from and I had heard rave reviews about “Blood Brothers”.

So we decided to head over from the Southern Suburbs to the Northern Suburbs – in travelling terms for Phill, the learner driver, from the N2 to the N1, via the Black River Parkway. We would book tickets and then go and visit Gretel and Willem Wüst in Eversdal before the show.

At the Century City Shopping Centre, we tried to book tickets via Computicket at Checkers.  The lines were down! I also couldn’t get hold of Gretel on the phone, but managed to get hold of Willem. He would be home soon, but we weren’t sure about his wife. And I would buy two theatre tickets for them too – too bad if Gretel had something else on!

The staff member was not too excited about helping to get tickets but with some coaxing from me, eventually started tickling the computer keyboard and suddenly it went online! But, they were mostly sold out – we couldn’t get six seats together. One in the front row, two in the next row and two right on the other side of the Theatre on the Bay would have to suffice.

Into the N1 rush hour traffic we progressed to Eversdal, had a quick supper, and the headed back via the City Bowl, over Kloof Nek and into Camps Bay on the Atlantic Ocean seaboard of the Cape Peninsula.

It was all worth it – a great musical adapted for Cape Town from the original British version. It tells the story of a set of twins separated at birth only to be re-united in later life with interesting ramifications. The issues of nurture versus nature and wealthy versus poor all brought together in the music adapted by David Kramer and in the Cape Town dialect and humour of the Cape Coloured.

It was past midnight when we dropped the Wüsts in Durbanville and then took the R300 back to The Strand. A long, unplanned day came to a tiresome, but exciting, end.

We slept in on Thursday morning. Then, we headed off to the Somerset Mall. I was sore and tired, and mall-trudging was not on my list of priorities. But what a small world – we sat down to lunch next to Beverley Keeling, our friend from Pretoria who was also holidaying in the Cape.  We had last seen her and her family in Pretoria when we returned from Thailand last year.

Then home for a snooze – before I headed off to Rondebosch to meet up with ex-scholar of mine Nico de Vries. We were going to Groot Constantia to attend a Cape Town dinner of the Old Greys’ Union.

(Pera and Phill would head off with Sebastian to cocktails at the Mount Nelson Hotel and then dinner at the Asian Restaurant in Kloof Nek.)

It was great meeting up with 175 Old Greys and many of my ex-pupils. The venue was exquisite and for a moment I thought we were in Cana of Galilee – even the water seemed to be turned into wine (red, of course!)

IMG-20130926-00673.jpg

Ex-Rector and my ex-boss, Dieter Pakendorf, was there, as was the present Rector, Neil Crawford, and all the office bearers of the Old Grey Union. Ex-Springboks Bob Skinstad and Andrew Patterson (also an Old Grey) were there and they managed to keep the talking going, even when it became apparent that guest speakers Siya Kholisi and JJ Engelbrecht – current Springboks and Old Greys – did not get there! (They had been held up at an Aussie/Springbok affair before the big game at Newlands on Saturday.)

There were too many people to mention – but it was a great evening, and I was astonished to see so many photographs that I appeared in later on Facebook. I certainly don’t remember posing for those!

Neither do I remember too much about the trip back to Rondebosch or the stowaway that we found in the car and delivered in Pinelands! I was surprised in the morning to see that I had remembered to take home with me the lovely Old Grey glasses we were given and the box of Lady Anne Barnard wine that I had won in the lucky draw!  

Pera had wanted to return to Port Elizabeth on Friday morning. I managed to delay that to early Saturday morning!

So, on Friday, we visited Vergelegen, the farm given to Willem Adriaan van der Stel by the Dutch East India Company in the 1700’s and now owned by Anglo-American. It was a tour through South African history.

Later, we wine-tasted and lunched and unfortunately missed my Aunty Frieda Stanbridge who manages the wine centre there, but was on holiday. She is the wife of my late mother’s youngest brother Eric Stanbridge (also known as Uncle Bully or just Stan!)

And then it was time to say goodbyes – first to my sister Lynn and Anton and then for supper back to Durbanville and goodbyes to Gretel and Willem.

Sebastian had in the meantime got suite tickets for the Rugby Test at Newlands and the Wüsts were having a family gathering on Sunday – me being the adopted “sixth” of the five Wüst brothers!

I would have had my arm twisted to stay, but not Pera – so early on Saturday morning we headed off back to Port Elizabeth – with Phill, as ever, at the wheel.

IMG-20130928-00692.jpg

We stopped off at Greyton for breakfast – a really must-see little dorp between Caledon and Riviersonderend. There was also an unplanned stop near Swellendam as a result of a horrific car accident and some casualties. It brings home the fragility of human life!

A petrol refill and a light (s)lunch at The Rod and Reel in Plettenberg Bay were our last stops of the trip, before we eventually arrived home with 5 minutes remaining of the Newlands Test!

It was a painful return trip for me – both emotionally and physically. Emotionally, because I am always sad to leave my Western Cape home and my friends and family there; but this time also physically: my butt and left leg started paining in Swellendam and never let up – not till now! It is the first time since I have been ill that I have experienced such pain.  Not even my visit for a massage yesterday has improved it – if anything, it has got worse!

On my return to The Bay, I always wonder if I will see the Cape of Good Hope again. I guess if a car trip of eighth hours is too much for me physically, there is always a plane trip of one hour!

And, maybe, just maybe, Phillip will be in Stellenbosch next year.

Thirty Years On

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Friday 7 June 2013: 6 years 9 months on …

Game ED

Thirty years ago to the month, June 1983, I arrived in Port Elizabeth for the first time.

I was born in Stellenbosch and had been raised in the Western Cape. After having finished my schooling in Oklahoma, USA and graduating from Stellenbosch University, I completed my military service in Oudtshoorn in 1982/1983.

In the possession of a Higher Diploma in Education and an Education Department Bursary to be repaid, I had applied for a position in Port Elizabeth.

The post had been advertised in the Cape Provincial Education Gazette in early 1982 at the beginning of my two year stint in the military:

“The Cape Education Department has a vacancy for a teacher to head up a newly established Port Elizabeth Computer Studies Centre based at the Grey High School for Boys.”

I applied to The Rector (!), Post Box X0002, Cooper’s Kloof 6002 – rector being a term unknown to me – and was duly appointed to the post based on my submitted CV and no interview.

In June 1983, during my “seven days” leave, I thought it wise to travel from Oudtshoorn to Port Elizabeth to view this computer centre and school at which I would be teaching.

Hence, my very first arrival at the Mill Park campus of Grey and my very first view of the magnificent school buildings and the Clock Tower.

tower

I started teaching in January 1984 under Rector Dieter Pakendorf (together with some 15 other new staff members including André van Staden – now Pearson Headmaster and Mike Thomson – now at Michaelhouse. Sadly, most have left teaching.)

I was one of the first to leave. Although I left (twice but finally) at the end of 1988 after a five year stint of teaching to the lure of the business sector, it was an association with The Grey that has spanned thirty years.

I have written and spoken much about the events that occurred and the people that crossed my path during that time. They form a part of my tapestry of Life.

I never really lost touch with the school and returned often under Rector Simpson to address various groups on various subjects ranging from Information Technology to Industrial Relations and Management Principles.

Ironically, during my business career, the Company celebrated its year-end functions in the De Waal Hall and on two occasions I was awarded and promoted on the stage of the school hall!

Shortly after leaving teaching, Pera (then at Collegiate Junior) and I got married. Sean entered the world and entered Grey Junior in 1999 and matriculated from Grey High in 2010. Pera joined the Grey Junior staff in 2003. Phillip started at Grey Junior in 2002. I was now firmly a Grey teaching spouse and a Grey Parent.

In 2005, Rector Crawford asked me to assist in the accounting department and I returned to teaching for a brief term to assist the boys who were matriculating in that year with accountancy. (Interestingly enough, this was my major subject and one that was not offered as a subject when I first started teaching at The Grey. When Rector Pakendorf was quizzed on this by prospective appplicants he would refer the family to the Commercial School in Linkside. Grey, he said, was an ‘academic’ school!)

After becoming ill, diagnosed with corticalbasal degeneration and retiring in 2006, I assisted the schools with numerous projects including the perimeter wall, the Grey-V trains for parents to Bloemfontein, the Supporters’ Club, the Old Grey data base …

But, according to the old adage, all good things come to an end.

And so it is, in four month’s time, when Phillip walks ‘neath the Tower in October 2013, it will bring to and end my direct association of thirty years with The Grey.

The memories will continue. (As will, for a while, I guess, my being a wheelchair critic and accepting my now new title, the spouse of Mrs Lunnon from the Grey Junior School!)

I shall always be grateful for those memories provided by The Grey and for two sons who have been fortunate to receive their schooling at such a fine and proud institution.

Our thanks must go to the Rector, Headmaster and successive groups of teachers at Grey High and Grey Junior who have played a role in educating our sons, both in the classroom and on the playing fields. They are both fine examples of Grey Men, so take a bow, all of you who have assisted us in their upbringing and in their preparation for an unknown, uncertain and imperfect world.

I shall remain a proud member of the Old Greys’ Union – never to be an ‘Old Grey’; because, as I am constantly reminded by my Old Grey sons, if you were not schooled at Grey, not even a transfusion of Blue Blood, can make you an Old Grey!

TRIA JUNCTO IN UNO

 

20130607-165858.jpg