Investment Club


Last night, Wednesday 5 July 2016, the day after Pam’s passing, we met at 29 Prospect Road, Walmer, the home of the Thomsons.

The we, this time, being the Lunnons (with Sean and Phillip), the Stapletons, Lindsay Scholtz, and the Thomsons (sans Pam but with Greg, Lynn, and her boyfriend Peter).

The we are  also the remnants of our Investment Club – the Lunnons, Scholtz’s, the Stapletons and the Thomsons.

Many years ago, the four families met monthly at each other’s homes.We started off as eight people and ended as sixteen, each couple adding two more children to the group.

Some would say that we added more people than we did money. On that score, each coupled invested R100 per month and I invested the money, with the ultimate goal of cashing in the investments and going on a world tour.

However, we soon realized we were only dreaming! So, annually, we cashed in our fortune and spent the December long weekend away. We did Katberg, Plett, Keurbooms, East London, Knysna, Blanco, Hogsback, …

Last night, we cried and laughed. We spoke about Pam and remembered her in all her ways, and we cried.

We spoke about our Investment Club and remembered all our ways and we laughed.

It struck me how we and our children had learned so much from both. We certainly had not hit the jackpot with our investments, but we had achieved far more in the education of our children.

Stapes later wrote:

“I am touched … I touched … I was touched.

We all touched. What a lively, lovely evening with the Thommos.”

Still later, he said

“Yesterday, with heavy  head, heart and feet, I threaded through the day.

But time invested with friends, is time well spent,

and I heard a bird, singing in the Heavens.”

Yes, for the first time maybe, I realized just what the meaning of our Investment Club really was.

I realized just how much our children learn and had learned from us.

I realized just how much Pam was loved and the example she set both in our own kids and also in the pupils she had taught over the years.

So, at the end of the old chapter and the beginning of the new,

We remember that money is not our only investment.

We remember the value of friends.

We remember the meaning of life and the permanence of death in this world.

We remember the memories.

And whilst we say to Tommo, thank you for the music, we also say to Pammie

Thank you, Pammie, thank you for the memories.

The Last Supper


Ill 9 years 10 months / Advantage Mental CBD : Physical CBD

Some few weeks ago, as we often used to do many, many years ago, we gathered for supper at 29 Prospect Road, Walmer.

The we being the Lunnons, the Ogilvies, the Mackenzies and the Thomsons. 

29 Prospect Road is the home of the Thomson’s.

In days gone past, we used to meet there almost weekly, sometimes by ourselves and sometimes in far larger groups. The Tiger’s Arms did brisk business! On the odd occasion, we even managed to get the owner and resident singer to haul out his guitar and entertain us.

Tommo, after all, was according to one fan at the Holiday Inn in East London, the “best in Africa”!

The hospitality here was also top-notch, on a par with the Ogilvie’s in Villiers Road. As a bachelor, if I didn’t make it to Villiers Rd, then often I used to sleep over in the guest room in Prospect! The waking-up scenario just used to change!

Anyway, that was the past and this was the present. In our conversation, though, the present did take up much of that past. We reminisced, we laughed, we joked, we drank, we ate.

Tommo has become a chef par excellence, and with Pammie not well, his culinary skills have been even more tested!

It was like “the good old days”. We wined and dined.

Just a little bit slower, little bit fatter, little bit greyer, little bit tireder ….and we spoke about retirement, something we didn’t even think about in those days of yore.

When we left this time, we didn’t have to worry about kids in carry cots, or toys and baby bottles… Just empty baskets and empty bottles!

When we left this time, we didn’t think that it was almost time up, that we were running out of time, that the sands of time were passing us by, and that this would be the last time.

Yes, with Pammie, when we left this time, it was our last time …it was to be Our Last Supper!

……

Last night, we met at 29 Prospect Road for supper yet again. It is the beginning of a new time, but we will not forget the old time. We said Grace and drank a toast to Pamela.

Cheers!


Tributes to Thomsons – RIP Pamela 4 July 2016

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Mr Neil Thompson

40 years! Well done sir on a life time’s commitment to building, moulding, nudging and at times

“beating” (always fair and well deserved) us into Grey men!

I think back to my u14A year a win against Grey Bloem and the end of season braai. Your reprimand after my stupid behaviour – “you have disappointed me” hit the mark and was more powerful than any beating! (I dare say 6 would have also been deserved!)

The English teaching – sadly no impact on my spelling or use of punctuation, yet my love of reading was enhanced as well as an understanding of Shakespeare!

The joy of Unicorns cricket and the motto “Hit it high hit it hard there are no fielders in the sky”. The hiding I got right there and then after bowling you a bouncer in the turf nets – “sorry sir it hit the ridge!” It had to have at my pace, it needed all the help it could get! It was however, not a bad bouncer, judging by the chuckles coming from those in the other nets! Indeed your demonstration of the front foot drive, cut and slog sweep onto my backside had all the others in the nets in fits of laughter!

Later, when I became a teacher at your alma mater and asked you for some words of wisdom for my team playing against Grey Junior and facing the man mountain Jan Serfontein. The obvious passion and pride with which you spoke and your trump card,  your old Bishops Prep School jersey neatly folded and shown to the team had all in awe. Sadly, we lost only due to Mr Andrew Hayadakis superior coaching ability of ensuring that Serfontein go the ball every time! However, the pride with which the boys played was testimony to your team talk!

 How about donating the jersey to the Bishops museum?

Above all your greatest gift was the belief you instilled in your charges and the passion with which you imparted your knowledge.

 “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it” (Act 2 Scene 2 Hamlet) the quote from Hamlet encompasses so much of what your school mastering was for all of us! Indeed there was method!

Thank you to a legendary school master so much more than just a teacher! May the melody and words from Sweet Caroline: “reaching out, touching you, touching me, good times never seem so good” continue to resonate far and wide.

Brendan Fogarty

 

The Grey Staff Soirée

(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 2 months ill …

Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage Ed

Grey!

In 1988, my last year of teaching at Grey High, colleagues Dee Hollelly and Neil Thomson initiated the Grey Staff Soiree. It showcased the unbelievable talent that we had on our staff – from music to acting to slapstick – and raised funds to enable a deserving Grey boy to attend a university.

The first Soiree was planned to run in the De Waal Hall for the parents from the Wednesday to the Saturday evening. Besides the show, there was a dinner served and, of course, a cash bar.

Included in the donations, was a generous number of beer kegs by SA Breweries, intended to last for the duration of the four shows, but ran dry on the first night!

The first MC was deputy head Brian Hibbert and the actors were all of us barely twenty year old teachers of The Grey. At the interval, Hibbert MC was challenged by Stapleton AC (threatening at that stage to run naked onto the stage!) to stand down from his position as MC! It was nothing personal but was only “for the sHake of the Show”!

Well, the show continued and ended with the Six Degrees, a band of staff members that continued playing for the parent dancers, and with Tommo’s help, into the wee hours of the morning.

The Wednesday show was so successful and “tiring” that the actors were unable to take to the stage on the Thursday evening. A rapid deployment of the parent audience booked for the Thursday evening was made, and the show continued on Friday and Saturday.

In fact, the show has continued for 26 years (with breaks in between) and now,traditionally, only on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, but never on a Thursday!

So, this past Saturday evening, saw us attend the 2014 Grey Staff Soiree.

From the original Six Degrees remains Neil Thomson (then drums, now guitar and vocals) and Ed Lunnon (then keyboard, now retired). Mike Thomson has moved on to Michaelhouse, Tony Reeler is headmaster of Pretoria Boys High and Greg Cunningham is now deputy head in Sydney Australia.

My roles in the Soiree, in addition to keyboards, have been actor (Fawlty Towers and many other skits) and, two years ago, MC.

This year, for the very first time, I was able to watch the show in its entirety as a member of the audience. I was convinced that the youngsters would not be able to fit into our shoes! They surely would not be as good as we were back in the day!

I was proved wrong.

Now, with Greg Thomson (Tommo Jnr) and Bigsy (Jason Bigara – one of Sean’s contemporaries and now a teacher) as joint MC’s and a host of enthusiastic new young teachers doing the acting (some repeats and a few old faces, I may add!), the show continued into the late evening, and we danced the night away!

Yes, “for the shake of the show” and the benefit of the bursary fund, long may yet another of The Grey traditions continue.

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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

 

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ED is in week EnDing wED 29 May 2013

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 27 May 2013: 6 years 8 months on …

Game ED

It’s been another busy week, with little time to write. And when I’ve had the time, I haven’t had the energy!

So here comes another skeleton, with hopefully the flesh put in at a later stage!

  •       Mon 20 May – we celebrated Sean’s 21st birthday at the Coachman Steakhouse; party to follow!
  •       Tue 21 May – visit from Gill (Hospice); haircut with Grant @ front cover: Newton Park; meeting with Mike Halbert (accounts); drinks at VP Tennis Club with the Tuesday Boys’ Tennis Club of Wembley Tennis Club
  •         Wed 22 May – AlgoaFM; coffee at Bluewaters café; gym; Sean’s u21 rugby at Old Grey; Neil Thomson and Rodger Gilson in Centre Stage’s Simon and Garfunkel Tribute
  •        Thu 23 May – visit from Isaac; physio with Christelle Smit; Sean’s car at garage
  •          Fri 24 May – visit from Ben; meeting PeFM
  •          Sat 25 May – day trip to Grahamstown: Grey vs St Andrews (Phillip)
  •          Sun 26 May – reunion meeting of our Investment Club at our home
  •          Mon 27 May – meeting with Sr Gaynor Bishop of the MNDA(Port Elizabeth)
  •         Tue 28 May – meeting with Sr Gill (Hospice)  

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Circa 60

About 60 – that’s the meaning of the above title and that’s our ages – give or take a good few years in all our respective cases.

“Our” being Neil and Pam Thomson, Anton and Ingrid Scholtz, Alan and Trish Stapleton and Pera and I.

And our connection being that some 20 years ago we started what we called our Investment Club.

We met once a month on a rotational basis at each couple’s home for a meal, and each couple “invested” R100 into the Club – Pera and I put in R100 each. My duty was to invest the monthly amount of R500 and to grow the money so that at some point in the future (round about now) we would cash in our investments and go on a “world cruise” together!

Two ‘hiccups’ occurred – firstly, each couple produced two more people and the group therefore grew from eight to sixteen people. Our children spoke at school about the Investment Club meetings that they attended on the last Sunday (or whichever it was) of each month! Heaven alone knows what their teachers and friends thought about this!

Secondly, at the end of year two, I think it was, when we saw the balance slowly growing in our investment account, we were tempted to draw the money and go away for a weekend together.

So, after that, we never ever gave the money a chance to grow enough for our world cruise, but we did, on an annual basis – round about Reconciliation Day public holiday in December – cash in the funds and spend a long weekend together.

We visited places like Hog’s Back, Katberg, Keurbooms, Knysna, Blanco, Blue Lagoon, East London, St Francis Bay and wherever the following criteria were met:

No self-catering by the ladies, within close driving distance of Port Elizabeth, activities for the adults and the children, inexpensive (at least within the constraints of our Investment Account balance), etc …

Well, we never would have had enough for that world cruise, but we invested tremendously in our children’s social upbringing and in their readiness for life. They learned to climb mountains, read hotel menus, order “passion fruit and lemonades”, play golf, ride horses, stage theatre productions, play carpet bowls, manage becoming lost and a host of other things that one could add to the list.

We all learned to enjoy friends and family and life and nature and good times together.

In the process, we amassed many happy memories and photographs and stories along the way.

Unfortunately, as the years passed by, and we all got older, it became more and more difficult to co-ordinate our diaries and do things together. So, some eight (?) years ago, we finally called an end to our Investment Club.

But, thanks to the labours of Pera, we managed to have a reunion of the adult members of the Club this past Sunday. Someone suggested that the Investment Club be renamed the Pensioners’ Club!

Needless to say, we reminisced (that which we could remember!) and laughed and ate and drank to Life!

Memories are made of this! (and please correct any of the above-mentioned “facts” that may be incorrect!)