Painting of Queenstown, Eastern Cape by J. C. Marshall



The painting shown above belonged to my Grandmother, Eileen Peter (maiden name Keys). I remember it hanging in the little living room of her apartment.

The painting is of the Berry Reservoir and Bowkers Kop in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa and it was painted by J. C. Marshall.

Queenstown is my hometown. I was born there and spent the first 18 years of my life in that town.

When we lived in 3 Chamberlain Street (before my birth until 1991). My parents and I would go for walks around the Berry Reservoir almost every evening.

I have many fond memories of the dam, mostly from when I was very young, below the age of 5. I remember a church picnic that took place there with three-legged races, sack races and an egg and spoon event. I remember a little white shoe that got stuck in the mud when the dam water was low (not my shoe) and wondering for years afterwards if it was still there or if it had been fished out.

I remember the time my cousin, Glynis, found a dead crab on the edge of the dam, during one of the few visits their family made to Queenstown. I think they were there to see our grandfather (Edward Peter) before he past away in 1991.

I remember taking our dogs for walks there when we stayed at 78 Livingstone Road (1996-1999).  To give them a good workout my dad would let them chase the car as we drove around the dam 2-5 times.  Don’t worry, they were off of the leash at the time, and there were no other cars on the path.  Our Jack Russell Terrier (Scamper) would get tired before our Irish Setter (Flash), and often we would put her in our car and allow Flash to have a few extra laps.

BUT… The strongest memory I have of the dam was the time I discovered what a downhill was. I was riding my handed-down bicycle soon after I had learned to stay balanced (no training wheels). I was seeing how fast I could go, so I was peddling on the downhill. Then I looked around and couldn’t see my parents. I tried to stop by putting my feet on the ground like I used to do. The right hand brake brake didn’t work at all. That was when I realised how fast I was going. I panicked and reached my one hand over to the other hand to try and pull the working brake. It was too stiff for the strength in my one hand to pull it by itself. That is when the bicycle went side-ways and I crashed into a tree. I can still see the tree in my mind today, and I have a slight scar on my chin to remind me of the incident.  My next memory (after seeing the tree) is my dad running up to me and carrying me home.  I must have been about 3 or 4 years old when this happened.

I am not sure how long it was after that, but I woke up one morning with a brand new red BMX in my bedroom.

My verdict on the painting: keep and I think I will have Mark move it to the living room (it is currently in our bedroom).


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