Youth, Yesterday, Youbetya! S. A

Y Post again!  How does it come around so fast.

The only town in South Africa that starts with a Y is York in Kwazulu Natal, or it was York.  But the name has changed.  Life’s like that, I’m afraid!

York is closed!  Youth has aged!  Years have flown by!  But Yesterday is always there to remember! 


Yay! we have a Y entry.


Yesterday; it was long, long ago but I remember.  That was when we lived far from towns and stores that other families shopped in.  That was when we lived beside the great north road between South Africa and Rhodesia, which ran from Pretoria (soon to be Tshwane) to Salsibury (now Harare) see, life’s like that! 


That was when we, the children, were not allowed to shop in the little store a quarter mile along the road called York Store, but were supposed to shop at the only other shop, over a mile away called Kratz Store. 

That was when children listened to their elders!

That was when I had the accident.

To explain our Mother’s reasons for this a little better: I have been trying to find a picture of York Store, or one similar on the internet, and found this, which is a bit of a ‘look-a-like’, however our shop didn’t have gates and was situated directly off the dirt verge of the main tarred road.

Our Mother’s nature was to protect and guide the offspring, she trusted few strangers and even (some folks that she knew!); anyway we were not to enter York store without her!

Found this beautiful painting by Shelagh Price of another such trading store; although our store was on a main road.  The Coke a Cola sign is right! They all sold Coke in little glass bottles.

trading-store- Artist Shelagh Price

Once we were sent to post a parcel to family in Rhodesia at the post office, which was located at Kratz store and my quote from a previous blog read:

Wilson's Toffees

“We would have walked past York Store, a friendly African Trading store, where the little black picaninies danced on the verandah to the sound of Quela music. If my younger sister could be sworn to secrecy, I would have gone in and bought us a penny’s worth of Wilson’s toffees to chew along the way.”

But it didn’t happen that way or that day.

York store sold basic foods in tins, large sacks of maise meal, flour, sugar and corn which were piled down the centre of the shop floor; there were biscuits, bread, buns, sweets and cold drinks behind the counter, all uncovered, so there were plenty of flies.  I remember the steps were very deep, about a foot, from the dirt to the veranda; and the floors were made of uneven concrete that was worn and chipped.  Once painted red.

Assistants smiled a lot, they spoke very loudly to each other all the time and music played all day.  Penny whistle quela. 

And I wasn’t supposed to be there.

bike 2

Our family had one bike, it was an old black one passed on from a friend of our Mom’s, size 26 and a bit large for me.  But when sent on an errand to Kratz store for something, emergency items, like sugar or baking powder; rediculous, these you could get ANYWHERE! knowing how far Kratz was, too far, I argued the toss about it; Mom relented and said I could take the bike; but stay off the tarred road! be careful! and don’t go to York Store! 

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!!!

Riding on stoney dirt track isn’t easy, so when there were no cars, I flew along the main road.  Then the uphill began to Kratz and I had to push the bike; I was so tired.  No! There and then a decision was made to turn around and buy the groceries at York store instead.  Mom would never know!

The children danced in their mahogany skins, so rythmic and happy; sliding and swaying to the beat.  They stopped when I rode in.  They held my bike for me as their eyes followed my every move.  One little nose was running.


Of course York’s sold sugar and baking powder!  I bought Wilson’s toffees with some of my money and gave them each one.  With the shopping clipped firmly into the back luggage clip, I unwrapped one toffee for myself and they waved me on my way.  Wow Mr Wilson, great toffee!

There were no cars to be seen, so I headed off downhill, fast, on the tar road, chewing at speed.

That was when the day began to go wrong.  I was facing the oncoming traffic and felt very safe, but seeing a car in the distance thought there was just enough time to stay on the tar till the track down to our  house got nearer, so peddled faster.

In maths you learn about the difference between the speeds of cars coming towards each other etc. etc.  Well I was never good at that!  I had to get off the road onto the dirt in a hurry.  There was a big lip of about 3 to 4 inches down to the dirt verge and and it was all over!


With blooded knees and elbows, broken spokes, and I am sure an almost broken arm, I limped home pushing the wreaked bike and soiled groceries.  The moral of the story?

Don’t ride on the tar road!

or was it

Don’t go into York Store!

You tell me in the comment section!

 This is my entry in Jenny’s Aphabe Thursday– Letter Y


About liz2you

Life just happens when you plan something else. 50 years spent in Africa and relevant stories.
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5 Responses to Youth, Yesterday, Youbetya! S. A

  1. Charlotte says:

    Good blog…I love the shiney little faces…

    • liz2you says:

      Thanks for the comment, searched high and low for a picture to depict the innocent freedom and joy always shown by those children who had so little but knew no different.

  2. Colline says:

    I remember visiting a store like that when we lived in the country. I remember it being dark inside with plenty of tinned food on offer.

  3. Years ago I had a few encounters with my parents similar to yours…

    Being a youth, I yearned for independence and sometimes that yearning caused me to regret yesterday’s actions…

    Ah, well… Live and learn!

    Thanks for linking to the letter “Y”!


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