The Berg house embroidery

My mother, Beryl Odhner, embroidered this view of our little house in the Drakensberg. She made it into a cushion for our brother, Pehr. If you could see the entire embroidery, you would see that she included all the different wild flowers that grew on our property, and the birds and animals that frequented it, too. She and my sister, Kirstin, would have known all the correct botanical names for the plants. The geraniums growing in front of the house were started from cuttings she took from a neighboring house, in the wattle woods--there was never anyone there, so she didn't think they would mind.  

She also made a painting of the scene.

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A lesson in horseback riding . . .

We had a lot of fun experiences at our Berg house in the Drakensberg. This picture shows my younger sister, Siri sitting on a horse, with our older sister, Kirstin and myself standing in front of the horse. Kirstin was an excellent rider. She wanted Siri and me to enjoy horseback riding, too. So she hired this horse from the nearby hostel. When it was my turn to get onto his back, he decided to canter away with me. Luckily, Kirstin was riding right along beside me and slowed him down.  

It's also a good picture of the front of the thatch-roofed, cement block vacation house that our brother Pehr built for us. There's the water tank on the far left, and behind that, the nose of our Nash sedan. Mother later planted flowers in front of the house--geraniums that she grew from cuttings.

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 My brother Pehr was an expert horseman. He loved to ride this horse, called Ringals, through the mountains at the Berg. He hired the horse from the local Champagne Castle Hostel.

My brother Pehr was an expert horseman. He loved to ride this horse, called Ringals, through the mountains at the Berg. He hired the horse from the local Champagne Castle Hostel.

The house at 185 . . .

The first house we lived in in Durban was way too small for such a large family. After about a year, we moved to a big old Victorian mansion, 185 Sydenham Road. It had a red tiled roof, white pillars, and wide verandahs in front, both upstairs and down.

The house was three stories high, with five bedrooms and a music room that could be used as a church, which you can see in this photo.  

They put a wooden fence along the path, to hide the back door and the washing line from street view. Those big trees to the left of the photo are mango trees. They provided lots of shade, and were just begging to be climbed.

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 My sister Siri (left) with her friend, Penny Crosoer. The photo shows the wooden fence and brick walkway added to the side of the house for privacy. In the far back of the photo is the tennis court. Siri and Penny are wearing school uniforms.

My sister Siri (left) with her friend, Penny Crosoer. The photo shows the wooden fence and brick walkway added to the side of the house for privacy. In the far back of the photo is the tennis court. Siri and Penny are wearing school uniforms.

1948 Durban, South Africa

Durban was a big city in South Africa, a busy seaport, even in 1948, when this story begins. South Africa was still part of the British Commonwealth at the time, and Durban was a very British enclave. 

We came from Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Philadelphia)--my three sisters, two brothers, mother and father, and me. Durban was subtropical, humid, and strange to a child's eyes, a very different place from snowy, forested northeastern United States.

 

 Durban is a bustling city of over half a million people. With a wealth of beautiful beaches, the city is a tourist attraction. The photo above shows the Durban Marina. Beyond, the beach stretches for miles up the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, now called the Dolphin Coast.  We used to like going to the beaches at Salt Rock, Shaka's Rock, Umhlanga, and Umhloti.

Durban is a bustling city of over half a million people. With a wealth of beautiful beaches, the city is a tourist attraction. The photo above shows the Durban Marina. Beyond, the beach stretches for miles up the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, now called the Dolphin Coast.

We used to like going to the beaches at Salt Rock, Shaka's Rock, Umhlanga, and Umhloti.

 Odhner Family 1948. Back: Pehr, Kirstin, Mother (holding Siri), and Jeannette. Front: Michael, Rachel. (Dad was taking the picture.)

Odhner Family 1948. Back: Pehr, Kirstin, Mother (holding Siri), and Jeannette. Front: Michael, Rachel. (Dad was taking the picture.)