Wow, Brendan! So glad you shared your very tumultuous year with us! Details about things like not being able to make your own sandwiches at boarding school are the sorts of things that we just don't think about, and really help us broaden our perspectives... fascinating!
So - will you be sending your own kids to boarding school? ;-)
Thanks Brendan Swemmer for adding your experience of being conscripted - much sadness accrues to the young boys on both sides of the 'war' in those times, doesn't it? All of them children without real choices (if there is ever such a thing). Whatever the big political picture, on an individual level most people are just trying to survive, aren't they?
My own son is doing a year away from home, working in Germany, as his coming-of-age transition period into adulthood; and I keep reminding myself of our 'boys on the border' at the same age.
Jeannette Private User, your daughter might find my project on Nelson Mandela useful: http://www.geni.com/projects/Nelson-Mandela-s-Long-Walk-to-Freedom-... - She is welcome to contribute too.
This one on Mandela, Pienaar & the Rugby World Cup in the film Invictus, might interest her too, if she’s a sports fan. http://www.geni.com/projects/Invictus-Mandela-Pienaar-the-Rugby-Wor....
hope she will attribute to geni soon, and maybe her mother nelia sufiyanova -speaking russian and not too much Dutch- likes to co-operate on the BIG TREE too:
@Sharon, your write up was wonderful. Thanks to you and to everyone else who shared their memories. When I was sixteen, in 1956, life was very different. It was even before the day of the denims, and definitely before TV, which gives pause for some serious thought! But this is not about my memories. I want to acknowledge the recollections of everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts with us all. And good for the boys who joined in! Pam
This is a part of the whole project. The project starts at the left by "Related Projects", "When I was 16". There are more interesting stories told. Enjoy reading them and add your own walk down memorylane for us to enjoy them. We all have our different stories , because our 16's were in different times and places, parts of the world.
That is what makes it interesting, to get a glimpse of each other life. To know each other is to understand each other better. But hey it's also fun to see what we have in common and what's not.
And yes good for "the boys" who joined in! (I quote Pam :-))
Thanks Pam. Please write one for us - I hadn't realised, before writing it - how pivotal that moment in our lifetime can be to describe a 'before what i became' snippet.
And they were so interesting for the snapshot glimpses they provided the rest of us of such moments across eras across the world.
Jennie - we should def keep this project alive.
here it is Brendan!
When I was sixteen ... 1975.
It certainly was a year of enormous experiences ... I got to see first hand that I was a person of "fight" (as opposed to "flight"). During the holidays while driving my father's VW Beetle on the farm, I was attacked by a stranger. After stalling the vehicle, the swine managed to open my door and was attempting to stab me with a very lethal looking dagger through the crack made where the door is attached to the body of the vehicle. Despite the fact that I was a skinny little girl, I managed to hold that door "closed" enough for him not to be able to reach me! The fear-induced adrenaline turned me into one p-o-w-e-r -house of a woman!!!
It was also the year that I was expelled from my very "larney" all-girl boarding school in Johannesburg!! It seems, the new Headmaster was hellbent on getting all the "naughty" girls out of his hair..... (...Can't understand this since I wasn't even naughty!!)
As for fashion etc. I was wearing "stove-pipe" jeans with a four inch zip up the back from the hem, cheesecloth embroidered "peasant blouses", hair long and always lose, lots of necklaces, bangles and a feather in one ear!!!!
For music, I was definitely a David Bowie die-hard! But also listened to Alice Cooper, Led Zepelin, Moody Blues, ELO and LOVED the way Peter Frampton 'made his guitar talk' !
I think this was also the year that "Rocky Horror Picture Show" was released. I was one of the lucky ones who saw it before the censor authorities decided it had to be banned in South Africa!!! AWESOME movie!
Did anyone of the readers of this project-page of first EAR heared what MARTIN LUTHER KING spread over the World? I searched for his words again yesterday on the memorial day of those steps to Washington and in my mind -I first visited this world in 1951- everyone in our family/house was talking about that very special moment.
28 augustus 1963 : times flies, but sometimes stays still, for what changed ever since....
I attached a newly published YOUTUBE-version of his speech too:
And if it does NOT work on your computer, please go directly to