Polly, as Mum was known to her family, became a ward of the state and placed in the care of her Uncle Bill. They lived-in Cape Town where Uncle Bill worked as a motor mechanic in a garage in Mowbray not far from the two-bedroom flat that was home. Between Uncle Bill and numerous aunties and cousins they made sure the young ward of the state received a well-rounded education. She attended dancing classes, played netball and hockey and regularly took part in Sunday School activities.
Her nickname was well-chosen for she loved nothing more than a good conversation; she spoke to anyone which drove my father nuts and kept up a stream of commentary when in strange and uncomfortable situations – something she has passed on to myself and my daughter.
Mum enjoyed reconnecting with her family on the infrequent occasions we visited Cape Town. My father, brother and I did not accompany Mum to these reunions but we reaped the rewards as she always returned in good form. Emotionally topped up with a sense of well-being and affirmation we receive from our families.
My mother played sport until my brother and I were born but her dancing commitments continued as she supported the Cape Town Ballet Company for many years after she stopped dancing. When our family returned to South Africa in 1964 she continued as an avid supporter of the arts and was an enthusiastic member of PACT (Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal), until her death in 1968.