My nooi is in n’ naartjie, my ouma in kaneel, daar’s iemand in anys, daar’s n’ vrou vir elke geur…
That is from a poem by the beloved Afrikaans poet, DJ Opperman and translates as:
My girlfriend is in tangerine, my grandmother in cinnamon, there’s someone in aniseed, there’s a woman in every aroma…
And so it is that my own Ganny Sue is in the smell of banana muffins and I’m transported to her kitchen every time I bake them.
Ganny Sue was my father’s step-mother. His biological mother died before I was born. My maternal Nan was a citified working woman and totally different to Ganny-Sue, who was the archetypical farm-wife; she bottled fruits and vegetables, baked bread every day and made her own clothes. She was always in the middle of some ambitious sewing project and would have a few pins stuck in her blouse, or a thimble in her pocket. She had an old dressmaker’s dummy that she called Daphne and poor old Daphne was loudly blamed if anything went wrong. My Grampy used to say to me “Old Daph’s in for it again, what say you and me take a little walk and fetch the eggs”.
Her sewing room was a delight for a little girl; she had a seat that opened up to a three-tiered sewing box containing all manner of sewing notions. There were bits of rolled up ribbon, reels of cotton and buttons galore. Tape measures and tassels dangled from the lampshade and a big basket of fabric leftovers stood in a corner. It was from this box that I learned to sew when I got a little older.
This is a little frock that she made for me when I was a baby. Sadly the box it was stored in was damaged by a flood some years ago, and the wet wood stained the dress.