The Self Employed Housewife - A Seaman's Wife's story Ch 9
The Self Employed Housewife
Being a single Mom
After her meeting with the social welfare officer, a kind motherly type, she felt a lot better. At least they would discreetly investigate. She was not to worry. They would never disclose who reported Shawn to the authorities.
When the same welfare officer knocked on her door a week later, while both kids were at playschool, she was somewhat shocked. She hadn’t told anyone in the neighborhood that it was her who had reported a child abuse case. Greeting her made her nervous.
“Can I come in?”
“Oh sorry, yes please do.” Before she closed the front door she checked to see if anyone was looking, while trying to remember her name.
“Don’t worry; I have just come to tell you that you did the right thing.”
“Really, have you seen Shawn? “
“Oh yes, and we have had several interviews and visited the home during the last week. For the moment both children have been placed in the custody of the grandparents. The parents must go for counseling before they will be allowed to get the children back.”
“Oh shame. I think the dad seems to be nicer to Shawn, but I hope they never find out that it was me who reported them.” In a way she felt relieved, but also very sad for the little boy.
“They will never find out. I felt you needed to know what happened to them since they were taken away last night. You will not hear from me again.”
That was it. She left as quietly as she arrived in her V.W. Golf.
They were on deck waiting to go ashore in Durban and looking at people below on the quay. Every passenger was told to wait until the new passengers had boarded. A man called Piet by his wife was replying in frustration to his wife Yolanda in Dutch, who wanted a space at the railing to wave to friends on the quay. Jan responded to him in Dutch and moved away to give her his spot. Yolanda, who was holding a baby smiled at them and greeted her back in Dutch.
From that moment they did everything together as couples. Their boy Richie was the same age as Sascia, and they seemed to hit it off. Jeroen was clearly too young for him. Their baby girl was nine months, so Yolanda had her hands full. They lived in Zambia and decided to travel to Holland in style for their annual holiday. They had booked a cabin on the Fairstar passenger liner and had driven to Durban, the closest port of call.
A surprise visit
She had one hour left before fetching Sascia and Jeroen from playschool. There was so much she wanted to pack into that hour. When the front doorbell rang again she hoped it wouldn’t be Pat or Corrie who still might have guessed something. Nothing stayed a secret for long in the complex.
The noise outside her front door puzzled her. Kids voices were calling out for Sascia who was not home. As she opened the door her surprise must have clearly shown on her face.
“Piet I knew it.”
The smiling couple took her so by surprise; it was as if she opened the door to family members. Yolanda looked more Dutch than anybody she knew. Her thick blond hair was plaited in a French style, very attractive. Piet had grown a beard. They had become friends from the moment the passenger liner The Fairstar had docked in Durban Harbor almost two years previously.
It is fun to speak your own language
“Are you letting us in or what?” Piet said as he embraced her.
“Gosh I’m so overwhelmed, how did you ever find me?”
“You sent us a postcard from Malvern with the Palm Springs address, have you forgotten?” Yolanda replied. She had. It had happened on a day that she got to the bank to get the money for a deposit on the Beetle.
The joy of seeing them, speaking Dutch and how the children had grown from the last time they had said goodbye in Amsterdam must have been written on her face.
“Where are your kids?” Yolanda asked. Richie was inspecting their townhouse as kids can do, looking everywhere. He had grown up a lot since she had last seen him.
She explained how they lived, and about Jan’s first job as the first officer on a tanker and that he changed ships and would only be back in a few week’s time. This was disappointing to Piet, but he first had to book somewhere to stay for their intended three days in Durban. They would be traveling on a ship back to Holland like the last time, but this time they were returning back to South Africa.
Relocating to Johannesburg
She almost forgot to pick up Sascia and Jeroen if it were not for Richie who asked if he could play in their bedroom. They all climbed into their Kombi, the new car that they had bought in Johannesburg. Piet had done some work on it so they could use it for camping when they returned in a month’s time.
“Why not stay here? You two can sleep in my double bed and I will borrow a mattress from one of the couples in the complex. I will sleep in the spare bedroom where I keep all my leather.”
“See I told you.” Piet said to his wife, who was clearly very happy with her suggestion. They already had bedding for their kids. On the way to the playschool she told them about her own little leather business that was taking off. Piet was clearly very impressed. He said as much to Yolanda, who at first felt somewhat offended, but soon showed a great deal of interest and wanted to know more.
When Sascia saw whom she had arrived with, she behaved all shy like Jeroen. Richie, who was already a head taller than Sascia was clearly not having it. He took after his dad, all happy go lucky in a very humorous manner. She secretly wished Jan could be like Piet, very charming and at the same time always ready with an inspiring plan.
If only they could stay for longer; they had such fun together, but it came to an end. They boarded the ship for their holiday and their kombi was put on a train back to Johannesburg. They promised to let her know the moment they had settled in Johannesburg when they had returned from their holiday. Yolanda had already invited her to come and stay with them during the periods when Jan was away, which was not a bad idea.
Her business was growing
Consignment sales to the boutiques were taking off, but they did still not want to place orders. Somehow that suited her. It gave her free rein to make what she felt like. She explored more and more ideas and kept investing in more tools from the Tandy catalogue. They were very expensive but a much better quality than some local products.
Amit, the Indian man in the saddlers shop in Durban became a friend and he often wanted to see what she was making. He suggested that she should hold more private shows, but coping with the kids and taking time off when Jan was home, was cutting it thin. By now she had spent some of the money she had earned on furniture, clothing and some day to day things. She even managed to pay the rent, so Jan’s income was accumulating in his bank account.
She seemed to have finally convinced some of the men in the complex who had made suggestive remarks to her, that she was not interested in any of them. She was grateful for their help with lifts when she had needed them, but now having her own transport let them off the hook so to speak.
Life as a self-employed housewife was finally taking shape. Jan would return home soon and in the meantime she was far too busy with her own paying hobby to miss him all that much.
She knew that Jan was a bit annoyed at her independence, especially since she now had her own transport, but at the same time he was also keen for her to earn money, so they could save up for a deposit on a home of their own again, like they had in Australia.
Her creativity with leather was like a tonic. It kept at bay the intellectual loneliness that frustrated her more and more. She liked the friends she’d made in the complex, but something was missing; she couldn’t pinpoint what. Her questioning mind kept nagging.