My family and I moved around quite a bit while I was growing up. My father’s job would relocate him to wherever he was needed. As a child, it was exciting to move into a new house every now and then. It always felt like a new beginning and every move would mean a bigger bedroom.
For my mother, the thrill was building a kitchen. We would rarely renovate the house but my dad would always build a new kitchen for my mother. It never made sense to me, I always knew the move was never permanent, so why redo just the kitchen?
Having said that, to this day, my fondest and most vivid memory of mother involves the completion of a kitchen renovation. We had been living in our Dinwiddie, Germiston, house for a while and finally, my dad had built her yet another kitchen.
Soso stepped out of her newly built kitchen, walked past the lounge where my friends and I had been sitting. Walking towards her bedroom, my mother turned to us and made a smug remark, “girls” she called out, “make sure you marry a man who will build you a kitchen”.
None of us got it. I mean, we were modern 90s babies, determined to marry men who didn’t expect us to be pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen. Why in the world would we want to marry men who wanted to build us kitchens?
A few years after my mother had passed on, I found myself sitting with my dad in his new house with his new partner. He was in the middle of building her a kitchen.
I succumbed and just had to ask what it was with all this kitchen building?
“I just never understood why mom would advise me to marry a man who would build me a kitchen,” I queried.
My dad laughed and looked at me and explained, “When we first moved out of our first home, your mother was sad that she would have to leave her newly built and fitted kitchen. So, I promised her that as we moved from one house to another, I would build a kitchen every time,” he explained.
“It had nothing to do with the kitchen. It had everything to do with a promise.”