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  • Writer's pictureDonette Werkman

The story of Casa Celtis #2 PART 2 - THE FALL INTO LOVE

EVERY FALL INTO LOVE INVOLVES THE TRIUMPH OF HOPE OVER KNOWLEDGE – ALAIN DE BOTTON


Thus, my story today begins with my parents, Freek and Madeleine Werkman buying the 2ha smallholding on the outskirts of Pretoria in 1979 from Mr. and Mrs. Smit.

The thatch roofed house was an instant love trap to the young couple that was eagerly searching for their forever home. With daughters aged 5 and 8 months (Yes, that’s me!) – what better foresight of hope could there be for a young and upcoming professional, Afrikaner couple?


The house had an impressive footprint and unashamedly boasted freezing temperatures in winter. It sported a few impressive architectural details, wonderful custom-made copper fixtures and detailed carpentry.


Apart from the house, the smallholding itself was the size of a Karoo farm to any “stadsjapie”. Geese, ducks, peacocks, turkeys, and free roaming chickens ruled the land without fear of being slaughtered by anything but a Doberman pup.

No tree house was present, for every Witstinkhout (Celtis Africana) was already a climbable children’s retreat and fruit trees and pecan nut trees became part of seasonal holiday games between myself and my cousin.


And what was there not to fall in love with, especially as a kid! I’m sure my parents will tell about high maintenance cost, keeping lawnmowers running and the aches and pains of building a tennis court. But I am also quite certain that hope mostly triumphed over knowledge for them in the love affair with this property! The later years’ rose gardens were proof to this intimate love.


But first a little anecdote about the pecans - And I’m sure all Casa Celtis residents will still concur with this fact: My dad used to say that the tree in the middle of Eden was not an apple tree – it was a Pecan nut tree, because no person can resist stealing the nuts. He once captured a “jogger” early morning high up in the tallest Pecan tree, filling his bags with the precious nuts!


The pecan trees that is still part of Casa Celtis today, yielded so many nuts back then, that I was able to run a small business of selling nuts in Primary School. And yes, even with nuts, the fall into love involved the triumph of hope over knowledge for a certain boy in Grade 3, when he promptly dropped me a note asking: “Die kys en neute”!


Unfortunately my answer was no, and that specific Pecan tree, by the lower gate in Frank road, that lured the joggers and lovers had to make way for building operations in 2004 – for no other than UNIT NR 2, CASA CELTIS.


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