South Africa: Chipping At Memories - the Doppelganger in the House Across the Road


In the house across the road, the lady who looks exactly like my mother comes out to hang a Christmas wreath on her front door. In our old house in Oranjemund, my mom's beating the batter for the kingklip she'll deep-fry with chips the way only she could make them.

There's a lady across the road from my house who looks exactly like my mother. She doesn't look exactly like my mother looked when last I saw her, when she was 70 and soon to be gone from me. Or like my mother when she was in the Land Army in Wales in the early 1940s, such a beauty with her lush auburn hair that I inherited. (Luckily. My dad had wispy gingery strands that eventually became a combover.)

No. She looks exactly like my mother looked in the Sixties, when she was in her thirties and full of laughter and life. When she'd get her hair dyed blonde and permed, and worked at the till in the grocery store, and all the customers loved her. When she and dad would go the the Rec Club on a Saturday night and come back sozzled and giggling, then have a row....

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