It was the fall of 1982 and I was in third hour band class when Mr. Butler announced a 25 piece band was coming from South Africa and we were hosting them. He sent home a letter to see who wanted to host a student. They were all boys and would be staying for two weeks. For some reason I waited until my mom was in the bathtub (moms never get any peace in the bathroom anyway) to read her the letter. I didn’t even get half way through it before she asked me if they were black or white. I said who cares but they are white. She agreed we could host one and I was hoping for a drummer because the band was all drums and trumpets.
Their flight was late getting in so they finally arrived at the band room on September 20 around ten pm. It was a school night no less. I was assigned to Gary who was a trumpet player. However I spotted Anton that night and he was assigned to Scott. Anton was a drummer. I swear before we even went to bed that night Gary and I were fighting like brother and sister. He brought us a beautiful clock in the shape of Africa. It hung in my mom’s living room for years. I would later trace it and make a cross-stitch picture when my sister married Andre’ but that’s a different story for a different time.
My next memory is of the Fox football game and the boys were playing at half-time. I had made an ice cream date with Anton, Scott and a few other band kids even though I had a boyfriend at the time. He was not supposed to be coming to the football game but he showed up last-minute so I broke up with him on the spot. It was probably one of the meanest things I have ever done in my life on a relationship level that is. I broke his heart, I knew I did and I didn’t even care. I was way too in love with Anton. I watch a lot of investigative shows and they always comment about teenage love being intense. I lived it. Anyway we pretty much spent every free second together during the time they were here. My mom took a bunch of us to the most inappropriate movie ever The World According to Garp. She had no idea or she would have picked something else but live and learn.
I also decided to have a party for Gary and I let everyone know there would absolutely be no alcohol at this party. Do you know every single person I invited showed up. I still look back on it and cannot believe it. I was so shy and so convinced no one knew me or if they did, they didn’t like me. The party was a blast and one kid did show up with alcohol and my mother made him leave. We went on a scavenger hunt, had a sexy knee contest, had a broom dance and did something with weaving this spoon down everyone’s clothes. Except this one kids pants were so freaking tight the spoon got stuck. Everyone had a great time as far as I know and I never heard anything negative said about me and the no alcohol party. It just shows you do not need to get drunk to have a good time.
So the boys left and within a month some of the parents got together to see about going over there the next summer. So the planning began. My mother was in charge of the books (after all she worked for an accounting firm) and each kid was responsible for raising 1500 dollars for the trip. Fundraisers were divided among the kids that participated. A couple of the kids parents just wrote a check every month and they didn’t do any fundraising. Now my sister and I sold just about everything except for the kitchen sink. We sold Kathryn Beich candy bars and the profit was twenty-five cents each. I made over four hundred dollars in candy bar sales so do the math as to how many I sold. I raised 1400 dollars and the trip was set for August of 1983.
It would take us almost twenty-four hours to get from Saint Louis to Johannesburg South Africa. We also came in during the evening time. It seemed they had a little party for us in the school gym and the first half of the trip I stayed with Gary and the second with Anton. Anton didn’t really speak to me and the next day we had a marching band performance. He still didn’t talk much to me and I was a shy dork back then so I probably mentioned it to my mother who then took care of it. I think it was the next day we were back where we left off in the states. It was a great three weeks and I ended up with lifelong friendships both in the states and in South Africa. Now this was in the day long before cell phones, email, Skype, texting so it was hand written letters and a three-week delay from the time they were written until received. Phone calls were around a buck a minute and the delay was obnoxious.
I had big plans about going to nursing school in South Africa and marrying Anton. For those of you who really know me you can quit laughing over leaving the country thing. I have huge anxiety about not knowing where I am going and getting lost. It’s why I haven’t traveled much in my life. Also the fact that I puked for sixteen hours straight on the way home. Sometime in February of 1984 I got THE letter. (I still have all of the letters Anton wrote to me). It was the break up letter and I always seem to forget I had written him almost the exact same letter except my mom hadn’t mailed it yet so we pitched it. Oh was I ever a wreck that day. Anton had met a girl named Susan and since we were so far apart and wouldn’t be together for a long time we should date other people. Anton would go on to marry Susan and have two drop dead gorgeous daughters. I would eventually be fixed up with Brian and have three daughters of my own.
I didn’t hear much from him after he started dating Susan. I figured it was their culture that once you were married you couldn’t talk to other girls much less former girlfriends. Oh yeah, I was the first girl Anton ever noticed or fell in love with. His mom told me that as well as his best friend Paul. Imagine my shock and surprise when Anton Facebook friend requested me a few years back. Of course that led to Brian teasing the heck out of me about my “South African boyfriend”.
Anton painted me a really cool picture of horses that got lost over the years. I know Allyson would have loved it. He always signed his letters I love you stacks. I met him before the breast reduction so Scott would always tease me and say he forgot the R in you. (I love your stacks).They all were bilingual and could speak Afrikaans as well. The only thing I really learned that I remember to this day is Ek het jou lief. Of course I couldn’t remember how to spell it but that is the beauty of the internet. Otherwise I would have to drag out Anton’s letters and get up off the couch. Anyway in case you didn’t figure it out, it means I love you.
My mom always felt that one day we would see each other again. So far it has not happened and with my traveling phobia I cannot see myself going to South Africa anytime soon. Unless of course I find some crazy race and drag my husband along. He hates to fly and I don’t think there are enough kisses in the world to convince him to be on a plane that long. Who knows if we will ever see each other again. I can say with confidence that he and my husband are the only two guys that I dated that aged really well.
Mole Moral ~ Brian has no reason to be jealous or worried about Anton, considering he lives ten thousand miles away which is great for him but as for me I have to put up with a lot of teasing!