page 18 - December, 1963, Ben Oostdam's Autobiography

December 23 , Monday: A demo for Mr. Borchers, using a waterhole instead of the sea to get water for the caisson. Evening dinner with Denise who arrived while I was busy talking with the daughter of Mr. Shipley, a visiting chemist. After dinner, she had to take part in a mannequin show, where I happened to be seated next to Rita - the other daughter of the chemist . Went to the Shipleys and talked about apartheid past midnight.

December 24: In office by 07:00 for mail and to send out progress report.
09:00 to Uubvlei where Venske had been waiting "for hours". The plant and drum do not work and have to be sent back. At 17:40 in the pool, swam alone, presumably Christmas eve required married guys to stay home. Dinner with Cora's Pa, then 20:00 to the Guests for drinks and diving tales with Paddy till 22:00.

December 25, Christmas: Felt rather lonely and missed Rose, till at 9:30 Denise picked me up, loaded with presents to "make the rounds:" first to the Fry's to pick up children, then to the dressmaker and next to the G.M., Mr. Devlin, who is a true patriarch, so much kissing, drinking and smoking of cigars. A few other visits, including to Bill and Martha Fry where Denise talked enthousiastically with a Larry about her forthcoming tour of Europe. Strange, Denise and I hardly talked about Europe, probably because Rose and I had honeymooned there this summer! After the present opening ceremony, there was a large lunch-dinner with pork and chicken and a giant pudding with a coin buried in it. What with all the people, drinks, smoke and loud music, I got claustrophobic and we left for Denise's place around 19:00. After some semi- sincere smooching, she wanted to go "partying" (caroling?) again, but instead we quarreled about her scheduled Europe tour which was to last an entire year instead of just a few months as I had auspicated...guess I am too jealous and possessive for the modern young woman. . .and the pattern of breaking up affairs around Christmas continues unabated.
December 26: Although I was up early, nothing and nobody worked (yet).
Dropped by at Mr. Walker's who warned me not to let Venske "take over". At the beach, it was high water, so I had the bulldozer dig a trench and push up a bulwark. Changed the caisson so that the Michigan front-end loader can also approach it from the "makai" (seaward) side. At noon, I got a message that Mr. Borchers wanted me, so off to HQ where I found out that Dave Smith wanted me in Capetown Friday (tomorrow!) and Saturday. After lunch "in town", I took a backroad to Uubvlei, where we moved the SPC and experimented with the CAT crane. Back at 17:30 for organization meeting with Borchers, brief encounter with Denise who was loaded down with purchases and presents, and a 18:30 dinner in the guesthouse with the Shipleys - who also are going back to Capetown tomorrow together with the daughter who is working here. Prepare work schedule for Bill Fry, drop it off, but he is asleep already.

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