That’s my young self!

2017-04-05 14:32
The undated picture of Church Street in which John Deane (circled) was spotted by his relatives. Deane is directly behind the little girl, and the face visible over the other man’s shoulder is that of his mother. INSET: Deane (83) still lives in Pietermaritzburg.

The undated picture of Church Street in which John Deane (circled) was spotted by his relatives. Deane is directly behind the little girl, and the face visible over the other man’s shoulder is that of his mother. INSET: Deane (83) still lives in Pietermaritzburg. ( File/Supplied)

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“I’ve never seen it [the picture] before, but unmistakably there I am, in my early twenties, walking down Church Street.

This is how 83-year-old John Deane reacted when he looked at a picture from The Witness archives that was published recently.

Deane’s wife Patsy was looking at The Witness Facebook page when she thought she spotted a familiar face.

“The moment I saw it, I recognised my husband and his mother in the crowd,” said Patsy Deane.

John told The Witness that he was in his early twenties when the picture was taken.

Deane said the picture must have been taken between 1957 and 1960.

Despite the picture being taken more than 50 years ago, Deane was able to tell a vivid story about the moment that has been captured in time.

“I’m directly behind the little girl, and the face visible over the other man’s shoulder is that of my mother. I’d possibly been asked to take her shopping in my newly-acquired second-hand Ford Prefect, bought for 99 pounds from a school friend who was getting married and needed money.

“It was probably a Saturday morning, as both I and the man in front of me are wearing little paper squares indicating that we’d put something in a charity collecting box. Saturday morning was the usual time for charity street collections.

“It seems I’d pinned mine (no “peel & self-stick” then) on my right lapel because I was wearing a metal badge of some sort in the buttonhole on the left.

“Cuthberts was the big shoe shop, Roxy’s was women’s fashion clothing, Colombo sold tea and coffee, the aroma of ground coffee spilling out into the street, T.S. Taylor was an art dealer and picture framer, and the OK Bazaars was on the corner of Timber Street, with John Orr’s on the other corner.

“The OK later moved to new premises on the corner of Church and Chapel streets, on the site next to St Peter’s church previously occupied by Shuter & Shooter and Sowden & Stoddart.

“The two schoolboys parking their bikes at the kerb are wearing bicycle trouser clips, nowadays probably scorned by male adolescent cyclists.

“A painted line on the pavement encouraged people to keep to the left, and yes, a postman in uniform actually delivered post in the CBD on a Saturday morning!” recalled Deane.

Deane has lived in Pietermaritzburg all his life.

Read more insights about the old Church Street picture:

Joan Kruger also shares fond memories about the old Church Street picture.

Pixie van Heerden's insight about the old Church Street picture

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  witness file pictures

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