Mrs Pells and her poodle Sasha were my neighbors untill I was 12. After heightened crime in my area due to the end of apartheid my parents decided to move to the northwest suburb of Sydenham. After our move Mrs Pells continued living in her house for about another year till she was murdered. She was tragically strangled to death for her television. But enough with the gore, I’d like to share a bit about her since there are few left to remember her.
Mr Pells died when I was an infant. My parents went to comfort her and she told them “Nah, it’s better this way.. We’re not fighting anymore!” My parents definitely remember the screaming from next door. She was a recluse, A landmark slender figure walking through the streets of Yeoville with Sasha on his leash. Her biggest claim to fame was her daughter who helped the team of first doctors separating Siamese twins. She once invited my brother and me into her house and showed us mountains of cans she hoarded for Armageddon. Her house was surrounded by a brick wall where my siblings and I learned to read and look up in the dictionary all the obscene words that we were not taught at home. Although she had a bathroom in her house, she would opt to use the outhouse. She’d often yell at my brother and I from the loo to stop climbing the wall that separated our house. Unfortunately since it was the only way to climb onto the garage and onto the building behind us and to the fire escape stairwell to see the water tower and the end of our world, we would not stop climbing. Mrs Pells had an incredible garden. She must have had about 12 humongous rose bushes in every color imaginable
and a “yesterday today and tomorrow” tree. Mrs Pells would sometimes cut some of her roses and give my family a huge bunch for shabbas. She’d also give us the yesterday today and tomorrow bunches telling us they would keep the moths away. I have never smelled roses as sweet as hers. She was a dear eccentric soul and a part of my childhood.